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2014 Spring Preview: Goertzen, Ness, Betz, Joiner expected to run well for East Ridge girls track team

The fleet-footed East Ridge girls track and field team won’t look much different from the one that made serious strides last season.

East Ridge brings back a majority of competitors from last year’s team, which finished in second place in Section 4AA and sent 11 athletes to the state meet. The Raptors also finished fourth in the Suburban East Conference and second in their True Team Section meet.

“We have a great core group of girls returning this season,” said Lloyd Ness, who will be the team’s co-head coach this season along with former Park and University of Minnesota standout jumper Kelsey Joson. “We are excited to improve in the conference meet this year and hope to send just as many if not more girls to the state meet in June.”

Heading the list of returners includes juniors Brenley Goertzen and Emily Betz, senior Bailey Ness and sophomore Karina Joiner.

Goertzen was the Suburban East Conference champion in the 800-meter dash, an event she also earned all-state honors in at last year’s Class AA state meet, taking eighth place with a time of 2 minutes, 17.86 seconds.

Along with Goertzen, the East Ridge girls distance runners should again be strong. The East Ridge girls cross country team finished third in the state this past fall. Betz and Ness will be expected to lead the way in the long runs.

Betz won the 3200-meter run SEC championship with a time of 11 minutes, 25.43 seconds, last season and went on to take 12th place in the state with a season-best time of 10:59.76 in the finals. Betz also helped East Ridge’s 3200-meter relay team take 14th in the state with a time of 9:39.37. Others on that squad were sophomore Olivia Hummel, senior Sandra Gramer and Ness — all of whom return this season.

East Ridge sophomore Karina Joiner should also be one to watch. She won the 100-meter hurdles at the section meet and took fourth in her first heat at state with a time of 15.65, but fell just short of qualifying for the finals.

East Ridge will be captained by senior Kiera Joiner, Ness, Gramer and Brianna Schmitt this season. Other athletes to watch not yet mentioned include seniors Jordan Weiss and Jaden Vogelgesang, juniors Reme Abulu, Katie Marcus and Raven Tittle.

East Ridge will need to replace 2013 graduates Megan Amend, Jamila Joiner, Taylor Jackson, Hannah Pignato and Sarah Press, however.

The teams to beat in the conference and the section this year are expected to be Stillwater and Roseville.

—Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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