The Dolores track and field teams are geared and ready to go for the 2011 season.
The Lady Bears placed fourth as a team last year at the Colorado 2A state championships and return a great amount of the 2010 squad. There are some new girls on the team this year, and coach Nick Kohler feels some of the underclassmen might even make it to state.
We should take just about everybody to state this year, maybe even some freshmen, Kohler said.
To make it to the state championships, one must finish in the top-18 of an event or a team must be top-18 out of all the Colorado 2A schools.
Returning from the 2010 state championships are junior sprinter and jumper Lexi Atkinson, and Rachel Beverlin and Michelle Kline will be strong in distance.
Atkinson is ranked No. 2 in Colorado 2A in the 100-meter and, like her coach, she feels expectations should be high.
I want to get top-3 at state in the 100 (meter and) for the team to be able to take state, Atkinson said about goals this season. For the 4 x 100, it would mean a lot because we have returning champions. I think it would be a great feeling if we could win in all our relays.
Cydney McHenry and Cortney Brunner return in the relays. The Lady Bears 4 x 100 meter relay medley team won the state title last season. Mindy McCracken will do jumps, sprints and relays for the Lady Bears.
For the Bears, it is mostly youth. Alex Bernholtz is a returning state qualifier in the hurdles.
This year Im hoping to get more practice time in and improve my time, and hopefully get a higher ranking, Bernholtz said.
Ethan Schwartz should provide some valuable experience in the half-mile and distance events.
Both those guys should go to state this year, Kohler said about Bernholtz and Schwartz.
As a team overall, Kohler thinks it can duplicate the success of last season and perhaps be even better. Kohler expects the girls to repeat as champs in the 4 x 100, and feels his Lady Bears can take state in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays.
The season takes off today at 9 a.m. in Farmington, N.M., at the Piedra Vista High School Invitational.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org.