Five state qualifiers return for the Centre track and field team this season. Led by fifth-year coach Alan Stahlecker, the Cougars will seek to make another successful run to the Class 1A meet this season.
For the boys, that will start with senior Grant Srajer, who was a member of the state-qualifying 4×100 relay. Junior Conner Montgomery also returns from that relay.
?Both of these should be competitive in their individual events?Grant in the horizontal jumps and Conner in the sprints,? Stahlecker said.
Another returning letter-winner is junior Dakota Stimpson.
For the Cougar girls, three returning state qualifiers, all juniors, will lead the charge.
Shelby Makovec and Nellie Kassebaum both qualified for state in the 3,200 meters. Makovec finished 15th in 13 minutes, 41.52 seconds; and Kassebaum 16th in 14:42.74.
?Shelby will run other middle-distance to distance races this year in addition to the 3,200,? Stahlecker said.
Brenna Shields qualified for state in two events last season. She placed 12th in long jump (15 feet even) and also participated in the 100-meter dash.
?She was our leading scorer last year, and we expect her to be competitive in other events besides these two,? Stahlecker said.
Additional letter-winners include senior Cacey Simons, junior Cassidy Hill and sophomore Abigail Svoboda.
Last year in the Wheat State League, the Centre boys finished eighth and the girls fourth.
?With most of our athletes returning from last year, we know what to expect from them, and their experience should be helpful to them in their competition this year,? Stahlecker said. ?We will seek to build on last year?s performances and be even more competitive this year.
?We don?t have a great deal of depth, especially on the boys? side, so it may be tough to compete on a team level, but we do have a number of athletes that will be competitive in any meet in which we participate.?
The Cougars will open the season Tuesday at Halstead.