Emily Schipper

The Fulton girls definitely have momentum heading into this track season after performances last year, and it’s already paying off for them.

They have four girls heading to the Illinois TopTimes meet later this week, the equivalent of indoor state. That included last year’s champion Chloe Lindeman, who is going in as the top qualifier after launching the shot 49-08 last week. Daekota Knott, a triple jumper, is also going in as one of the top qualifiers.

Sydney Norman is heading in the high jump, while freshman Abbigail Thyne is the lone runner in the 60-meter hurdles. She highlights a list of newcomers that head coach Tim Wessels is excited to see in action as the season goes on.

“After our first meet I am encouraged by the depth and quality the freshman group has brought to the team,” Wessels said. “With 11 freshmen added this year we should be able to improve most of our relays.”

That pushes their total number over 20 girls this season, a pretty big feat for such a small school. With three of their four TopTimes qualifiers being field events, that’s where their strength sits for the season. Lindeman is a returning state champion and Wisconsin commit, already winning national events to kick off her senior year. Knott qualified for the state meet last year, along with long jumpers Kearra Kohrt and Julia Lehman.

“Our strength at the field events comes from the girls getting an early love of an event in junior high and seeing improvement as they continue to compete,” Wessels said. “We also get great support from assistant coaches who can spend time with them individually.”

Strong field events, but that’s certainly not it. Along with the promising freshman, junior Emily Schipper is another returning state qualifier, specializing in mid-distance.

Knott and Kohrt also run, training for some powerful 400 meter opens.

Freshmen Lauren Mahoney and Alyjah Carter offer sprints, while Sadie Norman, Thyne and Lara Bielema all participate in the hurdles and are looking to pick up more points as the outdoor season kicks off.

Plus, senior Haley Bickelhaupt from Unity Christian went out for the track team this year, adding a distance runner to the mix.

It’s pretty impressive considering how little time has been spent focusing on track so far. The weather for everyone has been unbearable for workouts, and the Steamers don’t have much in regards to indoor training.

That makes the rest of the season something to keep your eye on.

“There is much to be excited about in regards to relays this season with 21 girls on the team and much needed depth,” Wessels said. “Hopefully we can get enough quality training time.”