Bulldogs have good mix of field, distance and sprint athletes

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Members of the MFL MarMac girls track and field team include (front, left to right) Ayla Gerndt, Amelya Weigand; (middle) Abby Schellhorn, Melanie Ruff, Alexis Ross, Clare Grau; (back) assistant coach Jess Brehmer, Kaylee Nuehring, Mackenzy Ruff, manager Emme Schroeder, Sadie Ewing, Ella Corlett and head coach Kylie Sandstrom. Not pictured is Kaylee Walch. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


A year removed from the cancellation of the 2020 high school track and field season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels good to be back, said Kylie Sandstrom, who returns as MFL MarMac’s girls coach.


“It’s been a lot of fun already,” shared Sandstrom, who’s joined this year by assistant coach Jess Brehmer. “We’ve had really good weather, so we’ve been able to participate more outside than we have in years past. We also have a really good group of girls. They work really hard together.”


The team will be led this season by seniors Mackenzy Ruff and Sadie Ewing. 


Although she’ll run in a few events, Ruff’s focus will be shot put and discus. Sandstrom said the goal is to make it to state in one, if not both, of those events. Ruff is also embracing a mentorship role.


“She just knows her ins and outs,” the coach noted. “It’s really great to have somebody to work with some throwers. She’s already working with some underclassmen.”


Ewing will be one of Sandstrom’s go-to sprinters, participating in the 100 and 200 meter dashes as well as some relays. 


“She’s always ripping and roaring and ready to go,” quipped Sandstrom.


Ewing will also run the 400 meter low hurdles, an event she tried for the first time at the end of her sophomore season. 


“Had we worked on it and worked on it and worked on it two years ago, we could’ve potentially made it to state there,” said Sandstrom. “As long as we can stay healthy, hopefully we can keep getting stronger.”


MFL MarMac has one junior, Abby Schellhorn, as well as two sophomores, Melanie Ruff and Alexis Ross. The remaining athletes are freshmen.


That young group includes Clare Grau, a state qualifier in cross country, along with Kaylee Nuehring, Ayla Gerndt and Ella Corlett, who are 800 and above runners.


“This is the first year I’ve had more people willing to run long distance. I think we’re going to have the potential for a really good 4x800 team,” Sandstrom said.


Freshmen Amelya Weigand and Kaylee Walch will be sprinters and feature in the Bulldogs’ relays. 


In addition to the 4x800, the 4x100 and sprint and distance medleys will be focuses, shared Sandstrom.


“I’m hoping we can get a couple relays pretty far this year. I’d really like to see the relays progress and work better together,” she added. “Track is an individual sport, but you also have to have a team to win a meet. The more events we can get ourselves into, the better chance we have of that.”


MFL MarMac will begin its season Tuesday, April 6, at Postville.

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