Despite the loss of many talented graduates, the Andover Girls Varsity Winter Track expects to compete with the best of the best this season. The loss of many key runners, especially Captain Katie Dlesk ’03, lingered on their minds, but with inspiration from this year’s Captain, Jackie Latina ’04, and some exceptional times and distances at time trials, the Lady Blue Tracksters are regaining confidence. Before break, after fewer than two weeks of practice, the team ran time trials see where they stood in terms of future meets. Time trials allow new members to find their niches on the team, and they allow returning athletes to judge their fitness and get a benchmark time for the season. Latina has high hopes for this season’s track team, which is filled with “very talented people.” She added, “At first I thought that it would just be a rebuilding year. We lost a lot of people, Erin [O’Hern ’03], Katie [Dlesk ’03], Courtney [McBride ’03], and Anne [Riordan ’03]. However we don’t have many meets, so I think we will have a lot of time to improve and work harder.” High jumper Cassie Tognoni ’05 said, “The loss of Katie is definitely hard on the team, and Jackie has been filling those shoes really well. I’m not that worried anymore. The time trials gave me a bit more confidence… a lot more confidence.” Hoppy Maffione ’04, Lissy Robie ’04, Celia Alexander ’04, Courtney Blackwell ’06 from the Andover Cross Country team are running track this year. Maffione, Blackwell, and Alexander all placed exceptionally well at Interschols, where the Andover Cross Country team came home with Second place. Robie, who missed the end of the XC season with an injury, may be the squad’s fastest. “I’m really looking forward to this season,” 600 yd specialist Becca Howe ’06 said. “We’ve got a lot of talent on the team, ranging from juniors to seniors. As the season goes on, everyone is just going to get better. Our team is shorthanded, but we are experienced veterans and strong runners.” Junior Class hurdle record holder, Marty Schnure ’06, said, “We graduated a huge chunk of talent last year, but by the looks of it, there are lots of underclassmen stepping up to fill those empty spaces.” Schnure, veteran Cassie Tognoni ’05, and newcomer Karen Schoenherr ’07 were the only girls to hurdle at time trials. They flew across the finish line with speedy times all under 10 seconds in the 50 yard race. The veterans, Schnure and Tognoni, tied. Both girls are exceptional hurdlers, and this season will surely bring exciting competition between the two. With the loss of so much speed from the sprinting ranks, Captain Latina will need help in filling the flats of Dlesk, McBride and Riordan. Lexi Dwyer ’04 will certainly lend a hand not only in the sprints but in the high jump, as well. Schnure said, “She has jumped 5’5” in high jump, which is the New England record, and she is doing the 4×4 too.” Tognoni added, “Lexi is going to be a force for us this term in the sprints and high jump. We lost a lot of sprinters last year, and she will make up that void in the team.” With sturdy results from time trials and team confidence, the Big Blue Ladies look forward to start their official season with a solid performance at the Dartmouth Relays on Saturday.