Six returning varsity veterans will headline overall young Kee girls track team for 2015

2015 Kee girls track team: Left to right - Front row: Rebecca Muzel Abuchain, Kristina Mooney, Annie Dibert, Rachel Richards. Second row: Maddie Gruber, Claudia Mathis, Nicki Wood, Annika Stahl. Third row: Jordyn Burroughs, Sierra Schobert, Sydney Strong, Cheldyn Stanley. Back row: Kendra Cooper, Val Meyer, Chloe Severson, Ashley Schwartzhoff. Photo courtesy of the Kee High School Yearbook.

With some of its largest numbers in both overall team members and returning letterwinners, the Kee girls track team looks to continue to make strides forward during its 2015 season. Coach Chad Winters welcomes 16 girls to this year’s squad, with six of those being varsity letterwinners returning from last season.
“Sixteen girls is a good number for us,” Coach Winters said. “It will allow us to fill more events and have different combinations or relays. All of the girls have been working extremely hard up to this point. The weather is starting to cooperate, so we are able to get outside and get more things done.”
Those half dozen returning letterwinners all come from the same class, as six sophomores make up the entire list of veteran returnees this season. Jordyn Burroughs, Madelyn Gruber, Claudia Mathis, Rachel Richards, Sierra Schobert and Sydney Strong each return with a pretty good mix of experience in a variety of events from sprints to field events.
“The six sophomores are my returning letterwinners,” Coach Winters said. “I look for them to set a good pace during the workouts at practice and to demonstrate leadership.”
Trying to add to that leadership will be just a trio of upperclassmen who won’t necessarily bring an abundance of added track and field experience but, instead, high school experience as juniors and seniors. Val Meyer is this season’s lone senior, and Kristina Mooney and Rebecca Muzel Abuchain are the only two juniors reporting for early-season duty.
Even though the Hawks graduated just one senior from last year’s squad, Ellie Heiderscheit took with her an abundance of distance running experience and success, including State Meet qualification and a school record time in the 3,000 meter run. “With Ellie Heiderscheit graduated, we will need to find a couple girls that can step up and fill that void in the distance races,” Coach Winters explained.
This season’s freshman group will provide the Hawks’ largest class number with seven girls, many of whom, despite being the youngest members of the crew, bring with them experience at high levels of competition from this past summer’s Class 1A State Softball Tournament Runner-Up finish and the recently completed run to the brink of a Class 1A State Basketball Tournament berth and a new single-season record for wins in a girls basketball season. “The group of freshmen will be a nice addition to the team,” Coach Winters said. “They bring a lot of athletic ability that will mix in good with the grades above them.”
Though young overall, Coach Winters sees this season’s mix of competitors as making a strong overall bid toward every team’s goal at the end of the high school track season. “This group of girls has seen a lot of success in athletics,” he remarked. “They are not afraid of working hard, which is a huge benefit in track. I want to see improvement during the season, which should allow us to have an opportunity to qualify events for the State Track Meet.”
The Hawks got an early start to this season, as their Upper Iowa Conference (UIC) Indoor Meet initially scheduled for Monday, March 23 at Luther College in Decorah was bumped up an entire week. That Monday, March 16 UIC event will give the Kee girls an early taste of what to expect throughout this season. “Central Elkader will once again be tough this year,” Coach Winters said of the outlook for the Upper Iowa Conference season.
Following that Upper Iowa Conference Indoor Meet, the Hawks will then have more than two weeks to prepare for their first outdoor meet of the season. That next Kee competition is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 at North Fayette Valley in West Union.