2024 BCR Girls track & field previews

St. Bede's Lily Bosnich runs a relay in Thursday's Howard-Monier Girls Invitational at Princeton.

Bureau Valley

Coach: Jennifer Backer

Top returners: Lynzie Cady, sr. (shot, 400); Connie Gibson, sr. (jumps); Ashlyn Maupin, so. (sprints); Emma Mussche, so. (mid-distance); Kate Salisbury, sr. (sprints); Addison Wessel, sr. (sprints); Maddie Wetzell, so. (distance)

Key newcomers: McKinley Canady, jr. (sprints); Landry Hitzler, jr. (sprints)

Worth noting: The Storm squad is strong on sprinters, headed by seniors Salisbury and Wessel, juniors Canady and Hitzler, who come over from softball, and Taylor Neuhalfen, who returns after missing last season with a knee injury, and the sophomore Maupin. The Storm also have depth in mid-distance and field events with seniors Elizabeth Backer (mid-distance), Cady (LJ, shot, mid-distance) and Gibson (jumps, sprints) and sophomores Mussche (mid-distance) and Wetzell (distance). “We have some strong leadership with our seniors, and returning sophomores that will help all of our new athletes,” coach Backer said. Having Neuhalfen back and newcomers Canady and Hitzler) will be great assets to the team, Backer said, along with Wetzell, who “was running under six minutes in the mile last year and we are looking to cut that time even more this year.” .... Other squad members are juniors Bella Birkey (mid-distance), sophomores Lexi Butler (throws), Karlee Dykstra (sprints), Lilah Fox (sprints), Ashlyn Maupin (LJ, sprints), LeAnn Oleson (throws), Lillian Smith (mid-distance), Carly Wiggim (hurdles, sprints) and Alivia Zemke ( sprints) and freshmen Elyse Anderson (throws), Natalie Edlefson (sprints), Libby Endress (throws, jumps, sprints), Leah House (distance), Gemma Moore (distance), Michaela Noder (throws) and Morgandy Walden (throws). ... The Storm’s first outdoor meet is scheduled for Monday, April 1 at home. They will host their own invite on Monday, April 8.


Coach: Pat Hodge

Top returners: Camryn Driscoll, so. (sprints); Morgan Foes, sr. (throws); Miyah Fox, sr. (hurdles); Georgie Fulton, sr. (hurdles); Scarlet Fulton, sr. (relays); Morgan Richards, sr. (throws); Ashlynn Weber, jr. (TJ)

Key newcomers: Ruby Acker, fr. (distance); Payton Frueh, fr. (distance)

Worth noting: The Tigresses have much top returning talent with a pair of state qualifiers in Foes and Driscoll. What makes the 2024 squad most intriguing is that it brings in a Sweet 16 of freshmen, likely the largest incoming class ever at PHS. “We should be pretty competitive. We lost a couple of girls moving to other sports either completely or partially, so our overall depth will depend on how the different schedules align at times. The freshmen have a lot of enthusiasm and are open to trying new events. It may take us awhile to figure it all out, but we’ll see what happens,” he said. ... Foes, an ISU recruit, was a state qualifier in both throws, placing fifth in discus, which she is the PHS record holder. She placed third in the shot in the Prep Top Times Indoor Meet. Driscoll was a state qualifier as a freshmen in the 400 and is the top returner in the area in the 400 and 800. Fox is a two-time conference champion in the 100m hurdles. She will also play soccer for the first time this spring. The Fulton twins ran on the Three Rivers placing 4 x 100 and 4 x 200n relays last year. Richards (throws) and Weber (jumps) have both placed at conference. Acker, who is also playing soccer, and Frueh were the co-BCR Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year last fall. Sophomore Avery Waca (distance) also returns. Other members of the record-setting freshmen class are Rylee Backes, Emma Carlson, Taylor Compton, Abby Harris, Jadeyn Klingenberg, Brinley Kloepping, Kearia Knupp, Rebekah Lord, Jessa McGlaughlin, Natalie Meyer and Journey Short.

