When you ask Wauwatosa West girls track and field coach Jack LoPresti about this year's upcoming season, you can hear the optimism in his voice.
"The girls team should have an excellent season," the veteran coach said. "We have some real solid returning vets."
LoPresti then took the time to break down his squad by events.
Colleen Seefeldt and Leyna Zeimet lead this group, but there will be some talented newcomers - Beth Pierce, Katie Cook, Julia Anthony and Alantra Smith - to help out.
"We will have a great year in the hurdles," LoPresti said. "Coach Mike Fischer believes this group will be awesome by May.
"This will be a fun group to watch progress this season. Colleen had a great off-season and is running really well and Leyna will give our hurdle group great senior leadership."
Led by coaches Jason Hood and Brianna Jury, Laurel Stutz leads an excellent group that is back and looking for some big things, along with Elle MacGillis, Elise Ditscheit, Nyreesha Wilson, Sharia Brown, Jenni Fischer, Jordan Schnell, Tessa Magilini and Shannon Wilson.
"We have some super stud sprinters," LoPresti said. "And a strong contingent of new and old faces that should make for some exciting sprinting this spring."
"We will make this the strongest throwing group that we have had in several years," LoPresti said. "They will put up some big numbers by May."
Coach Scott Jordan, who also coaches the boys, has a number of veterans returning in this group. Sarah Amoroso, Beth Garncarz, Melissa Moy, Zaina Lalk and Andrea Hafemeister return. In addition, look for newcomers Latasha Smith and Alexis Hardy to help out.
Shannon Wilson leads Andy Schmeling's impressive group of jumpers. Wilson finished eighth at state last spring and was the sectional long jump champ.
And with Nyreesha Wilson, Ditscheit, Magilini, Zeimet, Seefeldt and Anthony added to this group, this is a loaded group.
Led by senior Rachel Longo, coach Brad Shuster's vaulters promise to reach new heights according to LoPresti. Joining Long will be Laura Carlson, Marena Larstein, Jenna Hui, Sarah McOlash and Seefeldt, so Shuster has a lot to choose from.
Brigid Jensen leads a strong cast of distance runners along with Haley Barta, Casey Grabow, Allie Grabow, Grace Gabriel, Emily Goodwillie, Hannah Doyle and Maggie Boyle.
"This year's squad should improve on last year's 4x800 time (9:04.2)," LoPresti said. "Brigid, Haley and Casey had a great winter of training and they will lead a strong group of distance runners."
The Trojans took part in the Nelson/Daniel Classic on Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Jensen and Lalk had the best finishes, taking 12th in the 1,600 (5:45.16) and shot put (30-06½), respectively. Wilson was 19th in the long jump (14-04½), Zeimet 22nd in the triple jump (22-02), Schnell 23rd in the 400 (1:10.81), Seefeldt 24th in triple jump (27-11) and Barta 32nd in the 1,600 (6:22)
West now takes part in the Chris Wilson Invite at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Milwaukee Lutheran.
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