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Trojan girls boast 14 returning letterwinners

WORTHINGTON -- With 33 girls (grades 7-12) participating, including 14 experienced letterwinners, the Worthington High School girls' track and field team could be poised for another fine season this spring.

"We have excellent experience returning," says Trojan co-head coach Mike Traphagen, who is again teaming with Ken Henkels to guide the program. "We could have a very good season if we can fill all of the events. We should have good depth and be able to do that."

Leading this year's Trojans are the senior fivesome of Ashley Aggen, Katy Russell, Janna Morrow, Yolanda Salas and Beth Rabenberg.

Aggen, a talented three-sport athlete for the Trojans, was last year's Most Valuable Performer and leading scorer. Ashley has run times of 17.5 in the 100 meter high hurdles and 49.1 in the 300 low hurdles -- an event that she placed fourth in at the Section 2AA meet. Aggen was second in the conference last year in both hurdle events and has gone 31'1" in the triple jump.

Russell was seventh in scoring last season and was the team's Most Improved Performer. She is versatile and hard-working, as evidenced by her willingness to run any race from the 100 to the 800, including trying the 300 hurdles this year.

Morrow is a distance runner and a long jumper. She finished 11 th in scoring last season and was a fixture on the 4 X 800-meter relay team. Morrow has run well in both the 800 (2:38) and 1600 (6:01) and has gone 14'1" in the long jump. She will also be running in the 4 X 200 and 4 X 400 relays.

Salas and Rabenberg are both shot putters and discus throwers. Salas had a best distance of 34'5" in the shot last spring and placed ninth in the section meet. Radenberg whirled the discus a season-best 91'7" in 2006.

Junior twin sisters Jenna and Jessica Donkersloot give the Trojans more options in the weight events -- making for good competition within the team. Jessica tossed the discus 92'3" last season, while Jenna while best efforts of 95'10"(discus) and 32'1" (shot).

Jenny Mammen enjoyed a fine season last spring, finishing sixth for the Trojans in scoring. She had a best time of 27.9 in the 200 meter dash and will run the 100 highs this year too, as well as competing on the sprint relay teams.

Sophomores Mara Dixon, Sarah Suby, June Amundson and Anneli Dudley give WHS four more valuable returnees.

Dixon is a sprinter, who clocked a 1:05.2 in the 400 last year and will run both the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays this season.

Suby was 10th in scoring last season, having run a 2:34 800. With a good combination of speed and endurance, she may run on three Trojan relays this year.

Amundson clocked a 2:41 in the 800 last season and looks to improve as she helps solidify the WHS 4 x 800 team.

Dudley was the Trojan Relays Class AA pole vault champ last spring, clearing eight feet. She finished fifth in the conference with the same height. Dudley was the team's fifth-highest scorer last year and also runs the dashes and will be on the Trojan sprint relay teams.

Kaitlin Gerber and Rachel Malmgren are a pair of freshmen letterwinners, both excelling as eighth-graders in 2006.

Gerber was WHS's second scorer last season, having an outstanding year in the distance races. She was third in the conference in the 3200 and sixth in the 1600. Gerber finished seventh in the section in the 3200, running a season-best time of 12 minutes flat. She also ran good times in both the 800 (2:33) and 1600 (5:30) last year.

Malmgren, a sprinter and high jumper, scored the fourth most points for the Trojans a year ago. She ran the quarter in 1:04.5 and cleared 4'8" in the high jump. Malmgren will be a regular on the Trojan 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relay teams.

With a good mix of talent and event diversification among the letterwinners, the Trojans appear to have the punch to compete for meet titles all season long. Add in the possibility of several non-letter performers improving as the spring progresses -- and the WHS girls have the potential to become a very good team this season.

The breakdown in total numbers for the Trojans is: nine seniors, six juniors, seven sophomores, three freshmen, five eighth-graders and three seventh-graders.

After an indoor meet at St. Peter (Gustavus Adolphus College) yesterday, the Trojans head to Mankato Tuesday for another indoor meet, before opening the outdoor season April 7 at Brandon, S.D.

Worthington hosts its annual Invitational meet April 26 and the Trojan Relays are in town May 10.