The Aquinas girls track team reached the top of the mountain last year, winning the Class C state championship. With 13 returning seniors, striking gold twice is definitely a possibility.
The Monarchs were strong throughout their championship season, placing first in all regular meets while also finishing as conference and district champions.
"Again, this team’s overall strength will be depth and senior leadership," said head coach Tony Smith. "Also, we have top performers across all the events."
Some of the top performers Smith mentioned included Dulcie Archuleta and Sierra Meysenburg in sprints, Larissa Sellers in hurdles, Vanessa Bohuslavsky, Ella Hilger and Jadyn Siroky in middle distance, Allie Frasher in distance, Kloe Ruth, Breanna Stouffer and Isabel Coufal in throws, Natalie Semin in jumps and Bridget Sisco and Gabrielle Oborny in pole vaulting.
"We look to be motivated by our success last season and challenge ourselves to duplicate that success," Smith said. "It will take time to see what experienced returners will step up and replace the loss of top point scorers, Becky Roh and Clare Fiala and Mary Fiala, and to see what sophomores and juniors step up to fill out some of the relays, each of which will be looking to defend their state championships."
On top of all the returning talent there are plenty of new faces that could give the Monarchs an added boost.
Some newcomers for fans to keep their eyes on include Ivy Schmid, Macey Thege, Alli Hartman, Madisen Jelinek, Emma Sellers and Aubrey Novacek.
The boys team will be looking to build off the success that it had last year as well.
The Monarch boys were 11th at state and bring back multiple state qualifiers from that group.
Sophomore Kyle Napier, junior Braden Smith, sophomore Keegan Lavicky and sophomore Payton Davis, senior Andrew Lyons, junior Travis Roh and senior Miles Eggleston are just a few athletes with the opportunity to build on soild 2018 seasons.
"We have nice numbers with over 50 boys out," said head coach Ron Mimick. "Team scoring strengths seem to be in the jumps, middle hurdles, distance and sprints. We hope to peak and finish in the top two of teams at districts while qualifying a handful of athletes to state. We could put together solid relay teams."
Several of the boys have prior state experience.
Senior Andy Lyons is a past state qualifier in the 200, sophomore Peyton David was fifth in the 1600 and eighth in the 3200 as a freshman and sophomore Kyle Napier was seventh in the high jump.
Aquinas doesn't have to wait long to get back into action as the first competition will be at 4 p.m. on Mar. 19 at David City, weather permitting of course
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net.