The 2013 Howard County girls track and field season was a wildly successful campaign, one that figures to be highly difficult to top in the near future.
The county boasted three state champions and seven podium (top nine) finishes.
But, five state finalist from a year ago return for the 2014 campaign. And, with heavy graduation losses for two-time defending sectional champion Eastern, the field appears wide open for this year’s Madison-Grant Sectional title, a crown which has resided in-county dating all the way back to 1994.
The following is a season outlook for each county school, by order of finish in last season’s sectional.
2013 was a season of a lifetime for the Comets, claiming three state titles while boasting another pair of podium finishes.
Eastern said goodbye to the athletes who did the bulk of the heavy lifting on that squad, which placed fourth as a team, with Bethany and Brittany Neeley moving on to compete at Indiana and Sarah Wagner continuing her career at Lipscomb.
The 2014 Comets will obviously have a different look than recent years, but with a pair of state qualifiers back in the fold, coach Michael Goodspeed is pleased with what he’s seeing.
“We enjoyed that time. It was a great run,” Goodspeed said. “We are rebuilding, and we have a good crop of freshmen. We are led by our returning All-Staters Jessie Sprinkles and Avery Ewing. They are very capable middle-distance runners, and we are looking to build some pieces and role players around those girls. We are extremely young with freshmen at almost every spot.”
Sprinkles, a sophomore, qualified for the state finals in the 800-meter run and ran a leg on the Comets’ state-record-setting 4x800 relay team a year ago, while Ewing, a junior, joined Sprinkles on the 4x400 relay team which finished fifth in the state finals. Those two, along with junior Carly Jones, will lead the distance crew, where they will be joined by freshmen Kaylie Forgrave and Sydnie Hill.