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Chester girls track preview: No seniors on 18-girl roster, but future looks bright

  • The 2019 Chester High School Lady Jackets Track and Field Team. Front row, from left: Taylor Hennrich, Samantha Eggemeyer, Gracey Roth, Alex Hennrich, Hannah Blechle, Cami Schroeder and April Amburn. Back row, from left: Assistant Coach Beth Brown, Assistant Coach Jim West, Ava Lochhead, Lexus Iverson, Josie Kattenbraker, Avery Runge, Lauren Soellner, Peyton Clendenin, Avery Miers, Shelby Roth and Head Coach Jennifer Cartwright. Not pictured: Melody Colonel, Alyssa Seymour, Madison Kribs and Assistant Coach Stan Myers.

    The 2019 Chester High School Lady Jackets Track and Field Team. Front row, from left: Taylor Hennrich, Samantha Eggemeyer, Gracey Roth, Alex Hennrich, Hannah Blechle, Cami Schroeder and April Amburn. Back row, from left: Assistant Coach Beth Brown, Assistant Coach Jim West, Ava Lochhead, Lexus Iverson, Josie Kattenbraker, Avery Runge, Lauren Soellner, Peyton Clendenin, Avery Miers, Shelby Roth and Head Coach Jennifer Cartwright. Not pictured: Melody Colonel, Alyssa Seymour, Madison Kribs and Assistant Coach Stan Myers.
    Jim Beers photo

 
By Jim Beers
Contributing writer
updated: 3/24/2019 4:41 PM

CHESTER -- The 2019 Chester High School outdoor track and field season is up and running, and Lady Jacket Head Coach Jennifer Cartwright has a positive outlook in spite of having a very young squad.

The 2019 Lady Jackets will definitely be rebuilding this year with no seniors, eight freshmen, eight sophomores and two juniors.

Cartwright has been encouraged by her team's development in the opening weeks of training.

"We are surely young and have just 18 members on our roster, but those who are out for this year's team are working very hard, they do what is asked of them, and they want to be here," she said. "Everyone has fun and enjoys being a part of the team and in spite of their youth, we really have some extremely talented athletes."

The two juniors are Taylor Hennrich and Avery Runge. Both were part of the successful 2017 and 2018 squads, so they have experience in competing and can be counted on for leadership.

The eight sophomores are April Amburn, Peyton Clendenin, Melody Colonel, Samantha Eggemeyer, Josie Kattenbraker, Avery Miers, Shelby Roth and Lauren Soellner. Most of them ran track in 2018, where they learned what it takes be competitive at the varsity level.

The freshmen were very successful at the junior high level, running for Chester Grade School, St. John Lutheran and St. Mary's Catholic schools.

Coach Cartwright expects all eight of these young athletes to bring a fresh, new look to the Lady Jackets squad and will use them right away in 2019 track and field meets.

The past four years Cartwright had the contributions of six talented athletes: Katie Hoffman (high jump); Maddie Hoffman (throws); Tayler Howie (sprints); Jessica Kattenbraker (middle distance, and both long and triple jumps); Taylor Dunning (distance); and Abby Myers (pole vault).

"Losing those six seniors to graduation is definitely a huge hit to our overall squad," Cartwright said.

"They were not only great leaders, but all six were extremely talented on the track and in field events. They earned a lot of points over the years and set an excellent example for our underclassmen."

However, Cartwright sees a very bright future with her up and coming squad.

"If they all stick around, we are going to have a wonderful squad for years," she said. "Can you imagine the squad we will have down the road? They are going to be able to do great things."

The 2019 Jackets have several key returning athletes who will stabilize things immediately. Avery Runge will be solid in the distance events. Josie Kattenbraker will be a threat in the hurdles and the high jump. Lauren Soellner has achieved good things during the indoor season in high jump and the sprints. Finally, Peyton Clendenin is expected to be strong in the sprints, long jump and triple jump.

"One thing for sure, we are going to have to put in some more work if we are going to be competitive this season," Cartwright said. "Everyone is looking good right now, however, and they are developing a strong base. We are in a rebuilding mode, but this group of young athletes has great possibilities."

Cartwright's assistant coaches are Jim West, Stan Myers and Beth Brown.