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Girls' track team shows much growth

Several athletes earned West Central Conference South honors including Courtney Gades (honorable mention), MaKenzie Smith, Kourtney Giese, Julia Sauder, Rachel Moser, and Kelsey Loew (honorable mention). Others not pictured are Sarah Kuhn and Hunter Mundal (honorable mention).2 / 2

A group of senior athletes led a growing Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta girls' track and field team to a successful 2011 season.

Erica Domnick, Rachel Moser, Kelsey Loew, Sarah Kuhn, Marti Koehl, Rory Anderson, Sarah Ritter, and Lauren Starling played a big part in the Tigers' many accomplishments this year.

"I really appreciate their leadership and hard work," head coach Mark Ekren.

"It was an exciting season, but it went fast," added Ekren. "I'm really looking forward to next year."

The team has steadily grown in numbers since Ekren became head coach four years ago.

This season's seniors were freshman when Ekren took over.

"We grew together," he added. "Those were some exciting and fun years."

Sarah Kuhn ran the 400, as well as the 4X800 and 4X400 relays.

"She had a fabulous season," Ekren said. "She ran like she did as a sophomore. I was very impressed with her senior year."

Erica Domnick participated in the weight and high jump events.

"She had a fabulous year," said Ekren. "Two years ago she said she was going to sections, and she worked hard and put extra time in to make it happen."

Kelsey Loew was an integral part of the Tigers' relays.

"She had a great year," said Ekren. "She always led by example... hard work, dedication, and practice."

Marti Koehl was a discus and shot put thrower.

"She really came a long way in the last two years," said Ekren. "She improved her shot and discus a ton. She's got a great attitude."

Sarah Ritter was a sprinter for the Tigers.

"She always had a big smile on her face at practice."

Rory Anderson also threw shot put for the Tigers.

"Rory led by her actions and hard work."

Rachel Moser was the Tigers' state entrant where she won gold in the pole vault.

"Rachel is a fabulous athlete. She's very calm and cool," he explained. "She's one of the most coachable kids I've ever worked with.

"She's got a great attitude on top of her athletic ability."

The team's only junior, Julia Sauder, will serve as next season's captain.

"Julia had another super year," said Ekren. "She's a staple in our program. She's very hard working and dedicated."

Several sophomores joined the team this season including MaKenzie Smith, Courtney Gades, Cassey Hickman, Mickenley Nagel, Miranda Day, and Ali Morehouse.

"We had some new sophomores that played a big role this season," explained Ekren. "Those girls blended in great with our sophomore veterans."

Returning sophomores are Darcy Aronson, Tahni Jungst, Laura Kuhn, Davonte Robertson, Hailey Kotts, Liz Schneider, and Kaylee Brandt.

Freshmen on the team are Abby Travis, Rani Bezanson, Summer Pelowski, Kjersa Anderson, Rebekah Aanerud, Adrianela Mendez, and Hunter Mundal.

At the junior high level are eighth graders Haley Hennen, Kourtney Giese, Kindra Cannon, Shala Nyvold, Kelsey Curfman, Liz Tiernan, Melinda Schmidgall, Maddie Van Batavia, Hailey Thielke, and Ashley Kries.

Seventh graders are Diana Nelson, Kelly Huot, Haley Erdahl, Shayla Schmidgall, Moira McNally, Mallory Arnold, Anika Mundal, Rachel Rausch, and Liz Mendez.

Ekren had help from assistant Vicki Cannon.

"She is awesome," he said. "I'm lucky to have a great assistant coach."

He's also grateful for the help from boys' coaches, Dale Henrich and Tim Cannon.

Ekren said they all appreciate the work that outgoing athletic director Mary Holmberg has done for the program.

"She has done great work as AD, and we appreciate it."