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Irish Girls Track and Field Preview: Big numbers arrive with holes to fill

Rosemount girls track and field coach Sara Hatleli had a simple message for her Irish at the end of last season.

With so many seniors on a Rosemount squad that placed sixth in the Lake Conference last season, there were going to be holes to fill entering this spring.

"At the banquet last year, I told the returning athletes there are some big shoes to fill," Hatleli said. "I offered it as a challenge to them. I think they took that challenge. We had great numbers at captain's practice over the winter. A lot of the girls have put in a lot of time and are prepared for the season. They know there are big spots to fill and they are up to the challenge."

Hatleli and the Irish will have about a month of practice before the season opener Tuesday, April 7 at Apple Valley.

The coaches also have a lot of athletes to choose from.

Rosemount had 110 athletes try out for the team this year, the most the Irish have ever had come out for the team.

"The numbers are great, can't complain about that," Hatleli said. "It's a combination of a lot of new athletes. We have 32 freshmen, every grade has some girls returning, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and we've added a lot as well. We have a lot of newcomers coming out."

The team will be led the its three captains -- Kelsey Magnuson, Justina Hausmann, and Bailey McCorkell.

Magnuson returns to lead the distance events, and will be joined by Ellen Fischer, Amanda Newman, Tori Grund and Ashley Comstock, among others.

McCorkell will be one of the Irish's sprinters.

The Irish 4x400-meter relay team advanced to the state meet last season, and two of those sprinters return this season.

Shade Pratt was part of that 4x400 relay. She also ran at state individually in the 400. Maggie O'Malley is the other returning runner from last year's 4x400 team.

Kali DeBaun also returns as a sprinter.

"We have an interesting group of sprinters, especially with all of the newcomers added to the program," Hatleli said. "It's exciting to see. We have a lot of young athletes with a lot of talent. They've been a great addition."

Hatleli hopes one of the newcomers makes an immediate impact in the field events.

Junior Katie Murgic, fresh off a trip to the state gymnastics meet, has tried out for track and field for the first time. She will likely participate in pole vault and high jump.

Alyssa Temte returns in the triple jump.

"She had a great year last year," Hatleli said. "I look forward to having her back."

Seniors Laurie Tyson and Nicole Floersch will contribute in the throwing events. Hannah Buecksler could also be a varsity participant.

With the increased numbers, Hatleli is hoping to maintain last year's solid finish.

"With our conference, as everyone mentions, it's so tough," Hatleli said. "I think finishing right in the middle is a great goal for us. We're making strides. We need to continue that forward progress."