NewsTribune girls track and field preview

State medalists return for St. Bede, Amboy co-op, Henry-Midland

Anna Lopez of St. Bede competes in the 1A triple jump finals during the IHSA Girls State Championships in Charleston on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

Multiple state qualifiers return to the NewsTribune area, 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:

La Salle-Peru

Coach: John Beatty (14th season)

Key returnees: Hope Eldridge, sr., throws; Isabelle Andrews, jr., pole vault; Anya Da La Luz, jr., distance/hurdles; Miah Buckley, jr., middle distance; Bailey Pode, jr., middle distance; Ashlee Lord, jr., middle distance; Ava Currie, so., hurdles; Stacie Albiter, so., sprints; Haylee Pangrcic, so., sprints; Lilian Pabian, so., sprints; Elli Sines, so., sprints/jumps; Phoebe Shetterly, so., jumps/sprints

Key newcomers: Kiely Domyancich, fr., distance; Aniya Lumpkins, fr., sprints/jumps; Cassidy Cromwell, so., throws; Ella Raef, jr., throws

Worth noting: The Cavaliers have a strong mix of returning athletes and newcomers who Beatty hopes can help the team be competitive in the Interstate 8 Conference. “I would like to have the varsity team place in the top half at the I8 Conference Meet,” Beatty said. The veteran coach also is hoping to have several state qualifiers a year after sending just one athlete to state. Shetterly in the triple jump and long jump, Eldridge in the shot put, Sines in the 100-meter hurdles and 100, Pode in the 800 and 1,600, Buckley in the 400 and 800, Currie in the 400 and 100 hurdles, Domyancich in the distance events and Andrews in the pole vault are all individuals Beatty feels can compete for a trip to the state meet. He also has state aspirations for the 4x800 and 4x400 relays with Buckley, Lord, Pode and Currie. “This lineup could [advance],” Beatty said. “It’s too soon to know.”

St. Bede

Coach: Marty Makransky (fourth 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.”


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 for Hall. She placed third at the Bureau Valley Sectional in the 200 last season, narrowly missing a trip to state. Six freshmen and Shevokas, a sophomore transfer, 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.

Putnam County

Coach: Brianna Downey

Key returnees: Chloe Anderson, so., sprints/hurdles; Emma Nicoli, sr., throws; Piper Kammer, sr., sprints

Key newcomers: Annamae Smith

Worth noting: The Panthers have a small squad with just four athletes, including three back from last year, according to At the Tri-County Conference Meet last spring, Anderson was fifth in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles, Nicoli placed top 10 in both throwing events, and Kammer placed eighth in the 200.


Coach: Joe Hughes (first season)

Key returnees: Alexis Finley, sr., distance; Grace Wasmer, jr., sprints/jumps; Ashley Caracheo, so., sprints/jumps; Dessa Komitas, so., 400/discus

Key newcomers: Laylie Denault, fr., sprints; Hannah Kunz, fr., distance; Jessica Reel, fr., distance/jumps; Ella Martin, so., throws

Worth noting: Hughes takes over after serving as an assistant the last two seasons. The Trojans’ roster has more than doubled with 12 athletes after having just five on the team last year. Finley is looking to contend for a state berth in the 800 or 1,600, while Wasmer is expected to have success in the long jump. Hughes said Denault “is an incredible athlete” who can compete for state in the 100, 200 or long jump. Hughes also expects Mendota’s 4x200 relay of Wasmer, Denault, Martin and Caracheo “has a real shot at making some noise as the season progresses.” He also hopes the Trojans can put together a competitive 4x800.


Coach: Pat Hodge (29th season)

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

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

Worthy of note: The Tigresses should field a competitive team again, as they return a good portion of the squad that placed second in the Three Rivers Conference Meet last year. 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 3,200 champ in the Three Rivers and placed third in the 1,600. Fox won the 100 hurdles in the Three Rivers and placed third at sectional. Other returning TRC medal winners are Brokaw (3,200), Foes (discus), Jesse (1,600), Richards (shot), Weber (triple jump, long jump) and the Fulton twins and Oester in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Driscoll was the IESA state champion in the 400, and Davis was fourth in hurdles as eighth graders.

Bureau Valley

Coach: Jennifer Backer (fourth season)

Top returners: Jillian Hulsing, sr. high jump/400, Lynzie Cady, jr. shot put/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, sprints

Worth Noting: This year’s Storm team is 27 strong with 14 upperclassmen and 13 underclassmen, including 10 freshmen. The Storm boast a lot of sprinters, including Hulsing, Cady, Salisbury, Wessel, Neuhalfen, 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.

Amboy co-op

Coach: Michael Robinson (fourth 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 for the Clippers. “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.”


Coach: Jillian Harp (third season)

Key returnees: Noreily Hernanzez, sr., sprints/long jump; Marissa Congdon, sr., throws; Natalie Barton, sr., throws; Mickenzie Hoaglund, sr., throws

Worth noting: The Red Raiders have a small roster with only four athletes. “The goal I always set for the kids is to improve upon their PR each and every meet,” Harp said.


Coach: Carol Bauer (31st season)

Key returnees: Carolyn Megow, sr., throws/hurdles/sprints; Clare Phillips, jr., distance

Key newcomers: Macy Gochanour, fr., hurdles/sprints; Hannah Schumacher, so., distance; Tati Serna, jr., distance; Pru Mangan, fr., throws

Worth noting: Megow was a state qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles last season for the Knights, but she’s focusing more on the shot put and the 4x400 relay this season. Phillips “had her best cross country season” as a sectional qualifier in the fall. She’ll run the 1,600 and 3,200 along with the 4x800 with Schumacher and Serna. Gochanour is a strong all-around athlete who Bauer said “will make an immediate impact on scoring.” She’ll compete in the 300 hurdles and 400 along with the 4x400. Mangan will contribute in the throws when she’s not playing softball. Bauer expects Megow in the shot put and Gochanour in the 300 hurdles to contend for state berths.


Coach: Jarrod Lester (second season)

Key returnees: Laney Lester, sr., throws; Daphaney Kessling, jr., sprints/hurdles/jumps

Key newcomers: Daniella Bumber, fr., sprints/jumps; Mikayla Frawley, sr., sprints/jumps; Taylor Frawley, fr., sprints/jumps; Alison Mitchell, fr., sprints/jumps

Worth noting: Lester will lead the Timberducks after qualifying for state in the shot put and discus last season, placing fifth in the discus. Henry-Midland welcomes a strong group of newcomers, led by Bumber, who won the IESA Class 1A state title in the 400 last year. Taylor Frawley and Mitchell were IESA medalists last spring. “The freshman girls class is very talented, and I have high hopes for them,” Jarrod Lester said. Laney Lester, Bumber (100, 200, 400), Taylor Frawley (100, long jump), Mitchell (high jump) and Kessling (hurdles) are expected to contend for state berths along with the 4x100 relay. Jarrod Lester said Laney Lester and Bumber “have a good chance” to earn state medals. “Our goals are to place in the top three in the conference and send as many athletes to state as we possibly can,” Jarrod Lester said.