Warrior girls track and field team has goal of returning athletes to state

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The Central girls track and field team includes (front, left to right) Madylen Gregerson, Jaydin Dettman, Grace Kuehl, Taylor Moser, Aspen Rork, Oakley Armstrong, Savannah Orr, Marisa Rew, Reece Berns, Alivia Wiley, Coral Rork, Gracie Cummer; (back) assistant coach Jamie Reimer, Tori Sylvester, Layla Embretson, Staci Herman, Lexi Loan, Delaney Scherf, Eva-Rosa vanderHeide, Eva Embretson, Hannah Asche, Tessa Sylvester, Brooke Tieden, Alexis Thiese and coach Martha Bauder. (Photo courtesy of Blaker Photography)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


There are few constants in life, but one is Martha Bauder standing on the sidelines as coach of Central’s girls track and field team. While a slew of new coaches have entered the scene recently for the Warriors, Bauder, entering her 41st year, is firmly entrenched in the role and still getting excited, still working and watching the athletes improve under her tutelage. It’s clearly a calling, and after all, Bauder joked, “What would I do instead?”


This season comes with similar expectations that have become synonymous with Bauder, such as working hard, trying new things, setting goals and doing everything possible to accomplish them. That starts at the top. 


“As a coach, I expect to work hard to get every team member into events where they have the best chance to succeed,” Bauder said. 


The chance for success is aided by the makeup of the team, which includes five returning state qualifiers in Hannah Asche, Delaney Scherf, Jaydin Dettman Grace Kuehl and Tori Sylvester, along with alternate Eva Embretson. 


Central also returns five of its top six scorers from last season and welcomes four freshmen and a foreign exchange student, Eva van der Heide.


“Those girls, along with the other returning letter winners from last year, should provide a very sound team,” Bauder said.


More specific strengths for the team are in the mid-distance races with the returning 4x400 team and strong cross country group in the fold. Bauder also anticipates depth in hurdles and sprints should produce strong results. 


The one area of concern is the throwing events, where the team is a “little slim in numbers,” Bauder said. But she added they are “all good workers and should make good progress this year.” 


As for the jumping disciplines, the Warriors have several newcomers, but Bauder remained confident, stating, “they’re already catching on to the new skills nicely and look to have good potential for success for our field event scoring.”


A larger concern is the lower number of athletes in total, which, according to Bauder, “might impact how we end up each meet in the team score, as we might not be able to fill every event and we might need too many girls to be in four events, which could have an effect on times near the end of the meet.”


However, that doesn’t hinder how Bauder measures success, which is “often about the girls improving on their performances each week.”


“From a team standpoint, we would like to try to win meets that are realistic to win. Some meets are just way too many teams and too many 3A and 4A teams. But we would like to win the conference again and try to win the district meet,” Bauder explained. 


Achieving that goal will rely on several factors, such as the returning state qualifiers, who are “determined to return to state,” and the juniors continuing to add a lot of leadership and displaying a solid work ethic and competitiveness. The sophomores are asked to pick up where they left off last year and gain confidence throughout the season. Success will also depend on the small group of newcomers learning and improving every day. 


Additionally, success will depend on the coaching staff, which has some new additions this season. Joining Bauder are Jamie Reimer as the varsity assistant and a new junior high coach in Kelly Erickson. The team also has McKenna Jaster as a nearly full-time volunteer. 


“They are all very dedicated and focused on doing whatever they can to make our team the best it can be. Their energy will be huge in our success this year and keeping our program at the level we’re accustomed to,” Bauder said. 


A group of 23 athletes will look to accomplish the goals set forth by Bauder, specifically winning the conference and returning to state. 


“Improvements are daily and easily measured, so there is almost always daily positive feedback on a personal level. I feel like I try hard to find a place for everyone to feel successful,” Bauder said. “So far, it looks like we’ve got a nice team atmosphere going with a lot of hard workers, girls willing to try new things, girls wanting to set goals and do what it takes to go after them.”


The Warriors’ first meet of the season was March 17, in the Upper Iowa Conference Indoor Meet at Luther College.

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