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(PANA) — Members of the Pana High School girls track team are, in front from left, Ella Cutler, Nicole Arkebauer, Megan Scoles, Kady Perry, Abigail Cline and Brihna Edwards. Middle row, Morgan Beyers, Madison Eilers, Victoria Decker, Lilly Simpson and Jadyn Woolard. In back, Head Coach Taylor Cothern, Hayleigh Chorister, Grace Fitzpatrick, Lainey Hicks, Allison Murray, Madison Walter, McKea Rhodes and Assistant Coach Carol Schramm.
(Tom Latonis/Breeze-Courier Photo)
(PANA) — Third- year head coach Taylor Cothern of the Pana High School girls track team is going to be happy with a normal season this year. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has been havoc on the team and its schedule.
“There are five seniors and their last normal season was when they were freshman, so they are excited to have a normal year,” Cothern said.
Among those seniors, Cothern is looking for Kady Perry to return to pole vault form which can take her to state. She was also a member of the 4 x 4 relay which went to state last season. Allison Murray, who missed last season, is back and very strong. Cothern says she will compete in the horizontal jumps and the 800. Another strong athlete is Lainey Hicks returns as a high jumper and 4 x 4 relay team member. They will also try to fit her in for the open 400. All-around track athlete, Grace Fitzpatrick i a returner from last year and Cothern plans to use her in the 300 hurdles and discus. She will also be used to fill in for other events. Also returning is shot and discus thrower Madison Eilers.
Sprinter Jadyn Woolard leads the six juniors on this year’s roster. Cothern said she looks really strong and her form has really improved. McKylee Rhoades will give strong performances in sprinting and triple jumping. Bree Edwards is a sprinter, long jump and triple jump. Morgan Beyers returns and Cothern would like to her to fill in the spot vacated by graduate Jessie Gruber on the 4 x 4 squad.
New to the roster this year are juniors Ella Cutler and Victoria Decker. Cothern thinks Cutler will fit in almost any spot and Decker, although suffering from a leg injury right now, will be used in the sprint races.
For sophomores, Lily Simpson will take a sprinter roll and McKea Rhoades is the team’s lone distance runner at the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Megan Scoles will be a thrower and Hayleigh Chronister will work sprints and middle distance. Nicole Arkebauer will be a shot putter.
Cothern thinks the Panthers should pile up the points on the track, but feels they could also get points in the field events.
And the lone freshman on the team is Madison Eilers, who is out for track for the first time.
Cothern expects Litchfield to be nipping at Pana’s heels in the South Central Conference but feels there will be a lot of competition among all the conference teams.
Overall, there is a good feeling about this team, Cothern said.
“This team is made up of many different experiences, ability levels, and personalities. I think this brings a fun and exciting environment to both practices and meets,” Cothern said. “I have never seen a team more supportive of one another as I have with this team. I am confident that these qualities will help us through the highs and lows of the season.”