(KMAland) -- A couple days off from the grind, and I’m back and ready to go. With spring sports actually starting to roll out with competition, it might be time to start doubling up on these. Be on the lookout for two of these per day.
Today, we turn our attention back to girls track and head into the Corner Conference.
PREVIOUS SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS
CORNER CONFERENCE GIRLS TRACK & FIELD PREVIEW
The last we saw of this conference, as it pertains to girls track, Sidney was finishing up their fifth consecutive championship. While they got a nice push from Fremont-Mills (157 to 142), the Cowgirls raised the big trophy again. Let’s see how things look heading into this year.
STATE TRACK MEDALS
There is only one athlete that has ever won a state track medal returning to the Corner Conference. And she is…
-Tara Peterson, Senior, Stanton (2): Peterson was primed to make a run at four consecutive medals in the 400 hurdles, but she will have to settle for a run at three. Peterson placed sixth in the event in both her freshman and sophomore campaigns.
2019 STATE QUALIFIERS
To be clear, these are athletes that qualified for an individual event at the 2019 State Track & Field Championships. There were several that are back and likely ran in some relays, but the list of individual qualifiers has just two on it:
-Riley Jensen, Junior, Essex: Jensen was a state qualifier in the high jump and figures to be one of the top athletes in the league this year.
-Tara Peterson, Senior, Stanton: As you know, Peterson qualified in the 400 hurdles, but she was also a qualifier in the 400 meter dash.
OTHER TOP RETURNEES
To help us in taking a look at the top returnees in the conference, I pulled up the 2019 Corner Conference Meet results, as well as QuikStats from that year. Here’s a peek at each individual event in the league:
100: Both Peterson (3rd) and Jensen (6th) ran in the 100 at the Corner meet two years ago, and if they decide to do that again I would go ahead and place them as the top two 100 sprinters in the conference. The only other potentially returning athlete in the conference with a top 8 time from 2019 is senior Sarah Madsen of Essex.
200: Jensen (3rd) also ran in the 200 two years ago, and she also has the top returning time in the league. Madsen (7th) and Stanton senior Hope Ogletree (8th) also posted top 8 times during the course of the season.
400: Jensen placed second here two years ago, but she has some stiff returning competition. For instance, Peterson has the league’s top-returning time and qualified for state. In addition, Fremont-Mills senior Taylor Morgan and Sidney junior Makenna Laumann placed third and fifth, respectively, at the 2019 meet.
800: Four of the top five runners from this race at 2019’s meet are back. That’s led by Sidney junior Chay Ward, who placed second ahead of Griswold junior Lydia Greiman, Sidney classmate Harley Spurlock and East Mills junior Ann Barrett. It’s also worth pointing out that Jensen actually returns the fastest time in the half-mile, although she didn’t run it at the Corner meet. Plus, Griswold senior Haylee Pennock makes her first appearance in the top 8, returning with the sixth-fastest time in the event.
1500: There are no returnees from this event’s top six from two years ago. However, Griswold’s Greiman does bring back the fastest time and had the third-fastest time throughout the course of the season in 2019. Further, East Mills’ Barrett was the sixth-fastest runner during the season.
3000: All of the top six from the Corner meet in 2019 are also gone. The top-returning time and the only returnee among athletes that actually ran the event two years ago is Barrett, who had the sixth-fastest time in 2019.
100 hurdles: The top three finishers from the 2019 race are gone, but it’s worth pointing out that Griswold senior Hope Ogg did not run at the Corner meet. She had the second-fastest time (behind Corner champion Jaden Daffer) during the season. In addition, Griswold’s senior Josie Mundorf and junior Jordyn Main finished 4th and 5th, respectively, at the meet. Also, Fremont-Mills senior Kenna Howard had the 8th-fastest time in the Corner that year but did not run in the 2019 race.
400 hurdles: You know about Peterson. She will be a heavy favorite to win another conference championship in this event. Who could contend with her? Fremont-Mills junior Maddy Baker placed fifth in the 2019 conference race, and Griswold’s Mundorf ran sixth. But it’s Ogg that might also make a mark, as she posted the fourth-fastest time during the season.
