Once again the Wauwatosa East girls track and field team will be competing short-handed this season, but coach Nancy Braidigan is hoping the Red Raiders can change that next year.
'I feel like a broken record when it comes to this part,' she said. 'It will be another year without a full varsity squad so that is a little disappointing. We are still lacking in the areas of hurdles, pole vault and throws for varsity. There are girls trying things out so hopefully they will develop well over the course of the season and I won't have to say those same words next year.
'It takes a lot of hard work and patience to get good at some of these events and for some reason we are lacking that. We do have some major holes to fill left by our graduates. Hopefully the youngsters are up for the challenge.'
Braidigan will have seven returning letter winners: seniors Maddie Fisher, Claire Gordee, Nicole Kashian, Andrea Schaefer and Emma Watson, junior Jordy Schmidt and sophomore Hailey Krahn.
'Even though we are almost done with indoor it still seems early to tell for some of our newcomers,' Braidigan said, 'but we like what we have seen out of sophomore distance runner Natalie Schudrowitz for sure.
'There are a few freshmen in the sprinter group that might be able to fill some of the shoes left behind by our graduates. It is nice to have a decent size freshmen group come out this year as well as a few new sophomores and juniors out for the first time. With a little effort and hard work some of them may be able to contribute quite a bit.'
Braidigan talked about how off-season conditioning could affect this year's team.
'The majority of our distance crew has been working out over the winter so they should be strong again this year as long as they can stay healthy,' Braidigan said. 'A few sprinters did get into the weight room to build up their strength, which is going to be key for their success this season.
'Those winter workouts are a necessity to stay away from injuries, which plagued us in the latter part of the season last year. As usual, we have a great bunch of girls to work with so it is exciting to see what will happen over the next few months.'
The Red Raiders competed in the Waukesha South Relays on Saturday, finishing ninth (30.50) out of 10 teams. Brookfield Central edged Franklin for the title, 84-79.
The distance medley of Watson, Kashian, Schmidt and Schudrowitz took first in 11 minutes, 38.69 seconds and accounted for one-third of the Red Raiders' team score. The six-lap relay of Fisher, Reina Anderson, Laura Dillon and Gordee finished third (2:26.53), exciting Braidigan.
'Obviously the distance medley did great and the six-lap was a nice surprise,' she said. 'Relays probably are not going to be one of our strong points this year, but overall I pleased with the girls' efforts.
'It was a fairly decent showing for us Saturday. We are still trying to figure out spots on varsity so we were trying a few things at this meet.'