ANITA – Five girls represented CAM at the recent Central College Indoor meet.
It was the Cougars’ Emma Follmann who took top honors for the team, placing seventh with a 4’8” leap in the high jump.
It was great experience for coach Luke Symonds and his squad as the ice was broken on the 2023 girls’ track season. And there’s designs on bigger and better things ahead for the defending Rolling Valley Conference runners-up.
The Cougars, behind a senior-heavy group, was the only real contender to Woodbine for the RVC crown at the conference meet a year ago. But newcomers and underclassmen, many of whom gained valuable experience last year, will be asked to fill the role, and Symonds feels he has a number of athletes on this spring’s 16-member squad who can do just that.
CAM qualified in four events at last year’s state meet, but just one of the athletes – junior Nova Wheatley – returns. Senior Bree Bower, who along with Wheatley was on the shuttle hurdle relay, was also slated to return but suffered an ankle injury late in the basketball season and will miss this spring. Both Wheatley – herself recovering from an ankle injury – and Bower were on the shuttle hurdle relay in 2021, which placed seventh at state.
Follmann was the conference runner-up in the 100, while junior Carley Dennis and senior Sydney Becker were in the top six in the 800. Dennis will probably be the go-to long-distance harrier, having placed fourth in the 3000-meter run, while Wheatley was third in the 100-meter hurdles.
With state qualifying shot putter and discus thrower Mallory Behnken gone to graduation, Symnonds thinks that Karys Hunt and Gracie Venteicher, along with freshman Kaitlyn Platt might step up well in the throwing events. Wheatley and Follmann might also see action in the long jump.
The top two relays a year ago – both RVC winners – were the 4x100 and sprint medley, of which both Wheatley and Abby Follmann were a part of. Other relays could step up: Callie Walton and Jaci Eden could help make up a 4x800-meter relay and might be asked to support Dennis in the long-distance races.
Dennis might be versatile, as she competed in the 200-meter dash and 800 at Central College.
The Cougars open the season Tuesday, March 28, at Bedford, and will also be competing at the Audubon Early Bird on Thursday, March 30.