East Peoria girls on track for fresh start

Bryan Veginski

East Peoria was anxious to  begin the April portion of its girls track and field season.

Hopeful that the changing of months would bring improved weather, the Raiders were looking forward to getting in a competitive outdoors mode.

“I’m really excited to get the season started and I think the girls are ready to go,” first-year EPCHS head coach Paul Cone said Friday.

East Peoria was set to begin the outdoor campaign Tuesday at EastSide Centre vs. Central.

The Raiders participated indoors March 12 in the Normal West Invitational at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center.

“I was pleasantly surprised. We had a lot of people in the top 10,” said Cone of East Peoria’s effort in the meet with 20-plus teams.

Junior Maddy Desjardins will be an asset in the shot put.

She also has taken on a leadership role helping organize the group of throwers.

Sophomore Rachel Hilton and junior Kearstin Burks are primary options in the sprints.

Junior Savannah McClure is a third-year pole vaulter who Cone thinks can score some points.

Eden Tornow, a sophomore, specializes in the long jump, triple jump, and high jump.

Junior Kaitlin Jenkins demonstrates potential in the distance events.

The rest of the Raiders’ roster includes: seniors — Zoi Metternich and Jacque Hogan; juniors — Brooke Bankes, Tina Sampson, Brooke Schroeder, Alex Gladson, Alise Williams, Cassie Hamilton and Sydney Boyles.

Sophomores — Kayla Burks, Brianna Williams, Echo Williams, Tatum Coyle and Alexa Scotti; and freshmen — Kayla King, Erin Troup, Nicole O’Donohue, Morgan Goode, Taylor Sharp, Madi Schroeder, Chloe Arnold, Sophie Cone, Rana Abdallah, Whitney Johnston, Jessie Lister, Piilani Noguchi, Maren Kelly, Alexis Reinders, Kaylee Ragon and Dakota White.

East Peoria was eighth last year in the Mid-Illini Conference with 8.5 points.

Williams and Hilton (4x200), Hogan and Jenkins (4x400) and McClure (pole vault) are returning point-scorers from the league meet.

“I don’t know how well we’re going to do conference-wise,” said Cone, who expressed confidence the team would register more points.

Morton has won the last three league titles. Dunlap likely enters as the 2014 favorite, with Metamora also in the mix.

The first M-I meet, which will be co-ed, is Tuesday at Washington.

East Peoria’s season continues Saturday at the Pekin Invitational.