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Spring prep preview: Oak Harbor girls track
Unlike the Oak Harbor High School boys track team, the Wildcat girls return depth across the board this season.
"Our greatest strength is the experience our team brings to the table," coach Eric Peterson said. "We have girls in the sprints, distance, jumps and throws that have postseason experience."
Returnees Deja Bunch, Taylor Deconzo, Jackie Dejesus, Nalani Gabbert, Suzanne Kaltenbach, Alex Laiblin, Matti Miesle and Sierra Seabolt all placed in the 2013 Wesco meet.
Twenty-one other letter winners are back: Claire Anderson, Juliet Aspery, Geslyne Barretta, Zoeann Bassett, Amelia Berner, Mariah Bolander, Faith Callies, Rachel Crowther, Jinai Guzman, Jonalynn Horn, Olivia Hunt, Stephanie Kolden, Kaylee Lamb, Aubrey Lock, Hayley Lundstrom, Natalie McVey, Priya Osborne, Emily Schroeder, Hanna Schroeder, Lauren Vagt and Savanah Wilson.
The Wildcats include two of the area's top distance runners, Laiblin and Horn.
Laiblin finished sixth in the state in the 3,200 last spring. This past fall in cross country, Horn placed eighth and Laiblin 13th at the state finals, two of the best finishes ever by Oak Harbor runners.
With over 100 athletes out for track, it is too soon to evaluate what newcomers will have the biggest impact, Peterson said.
An added bonus of having a large group of returning team members, Peterson said, is "they know how to train and prepare" and "can help our younger kids."
"We're hoping for a finish in the top half of the league for sure," Peterson said. "Wesco has some great teams and we plan to be in the mix."
Glacier Peak and Marysville-Pilchuck should provide the strongest competition in the race to the Wesco crown, according to Peterson.
Oak Harbor hosts the Island Jamboree, which includes Coupeville, South Whidbey and Lakewood, at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20.