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2014 Girls Track Preview: New Palestine

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New Palestine

Coach: Chuck Myers (second season)

Key losses: Kenzi Hoffman, Marissa Crosby

Key returnees: Bailey Wallace, Rachel Wineman, Kayley Hutchinson, Mattie Waggoner, Brianna Komonik, Kylie Zehner, Annabelle Dockins, Erin Trimpe, Sarah Schwartz

2013 Team finishes: 4th at Hancock County, 7th at Hoosier Heritage Conference, 5th at Shelbyville Sectional

Newcomers to watch: Myers said freshman thrower Lillie Cain should score points right away. Madison Carpenter (sophomore), Kylie Dhonau (freshman), Jenni Gish (freshman) and Courtney Smith (sophomores) are sprinters to keep an eye on.

Outlook: After winning six straight Hancock County Meets from 2006-11 and sending five athletes to the State Finals in 2012, New Palestine endured an uncharacteristic down season in 2013. The Dragons were fourth at last year’s county meet and sent just two competitors – the graduated Kenzi Hoffman and now-junior Rachel Wineman – to the Shelbyville Regional.

Suffice to say, Chuck Myers had his hands full in his first season as coach.

“It was a struggle at times. I think the team came together at the end of the season though. I think that got them excited for this year. It was a challenge,” Myers said. “The program was winning quite a bit with five or six girls that were really talented. … We built from scratch. By the end of the season, we just ran out of time. I think this year we’ll see an improvement.”

NP’s big loss from last season is Hoffman, who won the pole vault at the Shelbyville Sectional, and took third at regional to qualify for the state meet, where she did not clear a height.

Myers mentioned senior Kylie Zehner, junior Rachel Wineman and sophomores Annabelle Dockins and Sarah Schwartz as Dragons who will be counted on to step forward in 2014. NP is also very young once again, with freshmen and sophomores responsible for 25 of the 34 team members.

“We don’t have any specific goals yet,” Myers said. “I think we’ll be an improved team and do better at conference and county. Hopefully we can get more people out to regional.”

Notes: New Palestine opens its outdoor season by hosting Greenwood April 8. … Wineman was third in the 2013 Shelbyville Sectional high jump competition, then took sixth at regional. … Zehner was fifth in the 300 hurdles at sectional.

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