St. Bede

Coach: Marty Makransky

Top returners: Sierah Shaver, sr. (sprints/relays); Lily Bosnich, so. (sprints/relays/jumps/hurdles); Emerald De La Torre, so. (sprints/relays); Macklin Brady, sr. (throws); Libby Huffaker, jr. (throws); Savannah Bray, so. (throws); Lacey Griggs, jr. (sprints); Grace Millington, jr. (sprints/jumps); Sammie Wagner, jr. (hurdles); Maggie Arkins, so., (mid-distance); Sara Ruiz, so. (sprints)

Key newcomers: Kennedy Nguyen, sr., (sprints); Emma Smudzinski, jr., (mid-distance); Avery Entrican, jr., (mid-distance); Ashlyn Ehm, jr., (sprints); Kate Duncan, fr. (jumps); Kyra Finley, fr. (sprints/jumps); Mackenzie Stanbary, fr. (sprints/jumps); Lillian Wray, fr. (sprints/jumps)

Worth noting: The Bruins graduated one of the most decorated athletes in program history in Anna Lopez, who won three state medals last year, but return three state medalists in Bosnich, Shaver and De La Torre. All three helped St. Bede to medals in the 4x100-meter and 4x200 relays, while Bosnich also medaled in the 300 hurdles. Bosnich also plays softball. “We are not rebuilding but reloading,” Makransky said. “(Bosnich) is a 4-sport star and we can’t wait to see her run and jump this year. Sierah and Emerald are both back in the sprints and will be relied upon for their experience and leadership to help our team succeed.” St. Bede will be strong in the throws with Brady, Bray and Huffaker. Brady placed sixth at sectional in the discus last spring, while Bray was fourth in the shot put. “There’s a lot of excitement with this team,” Makransky said. “If we can stay healthy, we can be very competitive in our new Tri-County Conference and also return to Charleston (for state) with a large group of athletes.” The Bruins will open the season Monday at Wethersfield.


Coach: Nick Hanck

Top returners: Laela Shevokas, jr. (throws); Bella Templeton, jr. (jumps); Jaden Wangelin, so. (distance); Elizabeth Wozek, so. (PV)

Key newcomers: Keelie Cooper, fr. (sprints)

Worth noting: The Red Devils are young with only one senior and two juniors on the 14-girl roster. Last year, Shevokas won the shot put at the Illinois Valley Meet and won the discus at the Mendota Coed Meet, while Templeton had two wins in the high jump. Cooper has led the teams in sprints during the indoor season. Shevokas, Templeton, Wangelin and Wozek are all ranked among the top area returners in their events. “The goal is just to continue working hard all year and see improvements throughout the season,” Hanck said.


Coach: Michael Robinson

Top returners: Elly Jones, sr. Ijumps/hurdles); Jillian Anderson, so. (jumps); Bella Yanos, so. (jumps/sprints); Lexi Ketchum, sr. (jumps); Kimber Zitelman, sr. (throws)

Key newcomers: Maddie Althaus, fr. (sprints); Alexa Mckendry, fr. (hurdles); Aubrey Wells, fr. (mid-distance)

Worth noting: The numbers are up for the Clippers with 22 athletes on the roster with 17 from Amboy, three from LaMoille and two from Ohio. “We have more depth than before and will be able to fill all the events this year, which is something we haven’t had for a while now,” Robinson said. Jones is looking to become a four-time state qualifier. Last year she qualified in the 100-meter hurdles and triple jump, finishing 10th at state in hurdles. In her career, she has two state medals in each the 100 hurdles and triple jump and one in the 300 hurdles. Althaus won the 400 at the Rosenberry Invite on Wednesday. “I believe Elly can make it back (to state) for the fourth year in a row and could be joined by a couple others and some relays,” Robinson said. “We have some good athletes and it is still early.” The Clippers will open the season at Monday’s Forreston Invite.