Spring Sports Preview

VERMILLION — After an up-and-down season that saw the Tanagers send four relays to state, the Vermillion girls' track team is excited to begin what should be a good 2010 season.

The Tanagers graduated just two relay runners, Mariah Dodson and Karissa Martin. Martin was the lead leg on three of the team's relays, including the place-winning 400 relay.

"With a Dickens-style saga, our team had the best of times and the worst of times," Vermillion head coach Lenni Billberg said of 2009. "Our young kids really improved over the season, qualifying in all the relays except the 4×800. Our kids worked hard all season and performed all-out efforts, suffering a bout of bad luck."

But the Tanagers return 10 letterwinners, including four seniors. Seniors include Hannah and Sophie Nelich-Arobba, Kayla Munger and Sarah Day. Junior Janani Ragathoman returns, as do sophomores Emily McClelland, Elly Glover, Kylie Fischbach and Christine Epping.

"With the leadership of Kayla Munger, Sophie and Hannah Nelich-Arobba and Ashley Brunick, our team should really make their mark this season," Billberg noted.

Sophomore thrower Beth Syzmonski is also expected to be a key contributor, as are many of the younger athletes.

"We have a wealth of kids to draw from," Billberg said. "We are young and inexperienced, but hard-working and full of potential."

To put together a team capable of scoring big points at state, the team needs to solve the ever-challenging puzzle of who fits best where.

"We need to find the right relay balance," Billberg said. "We also have to stay healthy and continue to improve throughout the season."

Coaching with Billberg are Jay Drake, Len Griffith and Kelly Fischbach.

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