7 Stories I’m following in girls track this season
Between defending state champions, school record holders, and talented freshmen, there's a lot to look forward to this spring in girls track and field.
Here are seven stories I'll be following:
How much faster can Devin Johnston go?
Johnston’s junior season is going to be hard to top.
She was the BWAC MVP, regional champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, earned all-state honors in both events, and a set school record in the 200 at 25.49 seconds. Not to mention, her 100 PR is 12.63, just .13 seconds off the record.
The Almont senior announced her commitment to run at Eastern Illinois University last fall, a decision that didn’t come easily as she’s also an all-state softball player. She’s still going to play ball this spring, making any honor she earns all the more impressive.
In her outdoor season opener on April 6, she ran a full series of sprints. In the 100 she finished in 13.33 seconds and 27.59 seconds in the 200, which came after her first outdoor 400-meter dash, in which she clocked a 1:03.33.
Better yet, just a few weeks ago she ran a 25.71 in the 200 at the Saginaw Valley State University Indoor Invite, leaving for promising times to come as the outdoor season goes on.
Croswell-Lexington is returning some of the fastest runners in program history.
The distance program at Cros-Lex has long been an icon in the Blue Water Area. This fall, the girls cross country team won a long-awaited regional title after finishing as runner-up five times in the last decade, and many of those same girls will take their speed to the track.
Leading the way is sophomore Eva Thompson. It’s hard to imagine this is only her second year of running as she’s already a school record holder in the 3200-meter run (11:20.68).
She was joined by Abby Barkley, Beth Baldwin, and Morgan Newton in last year’s region-winning 4x800-meter relay (10:03.11). Their time was the second-fastest in school history, and Barkley and Newton will be back as well as juniors.
The trio led the Pioneers all cross country season, and Thompson and Newton cracked the top-5 record board, securing the No. 3 and No. 5 spots with times of 18:53.5 and 19:04.4, respectively. They’ll also be brining back junior Madison O’Connor and sophomore Brynn Hurley who are both sub-3 minute 800 runners.
Is there anything Maggie Monaghan can’t do?
Monaghan’s senior season at Port Huron Northern ought to be a special one. Last year, she was a hurdler who tried long jump for the first time and wound up placing fourth in the state in her new event (17 feet, 5.25 inches).
This inspired her to take on an even greater challenge: the heptathlon. Over the summer she won the AAU Track and Field Region 12 title in her first-ever multi. Shortly after, she placed 12th out of 60 at the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
And after a productive winter, she opened her outdoor season running 15.39 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles (PR), clearing 5-2 in high jump (PR), and leaping 17-5 in long jump, sweeping the three events at the Shake Off the Rust Invitational.
Oh, and she even threw 31-8.25 in shot put at the SVSU Invite a few weeks ago, taking 11th out of 67 athletes with another personal record.
How far will Dykstra push state champ Girard?
Yale freshman Sadie Dykstra made her name on the basketball court this winter, and apparently she’s just as good on the track — and the field.
She trailed Monaghan in the 60 hurdles at the SVSU Invite to place third overall in 9.92 seconds. More impressively, she won long jump by nearly two feet after leaping 17-3.
A mark like that already puts her among some of the best in the state, which she’ll be facing this season as Marine City senior Lindsay Girard returns as defending state champion.
Girard has won back-to-back regional titles and claimed her first state title last spring with a personal-best jump of 17-7.
This makes for an exciting matchup come May in the Division 2 Region 19 Championship meet.
Things are looking good for Janae Hudson.
The Marysville junior set a school record in discus last spring with a mark of 135-7 and she placed third at the Division 2 State Finals. Hudson also placed 10th at the Finals in shot put, throwing 35-5.5, just shy of her personal best of 38-11.
Already this spring, she’s thrown 39-2.25 in shot put, placing second at the SVSU Indoor Invite. This inches her closer to the current school record of 40-10, one she’ll no doubt be chasing in the coming months, along with all-state honors as she’s placed 10th in the event at the State Finals the last two years.
Pergitone looks to the 1600 after promising cross country season.
The conclusion of Ava Pergitone’s cross country season was every senior’s dream: a big PR that etched her name in school history.
Pergitone became the second-fastest girl in the St. Clair cross country program when she ran a 30-second personal best of 19:06 at the MITCA Meet of Champions.
With that momentum, she’ll have another record to chase in the 1600-meter. As a sophomore she ran 5:21.99, a personal best, to qualify for the State Finals where she finished 18th overall. That time is just a few seconds shy of the 13-year-old school record of 5:18, one Pergitone’s had her eyes on for the last two years.
Armada’s 4x400 relay ought to be exciting.
In one of the most exciting races of last year’s regional meet, the Armada 4x400-meter relay team of Claire Sniesak, Brooklyn Khon, Alayna Nowik, and Mikayla Nowik chased down Marysville for a narrow second place with a time of 4:11.29.
Two weeks later, the girls improved to 4:09.38 to place seventh at the State Finals, earning all-state honors.
Three of the four return, losing Mikayla Nowik to graduation. Alayna leads as a senior while Sniesak and Khon are still just sophomores. As the Tigers look to fill the vacant spot, they can call on senior Ella Sutton or junior Ava Baltierra who both finished in the top eight in the BWAC last season in the 400-meter dash.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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