The 2007 Schaller-Crestland girls track team is loaded with experience.
Led by six seniors, the Wildcats are returning to defend last year's stellar season.
"The strength of the team is again found in the sprint events," said Wildcats head coach Nick Schumacher, who is aided by assistant coach Kelly Wiener (who also assists on the boys side).
Led by sophomore Molly Sippel, who qualified for state in four events last year (the 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200), Schaller-Crestland hopes to improve on last season's fifth-place state finish in the 4x100.
Sippel will be joined in the sprinting events by seniors Becky Willer (a 2006 state qualifier in the 4x100 and 4x200), Jill Wedeking (a 2004 state qualifier in the 800 and the 4x400, and a 2006 state qualifier in the 4x200), senior Kelsey Drey and newcomers Alyssa Ringgenberg (junior), Chelsea Clayton (freshman) and Rachel Anderson (freshman).
The Wildcats expect big things from the experience-loaded middle-distance band of seniors Kristin Dahm, Wedeking, Drey and Katie Anderson, as well as junior Cassie Schmidt and newcomer Lisa Schmidt, a sophomore.
"The 4x800 and distance medley should be good point winners for us this season," said Schumacher. "We are also expecting places and team points in the individual distance and middle distance events."
The Wildcats have made great gains since practice started, Schumacher said.
"All of our times have been beneath last year's marks for this point in the season."
The coach sees the Northwest Conference as being as competitive as ever.
"The conference track meet should display several of the state's best performances in many different events," he said.
Other team members include freshman Sydney Shell, sophomore Katie Murra, junior Ashton Waters and senior Kate Bloyer.
The Wildcats are in action at the Schaller-Crestland co-ed meet April 3 in Early.