New season set: JC opens indoor season today at NDSUThe Jamestown College women’s track and field team has a tough act to follow as they open a new season today — themselves. The Jimmies are the defending Dakota Athletic Conference champions, and return several key contributors from that team. There’s a month and four meets between the indoor championships in Spearfish, S.D., but coach Jim Clark says there’s a lot of work to do between now and then.
The Jamestown College women’s track and field team has a tough act to follow as they open a new season today — themselves.
The Jimmies are the defending Dakota Athletic Conference champions, and return several key contributors from that team.
There’s a month and four meets between the indoor championships in Spearfish, S.D., but coach Jim Clark says there’s a lot of work to do between now and then.
“We had a really good fall as far as working hard and getting in shape and working together,” he said. “We have a great bunch of girls. They work hard and want to excel, and they also are excellent students.”
The JC women and men have been working out all fall and winter and are ready to compete against someone other than themselves. Their first chance is today at the Bison Classic at the BSA in Fargo.
Clark’s team is bringing 26 girls to NDSU today, including an accomplished nine-person senior class in sprinter AnnaLiesa Fauth, Marissa Curry (sprints, hurdles), Jill Schlenker (throws), Ashleigh Anderson (distance), Suzy Avey (distance), Rachel Bickford (middle distance) and Megan Vote (throws). Javelin thrower Becca Price will make it 10 in the spring during the outdoor season.
The Jimmies also have a loaded junior class in nine-time All-American Katie Conlon, who finished eighth in November at the NAIA National Track meet in Washington.
Katie Zent (jumps/sprints), Cambrya Belter (distance), Madey Hornung (distance), Mallory Souder (sprints, pole vault), Kallie Merrill (sprints/hurdles), Mallory Johannes (high jump) make up the backbone of the deep and talented junior contingent.
“The main thing is they come to work. They’re good mentors. When the underclassmen come to practice and see the way our older girls work, it’s pretty hard for them not to follow suit,” Clark said.
Clark is high on the freshmen class.
Aleona Reyes, who had a fine cross country campaign, spent a week in the hospital to have surgery on the inside of her bladder to repair a condition that caused her to lose iron in her blood. She won’t compete today, but could return next week and will add excellent versatility. “She can run anywhere and she pole-vaults,” Clark said. “She’s pretty valuable on a track team.”
Carrington’s Hope Carr (jumps/hurdles) and Arielle Edwards (sprints) of Wahpeton will contribute.
“We have a group of freshmen that have a chance to distinguish themselves,” Clark said.
But it is really early, obviously, and they’re happy to compete more than anything else.
“We’re excited to get going,” Clark said. “It’s the first meet, but it will be good to get started.”
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Ed Crawford is pleased with the progress in rebuilding the men’s program.
The quality is improved and so is the quantity.
“Really, we’re a lot better than we were at this time last year, and we have a lot more depth,” Crawford said. “We had time trials the first week of December for all of our athletes and every single guy ran faster this year than last, and some guys were quite a bit faster.
“I do definitely think we’re going in the right direction as a program.”
It’s been a particularly difficult time for the Jimmies, who are still dealing with the loss of teammate James Vollmer, a versatile member of the program, but he was especially important in the vault.
Still, they do have several key pieces returning, including the team’s best athlete in multi-eventer Josh Ewalt, who also doubles as an effective wide receiver on the football field in the fall.
The Jimmies are still a little thin in the jumps, but are strong in the distance events.
Former Blue Jay Spencer Kamoni looks to build on a strong cross country season. They also already have two runners qualified in the marathon in J.J. Koerber and David Londe, who earned a trip to nationals by qualifying in a half-marathon in Neb. in December.
Crawford said sophomore hurdler J.T. Petsch has looked strong in the early going. As have the Roemmich brothers — sophomore Scott and freshman Trent.
Anamoose, N.D., native Kyle Heim was solid in the fall in cross country and has looked in good form so far in the 800.
National qualifier Robert Nelson, also a linebacker in football, leads the throwing contingent. Nelson’s best work will come in the spring in the discus.
Dual-sport performer Mike Findlay (football, track) also returns.
Defending conference champion Andrew Stoen is still looking to find his form in the pole vault without Vollmer, but his track record is strong.
“The pole vaulters are a little gun shy right now, which is understandable,” Crawford said.
Despite the tragic accident, the team is moving forward the best they can and have high expectations for themselves.
“I like the guys we have and how hard they work,” Crawford said. “We’re not expecting anything great at the first meet in terms of times and those kinds of things.
“We look at the indoor season as a good way to build for the outdoor season. I think we’re doing the things we have to do to get better as a team,” Crawford said.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com