By Fenwick head girls' track and field coach Dale Heidloff can't be too upset that one runner from last season's State-qualifying 800-meter relay team won't be returning this year. After all, his daughter Kristin Heidloff is now playing basketball at Georgetown.
But that doesn't mean the Friars this season won't be striving to better their sixth place finish at sectionals last year, the school's highest finish in history. The bulk of the history-making team returns this season.
Katie Feldman, Jessica Pieczynski, Lauren Shannon and Erin Power are back. Feldman, Pieczynski and Power ran the 800-meter medley relay last season, while Shannon replaced Heidloff in the 400. Feldman and Pieczynski will also compete in other events this season. Feldman qualified for State last season in the 400-meter dash with a time of :59.77, and will also compete in the high jump this season. Pieczynski is interested in competing in the triple jump this season for the first time in her career, although head coach Heidloff believes it's out of spite.
"Jessica tore her ACL playing basketball her freshman year a few years ago, and I told her it wouldn't be good to try and compete in this event (triple jump)," said Heidloff. "Well, now she wants to prove me wrong."
Fenwick looks to be strong in the distance events as well. Cailley Chakeen, a dominant cross-country runner, will compete in the 2-mile and possible mile, as will Claire Kissane. Heidloff said he's confident his 800-meter runner, Megan Koren, will qualify for State this season.
"She's been training real hard and looked good during the indoor season," he said.
The Friars will have Jackie Madden anchoring the field events. As a sophomore last year Madden finished third in the high jump at sectionals. She holds Fenwick's school record at 5-feet-2-inches, and has already cleared 5-feet twice during the indoor season.
With a bevy of returning distance runners, as well as jumpers, Benet and Carmel look to be the favorites again in the East Suburban Catholic League. Fenwick will try and better last year's third place finish.
"If we can get some of the younger runners to step up, who knows, we may have a chance," said Heidloff.
The Friars take on Leyden on Friday (4:30 p.m.), before a meet at Wheaton North on Saturday (Noon).