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2011 Spring Preview: Youthful New Life track team should have 'exciting year'

New Life Academy fifth-year head coach Lawrence Simmons said it's going to be an exciting year for the Eagles in 2011.

"We have a young and loaded team," Simmons said.

New Life formed a cooperative with Bethany Academy this year and Simmons said he's also excited about the new athletes joining the team this spring.

Last year, neither the New Life Academy boys or girls track and field teams were able to qualify an individual for the state meet as the Eagles' season came to an end at the Section 4A meet.

The New Life boys took 15th overall in the section, accumulating 14 points -- all coming from Dan Otto. Otto, now a junior, took third place in the 300-meter hurdles with a finals time of 43.20 seconds to score eight points -- but came up .22 seconds short of earning a state berth in the event. Otto's other six points for New Life came by way of a fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.36 seconds. Additionally, Mitchell Cherney placed 13th in the discus with a hurl of 109 feet, 8 inches in the final and took 11th in the shot put with a toss of 38-3.75 and Caleb Rollins also reached the finals for the Eagles, taking 16th in the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 15.91 seconds. The New Life girls track and field team was represented solely in the final by Amy Maslonka, who took 10th place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02.97. The Eagles girls did not amass any points toward the final standings in last year's section meet.

Otto and Rollins return to help lead the New Life boys team. Maslonka, an eighth grader, and senior Hannah Filipiak will lead the girls team. Otto, Rollins and Filipiak are team captains this year along with Joseph Domagala and Matthew Michaud.

The Eagles open the season on Thursday, April 7, at Concordia Academy of Roseville. The Minnesota Christian Athletic Association Championship meet will be held Saturday, May 14, at Richfield High School, followed by the two-day Section 4A Championships which happen Thursday, May 26, at St. Croix Lutheran and Saturday, June 4, at Macalester College.