Flattery takes over for Gaels

First-year head coach Liz Flattery is looking forward to what lies ahead for the St. Edmond girls track team this spring.

Flattery inherits the reins from Donn Larson, who now assists with the Gael boys track program.

“I am excited to take over the girls track team,” said Flattery, a 2009 SEHS graduate. “I have a hard-working group of girls who are showing improvement every day. My expectations for this season are really just to get the most out of our girls. I want them to improve their personal goals as well as having their eyes on making it to Drake and state.”

Following the loss of 2013 state qualifiers Hannah Lentsch (high jump), Libby Augustine (long jump) and Mary Eide (800), the Gaels will lean heavily on senior Jessica Kuebler, juniors Maric Salocker, Kara Salinas, Clare Flattery and Sarah Benjamin and sophomore Madi Reel. At last season’s Drake Relays, Lentsch also placed fourth in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-3.

“We have two seniors (captains Kuebler and Maddie McCarville) that I will look at to keep the girls motivated and positive,” Flattery said. “Maddie is sidelined this year with hip surgery, which is scheduled for April. We hate to see that, but she has really been helping us with practices. Jessica has also been keeping the girls focused, and she’s a great leader outside of just track. They have both already shown me excellent leadership in the few practices we have had, so I’m not worried if they will continue to do so throughout the season.”

Kuebler, Salocker, Flattery, Benjamin and Reel will each run sprints. Salinas and Flattery are also slated for middle distances, while Salinas will double as a hurdler.

Participating in the field events will be Kuebler (shot put and discus), Salocker (shot put) and Benjamin (long jump).

“We have a roster full of younger girls with great talent,” said Flattery. “I am hoping to see a few of them step up and really improve their mechanics, while building their confidence each meet. They push each other as well as the older girls during practice.”

Juniors Bailey Florey, Ashley Salter and Rose Touney, sophomore Leah Cosgrove and freshmen Rachel Blair, Madi Engels, Megan Flattery, Jericka Fitzgerald, Maggie Harvey, Page Kinney, Joeli Koenig and Jaci Taylor comprise the rest of St. Edmond’s roster.

Inconsistent weather conditions have presented another challenge in the early going for the Gaels.

“The weather has been on and off, but our girls have been using the gym for speed and agility workouts to hopefully improve their outdoor races in the near future,” Flattery said. “We have been getting good runs in to build our stamina and endurance for when the weather gets nice.”

Sarah Hummelgard will serve as an assistant coach for the Gaels.

SEHS makes its 2014 outdoor debut Wednesday at the CYO meet in Storm Lake.