With six talented seniors lost off last year's team, the Newell-Fonda girls track and field team is hoping to at least duplicate last year's second place finish in the Northwest Conference.
"Our seniors that we lost were the glue of the team last spring," N-F coach Craig Davis said. "They were all about the team and doing what was right."
This season, Davis said, he has a smaller team, with just 13 athletes.
"Our focus has been good in workouts so far," he said. "We have been running in the wind, snow and cold weather with no complaints, which makes me believe we have a mentally tough group."
Davis added that competition for some events is strong, something he says will make the Mustangs better.
Leading the way for the Newell-Fonda girls this season are seven letterwinners.
They include junior Ashley Arndorfer, a two-year letterwinner in the 400 and 800 meters, junior Sarah Culp, a state qualifier last year in both the 1500 and 3000 meters last season and a state qualifier in the 3000 meters two seasons ago.
Also back is junior Tenaea Jeppeson, a two-year letterwinner in the hurdles and discus. At the Northwest Conference meet last season, Jeppeson was fifth in the discus.
Other returning letterwinners are junior Abby Gerde in the hurdles and sprints, senior Sam Schaffer in the shot put and sophomore Megan Peters, a letterwinner in the high jump.
Last season as a junior, Schaffer took third in the shot at the conference meet, while Peters was third in that meet in the high jump.
"Our girls are pushing each other to practice harder and that will only benefit our season when the lights go on," Davis said.
"We have a group of freshmen who will make an immediate impact on our varsity team."
Davis added that Eric Whited is assisting both the girls and boys' track and field teams. He spends much of his time working with the teams' shot and discus throwers.
"Eric has established a great working relationship with our boys and girls team," Davis said.
The Mustangs open their outdoor season next Tuesday in Early at the Wildcat Invitational. They will compete in invitational meets in Storm Lake, Alta, Holstein Sac City and Laurens. District sare slated for May 13.