Story first appeared in the March 23, 2016 edition of The Northwestern Press and on thelehighvalleypress.com.
Northwestern girls track and field has dominated the Colonial League for the last three years, going 33-0 and claiming the last three league girls’ track team titles.
Last June, many who made this recent stretch of success possible graduated, but head coach Chuck Groller hopes that constant success didn’t go with them.
“One of our main goals is to repeat as Colonial League champions,” Groller said. “Time will tell if our young, upcoming team members will meet the challenge to step up to join with our more experienced returning competitors to continue their dedicated work ethic and help fill the strong leadership roles of those key athletes that we have lost to graduation.”
That list of key athletes whom have graduated has some notable names on it, including Lauren Anderson, Rachel Cerrone, Carly Pierce, Sabrina Mertz and Sarah Segan, all of whom medaled at the league championship a year ago.
Looking to fill those spots is a mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores. That group is highlighted by seniors Abbie Smith (distance), Abby Supplee (distance), Rachel Mikols (distance), Vannesa Blose (shotput and discus), Josey Steidinger (pole vault), Taylor Slack (jumps), Jaclyn Hardcastle (hurdles) and McKenzi Divers (sprints) as well as sophomore distance runners Molly Tarvin and Hannah Herzon, both of whom qualified for leagues a year ago.
With all these returners in a variety of areas, Groller believes his team has a lot of strengths.
“Our areas of strength are in shotput, discus, distance, hurdles and high jump due to the number of returning athletes that successfully competed throughout last year’s season and into leagues and/or districts,” he said.
Additionally, two fresh faces enter the fold for this spring. Freshmen Madeline Consuelos and Sara Hathaway, who will compete in distance events and sprints, respectively.
Hathaway hopes to make big contributions in the sprints for Northwestern, an area where Groller admits needs some reloading.
“Pole vault is an area of weakness due to having only one experienced returning athlete,” he said. “Sprints is also an area of weakness due to the loss of many key competitors.”
Despite the loss of athletes to graduation, Groller hopes there aren’t any losses on the team’s record at the end of the season.
The Tigers open their season March 29 against Palmerton at Southern Lehigh.