A Look Ahead: 2019 1A Girls State Track & Field

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Can Faith Novess nab four state titles?

When looking ahead at this year's state meet, it's a lot like looking into a mirror, because the team race looks eerily similar.

Shining Mountain Waldorf took the 2018 team title, and they're likely to defend their title this year. They return the best squad among their 1A competition. Last year's runner-up, Springfield, takes a hit to graduation, opening the door for Holly and Heritage Christian to battle it out for podium spots. 

Returning in the sprints are a slew of sophomores, led by Reece Unruh. Unruh was the runner-up last year as a freshman, and is the favorite to take the title this year. 

The 200 is where the name Faith Novess pops up for the first time. She's the defending state champion in the event, and she's likely to add a few more titles to her name this year. 

Likewise, Benisa Ellis is defending state champion in the 400, and most likely to run away with the title this year. She's got a clear second on the field. 

Speaking of freshmen making their mark on the state, Kobie Beanland is the top returner in the 800. She could claim the first of three consecutive titles in the event this year.

The distance events are where we see our first real hit due to graduation. Emma Schaefer dominated the 1,600 and 3,200 last year, but this year we'll see a new champion crowned. The most likely candidates in the 1,600 and 3,200 are Abby Leuchten and Olivia Jabari. The Shining Waldorf duo could sweep the distance events, giving their team much-needed points. 

But also keep an eye on Sophia Schuemann, she had a big cross country season, finishing eighth at State.

In the hurdles the woman to beat is Faith Novess, again. She won 100 and 300 hurdles last year, making her the clear favorite to claim the titles this year.

While three state titles already sounds insane, Novess may actually claim a few more, as she's the favorite in the high jump as well. She was third last year, but is the top returner.

On the other side of the spectrum the long jump looks to be a closely contested event. Julia Mondragon is the top returner, but not by much. She'll have to battle with MaKayla Baker, and sophomore Avery Palmgren for the title. Baker and Palmgren were one inch behind Mondragon at the state meet last year. 

The triple jump is an area where schools moving up or down in classifications will show it self. Claire Carlson is the top 1A returner from last year, though she'll have to battle Brooke Mertens, who's coming down from 2A. Both girls went over 32 feet at last year's state meet. 

In the pole vault Kyler Sweat is the top returner, though she'll have her hands full with Andrea Kuntz, who competed at state for the first time last year, and was just three inches behind her. 

The throws will see two new state champions crowned, as graduation cleared out the top of the podium. Makenzie Watts is the most likely to claim the discus, while Ryely Smartt is the favorite in the shot put. 

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