With the addition of a pair of freshman cross country standouts, look for Colfax's girls' track and field team to make a strong showing in the distance events this year. The Vikings finished fifth in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference a year ago and will be without sprinters and jumpers Lindsay Jenson, Mikayla Scharlau and Shelby Sikora as well as thrower Meghan Lieffort, due to graduation.
The trade off is the addition of freshmen Dempsey Fogarty and Courtney Dressel who were the frontrunners for the seventh-place state girls' cross country team. Individually, Fogarty finished 11th and Dressel, 15th, at the state meet.
"We are excited to see what they can do for us in the spring," said fifth-year head coach Ryan Krall. "They have already shown us ability to be very coachable and hardworking, two attributes that we as a coaching staff do not take for granted."
Returning at the heart of the lineup will be mid-distance sophomore Dannielle Dachel, senior sprinter Hannah Hover, pole vaulter and hurdler Heidi Lieffort and relay specialists Ryleigh Prochnow and Brittany Rothbauer.
Hover was a two-event state qualifier for the Vikings last season despite little previous track and field experience while Lieffort returns as a two-time state qualifier in the pole vault.
"(Lieffort) is one of our steadiest athletes," said Krall. "We need her consistency to be successful."
While Prochnow has been a steady contributor for three years and a part of some of Colfax's best ever relay teams, Rothbauer earns her stripes as a "heart and guts" runner.
"There is never any doubt that (Rothbauer) will give you her best effort day in and day out, whether at practice or in competition."
Krall, the 2010 Wisconsin Track Coaches Association District 1 Coach of the Year, is assisted by Eric Kyles and Tania Fogarty.
While the Vikings are keeping their eyes on bringing home their first conference crown in three seasons, they'll need to overcome powerhouse Spring Valley as well as Mondovi, Elk Mound and St. Croix Central. Not to be counted out is defending champion Elmwood/Plum City.