Girls Track: Lady Hubs bring back versatile, talented group

Sophomore Liberty Hayes will play an important role in the sprints and sprint relays for the Rochelle girls track and field team this season. (File photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle's season-opener scheduled for March 10 at Sycamore

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle girls track and field team will look to be competitive in several areas when the Lady Hubs lace up their cleats and burn the rubber this season. The Lady Hubs will open the 2020 season at the Sycamore Invitational on Tuesday, March 10. 

Rochelle finished the 2019 season with multiple strong showings including third-place performances in both the Landers-Loomis Invitational and the Woodstock Invitational. The Lady Hubs won the Ogle County Invitational before taking fifth in the IHSA 2A Rochelle Sectional under then first-year head coach Alison Vrana, who said she’s excited for this season.

“We have a strong group of returning athletes and we have a strong freshman class,” Vrana said. “We’re looking to be competitive in the sprints and the throwing events, and we’re also looking to compete in the triple jump and the high jump. Our distance crew has strong returners, but we also have several distance freshmen who are ready to compete. I’m looking forward to seeing the versatility of this group.”

Rochelle’s sprinters are headlined by sophomore Liberty Hayes and senior Macey Ryan, who qualified for the IHSA State Championships in the 100-meter dash last season. Senior Gabrielle Harding will return to lead the throwing crew after recording top-5 sectional finishes in the discus and shot put last season. Senior Maddie Ohlinger finished the 2019 campaign as a top-5 sectional triple jumper, and Ohlinger will lead Rochelle in the jumping pits this spring.

The Lady Hubs will feature sophomore Teagan Meyers in the high jump, while junior Afi Gati will return to the throwing crew after earning a top-5 sectional shot-put finish in 2019. Senior Britney Baez and sophomore Sara Johnson will be Rochelle’s leaders in the distance events. The Lady Hubs are excited for their first season as members of the Interstate 8 Conference.

“I think we’ll be competitive in the conference,” Vrana said. “We’re hoping for a top-3 finish in the conference, and I think we’ll be competitive in the Landers-Loomis Invitational, the Freeport Invitational and the Ogle County Invitational. We’re looking to get several athletes to the state meet. Gabby, Teagan and Liberty just missed the state meet last year and they will be stronger this year. Macey is also looking to return to state for the fourth year in a row.”

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