Northeast appears to once again have a very good girls track team.
Coach Pat Healy said his team should be able to score in every running event at most meets this season.
“We have strong sprinters and distance runners who should be among the best in the area,” he said. “We return three hurdlers from last year’s squad and could be as good this year.”
Senior Carlie Dever and juniors Jaci Mulholland and Morgan McAleer return to form the core of a shuttle hurdle relay team that placed fourth at the state meet last season.
Senior Sammi Farrell has joined the team as the fourth member early in the season.
Junior Danae Diedrich leads the sprinters. Diedrich qualified for state last year as a member of the 400-meter and 800-meter relay teams. The 400 relay unit placed eighth and also featured Mulholland and sophomores Markel Mommsen and Emily Buech.
The Rebels have posted the third-fastest 400 relay time in Class 2A so far this season.
Northeast has gotten a boost from a class of 10 freshmen, as well.
Tierra Hildebrandt has joined the 400 relay — along with Diedrich, Mommsen and Mulholland — as Buech has not competed yet this season. She has also tied McAleer for the farthest Rebels long jump this year.
“She has been outstanding during the indoor season,” Healy said.
Healy said another freshman sprinter — Haleigh Hughes — has a lot of promise.
The distance runners are led by junior Emily Franks. Franks won the state title at the cross country meet as a sophomore. This past season she, along with sophomore Kaitlynn Riley and freshman Josye Kaczinski, was part of the fifth-place cross country team.
Kaczinski has the fastest 3,000-meter time so far this season for Northeast. While another freshman — Hannah Kilburg — has the fastest 800 and 1,500 times for the team. Healy said Kilburg was outstanding during the indoor season.
The Rebels have been hit by some injury problems early in the season. A key performer, sophomore distance standout Mariah Casey, is out for the year. He said recovering from the injuries would be critical for his team to achieve all the success it could.
While Healy is confident in his team’s ability in the races, he said it would need some other people to step up.
“We will be hard-pressed to score in the field events unless some of our young kids develop,” he said.
Either way, Northeast fans can probably plan to have several Rebels to cheer on in Des Moines this May at the state track and field meet.