Concord hopes to contend in the NLC

Elkhart Memorial's Morgan Dyer (red) and Elkhart Central's Lauren Dibley (blue), here battling in cross country last fall, will be among the top distance runners in the area this spring in girls track.

Returning talent should make the Concord girls track team a threat once again to finish near the top in the Northern Lakes Conference and state tournaments.

Heading the list of returning letterwinners from last year's squad, which finished third at the regional and second at the sectional are Jasmine Riffell (400 relay, 100 hurdles), Janiyla Holloway (400 relay), Summer Cooper (3,200, 1,600) and Janiyah Barnes (100, 200, 400 relay).

Riffell and Holloway were part of a state qualifying 400-meter relay team last year.

Coach Jerry Redmond is happy to have back Barnes, who didn't compete in track last year. Barnes made the state finals in the 100, 200 and 400 relay two years ago.

"Janiyah Barnes returns this year as one of our top sprinters," said Concord girls track coach Jerry Redmond, whose team finished 6-1-1 in the NLC last year. "Plus, we have a young group that should contribute in that area. We also have a strong group of hurdlers that can score points for us if they keep working hard. Summer Cooper will doubling in the 3,200 and 1,600 this year to help us score in the distance events."

Redmond will also need less experienced athletes to step up this year, as Concord must replace several point producers.

Lost to graduation were Oniste Thomas (100, 200, 400 relay) and Jana Fisher (school record-holder in the 1,600). Also lost from the team was Jasmine Hudson (400, 400 relay), who moved away.

Thomas was a state qualifier last year in the 400-meter relay, while Hudson was a state qualifier in the 400 meters and 400-meter relay.

"This season can be what we make of it," Redmond said. "The success we get this year depends on how hard we work."

Elkhart Memorial is hoping to build off its fourth place showing last year at the sectional.

The Crimson Chargers are in good shape when it comes to distance running with return of state qualifier Morgan Dyer (1,600, 3,200).

"The girls team did pretty well last year," said Elkhart Memorial girls track coach Adam Homo, whose squad finished 6-1 in NLC dual meets. "We're looking to get better and take even more individuals to the regional this year. 

"The girls are hoping for more success this season. They're focused in practice and are working really hard. We have a good group of juniors and seniors leading the freshmen and sophomores, so it's a good mix. At this point, we're all very pleased with the type of progress that is being made. 

"The measuring stick in the NLC will be Warsaw and Concord. It will be interesting how we stack up with them when we race against them." 

Another school to watch in the NLC is Northridge, which finished 5-2 in the league last year.

Heading the list of returning letterwinners are the talented 400-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay teams, who own the school-record in those events.

Back to run the 400 relay are Madison Sorg, Leah Stacker, Karlee Lehman and Shelby Heerschop, while returning to compete in the 1,600 relay are Sorg, Stacker, Heerschop and Ariana Stoltzfus. 

"We graduated a few of our high point scorers (Jenna Miller, Mackenzie Adams, Anna Coil, Emily Wargo, Haley Bond), but we gained a solid freshman class who show a lot of potential," said Northridge girls track coach Trisha King.

"We're looking forward to a great season."

NorthWood enters the season having to replace middle distance runner Erica Stutsman and sprinter Kenzie Moren. 

Stutsman finished eighth at the state finals last year in the 800 meters. She was also a regional champion and a sectional champion in the 800. Moren placed second at the sectional in the 100 meters. 

Senior Riley Hershberger returns with hopes of getting back to the state finals. At the state meet as a freshman, Hershberger finished sixth in the 100 hurdles and 15th in the 300 hurdles. An ACL tear during basketball season as a sophomore prevented Hersberger from competing in track. Last season, Hershberger placed fourth in the 200 meters at the Kokomo Regional. 

"Last year, Riley focused on getting her speed back," said NorthWood girls track coach Mark Mikel.

This spring, Mikel is expecting Hershberger to compete in the 200, 400, 400 relay and 1,600 relay.

Others that provide experience are Reagan Hartman (100, 400 relay), Lexi Parisi (200, 400 relay, 1,600 relay), Kali Parisi (3,200 relay, 1,600 relay, 300 hurdles), Whitney Wolfe (distance), Hannah Brubaker (distance), Jennifer Martinez (distance), Reagan Koble (long jump, 100 hurdles) and field event participants Brooke Roa, Brenin Knight, Maddy Payne, Katie Montgomery and Karli McBrier.

