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TRACK AND FIELD: Girls' Downriver League preview (PHOTO)

The Anderson girls’ track team finished second to Woodhaven last year and the Titans look like a good bet to stay near the top the Downriver League again this season.

As a team, Anderson set four school records last season and Coach Jennifer Balogh is looking forward to setting more this season.

Returning this season will be: Shelby Bell, Emiesha Burrell, Sierra Clauss, Kaylus Denman, Morgan Fantow, Onna Fisher, Kyra Geoller, My'esha Johnson-Wheeler, Rebekah Kakos, Brianna Luba, Amber McAllister, Grace Moore, Aubrie Nöel, Heaven Queen, LeAnna Richards, Jamila Ross, Amber Simms and Autumn Wilson.

The 29-girl team is young, with a combined freshmen and sophomore class of 19, and Balogh is excited to see what the young talent will bring.

“I am excited to see how our young talent progresses throughout the season,” she said.

The Titans open their season April 11 against Lincoln Park.



Woodhaven

Last season the Woodhaven girls’ track team was unstoppable and went undefeated in dual meets and finished first in both the Downriver League and the News-Herald Track & Field Invitational.

While the dual meet schedule is more difficult this season, Coach Becky Jackson and her Warriors have similar goals this year. Jackson knows her team will be challenged more by other teams in the league and says they are looking to having more state qualifiers at the end of the season.

The numbers are small for Woodhaven, only 35 girls, but Jackson says the team has come into the season ready and willing to work hard.

“I think the team was very proud of their performance last year,” Jackson said. “It was the first time the ladies had won the News Herald Championships in their time competing for Woodhaven high school.

“As for going undefeated, my seniors this year haven’t lost a dual meet their entire high school career, so I think remaining undefeated is high on the priority list and would mean a lot to each athlete.”

The team will be paced by four seniors this season; Natalie DePalma, Rachelle Budop, Courtney Patterson and Haley Hensen.

DePalma is a field event specialist and the defending Downriver League and News Herald pole vault champion. She also competes in long jump, high jump and hurdles.

Hensen can be found in the mid-distance and relay events, contributing anywhere from the 200 to the 800 meters.

Jackson described the senior as a utility athlete who is great performing wherever the team needs her.

Budop and Patterson will both compete in the distance events and Patterson will also run some hurdles.

The Warriors will also see newcomer Adaysha Parker, a junior who transferred from Roosevelt. She was injured much of last season but as a freshman finished first in the 400 and second in the 200 at the News Herald Invitational.

Jackson says practices have been interesting due to the cold weather but says her team is lucky enough to have indoor facilities that allow them to still be able to practice.

“The team has had to be flexible thus far and has been pushing each other, especially the new athletes,” Jackson said.

The Warriors begin dual meets April 11 against Allen Park.



Allen Park

The season is young, but Allen Park Coach Paul Vockler’s girls’ track team is looking solid already.

The Jags are 40 girls strong to start the season and Vockler says there will be quite a few girls battling for the team’s Most Valuable Athlete.

The distance runners are not as deep as they traditionally are this season but still include several strong runners.

They will be led by junior Sabrina Williams, a three-time News-Herald cross country champ.

Adding depth will be freshman Amber Castoreno, who also had a strong cross country season.

The mid-distance events will see freshman Emily Lovasz, sophomore Olivia Keeley and juniors Shannon Smith and Kaley Kauff fighting for spots.

The sprint squad will see the return of many veterans, including sophomore Ana Montaner, junior Kamari Delfine and senior Valeria Bohnett.

Speed will be added in the form of new additions, freshman Erin Fish and senior Amanda Smith.

Vockler said he is excited about the hurdle crew and says it is the deepest it has been in 15 years.

Senior Bailey Caulfield will lead newcomers freshmen Ally Kubik and LeeAnn Shene and sophomore Tiana Craig.

In the field events, the long jumpers will look to continue their strong ways, led by DRL runner-up sophomore Marissa Flores. Challenging her will be junior Brianna Lipa.

Junior Brittany Flores is the only returning vaulter from last season and she will be joined by Shene and Lipa.

Sophomore Destiny McIntost and junior Katelyn Yaczik will lead the high jumpers.

Rounding out the field events, the throwers will look to improve on last season’s performances with junior Abby Dawson and senior Jessica Jett leading the 10 throwers.

Sophomore Kristen Cavazos and junior Keegan Kelley will also be filling spots.

“We’ll be good,” Volker said. “How good that will be us going to be up to the girls.”



Carlson

Coach Matt Jablonski and his Carlson girls’ track team will look to rebuild this season after losing a strong senior class to graduation.

The Marauders finished third in the Downriver League last spring and hope to be able to compete again.

“I think we will be able to be competitive, but we have some work to do to get there,” Jablonski said.

The distance crew will be led by senior Jessica Howarth, while sophomore Jezri Rinehard will anchor the throwers.

Both are strong in their respective events and Jablonski says they both have a great chance to win their events in the league this season.

The Marauders have several new freshman faces that show promise but the cold weather has now allowed Jablonski to really get a feel for how good his team can be.

