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Track: Wingers filling in the lanes

Red Wing's Shayna Ramstad competes in the long jump during a home meet early last season. Ramstad returns to give the Wingers depth as a sprinter and a long jumper.1 / 2
Red Wing's Aiden Winn (right) runs close behind the pack and graduated teammate Christian Leitner (middle) during a track and field meet last season at Red Wing High School.2 / 2

The Red Wing girls track and field team graduated its only state participant from last season.

Abbey Schnaith made the Class 1AA girls state track meet in the 800-meter dash, but the Wingers hope to find more depth this year.

"We'd like to get some kids to the state meet," Red Wing head girls track coach Jesse Nelson said. "We always want to challenge for the True Team Section title. We feel like we're deeper this year. If that's true, we'll be in the mix; we'll have a chance for it."

Nelson said Emily Stegora will have a good chance to make the state meet and as a junior, she has taken on more of a leadership role already this season.

"She's very coachable," Nelson said. "She's creeping up on the 100-meter hurdles school record. That'd be something. She's probably one of the best hurdles the school has ever had."

Stegora placed seventh in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.01 seconds at last year's Section 1AA meet and ran the second-fastest time in school history in the section prelims at 15.96 seconds. In the triple jump at sections, Stegora placed eighth with a leap of 34 feet, 2 ¼ inches.

The Wingers also return experience at the distance running spots and discus and shot put. Kelsee Anderson, who dealt with an ankle injury all fall, and Lindsey Scribner are both accomplished cross-country runners with the potential to put up state times in the 1,600 and 3,200 races.

"Anderson had a disappointing cross-country season but she's back running 100 percent," Nelson said. "We saw what Scribner can do this fall. We expect her to continue her distance running excellence."

Macy Kelly and Jennifer Salter, a transfer from Eastview, will make the throwers a strength for Red Wing and make up for the loss of Maggie Jonas, Nelson said.

"She's a really good thrower," Nelson said of Salter. "We miss Maggie in throws but we've got a 30-plus (foot) shot put thrower filling in. She'll fill that void. She and Macy will be our throws leaders."

Kelly was an All-Missota Conference honorable mention for the Wingers last season.

Red Wing's 4x800 relay team of Elise Leise, Anderson, Adrienne Hicks and Schnaith received All-Conference last season and Jonas did as well in both the shot put and discus. The Wingers' 4x100 relay team of Katie Stegora, Demetria Buck, Emily Stegora and Alexandra Anderson were honorable mention.

The cold and snow-filled winter is expected to delay the start of the season but the first meet is scheduled for Thursday at New Prague. Despite the poor weather, Red Wing is staying excited for the season.

"The distance runners have been outside most of the time," Nelson said. "Our assistants do a great job of coming up with workouts for them to keep them interested. It really hasn't seemed too bad."

Red Wing boys track

Red Wing's boys track team will be counting on its sprinters and hurdlers to lead the team this season.

The Wingers return just one all-conference runner in Gage Lastine, a member of their 4x200 relay team who is coming off a knee injury, and he will be needed to provide leadership and experience.

"Our hurdling crew is probably going to be the strength of our team, which is kind of rare," Red Wing head boys track coach Adam Nelson said. "In the last five or six years, we haven't had a core group of hurdles that are as talented as we have now."

In addition to Lastine, Tyler Rea and Lucas Knowlton are also expected to provide sprinting depth. Darrick Jackson will return as a 400 and 800 runner while Frankie Drazkowski will compete as a sprinter and a high jumper. Knowlton, Joe Partington and Aiden Winn return in the 4x800 after taking ninth at the Section 1AA meet last season in 8 minutes, 44.02 seconds.

"I'm thinking our 4x800 will be the best at Red Wing in the past four or five years," Nelson said. "I'm hoping we can break that 8:30 mark this year. That'd be a huge step for those guys.

"The 4x4 will be better this year. Depending on who is stepping into that role, we have three of the four guys that were in it returning."

Winn, coming off a state appearance in the fall for the Red Wing cross-country team, has the talent to vie for a spot at the track and field state meet.

"Aiden Winn is going to be one of our leading runners this year, no question about that," Nelson said. "He's the leader of the distance runners. The junior class has really stepped up and been very positive leaders. We graduated a really strong group of seniors but (the juniors) stepped in and filled that void of the seniors that were there last year."

The Wingers' 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams each set school records in at the Missota Conference meet last year and while Nelson said he doesn't expect that to happen again, the talent is still there.

"They're filling in," he said. "I think we'll be pretty strong this year. I don't know who is going to step up and fill those spots but I think we've still got some guys who can step in and be successful for us. I think we'll be all right."

Red Wing is yet to practice on the high school track because of the snow but that doesn't mean the workouts can slow down.

"Our distance and kids have been doing all their work outside," Nelsons said. "The tough one is for the jumpers. We've been focusing on sprinting techniques, conditioning sprint drills; speed and conditions drills is what we've been working on.

"As coaches, you try to mix it up every day for them. So they're not getting bored of being in the gym. You go outside to warm up at least. It is tough though considering the last two years we've had all the equipment on the track by the first practice."

Red Wing's first meet is scheduled for Thursday at New Prague.

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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