Gone are distance standouts Christine Bowlus, Juilana Green and Charlotte ter Haar. Jumping jack Kaitlin Clancy and versatile Josephine Devanbu also have graduated.
The last few years, those five former Blue Devils often scored enough meet points to help the Davis High girls track teams stand tall among the region’s best programs.
Boasting Sac-Joaquin Section championships in 2007 and 2008 and a second-place finish two springs ago on their résumé, DHS track coach Spencer Elliott hopes his distaffers can come back strong after a third-place CIF campaign a year ago.
For now, all eyes are on seeing who fits where — and how to win league.
“We expect to win the Delta Valley Conference,” Elliott explains. “As far as this year goes (in the sections), we have some great athletes and coaches. We’re gonna do the very best we can, and we’ll see what happens. The goal, however, is clear to everyone: We want to win another blue banner.”
Elliott admits, with the addition of cat-quick Grant and well-rounded Monterey Trail to the DVC, Davis has some work to do before hoisting that banner…
Freshman Sophie Meads — the only state-meet qualifier from girls cross country — could anchor the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events.
“We’ll see how she takes to the track,” Elliott says, adding, “Tess Williams and Laney Teaford should also have strong seasons on the distance side.”
With past section champs like Laurynne Chetelat, Chelsea Reilly, Sally Pinkner, Melanie Hiatt, Sarah West, Lindsey McLise, Green and Bowlus having gone before, the Blue Devils have a storied history in the longer events.
In recent years, as go the distance runners, so has gone DHS.
Elliott and his coaching staff are working with almost 100 girls to find the right combinations, figure out which events will have the most depth and what Devil groups work best in the relays.
“Every year we focus hard on all the variables we can control: designing workouts, getting kids into the correct events, creating a culture of high expectations,” Elliott says. “Sometimes the result is a SJS championship. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work out.
“The last couple of years, variables we can’t control (injuries, lack of certain event depth) have prevented us from winning.”
But Elliott says this year league realignment has “inspired us to make a few changes.”
Thanks to Grant and Monterey Trail coming aboard, Elliott thinks the DVC will be “one of the strongest sprint conferences in the state.”
With that in mind, the Devils are expected to load up in the 400 meters, creating depth there, and in the hurdles, in an effort to win valuable league and section points.
Hannah Krovetz is a quarter-miler who Elliott believes is turning into a half-miler: “If her training comes together, she could have a huge year.”
Maddie Trost will excel in the high jump — an event that Elliott believes will be her ticket to the state meet.
Senior captain Lauren Holtz, another quarter-miler, also is Elliott’s “much-needed” leader among sprinters and hurdlers:
“I say ‘much-needed’ because we have a massive group of young, inexperienced sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and vaulters.
“I don’t want to speculate on who will do what, but I promise some of these kids will rise to the top. Watch for Emilia Hamilton in the throws, too.”
Davis kicks the season off Wednesday with the Blue and White Intrasquad Meet at 4:40 p.m. at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium. Then March 5, it’s off to the Sacramento State High School Classic before returning home to host defending CIF champion St. Francis (and Jesuit for the boys) on March 9.
Notes: “Do we have a surprise package?” Elliott repeats a question. “It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you … we have so many athletes dabbling in different events. It’s tough to tell right now. I can say this: we have some excellent raw talent.” … In addition to Elliott, the DHS track and field staff includes Bill Gregg (distance), Jonathan Defty (hurdles), Leo Sacramento (horizontal jumps), Rick Harper (pole vault), Blake Lindsay (throws) and at-large assistants Pamela Del Pinal, Tim Groth, Gary Day, Adrian Gomez and Mark Nelson. Elliott handles sprinters and high jumpers.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com