BCR 2023 Girls Track Preview

Two state qualifiers return to the BCR area, including reigning BCR Female Track and Female Athlete of the Year Anna Lopez of St. Bede, while a strong group of newcomers, including multiple IESA state champions, looks to make an impact.

Here’s a look at the girls track and field teams with the outdoor season just underway:

Bureau Valley

Coach: Jennifer Backer (4th year)

Top returners: Jillian Hulsing, sr., HJ/400; Lynzie Cady, jr., shot/400; Connie Gibson, jr., jumps; Kate Salisbury, jr., sprints; Addison Wessel, jr., sprints; Taylor Neuhalfen, so., sprints

Key newcomers: Maddie Wetzell, fr., distance; Emma Mussche, fr., mid distance; Ashlyn Ledergerber, fr., sprints; Ashlyn Maupin, fr., sprints

Worth Noting: This year’s Storm squad is 27 strong with 14 upperclassmen and 13 underclassmen, including 10 freshmen. They boast a lot of sprinters, including Hulsing, Cady, Salisbury, Wessel and Neuhalfen and the freshmen, Maupin and Ledergerber. They will also have some depth with mid-distance and field events. “We have some strong leadership with our juniors and seniors, and returning sophomores have a lot to offer to our new track athletes,” Backer said. ... Other squad members are seniors Olivia Davis (sprints), Mallory Endress (throws), Mckenzie Hunt (distance), Mar Salmeron Soler (sprints), Taylor Tedesco (LJ, sprints), Izabel Wallace (throws) and Camryn York (throws), juniors Elizabeth Backer (sprints) and Layne Sproston (throws), sophomores Toby Behrends (throws) and Bella Birkey (TJ) and freshmen Lexi Butler (throws, sprints), Karlee Dykstra (sprints), Lexis Kessel (sprints), Jasmine Reeder (hurdles, mid-distance), Lila Spencer (throws) and Carly Wiggim (hurdles, sprints). ... Backer said the freshmen team is strong with depth in multiple events.


Coach: Nick Hanck (14th season)

Key returnees: Promise Giacometti, sr., sprints; Jennifer Casford, sr., sprints/jumps; Clara Jablonski, sr., hurdles/jumps; Toni Newton, sr., throws; Bella Templeton, so., jumps

Key newcomers: Laela Shevokas, so., throws; Natalia Zamora, fr., hurdles; Elizabeth Wozek, fr., pole vault

Worth noting: Giacometti leads a solid group of four seniors. She placed third at the Bureau Valley Sectional in the 200 last season, narrowly missing a trip to state. The six freshman - Wozek, Evelyn Bryant, Evelyn Castelan, Natileigh Sparling, Jadelyn Wangelin and Natalie Zamora, and Shevokas, a sophomore transfer from LaMoille, are also expected to make an impact. “Our goals are to improve throughout the season, be at our best come sectional time and have fun throughout the season,” Hanck said.


Coach: Pat Hodge (29th year)

Top returners: Lexi Bohms, sr., distance; Kiana Brokaw, sr., distance; Morgan Foes, jr., throws; Miyah Fox, jr., hurdles/relays; Georgie Fulton, jr., relays; Scarlet Fulton, jr., relays; Paige Jesse, so., distance; Sophia Oester, jr., relays; Morgan Richards, jr., throws; Ashlynn Weber, so., jumps

Key newcomers: Keighly Davis, fr., jumps/hurdles; Camryn Driscoll, fr., 400; Avery Waca, fr., distance

Worthy of note: The Tigresses should field a very competitive team again as they return a good portion of the team that placed second at conference last year and was very competitive at sectional. To that mix, they add three freshmen who had a positive experience at IESA state last year. “It will be up to us to find the right combination of individual events and relays that will give us the best chances to build upon what we accomplished last year,” Hodge said. ... Bohms was the 3200 champ in the Three Rivers and placed third in the 1600. Fox won the 100HH in Three Rivers and placed third at sectional. Other returning conference/sectional medal winners are Brokaw (3200), Morgan Foes (discus), Jesse (1600), Richards (shot), Weber (TJ, LJ) and the Fulton twins and Oester in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Foes just broke the school record in the discus on her first throw of the season at 1289-5. ... Driscoll was the IESA state champion in the 400 and Davis was fourth in hurdles as eighth graders. Other freshmen newcomers are Anika Hansen (throws), Mazie Morris (mid distance), Kaylee Plymire (sprints), Alliyah Shurts (sprints) and Audrey Thompson (sprints, jumps), who is also doing soccer. ... The Tigresses won their first championship in the Rosenberry Indoor Classic at Sterling

St. Bede

Coach: Marty Makransky (4th season)

Key returnees: Anna Lopez, sr., jumps/sprints; Macy Zeglis, sr., hurdles; Jaylin Weber, sr., distance; Sierah Shaver, sprints; Macklin Brady, discus; Sammie Wagner, hurdles; Rubu De La Torre, jr., sprints; Summer Conlin, jr., sprints; Jeanna Ladzinski, hurdles; Libby Huffaker, so., throws.

Key newcomers: Lily Bosnich, fr., sprints/hurdles; Maggie Arkins, fr., 400; Emarald De La Torre, fr., sprints; Fatima Mandujano, fr., 400/long jump; Savanah Bray, fr., throws; Sara Ruiz, fr., sprints; Lacy Griggs, so., sprints

Worth noting: Lopez leads a solid core of returning athletes for the Bruins. She qualified for state last spring in the triple jump, long jump and 100, placing seventh in the triple. Zeglis nearly qualified for state last year, placing third in the 300 hurdles at the sectional. Bosnich will be an impact newcomer. She won the IESA Class 1A state title in the 100 hurdles last spring while placing second in the 100 and helping Trinity’s 4x200 to a state title. Makransky expects Lopez (triple jump, long jump, 100), Bosnich (100, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) and Zeglis (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) to contend for state berths. “We have a few less athletes this season than last year but we have a strong core of 15 girls who have shown a lot of promise in practice so far,” Makransky said. “We should have a lot of individual success.”

Amboy co-op

Coach: Michael Robinson (4th season)

Key returnees: Elly Jones, jr., hurdles/jumps; Lexi Ketchum, jr., high jump/800; Kimber Zitelman, jr., throws.

Key newcomers: Bella Yanos, fr., sprints/long jump; Stephanie Nave, fr., sprints/long jump; Jillian Anderson, fr., high jump.

Worth noting: Jones qualified for state in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and triple jump last season, placing seventh in the 100 hurdles and ninth in the triple jump. Robinson expects Jones to return to state while Ketchum, Anderson and Yanos could also contend for state berths. “We are young with a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but we have good leadership skills with our upperclassmen,” Robinson said. “As always, our goals are to improve over the course of the season and get as many as we can down to state.”