Numbers low, but spirits high for Gael girls

With just 17 girls on this year’s track roster, it’s quality over quantity for St. Edmond.

Despite the lack of numbers, head coach Donn Larson remains optimistic about the potential of his team.

“Girls have decided to concentrate on other sports like basketball or softball, so I’ve got a very small squad to work with,” Larson said. “We probably won’t be able to fill out many meets, but hopefully by the time we get to districts, we’ll have some kids that have grown a lot.

“We just want the girls to do their best and keep improving.”

Seniors Hannah Lentsch and Mary Eide return as the focal points in the Gael lineup. Lentsch is a two-time defending state qualifier in the Class 2A high jump, while Eide placed ninth in the 1500 at Drake Stadium last spring after previously advancing to Des Moines in the 800.

Eide is St. Edmond’s school record-holder in the 1500. She also captured bronze in singles play at the 1A state tennis meet in 2012.

“Hannah and Mary will be two of our leaders again this season,” said Larson. “Mary ran a good 400 anchor (on March 15) at the Buena Vista Indoor and just amazed a lot of people there.”

Maddie McCarville (100, 200 and 400), Libby Augustine (long jump and sprints), Jaci Brungardt (400 hurdles) and Kara Salinas (400 hurdles) are the other familiar names back for SEHS.

“Jaci and Kara are both very good in the 400-meter hurdles,” Larson said. “They went into districts last year with the third and fourth best times, and we’re hoping to get one or both of them down to state.

“We’re really excited to see what they can do.”

Clare Flattery, Jessica Kuebler, Mary-Claire Li, Maric Salocker, Ashley Salter, Sarah Benjamin, Bailey Florey, Alexis Perrin, Madi Reel, Leah Cosgrove and Carter Waddell supply the Gaels with a reliable supporting cast.

“We can’t have girls run four events in every meet, or we’ll end up wearing them out,” Larson said. “If we’re looking at winning meets, it’s going to be really tough.”

Algona and Webster City are viewed by Larson as the North Central Conference frontrunners.

Assisting Larson once again is Kristin Brodie.

St. Edmond opens its outdoor season Thursday, weather permitting, at the Roland-Story quadrangular.