2016 Girls Track Capsule Previews


Head coach: Didier Lino, first season

Returning letter winners: Ten

Top athletes: Khashae Eppenger (Sr.), Diamond Rover (Sr.), Tuwani Palacio (Fr.)

Outlook: Eppenger was the Division III state champion in the 100-meter hurdles and took third in the 300 hurdles last season.

Rover placed fifth in the state meet in the shot put.

They’re among ten returnees for the Stars, who have more depth this season.

“The team has almost doubled in size from last season,” Lino said. “There weren’t many seniors on last year’s team, so we’re returning a majority of our squad, and we’re adding numerous talented freshmen and sophomores.

“I believe our girls have the potential to be strong contenders at regionals and state.”



Head coach: Bruce Eubank, 11th season

Top athletes: Esmeralda Hinojos (Sr.), Miriam Bastida (Sr.), Leiah Royster (Sr.)

Outlook: The Bengals are hoping to improve throughout the season.



Head coach: Jeffrey Carter, first season

Top athletes: Neshaune Franklin (Sr.)

Outlook: Carter, who was an assistant coach with the Cowboys last season, takes over as head coach this year.

“We want to win as a team,” Carter said. “We will be working really hard to reach a goal, and our goal is to go to state with as many kids as we can get there.”



Head coach: Jennifer Powell, fourth season

Top athletes: Diana Hilton (Sr.), Ingrid Zarate (Sr.)

Outlook: Hilton (pole vault) and Zarate (distance events) were Division I-A state meet qualifiers last year.

“We are excited to have so many returners this season as well as some talented new additions to the program,” Powell said.



Head coach: Jesi Colston, first season

Returning letter winners: Twenty-one

Top athletes: Ashle Love (Sr.), Mekha Omarimuhammad (Sr.), Neva Newling (Jr.), Maddy Doerr (Fr.)

Outlook: Newling finished third in the high jump in the Division I state meet last year. Love and Omarimuhammad each ran a leg on the 800-meter relay team that took seventh at state last year.

They lead a group of 21 returnees for the Diamondbacks.

“Our team is becoming more and more competitive in all events,” Colston said. “We have some strong upperclassmen that we will depend on to win meets and break records, and Maddy Doerr is our most promising newcomer.”



Head coach: Doug Anderson, third season

Returning letter winners: Fifteen

Top athletes: Isaballa Yotter (Jr.), Leticia Salazar-Sandoval (Sr.)

Outlook: Yotter was a Sunset Region meet qualifier in both hurdle events last year.

Salazar-Sandoval qualified for the state cross country meet in the fall and will lead the distance runners for the Trailblazers.

“We expect Leticia to have a strong season,” Anderson said. “The rest of the team is working hard and improving. We will see how far they come at regional time.”



Head coach: Dan Kober, third season

Returning letter winners: Twenty-two

Top athletes: Kendall Larson (So.), Casey Leonard (Sr.), Bryanna Neagle (Jr.), Michelle Reiss (Jr.)

Outlook: The Crusaders bring back 22 letter winners from last year’s Division I-A state championship winning team.

Neagle finished second in the state meet and Leonard was third in the high jump, Reiss was third in the state meet in the pole vault, and Larson took fifth in the 3,200-meter race.

“Faith Lutheran looks to replace a large number of points lost to graduation,” Kober said. “We still return a strong distance team and a strong vertical jumps crew. These returners and a strong freshman class leave us hopeful we can compete for a region and state title for the fourth consecutive year.

“Team success will depend greatly on the ability of our returners and new athletes to step up and fill the holes left by graduation.”



Head coach: Greg Sellers, first season

Returning letter winners: Seven

Top athletes: Tavaija Bennett (Sr.), Teconna Dyer (Jr.), Cjenna Heiden (Jr.)

Outlook: Bennett was a finalist in the 100-meter dash in last year’s Sunrise Region meet. She leads a group of seven returnees.

“We are looking to take some girls to the state track meet for the first time in five years,” Sellers said. “The addition of newcomers Teleda Williams and Naikee Bovia will add depth to the relay teams.”



Head coach: John Lentsch, second season

Returning letter winners: Fifteen

Top athletes: Gifty Nkansah (Jr.), Skyler Free (Jr.), Sydney Groom (Jr.), Gabby Carson (So.), Tia Ortquist (Jr.)

Outlook: Groom placed third in the 400-meter dash in last year’s state meet and is one of 15 letter winners back for the Patriots.

Nkansah (100), Free (1,600), Carson (pole vault) and Ortquist (discus) all competed in the state meet last year.

“We have several individuals that have the ability to place at state, but depth may be an issue,” Lentsch said. “We expect to carry about 75 girls on our roster, so we’re hoping to find the remaining pieces we will need to make a run at the region championship.”



Head coach: Tony Stephens, third season

Returning letter winners: Three

Top athletes: Kaitlyn Herndon (Sr.), Libby Caldera (Fr.), Ellen Hirsberg (So.)

Outlook: Hirsberg was the state champion in the 800-meter run last year and ran a leg on the state champion 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams. Herndon also ran a leg on the 1,600 relay team and was a part of the runner-up 400 and 800 relay teams last year.

They’re two of three returning letter winners for the Mustangs.

“Ellen Hirsberg will lead the distance cadre,” Stephens said. “In the sprints, Libby Caldera will lead the 100-meter crew, while Kaitlyn Herndon will lead the long sprinters and add strength to the sprint relays.”



Head coach: Brandon Jones, ninth season

Returning letter winners: Fourteen

Top athletes: Alexis Schraft (So.), Natalie Mills (So.), Summer Evans (Sr.), Kierra Zerkle (Sr.), Matilda Thompson (Jr.), Rachle Lee (Sr.)

Outlook: Moapa Valley brings back its entire team from last year as it had no seniors.

Lee (pole vault), Mills (100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles) and Thompson (3,200 relay) all placed in the region meet. The Pirates also should benefit from the return of Schraft, Evans and Zerkle from injury.

“We had the injury bug last season and look forward to those three athletes returning,” Jones said. “Last year, we finished 11th at regionals and had zero state qualifiers. This season we hope to improve in both areas.”



Head coach: Shenoa Davis, fifth season

Returning letter winners: Ten

Top athletes: Tamara Frezzell (Sr.), Khai’loni Wilfred (Jr.), Raven Williams (Sr.)

Outlook: Frezzell, Wilfred and Williams were Division I-A state meet qualifiers last season and return to lead the Rattlers.



Head coach: Ryan Quinn, fourth season

Returning letter winners: Eight

Top athletes: Arayana Picquette (Jr.), Courtney O’Neal (So), Dijon Triplett (Sr.), Aria Holmes (So.)

Outlook: O’Neal and Triplett were members of the Division I-A champions in the 400-meter relay last year, and Holmes joined them in winning the state crown in the 800 relay.

Picquette, a regional qualifier in the throws last year, also returns to bolster the Mountain Lions.

“We are looking to build upon our success in the relays last year and qualify more athletes for the state meet,” Quinn said.



Head coach: Jerry Oliver, 12th season

Returning letter winners: Eleven

Top athletes: Kayla McGinnis (Sr.), Chase Jenkins (Jr.)

Outlook: The Skyhawks bring back 11 letter winners, led by McGinnis (long jump) and Jenkins (distance).

“We are looking to compete for the Sunrise Region title.” Oliver said.

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