With 44 athletes on the current roster, the Park girls track and field team won't be the biggest or best in the metro this season, but with a handful of top-notch athletes the Wolfpack could be fun to watch in 2013.
"When you look at this team it may seem small but the selection of girls that are out are committed, dedicated, and focused on success," said Matt Maher, who is in his ninth year as head coach of the Park girls track team. "I really feel that we have a balanced team with athletes in all areas that can make the season interesting."
Park's roster is comprised of 10 seniors, 10 juniors, eight sophomores, and 16 freshmen.
"We have some really great additions to our team at the 9th and 10th grade to blend with the returning athletes," Maher said. " We need to find events for these new athletes that will help Park track and field as a whole. We are building upon the little successes that we have to create larger ones."
Leading the way for the Wolfpack this season will be juniors Temi Ogunrinde and Katelyn Floysand and freshman Allison Gorres.
Last season, Ogunrinde took third place in the 400-meter dash, earning All-State honors, with a personal-best time of 57.27 seconds - which is third on the Park all-time list in the event. The Park school record in the 400 is 56.22 seconds, set by Sue Chopskie in 1986.
In addition to winning the section championship in the 400 last year, Ogunrinde also placed sixth in the 200-meter dash and helped the Wolfpack's 800-meter relay team earn fifth place - along with eighth Gorres, Floysand and current senior Sharmaine Turner.
Gorres will also be one to watch in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes this year. She took fourth in the 100 and seventh in the 200 at sections last year as an eighth grader.
Floysand is Park's top returning hurdler. She reached the section finals in the 300-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles last year.
Other key athletes this spring include: senior Gabrielle Fitzgerald, sophomore middle-distance runner Lindsay Kothe, senior middle-distance runner Larissa Lurken, freshman distance runner Cameron Anderson, seniors Brooke Anderson, Alea Berube and McKay Zurn, juniors Jaclyn Glazier and McKenzie Greeder and sophomore Hannah Schwartz.
Overall, Park finished in eighth place in the 10-team conference and eighth place in the 16-team section last year. Though it lost Karen Banks, Megan Bresnahan, and Nicole Laabs to graduation, Park should improve on those finishes this year. Park also could be a contender in the True Team Section meet on Thursday, May 9, at Stillwater High School.
Stillwater, Mounds View and Roseville are expected to be the teams to beat in the Suburban East Conference this year. In the section, the top teams will likely be Eastview, Eagan and Prior Lake.
Park's first home meet is set for Wednesday, April 17, at Wolfpack Stadium.