Discus: This was a highly competitive group of throwers in 2019, and it figures to be that way again. The top two finishers at the Corner meet are gone, but Stanton senior Nicole Vorhies (3rd), Sidney junior Sheridyn Oswald (4th), Griswold’s Mundorf (5th) and Sidney senior Jolie Sheldon (7th) are all back. Also, Griswold junior Paige Luft and Essex senior Sami York had the fourth- and fifth-longest throws during the season.
Shot Put: While Luft did not place in the discus event two years ago, she did take runner-up in the shot put. She should be among the top shot putters in the conference and will be joined by Sidney’s Oswald, who placed sixth. Also, Fremont-Mills junior Chloe Kirchert had the second-longest shot of the season, and Essex’s York had the fourth-best.
High jump: Jensen was a state qualifier as a freshman, and she will be a big favorite to win a second state championship in the event. Fremont-Mills’ Howard should also be in the mix after finishing third in the Corner and posting the second-highest jump of the season in 2019. Keep an eye on junior Tegan Bredberg of Fremont-Mills and aforementioned Madsen of Essex, who had the third- and seventh-highest jumps during the 2019 season.
Long jump: Maddy Duncan has graduated, so the spot is now open. It’s not only Duncan, though. All of the top six finishers have moved on. The highest returning finisher is Sidney’s Ward, who placed seventh. Additionally, Griswold’s Pennock had the fifth-longest jump of the year.
A GLANCE AT THE RELAYS
As we did with the Hawkeye Ten and the Missouri River Conference in previous previews, here’s a look at the relays and the top returnees from the top quartets of 2019.
4x100: Sidney had some very solid sprinters, led by their anchor Maddy Duncan. However, they will return only one of the four members of that championship team in Laumann, who ran the second leg. Second-place Fremont-Mills loses all four of their members while third-place East Mills returns junior anchor Kaylee Vandenberg.
4x200: Defending champion Fremont-Mills will not have any returnees. Runner-up Griswold should be one to watch with Main and Anna Kelley – the first and second legs – back for the Tigers. Sidney also returns two legs in Faith Brumbaugh (2nd) and Roxanna Snyder (anchor). Stanton should also be able to put a solid group together if they so choose.
4x400: Fremont-Mills was the champion here, too, in 2019. The Knights will bring back just one of those four runners, though, in Morgan, who was their lead leg in that race. Sidney is going to be a real threat here. They finished second and will bring back their lead (Snyder) and third legs (Brumbaugh). Griswold should also be in good shape with the return of their final three legs – Main, Kelley and Pennock.
4x800: Sidney looks to be in good shape in this race, too, although the Tigers could also jump into the mix. Both have two of their half-milers coming back in Ward and Brumbaugh (1st and 2nd) and Grace Cook and Greiman (2nd and 3rd), respectively. Third-place Fremont-Mills brings back their anchor in Baker.
Shuttle hurdle: Fremont-Mills takes a lot of pride in their hurdlers, and they will strive to put together a great foursome again this year. They are the defending champions, but they will have just one of their runners from that group (Howard, 3rd leg). Runner-up East Mills also brings back their third leg in Vandenberg, and third-place Sidney brings back second leg Paige Smith and third leg Snyder.
Sprint medley: Stanton loaded up in the sprint medley and will bring back their 200 (Ogletree) and their anchor 400 (Peterson) if they so decide to. Sidney was a runner-up and could return their second 100 (Laumann). Fremont-Mills took third and has their anchor (Morgan) back in the fold.
Distance medley: Defending champion Sidney could bring their anchor back this year in Spurlock while runner-up Stanton has their second 200 (Vorhies) and their 400 (Ogletree) back in the mix. Third-place Fremont-Mills has their first two legs – Baker and senior Addison Meese – potentially returning.
WHO TAKES THE LEAGUE?
Sidney has won this thing five times in a row, and while they must replace their top-end talent, they will always be in the mix with their control of the numbers game. Fremont-Mills also generally posts big participation numbers, and that’s huge in a small class conference.
However, I would not count out Griswold or Stanton at this point. Griswold has A LOT of returning athletes that could score big. And while I only mentioned three Stanton athletes above, we all know about their talented sophomore class that didn’t get a chance to make an impact in track during their freshman year. Well, get ready for that impact. And now that I think of it, East Mills should also have plenty from their freshman and sophomore classes making a mark this spring!
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