Bulldogs have strong team dynamic

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Members of the MFL MarMac girls track and field team include (front, left to right) Mallory Lang, Evelyn Ruff, Hannah Bogdonovich, Ayla Gerndt, Amelya Weigand, Makayla Morrissey, Ava Lindner; (back) assistant coach Jess Brehmer, Melanie Ruff, Codie Luse, Abby Schellhorn, Jordyn Jones, Maria Stavroplus and head coach Kylie Sandstrom. Not pictured is Kaylee Walch. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The MFL MarMac girls track and field team’s strength will lie in its sprinters this season, but head coach Kylie Sandstrom said a larger roster will make the Bulldogs a distance threat too.


“We’re looking forward to expanding,” she said. “We’re going to be able to run some more events than we have in the past. It will be nice to see some 800s, some 4x800s, maybe the mile or two mile.”


The MFL MarMac roster has 13 athletes, five of whom are returners. That includes senior Abby Schellhorn, junior Melanie Ruff and sophomores Amelya Weigand, Ayla Gerndt and Kaylee Walch. Last season was the first high school competition for all of them, due to the pandemic, and it proved a valuable learning experience.


“Last year, they came in really terrified. And my sophomores this year didn’t have an eighth grade season, so that’s a big step too,” Sandstrom noted. “Now, I think their mindset is different. They’re not afraid. They’re eager to get going. They understand what I expect and they’re ready to give it their all at each practice.”


Many newcomers—and not just freshmen, but sophomores and upper classmen too—have also joined the Bulldogs. Sandstrom said it indicates the program is growing, and creates a unique team dynamic.


“When our team is supportive of each other, we do better individually. That’s what I strive for,” Sandstrom said. “Yes, track you do have a lot of individual events, but it is still a team event because we can’t do this—we can’t train—without one another.”


According to Sandstrom, each athlete is given a goal sheet at the start of the season, asking them what events they want to compete in and what they want to work toward. Each girl will re-visit that list three or four times. 


“I ask them, ‘Have we met any of these goals?’ If no, ‘What do we need to do to get to these goals?’” she said. “That’s exciting because they have something to look forward to.”


Sandstrom’s goals for the team include forging better athletes, better student athletes and better people. 


“Have a good work ethic,” she added. “Obviously, I want them to PR as often as possible, and making it to state is a very big goal, but we can’t do that without a team to push each other.”


The Bulldogs began their 2022 season March 25, at the Upper Iowa Conference indoor meet at Luther College. They’ll compete next at Postville, on April 5.


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Relays, field events among highlights for MFL MarMac girls at UIC meet


Relays were among the highlights for the MFL MarMac girls track and field team at the March 25 Upper Iowa Conference indoor meet at Luther College.


That included sixth place efforts in both the 4x800 and 4x200. A second Bulldog team also placed 12th in the 4x200, while a pair of groups were 11th and 15th in the 4x400.


Two top-10 finishes came in the field events, as well, with Maria Stavroplus and Evelyn Ruff going sixth and seventh in the high jump. Amelya Weigand leapt to 11th place in the long jump, and Abby Schellhorn and Jordyn Jones were a respective 11th and 12th in the shot put.


In the sprint events, Schellhorn raced to 14th in both the 55- and 200-meter dashes. Jones came in 17th in the 55-meter event and Ava Lindner placed 15th in the 200. Lindner additionally ran in the 400, where she finished 12th, ahead of 14th-place teammate Evelyn Ruff. Makayla Morrissey was the Bulldogs’ lone hurdler, finishing 17th in the 55-meter distance.

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