Overall, he is looking forward to the season.

“I am looking forward to developing the young talent I have this season,” he said.



Kennedy

The Kennedy track team consists of only nine girls, many of who are new to track and field.

Freshman Daija Anderson will be competing in the high jump, hurdles and sprint events and is already showing quite the potential for Kennedy.

“She is working hard at track and we have high hopes that she will be one of our more talented runners this season,” Coach Chad Putnam said.

Sophomore Debbie Hansen will be running in the mile, two mile and other distance events in her debut year.

Freshman Tiliah Nundley will be seen at hurdles and freshman Cierra Roldan will be on the sprint team. Roldan will be joined by big sister Erika who is a junior and in her second year with the team.

Also in the sprint events will be Kayla Powers and Anna Hudak can be found at mid-distance.

Jennifer Cloke and Angel Hobson are both in their first year with the team and will take care of the throwing events while Cloke can also be found running mid-distance.



Roosevelt

First-year Coach George Purdu will join Rico Pascuzzi in leading the Roosevelt girls’ track team this season.

Both will be working closely alongside boys’ coach, Dave Lustig.

The Bears have close to 50 members on their team, larger than last season, but they are still young and most of the numbers come in the form of freshmen and sophomores.

Nicole Ostowitz is a key returnee runner to the track this season and Purdu believes she is one of the key returning upper classmen.

Mariana Jackson and Lindsey Reagan are two throwers back from last season and the Peterson sisters, Amanda and Allison are two upperclassmen expected to contribute this season.

The Bears will go through somewhat of a rebuilding phase with their younger girls, but Purdu doesn’t see any issues arising.

“Obviously our goal is to keep everybody together for this year,” he said, “(and) to start building a pretty strong program.

“We’ve got the numbers to do that (and) I think that’s one of the main things we’re going to shoot for. We’ll learn along the way (and) get some of the upper classmen mixed in with the incoming ones.”

Although it’s two months away, the Bears are already looking forward to the state meet, an event Roosevelt will be hosting.

“We’re really excited about hosting that,” Purdu said. “(It) hasn’t been on this side of the state in awhile.”

The Bears will be at the Hillsdale invite on Thursday and open their dual-meet season April 11 against Trenton.



Trenton

The Downriver League will be competitive this year but Richard Lee and his Trenton Trojans plan to keep right up with the competition.

“We expect to be very competitive this year,” Lee said. “The schedule is extremely tough and we will be tested at each DRL meet.”

The Trojans will be led by three captains this season.

Senior Lauren Thackeray will bring in points in the long jump, sprints and relays. Last season, Thackeray was a state-meet qualifier and all-league in the long jump.

Senior captain Kali Sclater will run sprints and relays and junior captain Morgan Labert will run mid-distance and distance races.

Sophomore Lauren Randazzo and junior Cat Miller will also be found in the mid-distance events, while sophomore Claudia Petrucco and senior Megan Pek will run in the distance events.

Sophomores Michelle Siegal and Gabby Maciag can be found in the sprints and relays along with junior Gabby Concord.

Maciag will also compete in the long jump and high jump.

Joining her will be sophomore Chloe Whiteside who will also run hurdles, and sophomore Alexis Kellogg, who returns as a thrower.

New talent comes in the form of freshmen Veronica Raft and Abbie LeFevre in sprints and Zoe VanAuken and Aubree Baker in distance.

Lee is excited to get the season going and looks forward to a good year.

“Our team is really strong in the mid-distance and distance events,” Lee said. “I really look forward to having a great year and get some of our girls to the state meet.”



Lincoln Park

With the largest team since the 2006 season, the Lincoln Park girls’ track team is looking promising this year.

The team is made of up a lot of young talent which excites Coach Rickie McDowell as he teaches them the proper techniques in each event.

Despite many young faces, the Rails return several veteran runners that McDowell expects to surprise some teams.

Wanda Horton returns to the 400 and 800 meter events and long distance runner Alyssa Grossman will also return.

With the team growth, McDowell will be focusing on relay teams since the numbers allow them.

To prepare themselves for the Downriver League meet, the Rails will be attending more meets and invitationals this season.



Melvindale

The Melvindale Cardinals return several veteran faces along with a host of freshmen to the track this season.

Melvindale brings back stand outs Katelyn White in the sprints and Alonna Haynes in both the high jump and sprints.

The pole vault crew of Marissa Wolnowski, Brittany Sincox and Tessa Thorton has plans to build on last season’s success in their event.

Also returning and expected to factor into the scoring is Shakeia Moffett, Sarah Priest, Adela Leon and Sarah Chama.



Truman

The Truman girls’ track team is a one-girl-wonder in the form of April Micheaux.

Last season, Micheaux scored 40 points at the News-Herald Invitational to finish second as a one-girl team.

She was a state finalist in both the shot put and 100 meters and finished sixth at the state meet in shot put.

Micheaux was also named to the All-Downriver team last season.















Last Updated: 3/22/2013 2:49:37 PM EST

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