|Gering girls ready for big track season|
|March 24, 2011 Terry Gaston|
Gering girls' track and field coach Dave Nash has 20 freshmen this spring. He also has nine returning state meet qualifiers, three of which were freshmen last year.
After seeing that trio of freshmen from 2010 qualify for the state meet, however, Nash is not concerned with this season's overwhelming number of rookies.
"When you have those kinds of numbers, you are destined to find someone who can step up to help you out," Nash said Friday.
And the next day, at Chadron State College's High School Indoor Invitational, Nash found some nuggets in the Bulldogs' season-opening competition.
Freshman Aubrey Gonzales won the 400-meter dash in 1:07.83, while Bulldog junior Bryana Larsen was second.
Gonzales also ran the opening leg on Gering's 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays scored victories while running unopposed. The 1,600 quartet of Gonzales, Larsen, junior Kenzie Duncan and another freshman, Savannah Walker, won in 4:43.71.
The foursome of Gonzales, senior Erin Kautz, sophomore Dakota Gellner and sophomore Damaris Martinez took the 3,200 relay in 10:40.76.
Martinez is the top returning state placer after she took fifth in the 3,200-meter run. On Saturday, she opened the season with a second-place finish.
Senior Tahlia Schmaltz returns after qualifying for state in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and as a part of the Bulldogs' 400-meter relay team. Junior Morgan Broussard was part of that relay and also qualified for state in the 300 low hurdles.
On Saturday, Schmaltz, Broussard and junior transfer Chelsea Wickard were 2-3-4 in the 55-meter hurdles. Wickard transferred from Scottsbluff, where she ran on the Bearcats' state-qualifying 3,200 relay squad.
The other two returning sophomores, Gellner and Rachel Huffman, were on Gering's state-qualifying 3,200 relay. Kautz was part of that relay as well and also qualified for the open 800 meters. Kautz and Gellner were 3-4 in Saturday's open 800.
Gering ran three squads in the 4x170-meter relay, with the Bulldogs' A-squad of Wickard, Schmaltz, Broussard and Walker taking third.
Junior Morgan Greene won the high jump at 5 feet after she missed the second half of last season with an injury. Senior Molly Bueide shared first-place honors in the pole vault at 9-6.
Junior Stephanie Coley, who was eighth in the shot put at state last season, finished second to Scottsbluff senior Jennifer Maag -- the leader of a pack of strong throwers in the Panhandle. Nash said senior Jordan Plummer is in that pack.
"I think we will be able to do a lot of the same things we were able to do a year ago," Nash said. "We lost some depth, but we have good numbers to get that depth. We have to develop some sprinters, but our hurdles crew is fantastic. Our distance people are great, we have a good group in the middle distances, and our field events are strong."