Detroit Lakes girls track and field preview
A big void was left on the Detroit Lakes girls’ track and field team with the departure of its 2012 seniors, but with losses, come opportunity.
For DL head girls’ coach Mike Labine, his concern isn’t the loss of points by his 2012 seniors – there was a lot of them – but instead in the leadership department.
“We have five seniors last year who were the best group I’ve been around,” Labine said. “My biggest concern is replacing what those seniors took and that is their leadership.”
The theme for the Lakers, like any other year, will be “team first”.
“The biggest key is for the girls to buy into that the team is bigger than ‘me,’” Labine said. “It’s an individual sport, but to we want individuals to bring the others with.”
That means focusing on another state True Team berth, in which they gained last year.
The Lakers will be top-heavy in almost every event, which will be led by four who made the state meet last year individually.
Sophomores Shay Nielsen, Kyley Foster, Lindsey Heinecke and Allison Berg return as top performers.
Nielsen will be DL’s anchor in the throws, especially the shot put, while Heinecke will be the team’s top sprinter, Foster the top hurdler and Berg a past state qualifier in the long jump.
“We should have an upper echelon kid in most every event,” Labine said.
Nielsen will returns as a state shot put qualifier and is working hard on her discus throw.
Other throwers who will garner points include senior Brooklyn Thompson and freshman Alli Rousu.
Foster looks to be better in the hurdles after growing and just being more physically stronger.
“Kyley is a diverse athlete and we will use her all over, whatever is best for the team,” Labine said. “She is also a natural leader.”
Berg missed most of last season with a broken foot, but looks to be back to near 100-percent this season.
Labine said the coaches will make sure to ease Berg in and get her best by the end of the season.
“She can do all three jumps and relays,” Labine said. “But our strength this season will be in our jumping events, because we have great depth there.”
Those who will contribute in the jumping events include sophomore Sarah Halbakken, senior Megan Lindquist, junior Jenna Field and eighth grader Darci Molander.
Heinecke will front a strong sprinting crew and she is off to a good start, after coming in second to only the state champion last Friday in the Concordia College Invite.
“Lindsey is so much stronger this year, so I see her being better than last season,” Labine said.
Sprinters who also can land a top five placing will be sophomore Addie Kay Johnson and senior Simona Woodard.
“I really respect Simona as a senior because she is finishing what she started in track,” Labine said. “Some seniors don’t do that and instead don’t come out. We will see good things from Simona this season.”
In the distance races, depth will be a strong factor.
Junior Megan Ostlie will be the leader of the group, who will be joined by the Laker number one cross country runner and sister eighth grader MacKenzie Ostlie.
“We will be very deep in the distance, which will help our relay teams, as well,” Labine said.
Sophomore Abby Ullyott will be one of the top hurdlers in the 300.
Others who will be point collectors in the hurdles are freshman Sara Schumacher, junior Samantha Foltz and seniors Miranda Olson and Katie Larson.
Foster also will returns as the Mid-State Conference champion in the pole vault after hitting 9-6 last year.
Sophomore Katie Crawford and Schumacher will also be Laker pole vaulters.
With the Lakers hosting the section True Team meet May 7, they will try and defend their title. Little Falls and Park Rapids will be the biggest threats, Labine said.
“The girls have talked about how to get back to state in True Team,” Labine said. “They want back.”
DL will also host the Craig Fredrickson Invite May 2, and the Section 8-2A preliminaries May 29.
The 2013 Detroit Lakes track and field schedule:
9 at Fergus Falls
12 at Moorhead
19 at Bemidji
23 at Park Rapids
26 at Hamline University (Elite)
2 Craig Fredrickson Invite at DLHS
7 True Team Section at DLHS
9 at Frazee
14 at Crosby-Ironton
17 at Henning
18 at Stillwater (State True Team)
29 Section Preliminaries at DLHS
31 Section Finals at Sartell.