After a strong 2013 campaign that saw several area girls teams experience success, the Geneva Eagles team looks to be ahead of the pack yet again.
After getting several runners to the state meet last year much of the Eagles’ squad returns with the potential of getting the entire team down to Columbus.
Which isn’t to say the Geneva is the only talented squad in town.
Lakeside and Edgewood both return plenty of athletes, while younger teams such as Pymatuning Valley and Grand Valley are likely to vie for a conference title.
Following Is a breakdown of the teams in the Star Beacon’s coverage area and what each of their coaches are looking for in the 2014 season (Editor’s note — Coaches from Conneaut, Madison and Riverside did not return preseason information sheets sent to every school weeks ago):
Beth Simpson returns for her third year in charge of the Warriors and has by far her most experience squad to date.
With a deep and talented sophomore and junior classes, Edgewood looks to be in position for a strong campaign.
However, Simpson is looking to her seniors — Jasmine Schiedel (mid-distance), Autumn Hull (hurdles) and Cortney Humphrey (throws) — to lead the team.
“The keys to our success this year will involve my strong returning seniors who I expect will contribute not only a lot of points but a positive example for the younger athletes,” she said. “I will have a strong throws team again this year with returning senior Cortney Humphrey and junior Jillian Dick, as well as a number of promising sophomores and freshman.”
Joining Dick as returning lettermen in the junior class are Emily Amsdell (800), Kirstyn Ecklund (distance), Michelle Gaggiano (sprints), Sarah Stell (400), Cortney Syzej (sprints) and Allison Massaro (PV).
“The core of my mid-distance and distance team, including 400 runner Shelbie Sporcich, return this year as sophomores who I know have been training in their offseason and have improved their times since last year,” Simpson said. “I lost two very fast sets of feet from last year, but am seeing a ton of potential in this freshman class who I’m sure will soon step up and fill those shoes.”
In addition Sporcich, returning in the sophomore class are hurdler Nadia Barbo, sprinter Taylor Hawkins, sprinter Karli Kanicki, distance runners Angel Newman, Savannah Spring, Summer Wooders and thrower Morgan Pack.
Edgewood will compete in the All-American Conference for the first time this spring, something Simpson is excited about.
“As our first year in the All-American Conference, I look forward to competing against some challenging teams that we haven’t gone against before,” she said. “We’ll be looking to establish ourselves within the conference as competitors and create some friendly rivalries.”