Mustangs out to defend 2013 championships

The Mounds View High School girls track and field team won three of the four biggest meets of the season last year. The Mustangs return nearly 30 letterwinners from 2013 and appear to be more than capable of successfully defending those titles.

The state True Team competition has become the gold standard for the Mustangs and the first step in that goal is qualifying for the meet. The best way to do that is to the win the section True Team meet, something Mounds View did last year and is training for again this spring.

“We are striving to qualify for True Team State and finish top three,” said Mounds View co-head coach Aaron Redman. Redman and fellow co-head coach Scott Ylkanen are in their 11th season leading the Mustangs.

Mounds View returns 28 letterwinners from last year’s team. Ten of those earned All-State honors in 2013. In terms of Suburban East Conference honors, the Mustangs return nine all-SEC athletes and seven who were honorable mention all-SEC.

Mounds View’s strengths lie in the throws, relays and distance races. Veronica Rasmussen returns after earning All-State honors in the discus and setting the school record in the shot put last year. Rasmussen finished fifth at state in the discus and recorded a put of 42 feet, one inch, to establish the school record.

Cassidy Smestad is back after garnering All-State honors in the shot put. Smestad took ninth at state in the shot put.

Back to lead the relays are Nicole Geist and Elizabeth Menne, both of whom were two-time All-State honorees in 2013. Geist and Menne teamed up with Nicole Balzer and Annalee Blake to finish seventh in the 4x400-meter relay and joined Mikayla Toninato and Rachel Boyer to place ninth in the 4x100-meter relay.

Mounds View’s top distance runners are Carly Bandt and Natalie Notwatzke.

Among Mounds View’s other big meet victories last year was its first-place finishes in the Section 5AA state qualifier and the Suburban East Conference meet. Last year at conference, Forest Lake and Stillwater took second and third, respectively, and Redman expects them to contend again this year.

“We should be able to compete strongly in defending the conference championship,” Redman said.

The Mustangs opened their season on Saturday in the “Last Man Standing Meet,” which was originally scheduled for Mounds View, then moved to Totino-Grace and finally actually took place indoors at Bethel University. The next varsity competition on the schedule is a five-team home meet featuring Suburban East Conference foes Roseville, Forest Lake, Stillwater and Woodbury on April 15.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

2014 Mounds View High School girls track and field schedule

April 15    vs. Roseville, Forest Lake, Stillwater, Woodbury    3:45 p.m.
April 22    Joe Lane Invitational at Minnetonka        3:30 p.m.
April 25     at Hamline Elite Meet        5:30 p.m.
April 26    at Hopkins True Team meet        11 a.m.
April 29    at Totino-Grace invitational        3:30 p.m.
May 2    at Wayzata relays        4:15 p.m.
May 6    Section true team meet        3:15 p.m.
May 8    at Roseville invitational        3:45 p.m.
May 16    State true team meet at Stillwater        4 p.m.
May 20    Suburban East Conference prelims at East Ridge 3:15 p.m.
May 22    Suburban East Conference finals at East Ridge    4:15 p.m.
May 28    Section 5AA prelims at Hamline        2 p.m.
May 30    Section 5AA finals at Hamline        11:30 a.m.
June 6    State meet at Hamline        9 a.m.
June 7    State meet at Hamline        9 a.m.

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