Eagles encouraged by returning athletes
As usual, New Life Academy will have quality, if not quantity, this track and field season.
Several talented returning veterans are back for the Eagles on both the girls and boys teams.
Highlighting the returning girls team are the members of a 4x100-meter team, which finished second in the MCAA meet last spring with a time of 53.81 seconds, led by sprinters Robin Ahlquist, Emily Bakken, Hannah Saunders and Hannah George.
"Each of these sprinters should do well in individual events as well," said New Life head coach Kristen Hawkins. "Robin in the 400 meters, and Emily and Hannah G. in the 100 meters."
In the MCAA meet, Bakken was third in the 100 (13.73) and fifth in the 200 (28.77). George was fourth in the 100 in 13.74 and Ahlquist third in the 400 in 1:04.95.
Also returning is blooming star Lauren Meyer in shot and discus.
"She did wonderful last year as a freshman and should be competitive this year as a sophomore," Hawkins said.
New to the team this year that should do well are Carly Hager in distance events, Abbie Swenson in the sprints and Cara Grohn in the jumps.
A strong senior class leads the New Life boys, including Jackson Giles in the shot and discus, Chase Swenson in sprint relays and Eric Finley in the 400, Connor Maxwell in the high jump and Noah Burroughs in the 3,200.
"Giles made it to section finals last year in discus with a huge improvement at the end of the season," Hawkins said. "He is very motivated to be more competitive this year and has some high goals."
Others who should do well for the Eagles are sophomore Isaiah Avery in the 800 and senior AJ Mally in the 400 meter and the 4x400.
"Chase Swenson is a solid leader and track veteran who is a vital asset to our sprint relays," Hawkins said. "Eric Finley in the sprint relays and 400 did very well for his first year in track last year, sitting at a 56 400-meter split regularly. He hopes to excel this year in the 400 and we are expecting great things.
"AJ Mally in the 400 and 4x400m," Hawkins added. "AJ used to run the 3,200 but we found out last year that he has some serious speed. He can run a 57 (-second) 400, and should get the time down a few seconds this season. Connor Maxwell in the high Jump was very competitive last year. He should be one of the top jumpers in our conference this year."
In the MCAA meet last spring, Finley was sixth in the 400, Burroughs was eighth in the 3,200, Giles finished fifth in the shot put (36-00.50) and sixth in the discus (99-07) and Maxwell was second in high jump.