BELDING — The 2013 girls track season was an incredible one for the Belding Redskins.
Last year included a 6-0 dual meet record, invitational wins at home and Lakeview, first place at the O-K Blue Conference meet and the O-K Blue championship. The Redskins placed fourth at regionals, ninth out of 15 teams at the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) team state meet and broke eight school records last year.
With 17 returning letter winners, the Redskins are hoping for continued success in 2014.
“Our season goals are to repeat in the O-K Blue as conference champs, to challenge for a regional title, to come in top three at team state and to finish in the top five at the individual state,” Belding coach John Carlson said.
Top returners include Mackenzie Breimayer (sprints), Rachel Warner (middle distance), Monica Baylis (middle distance), Danielle Rode (middle distance/pole vault), McKenzie Rode (sprints/long jump), Teresa Myles (distance), Alex Parker (hurdles/pole vault), Greta Wilker (shot put/discus), Gabby Holyfield (shot put/discus) and Mackenzie Sower (sprints/high jump).
“The biggest key will be to stay healthy for the whole season,” Belding coach John Carlson said. “Some of our girls are a little banged up from the long basketball season.”
The Redskins lost returner Harley Rode (sprints) to knee surgery.
Top newcomers include Johanna McCully (sprints), Summer Eubani (hurldes), Sara Thompson (hurdles), Alexa Syrjala (distance) and Halle Breimayer (sprints).
“We have a great group of returning athletes and some very talented newcomers that we can mix into the lineup,” Carlson said.
Belding’s first meet was canceled on April 1 due to the weather. The Redskins were set to host Greenville, West Catholic and Comstock Park.
The Redskins first meet is scheduled for April 17 at home against Coopersville. This week is spring break.
“Spring break really splits the season in half. When we come back from spring break we only have three and a half weeks until the conference meet,” Carlson said. “We will have to be careful to not race too much, too fast, too soon.”
Sparta will challenge the Redskins in the O-K Blue.
“Sparta will be very good this season, they have girls in every event,” he said. “Coopersville and Allendale will also challenge.”
To advance to the state meet, the Redskins will need to finish in the top three. Last year, they were fourth.
“Forest Hills Eastern, Grand Rapids South Christian, Grand Rapids Christian and East Grand Rapids are all in our region,” Carlson said. “Eastern won regionals last year and was second at state. Our regional is totally stacked.”
Belding will face Sparta on the road April 22. The league (Belding is host) meet is May 8-9.
Regionals are scheduled for May 16 at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids.