The Lady Knights, who won the Region 7AA title a year ago, will be challenged by a move up from Class AA to Class AAAA, but coach Barry Lakes feels confident.
“I am looking forward to watching this group of girls compete at practice and track meets because we are getting stronger and faster each day,” he said. “I am very encouraged about the future of our girls rack and field program at River Ridge High School.”
Seniors Raquel Edwards (100-meter run, 200, long jump, 400 relay), Parker Nayman (400, 400 relay) and Hannah Saylor (800, 1,600) will be key contributors in their senior seasons. Alicia Rowan will try to make the most of her only season in the high jump.
Other returners include juniors Emma Burke (triple jump, hurdles), Michelle Friesz (100, 200, triple jump, 400 relay), Jada McGrainey (100, 200, long jump, 1,600 relay), Josilyn Elliot (400, 1,600 relay) and Merideth Kunsman (discus, shot put) and sophomores Chidi Ojukwu (100, 200, 400 relay), Dennisah Francis (400, 1,600 relay), Ilana Hamilton (hurdles, 400 relay) and Kali Kimball (1,600, 3,200).
Joining the team are sophomore Kira Heinecke (hurdles) and freshmen Olivia Reeves (discus) and Morgan Bones (100, 200, 400 relay, long jump).
At Creekview, Nathan Cline returns to the team that he last coached in 2009.
“We have some excellent athletes returning to compete for the 2013 season,” he said.
Anna Dunn returns to compete in the two hurdles events and pole vault. She reached the state meet in all three events last season, finishing as the runner-up in the pole vault.
Camille Fahrnbauer, who placed fifth in the high jump at the state meet, will be back as well.
Returning junior Morgan Sanford and junior transfer Jenna Millsaps will add to the Lady Grizzlies’ strength in the hurdles.
Returning sprinters Maya Scott and Brittany Purves will be joined by newcomer Amber Lockette, who headlines a host of young talent.
Other seniors include Sidney Bolsey (middle distance), Mary Kellan Carr (thrower) and Rachel Garabedian (distance).
Sequoyah will also be competing in Class AAAAA. The Lady Chiefs should be strong in the sprints and hurdles, and they should put together some solid relay teams as well.
In Class AAAAAA, Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock will all try to improve upon their state finishes.
Etowah finished inside the top 25, while Woodstock finished 39th.
Cherokee, which did not have any athletes place at the state meet last year, will have a young team, but second-year coach Adam Johnson is excited about the upcoming season. He said it is the team’s goal to contend for the county title and perform up to its potential at region and sectionals, so that as many athletes as possible can reach the state meet.