Three athletes return for Centre with three years state experience

The Centre High School track team includes: front row (from left), Summer Espinoza, Kailyn Riffel, Callie Riffel, Carissa Shields, Nellie Kassebaum; back row, Barrett Smith, Cassidy Hill, Brenna Shields, Shelby Makovec. Not pictured: Conner Montgomery. Patty Decker / Free Press

The Centre track and field team returns three athletes with three years of state experience, and they will provide leadership for the Cougars this season under the direction of sixth-year coach Alan Stahlecker.

Seniors Brenna Shields, Shelby Makovec and Conner Montgomery have qualified for state the past three years and will look to complete their high school careers with a fourth trip.

Last year, Shields placed seventh at the Class 1A state meet in javelin. She also was a regional champion in long jump and placed 15th in that event at state. Shields was also ran on the state-qualifying 4×100 relay.

Makovec is a three-time state qualifier in the 3,200 meters. She finished 11th last year.

Montgomery has participated in the 4×100 at state three years. He and teammates Grant Srajer, Nicholas Salamone and Dakota Stimpson finished 15th in the preliminaries a year ago.

Senior Nellie Kassebaum is a fourth returner with state experience. As a sophomore, she qualified for state in the 3,200, but did not compete last year because of injury.

The team lost five seniors to graduation. For the boys, those losses included Salamone, who placed 14th at state in high jump; Srajer and Ty Simons, who was a state-qualifier in the 110 hurdles.

The girls lost Cacey Simons?who qualified for state in triple jump, placing ninth; and Bryanna Svoboda. Both girls were part of the 4×100 last year.

?Good team scores are going to be difficult to attain due to numbers,? Stahlecker said. ?I expect us to be very competitive in select individual and relay events.?

A member of the Wheat State League, Centre will open its season at the Remington Quint Tuesday. Events are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

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