Heading into his third year with the Lakers, coach Rob Palma has a young with no returning, senior letterwinners.
But that doesn’t mean PV is devoid of talent.
Back are juniors Geena Gabriel (long jump-sprints) and Savannah Kirby (sprints-high jump) and sophomores Rebecca Dillon (distance), Abby Hamilton (distance) and Hannah Wonderling (sprints).
Gabriel is a key piece for Palma’s squad.
“Geena Gabriel is the workhorse of the team,” he said. “I can put her in any event and she will place. If everyone hits their peak at the right time we have a chance to win every meet we enter.”
Palma also has three seniors — Ally Workman (distance-jumps), Erin Fetter (distance-jumps) and Morgan Shreves (discus).
Effort and health are key for Palma.
“Every day we are looking for the girls to give great effort, have a positive attitude and show toughness,” he said. “We have 25 girls on the team this year and if we can stay healthy I am expecting great things.”
Competing the NAC, a conference Maplewood has won the past four years, Palma knows what he’s up against.
But, his Lakers finished second last season and he believes they’re ready to take the next step and win.
“The NAC is a very competitive conference in track,” he said. “The pressure is on Maplewood to repeat. They have won the conference the past four years. PV is on the verge of winning a title this year.
“We will be a balanced team that can compete in every event. Badger and Lordstown are two other teams that are very talented and will do well this season.”
In her first year with the Beavers, coach Ellen McKenrick has a veteran group that looks to be very competitive in 2013.
““This is a very hard working group of athletes,” she said. “They are focused on their goals and very determined to reach them.”
Back are seniors Jakie Antauk (throws), Danielle Kokal (middle distance), Margaret Liberatore (sprints-long jump), Taylor Strauss.
Also returning are juniors Julia Krauss (distance), Stephanie Page (distance), Melissa Rodenald (throws), Stefanie Tsengas (sprints), Jasmine Dunningan (sprints) and a pair of sophomores — Jenni Licis (sprints) and Melissa Prileson (sprints-hurdles).
Despite declining numbers, McKenrick believes her team will contend with Chardon for a PAC title.
“I think Chardon is going to be the team to go after,” she said. “We are going to be very competitive with them.
“Our numbers are down, but we have hard working, dedicated, quality kids out on our team.”