"We're looking to have a balanced team with a solid base of returning athletes with some up and coming youngsters," Mikel said.

Goshen must replace Jill Kissinger, who was a state qualifier last year in the 300-meter hurdles.

"We want to improve throughout the season and be competitive during conference action," said Goshen girls track coach Aaron Willis. "We're a young team this year and many first year athletes will be asked to do more and learn quickly because we need them to help the team this season."

Willis is most excited to see how Sasha Ramos and Brandi Smith perform in their events.

"Sasha Ramos is in her second season of doing track and she is gearing up for a great season that could possibly land her down in Bloomington in June in the shot put and discus," Willis said. 

"Brandi Smith is prepping for an outstanding senior season. She is coming off of an injury last season and we're counting on her to be a strong leader and athlete for us in the 400 meters, 200 meters, 1,600-meter relay and long jump. She is also possibly going to land in Bloomington in June."

In recent seasons Penn has been the team to beat in the Northern Indiana Conference.

New coach Melissa Danner hopes to continue that trend. 

Danner takes over a program that has won five straight NIC titles and won three straight sectional titles and five in the last six years.

State qualifiers from last year who return for the Kingsmen are Jemmia Pennix (400, 1,600 relay), Nicole Marshall (800, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay), Kelsi Carrico (1,600 relay) and Brooke Neal (3,200 relay).

An experienced Elkhart Central squad will be led by new coach Bekah Shenk, who is no stranger to coaching runners. In the fall, she's the boys and girls cross country coach for the Blue Blazers.

Among the 17 returning letterwinners for Central are Mia Pulianas, who was a state qualifier and a sectional champion in the discus, and Lauren Dibley, who was a sectional champion in the 3,200. 

Joining Dibley as distance runners are Kathy Reyes and Hadley Malloy, while Central's top sprinters are Daneen Swanson and Johntella Higgins. In the field events, Analena VanderZwaag returns as a pole vaulter. 

"We're returning seven of our top 10 point scorers from last season," said Shenk. 

"We have a large freshman class that will be able to contribute on the track and in the field. I have seen focus and dedication from our team at practice and in our first indoor meets. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as we grow stronger as a team during the season leading up to our conference meet and the state series." 

Jimtown coach Jessica Linville likes the mix of athletes she has to work with this year.

"I'm excited about the upcoming season," said Linville. "We have a lot of new kids on our track team with untapped potential and I can't wait to see how they perform. We also have a lot of really nice girls, including seniors Arianna Brotherton and Abi DeLaLuz, whose leadership will help our team tremendously."

In the Northeast Corner Conference, Fairfield has back long jump sectional champion Olivia Elledge. 

New coach Matt Thacker takes over a program that finished 5-0 in NECC dual meets last season. 

"Unfortunately, our numbers are not where we would like to them," said Thacker. "The ladies that we do have are quality athletes that work extremely hard in the weight room and on the track. Most importantly, we have girls that want to compete at a high level."

At Elkhart Christian, coach Allen Lollis is looking forward to having back sprinter Precious Swen, who was a regional qualifier in the 200 meters two years ago. Swen had to sit out the state tournament last year because of an injury.

"She's so eager to compete as a senior," said Lollis about Swen. 

The Eagles will have to overcome the lack of depth.

"Are girls team is small, but they compete hard and are all multi-event athletes," Lollis said. "We should do well individually with our juniors and seniors. Our sprint relays have a chance to break some school records this year. I also expect our 9th and 10th graders to be big contributors."

Bethany Christian has back Eva Sargent, who is the school-record holder in the 300-meter hurdles. 

Others that will contribute are Emma Thomas, Naomi Thomas, Clara Lind and Rilynn Kaufmann. 



COACH: Benjamin Hurst (third season).

2018 RECORD: 0-4.

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Fiona Yeakey. Juniors - Luisa Dutchersmith, Clara Lind, Eva Sargent, Emma Thomas, Naomi Torres. Sophomores - Genesis Comadoll, Rilynn Kaufmann, Erika Lopez, Ana Yoder, Tinsley Yoder.

OTHERS: Juniors - Sasha Dyck. Sophomores - Lily Ortiz-Perez, Tanja Penner. Freshmen - Farran Jordana, MacKenzie Mast, Ivonne Ortiz, Helen Stoy. 

OPENER: Tuesday, March 26, vs. Lakeland Christian (at Goshen College).



COACH: Jerry Redmond (fourth season).

