PREVIEW: MV team is smaller, but experienced

The Maquoketa Valley girls track and field team, first row from left: Rejji Smith, Kara Orcutt and Madison Imler. Second row: Holli Hogan, Reece Mensen, Ella Imler, Maddy Anderegg, Abbie Sheehy, Payton Beaman, Shelby March and Allie Knipper. Third row: assistant coach Jason Helle, Jaiden Porter, Kailyn Hogan, Emerson Whittenbaugh, Lydia Helle, Brooke Wilson, Sam Wall, Taya Tucker and head coach Creig Dunlap. Not pictured are Grace Wegmann, Krista Ries and Casey Fry. (Photo by Diane Temple)

     Maquoketa Valley hopes its quality will make up for a reduction in quantity for its girls track and field team this spring.

     The Wildcats have 20 girls out for the team this season, down 10 from last year, but have several experience athletes returning.

     Two of those, senior Kara Orcutt and junior Sam Wall, were four-event qualifiers at last year’s State Girls Track and Field Meet. They also were part of the MV 4x400 relay that placed second in the state a year ago.                                                                  

     There are four more returning state qualifiers: seniors Madison Imler, Casey Fry and Rejji Smith, all of whom competed in relays in Des Moines.

     Top newcomers include juniors Brooke Wilson and Maddy Anderegg, and sophomores Allie Knipper, Jaiden Porter, Lydia Helle and Kailyn Hogan.

     “We have a small group of experienced kids that will be good leaders for the younger athletes,” sixth-year coach Creig Dunlap said. “Although our numbers are down from last season, we have some really strong runners that will be successful.

     “We will need some of the younger athletes to step up and fill some holes left over from last year’s graduating senior class.”

     The Wildcats were Tri-Rivers Conference champions a year ago, and also placed first as a team in their state qualifying meet.

     Dunlap said he expects the competition for a conference title to be tougher this year, with North Linn, Edgewood-Colesburg, Central Elkader and Springville all expected to have strong teams.

     “We should be in the top four this season, but will really have to do well to compete for first,” the coach said.

     He is assisted by Jason Helle.



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