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2013 Spring Preview: Billingsley steps into head coach role for Woodbury girls track and field team

Woodbury senior Lisa Huska, an All-State hurdler for the Royals last year, returns to help lead the way this spring.

The Woodbury girls track and field team has a new head coach this spring. But he's no stranger to the program. Daniel "DJ" Billingsley, an assistant coach for Woodbury since 2010, takes the reins of the Royals this year.

Billingsley has a talented roster of athletes, many of whom were leaders on the team last year.

Heading the charge this spring is likely to be seniors Lisa Huska and Wakpor Ighovojah, who were state entrants for the Royals a year ago.

Huska finished with an All-State honor in the 300-meter hurdles, taking ninth in the state meet. Ighovojah was Woodbury's top 100-meter hurdler and was the Royals' best competitor in the long jump and high jump last spring.

Also back to help guide the Royals this spring is sophomore Christina Doherty - Woodbury's top 400-meter dash runner, senior Maddie Haut - a top triple jumper, junior Allyson Rock - the team's best thrower, sophomore Manasa Melachuri and freshman Lauren Smith - two of the top distance runners a year ago and senior Devan Roman - a top hurdler.

Woodbury will, however, have to replace some 2012 grads who were key athletes, including Emily Twohig - the team's top 800-meter runner, along with triple jumper Kat Herzberg.

Overall, the Woodbury girls team took third place in the Section 4AA championships and was seventh in the Suburban East Conference championship meet. Stillwater won both titles and is expected to be the team to beat again this year.

Woodbury hopes to kick off the season with an invitational at Royals Stadium on Thursday, April 4. After that, a meet at Roseville is set for Tuesday, April 9. The Suburban East Conference championships will be held Tuesday, May 21 and 23 at East Ridge High School. The Section 4AA meet is set for May 28 and 30 at Stillwater High School.