Seniors leading Manchester girls track team to success
NEW FRANKLIN — Manchester girls track head coach Steve Schaadt said his team’s success this season has been a surprise even to him.
“I expected the girls to struggle a bit, but they didn’t,” he said. “They came together as a team and they all contributed. When I do the stats at night, I see that they all contributed points. Every girl is doing her part.”
Schaadt said he has seen plenty of improvement since the season began, and he attributes at least part of that success to his upperclassmen.
“The seniors set a great example for the team,” he said. “The sophomore class is loaded with talent and will develop, but the senior leadership has been critical this season.”
During the regular season, Manchester finished 5-2, which was good for third in the PAC-7.
“The losses were to CVCA [Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy] and Triway,” Schaadt said. “In the league meet Friday [May 11], the girls ran extremely well and maintained their third-place finish. I was extremely pleased with how the girls finished on Friday. All their times were good; all of their distances were good. I couldn’t have asked anything else out of them.”
Next up for the team is the district meet, which will take place in an unfamiliar location for the Manchester team.
“I’ve coached for 13 years, and for all 13 years we’ve always gone to Orrville for districts,” Schaadt said. “This year, we’re going to Salem for districts. The goal, obviously, is to place in the districts and to get in the top four and to move out to regionals. Hopefully, we’ll have some regional runners.”
One of the team’s athletes with an excellent chance of advancing, Schaadt said, is senior Hannah Boss.
“She finished fifth last year at regionals in the 300 hurdles, and she qualified also in the 100 hurdles,” he stated. “She was only one place away from making the state track meet last year, and her times are even better now than they were last year in all of her events.”
According to Schaadt, the team is led by the seniors, including Boss (hurdles, sprint relays) and Cassie Davis (mid-distance, distance), Maria Knaus (sprints), Michelle Noble (field) and Taylor Massey (hurdles).
“The seniors that I have on the team have contributed since they were freshmen, which is kind of rare for track, considering the age difference of a 14-year-old competing against an 18-year-old,” the coach said. “So many of the seniors that I have this year have school records.”
Two junior leaders for the team, Schaadt said, have been Alyssa Edwards (hurdles, long jump) and Jenn Forte (mid-distance, distance).
“Alyssa, amazingly, didn’t even want to run this year. She’s run the last two years, and I convinced her to run again this year. She’s been one of my lead-off long jumpers, and she’s contributed in high jump. She can also do the hurdles. She’s been a big help,” the coach said. “One of the weak areas on the girls team for a lot of years has been distance, and Jenn has been consistently contributing to the 2 mile or the mile or the 4x800 relay team. Without her, the girls would be hurting in that spot.”
One newcomer to the team who has played a key role is freshman Brittni Porter (field, sprints).
“She will be the only freshman to letter this year,”Schaadt said. “She’s always willing to do whatever the team needs.”
The coach said his sophomore class — including Stevie Muscarella (sprints, mid-distance), Madison Masters (mid-distance), Madison Logan (sprints), Karley Dougherty (sprints) and Colleen Cummins (hurdles) — has been “really strong” so far.
“After the seniors graduate, I’m going to lean on that sophomore class to develop,” Schaadt stated. “It’s a young group that’s developing, and within two years it will be an exceptional team.”
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