Both track teams begin new season: Women’s track returns 21 letter winners

Women’s track officially started on Feb. 13 and head coach, Kara Hulse said she is excited for the season to begin and has set the goals for the year high. “We came off a great season last year and are getting some amazing freshmen. Team captains are normally seniors. We have 21 returning letter winners. Our returning athletes excel at their specialties and have a great chance to lead this team to excellence. My goal is to have more athletes score at the state meet this year.”

Junior Madison Larsen, one of the returning track athletes, said, “My season last year was a blast. My teammates and I had a lot of fun running at State. I’ve been running track since seventh grade. I would definitely say I love to workout, especially run. I love my teammates and all of the fun we have. I really enjoy competing and the accomplished feeling that track brings. It’s definitely a physically and mentally taxing sport, which becomes incredibly rewarding.”

Junior Meg Schmitz also said she’s in track for the fun. “Last season was really fun because I had just come from an exciting cross country season, so I was expecting a great season. Though it was a successful season, I relied on my cross country success to carry me through the track season, which it did not. I really wish I had spent more time working in the pre-season and getting more mileage, but overall I had a great time, and it was fun to watch myself improve in each event as the season went on.”

Many of the women are hoping to make it to Drake and State this year, just like last year. Caroline Ross, a junior, said, “Last year was a lot of fun. I love my teammates. We work hard and get stuff done while still having a good time. I’m excited for the 4×8. We have a lot of talent in the D-crew, and I’m excited to see where that will take us. I’m really hoping to qualify for the 4×8 for Drake,” Ross said. “I went out for track in seventh grade, because I ran cross country and felt like that’s what I was suppose to do. I’ve gone out since because I like my team, and I like the sport. I became best friends with a girl on the team, and we bonded after running the 3K together our freshman year.”

Audra Ketelson, Chris Wood and Demetrius Kimbrough help to coach alongside Hulse. The women’s track team currently has approximately 80 girls out for the team. This year, Hulse will be coaching long jumpers, hurdlers and sprinters, and she has many tips for the upcoming freshmen, but her number one tip is, “Come with an open mind and be ready to work. Remember, we are a team from ninth to 12th grade. These girls will help guide you and help you meet your goals.”

The girl’s who are returning to compete in the track season have some good advice for the upcoming freshmen as well. Larsen said, “For upcoming freshman, I would honestly say don’t be shy and have fun. Get to know the girls on the team because being part of the team is a great high school experience, which sounds so cheesy, but is really valuable and truthful.” Many of the women who have been running track know what it feels like to take such a big jump from middle school track, up to high school track.

Schmitz said, “I think it’s important to remember track is all for fun and remember not to stress too much because it’s all about improving and getting better. I met some girls along the way who have become some of my closest friends, and I truly rely on them during the season for encouragement.”

Ross also emphasized embracing the chances to bond with teammates. She said, “One of my favorite things about track are the team meals. I love my team and spending time with them outside of practice. Team meals are a lot of fun, and the mac and cheese is so good. I have a lot of good memories from team meals. Overall, it’s a really fun time, and you have so much fun with your teammates along the way.”

The women’s first meet is indoors on Feb. 28 at Wartburg College.

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