Lots of unknowns for Eastview girls track
Lightning returns state qualifiers Bestul, Ware
Several of the most decorated athletes in Eastview girls track and field history graduated last spring. So this season the Lightning’s points will have to come from other sources.
“We’ve got some returning kids who have learned a lot in the last year,” Lightning head coach Jorjean Fischer said, “and we have some new people we don’t know a lot about yet. We’re hopeful.”
Two athletes the Eastview coaches already know well are juniors Erica Bestul and Melita Ware, both of whom qualified for the 2011 state Class AA meet. Bestul finished ninth in the 800- and 1,600-meter races, while Ware was 14th in the triple jump. Ware also was close to qualifying for state in the 300 hurdles.
Eastview’s captains are thrower/jumper Hannah Shie, hurdler Lauren Selby, distance runner Courtney Conroy and high jumper Erica Anders. All are seniors.
Anders, who finished third in Section 3AA in the high jump last year, leads a strong group of jumpers that includes juniors Lauren Franchino and Lindsay Koplitz, along with sophomores Megan Boehm and Bri Lindstrom.
Conroy leads the distance group. Sophomore Jena Moody and ninth-grader Hana Metoxen were Eastview’s top two runners at the Classic Suburban Conference cross country meet last fall.
Shie, Jen Salter and Natalie Manders have thrown the shot and discus well this spring, Fischer said, and pole vaulter Allie Funk was clearing 11 feet in off-season workouts.
The Lightning is largely unproven in sprints, but Fischer said the team is looking for good things from sophomore Kellie McGahn, who came on strong last season after coming back from a leg injury.
“Our 4×4 (relay) is looking good,” Fischer said. “We’ll see what happens with that. We’re pleased with the kids, and the numbers.”
With a large number of ninth- and 10th-graders on the roster, the first few weeks of the season will be about assessing individual athletes’ strengths and figure out where they fit in the lineup.
“You never totally have it sorted out,” Fischer said. “Things change as the season goes along. But by the time we go to the Watoma Relays (April 20 in Watertown, S.D.) we hope to have some ideas.”
Thirty of Eastview’s 41 points at the 2011 Class AA boys meet came from senior Frank Veldman, who finished second in three field events. Veldman is now playing football at North Dakota State University, but the Lightning has another high-potential jumper in junior Ryan Lockard, who finished fourth in the high jump at state last year and has cleared 6 feet, 9 inches.
All of Eastview’s state meet points came in field events last year, so scoring some points on the track figures to be a priority this season.
Kenneth Hoffman, a senior, reached state in the 1,600-meter run last season, and Nick Oelke, a junior, was All-State after finishing 15th at the state cross country meet last fall.
Other top returning athletes for the Lightning include senior sprinter Leandre Kennedy, who missed qualifying for state in the 100 by two hundredths of a second, senior high jumper Nathan McKenzie and senior pole vaulter Brendan Cole.