FORTVILLE — The 2023 Mt. Vernon’s girls track and field program has a little bit of everything.

The Marauders have a new, but veteran, head coach, returnees with postseason success, and another state-qualifier back after missing all of last season due to injury.

With a distance relay team, sprinter Mya Eppert and pole vaulter Riley Nielsen qualified for Saturday’s Hoosier State Relays (indoor state championships) in Bloomington, Brian Williams’s first Mt. Vernon girls track and field team is off to a good start.

Mt. Vernon freshmen Hannah Hauser and Kenydi Russell, sophomore Emma Gale and junior Emma Gasiorek qualified for Saturday’s 4×800-meter relay.

The distance relay team was the only Mt. Vernon representation in last year’s IHSAA outdoor state finals in June. Gasiorek is the only returning member of that quartet, but the three newcomers, all successful during the cross country season, have picked up for the graduation of Lydia Carrell, Morgan Tharp and Alex Overshiner. Last year’s state team finished strong, placing 12th, 13 spots higher than seeded, and setting a school record with a time of 9:38.75.

Along with the foursome competing in Bloomington Saturday, Williams, who is also the school’s girls cross country coach, expects the group to have distance and mid-distance depth with Julia Iserloth, Alex Jenson and newcomer Lillian Quinn.

Eppert is a senior and has been an outdoor regional qualifier. She leads the sprinters and has qualified for Saturday’s 60-meter dash.

Among the other sprinters expected to help along the way are Ani’ya Williams, Molly Worth, Riley Nielsen and Laurel Hoeppner.

Nielsen is a welcomed returnee. A state-qualifier in the pole vault as a sophomore, she missed all of last season due to injury. She is the No. 3 seed in Saturday’s pole vault competition and has already vaulted a school-record 11-feet, 9-inches.

“She’s vaulted three times, in competition,” Williams said of Nielsen. “Her first serious competition was three weeks ago and she struggled. It was tough on her.

“She’s really good. In the second meet, she got over her first height, and it was like the world opened up to her. She broke the old school record by over a foot. To get 11-9, the old record was 10-6, that’s quite an improvement. She’s in a really good place.”

Anna Stanfield is a junior veteran that qualified for the regional a year ago in the 300 hurdles. She’ll lead the hurdle group that includes frosh Marissa Miner, Hoeppner and senior Chloe Wingham.

“There is going to be a lot of competition in both (the 100 and 300 hurdles) events,” Williams said. “It’s a good situation when you have more than one or two people vying for a spot.”

Hoeppner, Wingham, Williams, Nielsen, Aya Renforth and senior newcomer Khloe Patterson are expected to be part of the jumps, both long and high.

A regional qualifier in the discus last year, senior Jayla Tremble is the top returning thrower and heads a team that includes Ayana Moore and Alisha Collier.

Following Saturday’s indoor finale, the IHSAA outdoor season opens with a home meet on April 4 with Roncalli and Greenwood.

Williams is in his first year at Mt. Vernon. He led the girls cross country team in the fall and is in his first season as head coach of the girls track and field team. He’s new to MV, but hardly new to coaching runners, throwers and jumpers.

He is a former collegiate head coach at Anderson University, as well as a former assistant at Ball State. He was at Elwood High School prior to coming to Fortville and has also coached at the high school level at Lapel and Frankton.

“This is really the first time I’ve coached a big high school team,” Williams said. “My teams I’d coached in the past barely had enough people to get one in an event, in some cases. We’re over 40 girls, so we’re trying to figure out how to get them all into meets … We’re starting to get in a rhythm now.”

2023 Mt. Vernon Girls Track and Field Schedule

March 25;at HSR State Finals (Bloomington);TBA

April 4;vs. Greenwood, Roncalli;5:30 p.m.

April 8;at Terre Haute Invitational;10 a.m.

April 19;at Noblesville Invitational;5:30 p.m.

April 21;at Bishop Chatard Invitational;5 p.m.

April 25;at Pendleton Heights Invitational;5 p.m.

April 29;at Kokomo Relays;11:30 a.m

May 3;Hancock County Meet (Mt. Vernon);5 p.m.

May 9;at HHC Championships (Mt. Vernon);5:30 p.m.

May 16;at Pendleton Heights Sectional;TBA

May 23;at Ben Davis Regional;TBA

June 3;at IHSAA State Track Meet (Bloomington);TBA