The Dunlap girls enter the spring track season as the team beat in the area. And likely the team to beat in the state.
The Eagles return a large number of athletes who helped them capture the state title last May like sprinter Kiara Pauli, distance runner Franny Verville and jumper Anise Sanja. And that makes Dunlap a marked team this year.
“During cross country, we had a target on our back and we won state (in November),” said Verville. “Last year (we won) for track. This year we’ll have that target again. It doesn’t factor in our nerves, it helps push us for the next race because we know people are looking at us.”
Verville, Sanja, hurdler Sara Georgieff and pole vaulter Sydney Bertschy are among the senior leaders on the Eagles.
“It’s not necessarily a target but we have to hold this reputation,” said Georgieff. “Our goal would be to hold the championship title. It is motivation.”
Clearly the Eagles are loaded with veteran leaders but they’ve also brought in some freshmen who figure to be key players in the teams’ quest to repeat.
“The great thing about this team is they make you feel part of the family, even if it’s your first year,” said freshman Delicia Chen, who is a part of the 4×800 relay team. “I feel inspired by those veterans like Franny. And all the seniors are a huge inspiration.”
Freshman Campbell Petersen finished second at the state cross country meet in November and is poised to be a key addition to the Dunlap track lineup.
“They set a very good example, they’re a very good team,” said freshman sprinter Jordan Stromquist. “It is nice to come in and know they are one of the greatest (teams). And they can push me to be the best I can be.”
The Eagles appear ready to fly once again. They’re hoping to eventually land in the winner’s circle at the state meet for a second year in a row.