The Concordia Academy girls track and field team heads into the 2014 with a solid group of returning athletes. That has Beacons head coach Marc Paul feeling optimistic about what his squad might be able to accomplish.
The sprinters appear to be Concordia’s backbone this season. Three members of last year’s 4x100-meter relay team that qualified for state are back. They are seniors Anna Benson and Miriam Nordquist and junior Danielle Peterson.
Another state qualifier who returns is sophomore Clara Paul, daughter of the coach. She went to state last spring in the triple jump and is also a long jumper.
Other athletes expected to contribute at a high level include seniors Jacqueline Waedekin, who is also a sprinter, and Megan Fallert, a high-jumper and hurdler.
Senior Danica White is the team’s top distance runner and junior Chloe Deutsch will lead the pole vaulting crew along with Peterson. Junior Michala Walther is a jumper and sprinter.
In 2013, Concordia finished sixth in the Tri-Metro Conference championship meet. Marc Paul said the conference is especially strong with the likes of Visitation, St. Croix Lutheran, Minnehaha Academy, Breck and Blake fielding deep, talented teams. Minnehaha Academy is the defending conference champion.
There’s a little more uncertainty for Concordia’s boys team this spring. The squad was hit hard by graduation and Paul said some new members of the team will need to step forward this year.
Athletes to keep an eye this spring include senior Austin Moldenhauer, who is a sprinter and jumper. Senior Joe Vallin is the team’s top distance runner.
Senior Lewi Yonas is a sprinter and senior Kalilo Tufa specializes in the sprints and jumping events. Another distance guy is junior Berhane Hanson. Senior Eric Young is a long and triple jumper and junior Isaac Hernandez is yet another sprinter.
The Beacons were third in the conference last season while St. Croix Lutheran and Minnehaha Academy were first and second, respectively, by a large margin. Paul expects Blake to be another team to contend with this spring.
Concordia lost one event to poor weather conditions this season. The Beacons were scheduled to host a five-team meet last Thursday. They’ll try to open the season with a home conference quadrangular on Tuesday with Breck, Providence Academy and St. Paul Academy.
Concordia is also in action on Saturday at the Lakeville North Invitational.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com .