2018 RECORD: 6-1-1 (5-1-1 NLC).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Janiyah Barnes, Shenias Colton-Flores, Cassie Hess, Janiyla Holloway, Makayla Miller, Jasmine Riffell, Kaity Velie. Juniors - Summer Cooper, Asai Madayag, Paola Martinez, Paola Mujica, Alyssa Pfeil, Sydney Simon, Summer Stevenson, Tesslyn Tarman. Sophomores - Rose George.

OTHERS: Seniors - Elizabeth Jimenez, Katherine Pineda, Nhi Nguyen, Miriam Torres, Niko Alnes. Juniors - Laura Rodriguez-Hernandez, Ahtziri Aguilar, Pavida Nithananon, Flippa Smedal, Naomi Lopez, Fraimar Narvaez. Sophomores - Carina Bollero, Kayla Alley, Monica Alvarez, Nyla Jackson, Zoie Neterer, Rose Pankoke, Sydney Poindexter, Faith Carpenter, Hayleigh Robinson, Destiny Salvador. Freshmen - Alexis Brewton, Sydney Cruise, Selma Fisher, Lylian Haviland, Savonnah Herring, Savannah Shepherd, Quetzal Sotelo, Aniyah Smith, Andrea Torres, Sophia Trout, Arlet Luevano, Bryana Romero, Leslee Sierra, Daniela Medina, Aaliah Higarcia.

OPENER: Tuesday, March 26, vs. Westview.



COACH: Bekah Shenk (first season).

2018 RECORD: 4-4 (4-3 NIC).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Kortney Buckley, Xochitl Gallegos, Cadlyn Hanes, Hadley Malloy, Kathy Reyes, Analena Vanderzwaag, Kirsta Young. Juniors - Lauren Dibley, Johntella Higgins, Antonia Hiland, Latrese Woods. Sophomores - Kaila Chavarria, Morgan Hurt, Mia Pulianas, Irie Roll, Meleena Strukel, Daneen Swanson.

OTHERS: Juniors - Jaquelyn Barerra, Lori Martinez. Sophomores - Chyair Mitchell, Arely Ponciano, Lauryn Sherwood. Freshmen - Lourdes Alfaro, Tsehai Bean, Khanya Butler, Delaney Davis, Sarah Dibley, Michelle Dixon, Carolina Gallegos, Rhiniya Gary, Emma Hodges, Kyla Lee, Macy Metcalf, Olivia Miller, Ibeth Munoz, Andrea Ramos, Brooke Richardson, Raven Sangster, Carlie Webber.

OPENER: Tuesday, March 19, at Goshen.



COACH: Allen Lollis (14th season).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Precious Swen, Tori Skaggs, Bridget Deardorff. Juniors - Leah Burden, Keely Cox. Sophomores - Kylie Vida, Kacie Cox.

OTHERS: Sophomores - Emily Gray. Freshmen - Adaline Russell, Emma Gruet, Shanel Bevier, Camille Annan.

OPENER: Thursday, March 28, at Jimtown.



COACH: Adam Homo (seventh season).

2018 RECORD: 7-1 (6-1 NLC). 

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Brooke Akemon, Maria Ayers, DeJanea Johnson, Brandi Peals, Tianna Roundtree, Madyson Wheeler. Juniors - Kailey Blazier, Precious Chigwada, Jahlea Douglas, Morgan Dyer, Morgan Eash, De'Airah Long, Alexis McNeely, Laila Nagy, Mya Reeves, Hannah Smith. Sophomores - Emily Anderson, Mariem Boussaha, Felisha Campanello, Jennifer Diaz, Jamiya Gladden, Kelsey Knowlton, Riley Reitz-Lloyd, Gabriella Scott, Reaganh Snyder.

OTHERS: Seniors - Jessica Corredor-Leon, Stephana Santos. Juniors - Madison Clark, Alexis Curry, Camry Howell, Zitlali Navarro Pietro, Adrianna Shepard. Freshmen - April Almaraz, Madison Axsom, Danasiah Barnes, Kailey Gregg, Alexis Leonard, Paityn Sheldon, Makenna Smith, Rachel Terrell.

OPENER: Tuesday, March 26, at Elkhart Central.   



COACH: Matt Thacker (first season)

2018 RECORD: 5-0 (5-0 NECC).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Olivia Elledge, Chloe Bontrager. Juniors - Anna Weatherton, Carol Haldeman, Kara Kitson. Sophomores - Ali Weaver.

OTHERS: Freshman - Ellen Yoder.

OPENER: Tuesday, April 9, at Central Noble.



