PREVIEW: Panthers have big numbers, experience

The Monticello girls track and field team, first row from left: Leah Holub, Caitlyn Cruise, Kaylee Stephen, Emily Kurt, Brooklyn Steiner, Ciara Edwards, Savanah Kremer, Andrea Manternach, Natalie Newhard and Grace Gadient. Second row: Lizzie Petersen, Olivia Kremer, Kristen Roher, Ashlynn Sparks, Sami Fritz, Riley Melchert, Rylee Warthen, Alyssa Foust, Paige Holub, Makenna Patterson, Brianna Burmahl and Keeley Anderson. Third row: Payton Jaeger, Aliya Merrill, Kenna Melchert, Macy McDonough, Shalay Bronemann, Jacqueline Petersen, Taylor McDonald, Maddie G. Lambert, Marissa Recker, Aspen Gillmore, Maria Recker, Meredith Melchert and Lauren Lambert. Fourth row: assistant coach Vallerie Lynn, Sydney Ballou, Sophie Hodge, Emma Brighton, Jaelynn Kraus, Emily Schlarmann, Gabby Gadient, Gabrielle Steiner, Corinne Gadient, Makayla Coffey, Rachel Larabee, Rileigh Lambert, Anna Loes, Jordyn Patterson, Makayla Smith, Maddie L. Lambert and head coach Darren Reade. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     The list of credentials for the Monticello High School girls track and field team is impressive:

     Twenty-one returning letter-winners. Every member of the state meet-qualifying 4x800, 4x400, 4x200 and 4x100 relay teams returning; including all four members of the 2A state champion 4x800 team.

     And maybe the biggest one: 51 girls out for the team.

     “The first strength we have is numbers,” said seventh-year head coach Darren Reade, who noted that the numbers have risen from the 12 who finished the season in his first year as coach.

     “Another big strength is that we have a lot of girls returning who have had experience and success competing at the state meet. They have a lot of passion to get back to state and repeat the success they had last year and finish even higher as a team.”

     The Panthers were third in the state in Class 2A a year ago to bring home a trophy, led by the 4x800 relay team of Corinne Gadient, Jordyn Patterson, Keeley Anderson and Paige Holub. Patterson and Holub are juniors; Gadient and Anderson are sophomores. That foursome broke school records throughout the 2016 season, and set a 2A state meet record last May.

     Also returning are seniors Ciara Edwards, Grace Gadient and Andrea Manternach; juniors Shalay Bronemann, Sami Fritz, Maddie Lambert, Rileigh Lambert, Rachel Larabee, Anna Loes, Taylor McDonald, Macy McDonough, Meredith Melchert, Natalie Newhard, Maria Recker and Kaylee Stephen; and sophomores Makayla Coffey and Jaelynn Kraus.

     “We are starting to see some leaders really emerge this year,” Reade said. “We were such a young team the past couple of years, but I feel that now that they have some experience under their belts, some girls are really standing out in practices as team leaders. This hasn’t always been in what they say, but in how they practice, which is just as good.”

     Monticello will face plenty of tough competition, led by Cascade, the defending 2A state champion. Reade said he expects West Branch, Bellevue and North Cedar to be other strong River Valley Conference opponents.

     “The big goals that we hope to achieve would be to win conference, regionals, and take another shot at state again this year,” Reade said.

     He is assisted by Vallerie Lynn.


Subscriber Login