Sizeable roster, sizeable goals for '21 Panthers

The Monticello girls track and field team, first row from left: Riley Evans, Olivia Takes, Serena Brokaw, Rylee Kraus, Jackie Stadtmueller, Olivia Zimmerman, Emma Althoff, Savannah Freese, Emily Hendricks and Mya Postel. Second row: Jordan Fangman, Taylor Gassmann, Kaylin Noll, Leah Denemark, Kendra Jacobs, Josephine VonAhsen, Jordan Norton, Hannah Chapman, Ryanna Devaney, Reese Cox, Ella Glawatz and Jayme Patterson. Third row: manager Heather Burrow, Emma Schwendinger, Samantha Tuel, Keziah McQuillen, Kinzi Schlarmann, Claire Tuetken, Kehde Campbell, Kayla Simmons, Katie Roher, Emma Hynick, Lydia Recker and manager Aleasha Schilling. Fourth row: Kyrie Zimmerman, Faith Hansen, Katie Sauser, Amelia Anderson, Lauren Bader, Lauren Verhagen, Triniti Etzel, Maddie Stadtmueller, Karle Kramer, Gabi Barnhart, Sami McElmeel and manager Nora Sperfslage. Fifth row: head coach Vallerie Lynn, Maddie Butterworth, Mallory Steiner, Dori Paddock, Cora Mescher, Codie Luse, Breanne Stahlberg, Marisa Grant, Reagan Schneiter and assistant coach Logan Wells. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Just the sheer number of athletes creates a “wow” factor when you see the Monticello High School girls track and field team.

     There are 56 girls out for the team – possibly a school record.

     “One of our strengths this season is the large number of girls,” third-year coach Vallerie Lynn said. “This is only going to make our team stronger. It is good for competition for positions. It will make the girls compete harder to keep those spots.”

     There are many good athletes on this massive roster. The top returners, are senior hurdler Reese Cox, junior sprinters Emma Hynick and Jordan Norton, junior distance runners Karle Kramer, Lydia Recker and Triniti Etzel; and junior thrower Cora Mescher.

     Iowa high school track teams did not get to compete last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, so there are a lot of newcomers to the program. Some of the up-and-coming athletes who could make an impact this season for Monticello include five distance runners: are sophomores Emma Althoff and Clarie Tuetken, along with freshmen Marisa Kehoe, Kinzi Schlarmann and Keziah McQuillen; sophomore thrower Breanne Stahlberg; and three sprinters: sophomores Olivia Zimmerman and Reagan Schneiter, and freshman Lauren Verhagen.

     There are obstacles the Panthers will need to overcome, including the move to Class 3A this season.

     “It is going to be harder to get to the state meet,” Lynn said. “But I have no doubt the girls will rise to the occasion.”

     The Panthers will also have a concern that all Iowa teams have – the layoff.

     “It is a big adjustment to run in high school, and we have to deal with that for the freshmen and sophomores this season. The kids are a little rusty in some of the specialty events,” the coach said.

     That hasn’t changed the teams’ goals, one of which is to battle with possible favorites Mid-Prairie and Northeast of Goose Lake for River Valley Conference honors this season.

     “Our goals this season are to finish top-three at conference, and get as many events to State as possible,” coach Lynn said.



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