COACH: Aaron Willis (second season).

2018 RECORD: 6-5 (2-5 NLC).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Brandi Smith. Juniors - Morgan Chupp. Sophomores - Sasha Ramos, Mallory Wood.

OTHERS: Juniors - Celeste Arroyo. Freshmen - Avah DeVoe, Sophia Yordy, Kyiah Onyon, Lindsey Daniels, Camila Perez-Diener, Brooklyn Collins, Chloe Collins, Atzimba Diaz Solis, Breanna King, Susan Houghton, Naomi Kratzer.

OPENER: Tuesday, March 19, at Goshen.



COACH: Jessica Linville (ninth season).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Abi DeLaLuz, Adrianna Brotherton. Juniors - Leanna Coble, Abbi Griffin, Lindsay Holloman, Manese Reisacher, Reagan Schwinn, Drew Track, Elizabeth Turpin, Evea White. Sophomores - Alexis Andrade, Alaina Anthony, Jacqueline Lopez, Charlotte Pendell, Merlande Reisacher, Jennifer Sandoval, Anna Turpin.

OTHERS: Seniors - Emma Holman, Kayla Samulski. Juniors - Audrey Pearison, Cierra Thomas, Torrance Watterson. Sophomores - Chloe Deppe, Kolby Gluchowski, Andrea Trosper. Freshmen - Renee Anderson, Crystal Brittain, Mattie Carlisle, Madi Heidt, Sidney Horvath, Carly Landon, Allison Melania, Karina Rubalcava, Kayla Thompson, Elizabeth Zerfas.

OPENER: Monday, March 25, vs. Northridge/Westview.



COACH: Trisha King (3rd season).

2018 RECORD: 7-2 (5-2 NLC).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Ariana Stoltzfus, Madison Sorg, Sage Schnell, Karlee Lehman. Juniors - Alison Bache, Caitlin Clark, Shelby Heerschop, Rachael Kelley, Jenna Nethercutt, Hope Stacker, Leah Stacker. Sophomores - Hannah Hoffman, Kit Kirkpatrick, Keeton LeBaron.

OTHERS: Juniors - Luan Agirrezabala, Clara Lavios Gomez, Anna Thammachot. Freshmen - Olivia Adkins, Ella Hoefer, Emily Knox, Emily Knox, Abby Martin, Leah Miller, Elainna Papandrea, Morgan Roan, Hayley Troyer.

OPENER: Thursday, March 21, at Lakeland.



COACH: Mark Mikel (2nd season).

2018 RECORD: 3-6 (2-5 NLC).

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Hannah Brubaker, Riley Hershberger, Jennifer Martinez, Kali Parisi, Lexi Parisi, Whitney Wolfe. Juniors - Karli McBrier, Maddy Payne. Sophomores - Brenin Knight, Reagan Koble, Kendal Miller, Alea Minnich, Katie Montgomery, Brooke Roa. 

OTHERS: Seniors - Sydney Kuhn, Sara Lopez. Juniors - Brittany Hershberger, Lily Kauffman, Ari Runge, Molly Smith, Sophie Storer. Sophomores - Ali Knepp, Bre'anna Maller, Iliya Smith, Andrea Williams. Freshmen - Emilie Allen, MacKenzie Brewer, Cashlin Brubacher, Kaitlyn Burden, Amber Caucamoztla, Kaitlyn Chapman, Tamrah Hickey, Karissa Kauffman, Alana Lehman, Ashayla Malone, Jenna Markham, Emma Martz, Samantha Quinn.

OPENER: Saturday, March 2, at New Haven Invitational.



COACH: Melissa Danner (first season).

2018 RECORD: 6-1.

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Seniors - Stella DeMarzo, Maya Towns, Ellie Jankowski, Jemmia Pennix, Alexis Weathers, Hope Campbell. Juniors - Anne Goralczyk, Aislynn Alkire, AJ Pant, Abbie Clay, Nourra Miss, Molly Pooler, Abbie Garwood, Natalie Hartman, Brooke Neal, Kelsi Carrico, Kayla Leady, Jada Edison, Ceylon Barnes, Caroline Morris. Sophomores - Hannah Cussen, Haley Makowski, Reagan Hoke, Anne Loughran, Kayla Edgerly, Janusha Cooray, Sydney Domal, Grace Ditmer, Trinity Clinton, Nicole Marshall, Chloe Cripe, McKenna Filley.

OPENER: Tuesday, April 9, at Mishawaka/Clay.

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