The Minnewaska girls track and field team is looking to make up for lost time with a hungry, experienced group of athletes ready to get back at it after a standout 2019 season.

The Lakers have 24 girls returning from a program that won the West Central Conference championship, was subsection champion and the Class A state true team champion the last time they had a season two years ago.

“We are so excited to return to this spring season after missing last year,” head coach Jennifer Johnsrud said. “Our kids and coaches are hungry for some competition and anxious to get started. We have 24 returning athletes, along with 26 new faces who are eager to learn and compete for spots.”

Many programs in the state will find out which athletes worked hard on their own time during the months away from team competition. Minnewaska is no exception.

“After having a year off, our kids need to remember how to work hard and compete,” Johnsrud said. “Kids are resilient, but losing a year puts them behind in all the technical events.”

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Having good numbers puts Minnewaska’s program at an advantage as the Lakers try to pick up where they left off. Meet days will be competitive against many good programs in the area, but so too will practices.

“I strongly believe creating competition within your own program is the best motivation for success,” Johnsrud said. “I also feel being in the third year of bringing cross country back to Minnewaska will drastically show improvement to our middle and distance events.”

Johnsrud likes the athletes she has to work with, but there are holes to fill in the lineup. The Lakers did graduate some talented kids in 2020.

“We have big shoes to fill in several events including shot, discus, high jump, triple jump, and a basic all-around utility athlete who could compete in almost any event,” she said. “Filling all those holes will be a challenge.”

Johnsrud sees Morris and Melrose being the teams to compete with atop the WCC. Perham, Staples-Motley, Morris and Pequot Lakes should also be competitive come section tournament time.

2021 MINNEWASKA GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD

VARSITY ROSTER - SENIORS - Kristen Glover, Sydney Hagen, Metaya Jergenson, Masie Jordan, Julia Kuehne, Stephanie Langman, Bailey Schoen; JUNIORS - Ava Chevalier, Sydnie Chevalier, Emily Kaiser, Emma Kovarik; SOPHOMORES - Mikalyn Andreas, Alexx Carlson, Elsey Hagen, Molly Hjelm, Brooke Kolstoe, Mya Lindemann, McKenzie Luetmer, Serena Mellgren, Makena Thoen, Kiearra Wilmes; FRESHMEN - Izzy Bautista, Kylee Berg, Ayden Beyer, Molli Kozial, Brooklyn Meyer, Teagan Stark; EIGHTH GRADE - Sydney Perry

COACHES - Head coach - Jennifer Johnsrud; Assistant coaches - Jeremy Christensen, Linda Mills, Bailey Van Den Heuval

MINNEWASKA GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD SCHEDULE

April 8 Minnewaska Invite, 3:30 p.m.

April 15 at Minnewaska, 4:30 p.m.

April 22 at Sauk Centre, 4:30 p.m.

April 27 at BBE, 4:30 p.m.

April 29 at U of MN-Morris, 4:30 p.m.

May 6 at Minnewaska, 4:30 p.m.

May 13 at Sauk Centre, 4:30 p.m.

May 18 at Minnewaska, 3:30 p.m.

May 20 at U of MN-Morris, 4:30 p.m.

May 25 at WCC Tournament in Melrose, 2 p.m.

June 3 Subsection at Wheaton, TBD

June 10 Section 6A meet at Fergus Falls, 11 a.m.

June 18 State meet, TBD, 4 p.m.

June 19 State meet at Hamline University, 11 a.m.