Whiteside once again looks forward to opening season

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

There is no real surprise in finding out that Augustana women’s track & field head coach Fred Whiteside is looking forward to the opening of another season. Whiteside, who will be entering his 24th year as the Vikings’ head coach, is always optimistic and enthusiastic.

“We think that, generally speaking, our team is well balanced with good people in every event,” said Whiteside. “We have lots of really good athletes who are willing to work hard and put in the time and effort that it takes to be successful. An offshoot of that is that our team has always done a nice job in the classroom as well and that makes this bunch very easy to coach.”

Whiteside has enjoyed tremendous success during his tenure with the Vikings, leading the team to 12 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin outdoor team titles and seven runner-up finishes. Just two years ago Augustana finished the season ranked 12th in NCAA Division III, according to the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association.

A year ago the Vikings placed fifth in both the indoor and outdoor CCIW meets. A roster that numbers 91 athletes, including 41 letterwinners is part of the reason for Whiteside’s optimism. He is also excited about the leadership provided by captains Brittney Bennett (Annawan HS, Annawan), Hannah Hottle (Monmouth-Roseville HS, Monmouth), Ella Mathieson (Lyons Township HS, LaGrange), Anita Maurer (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove), Brittany Prazak (Naperville North HS, Naperville), Meghan Reaney (Lincoln-Way Central HS, New Lenox) and Amy Walsh (Cary-Grove HS, Cary).

Hottle and Walsh were co-MVPs during both the indoor and outdoor seasons as voted on by their teammates.

SPRINTS – Junior Katie Bedene (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa) has the best time of the returning sprinters in the 100 and she will be pushed by junior Morgan Gale (Oregon HS, Oregon). Bennett had the best time on the team a year ago in the 200. Freshman Julia Popp (Rockford Boylan Catholic HS, Belvidere) shows promise of making quite a splash. Sophomores Katie Dinkel (Maharashi HS, Fairfield, Iowa), Jennifer Garrett (Glenbard North HS, Carol Stream) and Valerie Bach (Palatine HS, Palatine) are all coming off good freshman seasons.

Juniors Allie Scaggs (Petersburg Porta HS, Petersburg) and Rachel Latham (Burlington Central HS, Elgin) will handle the 400 along with Bennett, who had the second fastest time in the event last spring.

HURDLES – Senior Amy Walsh (Cary-Grove HS, Cary) was the top hurdler on the team last year in both the 100 and 400 hurdles. She was a conference placewinner in both events. The versatile Bennett will be used here as well.

Sophomore Emily Margosian (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville) had the second best time on the team in the 100 hurdles and third best in the 400 hurdles last year.

MIDDLE DISTANCE – Hottle has been a very consistent performer in the middle distances throughout her career and last year she was an NCAA Division III national meet qualifier in the 800. She was second in the CCIW in the 800 during the outdoor meet and placed third indoors. Sophomore Sarahbeth Jones (Warren Township HS, Wadsworth) placed eighth in the conference outdoors in the 800 and had the fastest time on the team in the 1500 in 2010.

Sophomore Annie Heifner (Oregon HS, Oregon, Wis.) had a fine freshman year and she combined with Hottle, Jones and the graduated Samantha Laskowski to set a new school record in the 3200 relay. Juniors Angela Pisani (York HS, Elmhurst,) and Melissa Lehpamer (Plainfield South HS, Plainfield) and sophomore Kirstillyn Pohlman (Zion- Benton HS, Winthrop Harbor) will provide solid depth in the middle distances.

DISTANCE – Sophomore Theresa Coverick (Stagg HS, Palos Park) was the top Augustana performer in both the 5,000 and 10,000 last year and she leads the distance crew. Maurer, junior Sarah Johnson (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa) and sophomore Tara Bistry (Joliet Catholic HS, Shorewood) are all capable distance runners. Bistry had the second fastest time on the team in the 5,000. Seniors Katie Ries (Iowa City Regina HS, Iowa City, Iowa), Kristin Sattizhan (Erie HS, Erie) and Hannah Schneider (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove) are all poised for good seasons. In the steeplechase, Hottle set a new school record last year while Heifner placed fourth in the CCIW.

THROWS – Junior Amber Gruber (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights) was a conference placewinner in the hammer last spring and she is the leader in the throws. She recorded the best throw on the team in discus and the hammer in 2010. Junior Catherine Foreman (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph) was the top javelin thrower.

Sophomore Bethany Siwek (Woodstock HS, Woodstock) had the best throw in the shot put so the Vikings will have the top throwers back in all four events. Sophomores Devon White (Indian Creek HS, DeKalb) and Jordan Mauerman (Albany HS, Albany, Wis.) will support Foreman in the javelin. Juniors Melanie Battistoni (York HS, Elmhurst) and Patricia Stoker (Niles West HS, Lincolnwood) will compete in the disc, hammer and shot.

JUMPS – In the jumps juniors Ella Mathieson (Lyons Township HS, LaGrange) was a double placewinner in the long and triple jump in the CCIW meet. She will be joined by sophomore Samantha Bazely (Rock Island Alleman HS, Coal Valley), junior Allie Scaggs (Petersburg-Porta HS, Petersburg) and senior Katherine Rowland (Libertyville HS, Libertyville). Seniors Kristin Klouda (West Chicago HS, Winfield) and senior Megan Lecander (Sherrard HS, Sherrard) are the top high jumpers on the team. Lecander and Klouda will be joined in the pole vault by junior Morgan Gale (Oregon HS, Oregon) and sophomore Taylor Tjardes (Gibson City/Melvin/Sibley HS, Gibson City).

HEPTATHLON – Tjardes and sophomore Jennifer Prazak (Naperville North HS, Naperville) will handle the