Swede girls have mix of experience, youth
With three returning state qualifiers and 13 letter winners coming back, Gothenburg’s girls track and field team has a fair amount of experience on its side.
Add to that 16 freshmen and a host of others who have worked to improve and the Swedes have plenty to look forward to this season.
“We lost a very good group of girls who contributed in a lot of ways at every meet last year,” coach Steve Reeves said of the 2010 graduates. “But we come back with some girls that have experience and a bunch of young kids so it will be interesting to watch how it all falls together.”
Senior Joslyn Oliver is a three-time state qualifier. She finished second in the high jump last May by clearing a personal best 5-foot-5.
That mark was good enough to land Oliver at No. 2 on the school’s all-time Top 10 chart in that event.
She also competed at state in the triple jump and holds the No. 6 spot all time with a jump of 38 feet, 8 inches last season.
Fellow seniors Abby Ambler and Ali Clark are the other two returning state qualifiers.
Ambler made it to Omaha after a successful season in the long jump and Clark qualified in the pole vault with several individual meet medals under her belt.
Reeves said the girls team will rely heavily on those three for leadership and the Swedes’ strength as a team will be tied directly to their experience.
“They’re all a year more mature, a year better at their events,” Reeves said. “Still, we’re gong to have to be a scrappy team and compete hard for team points and I think we’re going to see some unknown girls step up in a few areas.”
The competition will be tough at all meets, he said, including the Southwest Conference but pinning down a favorite at this point isn’t easy.
“It’s pretty wide open,” Reeves said. “Cozad should be pretty tough with what they’ve got returning and Minden has some quality athletes. Valentine has some good girls too, though so it’s tough to say.”
Gothenburg will compete again in the B-6 district at McCook in May. Reeves said many teams took a big hit with graduation but there’s always talent coming up.
The Swedes open the spring season at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Indoor Invite on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
With other school activities that conflict this weekend and limited practice time, Reeves said he will not take a full squad to UNK.
“Some kids just aren’t ready to compete yet,” he said.
Following UNK, the girls have two weeks to prepare for the first outdoor meet of the 2011 season at Ogallala on April 2.
Members of the 2010 Swede girls track team are (*denotes letter winner):
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