A roster totaling 62 athletes, including 16 returning varsity letterwinners and a crisp crop of talented freshmen and newcomers, will bring promise to an already flourishing Mustang team.
Last year, Menomonie finished in the top half of all regular season meets including wins at the Dunn County Invite, Menomonie Indoor Invite, Mustang Open, Mondovi Invite and Rice Lake Invite. They finished fifth in the Big Rivers Conference (BRC) and fourth at regionals.
The distance running core returns after making significant contributions last year and also coming off an exceptional 2016 cross-country season. The distance running core includes Grace Bilse, Emma Welch, Tyra Boettcher, Erin Schmidt, Madee Sorenson, Kaylynn Imsande, Tayia Wik, Annie Behrend and Ellen Peterson.
"This group is extremely hard working and put in a lot of time outside the track season to prepare themselves," coach Matthew Flug said.
Many of the distance runners can also be seen competing in the jump events which will be led by Tyra Boettcher, Ellen Peterson, Hannah Peterson, Elle Hemauer, Kylie Mogen and Madison Davis.
"These girls were competitive in our conference in their respective events and should give us a lot of depth to go along with our incoming athletes," Flug said.
Experience can also be found in the sprinters, but Flug said some newcomers will need to step up in this event this season.
Three hurdlers were lost last year to graduation, but Mogen and Destiny Halderman, along with some newcomers, will be competing for spots in this event.
Halderman will be looked at to lead in throwing events, along with Lili Higgins, Ally Heidermyer and Glacier Johnson. Flug believes several new athletes that plan on competing in the throwing events will assist in strengthening the group even further.
Pole vaulters will be led by Kayla Boettcher and coach Flug is excited to see how some newcomers perform in the event.
Rookie freshmen to watch include MacKenzie Flug and Isabelle Sorenson, who both have already proven their strengths in distance running and who Flug feels will contribute right away this season.
Another freshman, Mckinley Davis, will bring speed and athletic ability Flug believes she can use to contribute in several events.
Other freshman to keep an eye on are Victoria Harmston, Monica Link and Dyllen Brewer. All bring a great deal of athletic ability that will help contribute to the team right out of the gate.
Freshmen throwers already making strides include Erika Villeneuve, Teagan Bignell and Madison Rood.
Flug looks to Hudson as the team to beat this year, but says Eau Claire Memorial is always a strong competitor as well.
"We obviously would like to be in the thick of things and I think we have the numbers to get better this year," he said.
Flug enters his 19th season coaching overall and eighth year as head coach. He will also lead in coaching the sprint events.
He will be accompanied by a number of seasoned coaches which include Craig Olson, boys' track and field head coach and girls' middle-distance coach. Olson heads into his 18th season coaching and sixth as a head coach.
Other assistant coaches include Adam Topper (18th season, long-distance), Angie Wilson (14th season, horizontal jumps), Dwight McNaughton (sixth season, pole vault), Steve Jennings (fourth season, pole vault), Andrea Gores (second season, hurdles), Greg Anderson (first season, hurdles and high jump) and Drew Preusse (second season, throws).
Seniors: Cassie Banks, Kayla Boettcher, Gabriela Myklebust-Twohig, Marina Otano, Colby Peterson, Ellen Peterson, Hannah Peterson, Erin Schmidt, Addie Skyovbroten, Katie Trimble, Kaitlyn Trunkel, Addy Welch, Emma Welch, Tayia Wik and SaLeya Yukel.
Juniors: Annie Behrend, Delaney Bignell, Grace Bilse, Tyra Boettcher, Jessica Coffin, Kenadie Cook, Madison Davis, Elle Hemauer, Brianna Graff, Liliuokalani (Lili) Higgins, Allissa Hildebrandt, Chloe Jacobsen, Clara Kaufmann, Brianna Martin, Eva Olson, Celine Poplawski, Denisha Sanders, Lili Smith and Madeline Sorenson.
Sophomores: Mallory Cockeram, Destiny Halderman, Lexi Hastings, Kaylynn Imsande, Glacier Johnson, Kylie Mogen, Ally Neidermyer, Gwenyth Nold, Ally Register, Madison Rood, Sydney Stansbury, McKenna Thomas and Bryanna Witzel.
Freshmen: Holly Behrend, Teagan Bignell, Taylor Bistodeau, Dyllen Brewer, McKinley Davis, MacKenzie Flug, Payten Hardy, Victoria Harmston, Kalista Hoyt, Alyssa Kruper, Briella Kuester, MacKenzey Larsen, Olivia Leipnitz, Monica Link, Emily Morris, Skylyr Rappley, Isabelle Sorenson, Natalie Stewart, Nautica Vaughn and Erika Villeneuve.
The Menomonie team began their track season by hosting the Dunn County Invite on Thursday and continue with a "small schools" Northern Badger Invite at UW-Stout Saturday.