SLP/SAV track teams numbers soar

The Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village co-op track and field teams are dealing with a good problem this spring. The number of athletes who came out for the squads are at record levels, which makes it a lot more work for the coaching staff, but also bodes well for the health of the program.

Second-year head coach Jason Liston and his staff would prefer it this way to not having enough team members.

"With a young and large squad, just managing the day-to-day will be a challenge," Liston said. "But we welcome the challenge."

Another challenge for the Panthers this season is competing in a new conference. Both teams finished second at the North Suburban Conference meet last year and this season compete in the Northwest Suburban Conference. Most of the schools in the new league are much larger than the ones SLP/SAV used to face in the North Suburban.

"As we move to the 14-team Northwest Suburban Conference, we are looking to make an impact right away," Liston said. "We have a team that is poised to come into it own after being very young in 2014."

The goal for both Panther squads is top five at the conference meet and top three at the section true team meet.

Among the strengths of the teams this spring are the distance runners.

"Our distance squad has a base of some great performers who yielded some great points last year," Liston said.

One of those top distance runners is St. Anthony Village High School senior Nick Lawson. He won a conference title and placed at sections in 2014 and is in the top 10 all-time in program history in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. He has also competed at state in cross country and Nordic ski racing.

Another St. Anthony athlete set to provide points is senior Charlotte Wolf, a sprinter and long jumper. She is a multiple all-conference honoree and ranks in the top 10 in program history in a number of events.

Kalli Weibusch is a St. Anthony sophomore who is also a top sprinter. She was expected to contribute last season, but an injury cut her season short.

Team chemistry is another positive for this year's teams, according to Liston.

"We have a very tight-knit group of athletes that really supports and cheers one another on," Liston explained.

The Panthers opened the season last week with a dual meet at Irondale. The meet was dubbed the "Battle for the Golden Spikes" as both teams competed in a new rivalry event.

SLP/SAV edged the Knights 310-308 to win the boys' title, but Irondale topped the Panthers for the girls' championship.

The Panthers are in action twice this week, starting on Tuesday with a home triangular against Andover and Totino-Grace. On Friday, they travel to Cottage Grove for an invitational at Park High School.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


2015 Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village track and field schedule

April 24    at Park invitational    3:45 p.m.
April 28    at Buffalo invitational    4 p.m.
May 1    Home invitational    4 p.m.
May 5    Section true team at Mounds View    4 p.m.
May 12    Relay meet at Irondale    4 p.m.
May 19    NWSC prelims at Coon Rapids    3 p.m.
May 21    NWSC finals at Coon Rapids    4 p.m.
May 27    Section 5AA at Hamline    Time TBA
May 29    Section 5AA at Hamline    Time TBA
June 5    State meet at Hamline    9 a.m.
June 6    State meet at Hamline    9 a.m.

 

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