A team-by-team look at the local girls track and field season, which begins next week. Last season's 2012 dual-meet records in parentheses.
Absegami (3-5) looks to be competitive and progress throughout the season. The team has a solid group of returning veterans in Katie Juniewicz, Hannah Kuharik, Aleesha Beaufils, Taylor Bates and more.
Atlantic City (0-8) lacks depth and experience. Standout Mone't Gist will return for her senior year. She finished fourth in the long jump at sectionals last year. Keyuanna Lee, Jada Jefferson and Jasmine Brooks are also top returnees for the Vikings.
Hammonton (3-7) returns a younger team, with mainly juniors and sophomores. The school lost standout Christin Bettis, but will return key athletes in Noel Labb, Tabby MacKenzie, Zoe Conover, Tamera Webster and Gina Siconolfi. The team has depth and strength in distance, but lacks it in jumps. Hammonton will welcome some newcomers to help fill the holes, especially sophomore Natalie Cowan for jumping.
Lower Cape May Regional (3-6) expects to perform very well on the track this year, says fifth-year head coach Dave Pacevich, due to the large number of soccer players who came out for the team this year, including Gabi McKeown. The team is young and lacks experience, but has depth. The Caper Tigers return Lizzy Sulecki, Sophie Crossley, Jessica McDowell and Kaitlene Torres. Amoung the many newcomers is freshman Quinn Bithell, who has been running with her family since elementary school.
Mainland Regional (6-2) will be very competitive in the field events this year. Senior thrower Christina Donall broke a 32-year-old school record in the discus and is looking to break her own record this year. Senior Corinne Mooney returns, along with juniors Amber Kluger and Vicki Henry. The team is somewhat young and lacks the experience some of the other veteran teams have, but should be competitive .
Millville (7-1) looks to regain its American Conference title and continue its past success. The team's only loss last season was to conference champion Egg Harbor Township. The Thunderbolts return a very solid core in Victoria and Valerie Thaler, MyAngel Davis and Ashli Weems. They lost big scorers in Brianna Springsteadah, Alexis Kennedy and Janeese Barber. However, fourth-year coach Raffael Craig already sees potential in Brianna's sister, freshman Mackenzie Springsteadah and freshman Rachell Armstead.
Oakcrest (4-4) has strength in sprinting, throwing and jumping, but is lacking in distance events. The Falcons return senior javelin thrower Rachel Steelman, sophomore sprinter Caela Johnson and junior jumpers Seiarah Dennis and Devon Goetze.
Ocean City (5-3) returns a well-rounded group again this year. The Red Raiders only lost Kelly Williamson and Fran Babore to graduation and will return standouts Mary Kate Brelsford and Bridget Flynn. The team won its 33rd consecutive Cape May County title last year.
Vineland (1-8) lost javelin standout Maria Jimenez to graduation, but the Fighting Clan will return with more depth and a stronger team. Senior Antionette Isekenegbe, a 2012 Press All-Star in the 400, will lead the Clan. Also returning is Tiah Brown, Ta'Shay Logan, Danea Wint and Alysha Clements. Vineland has a lot of depth in the throwing events. It has a pole vaulter in junior newcomer Bailey Giblin for the first time in two years. Freshman Kayla Garcia is already standing out this season as well.
Bridgeton (6-3) features senior standout Jovan Childers. Further information was not available.
Buena Regional (9-0) won its first South Jersey Group I championship in the indoor season. Andrea Olsen won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.52 seconds and set a meet record. She also finished second in the 400 after running it for the first time and third in the 55-meter run. Emely Ramirez won the high jump and Casey Sturts won the pole vault and also set a meet and school record. All three will will return this outdoor season along with talented veterans Lisa and Gina Testa, Eden Wilcox and Aly Dickson. The team is coming off second-place finishes in Group II at states and sectionals last year. They won their fifth straight National Conference title.
Cedar Creek (9-1) will compete as a coed team again this season. The Pirates welcome back Michelina Hesse, Brianna Mays and Jahniece Jaffe. The team has depth and many athletes with experience. The Pirates will also look to newcomers freshman Fatimah Blackwell and Jessica Linstra.
Holy Spirit (2-6) has fewer numbers this season. Emily Higbee will be the top returner for Holy Spirit. Higbee won the state Non-Public A javelin title last spring. Coach David Pfeifer sees promise in freshman Asia Young.
Middle Township (3-5) has a much larger team, providing more depth than in the past. But the Panthers are young and lack experience. Second-year head coach Samantha Polis considers the team to be rebuilding as it lost top scorers Yvonne Wolef and Olivia Gardner to graduation. The Panthers will return varsity letterwinners Lauren Dillard, Tricia Stump, Erin Ruskey and Sammy Geisinger.
Pleasantville (7-2) is led by senior Jamiera McCormick. McCormick, a 2012 Press All-Star, finished third in the state Group II 100-meters in 12.7 seconds to qualify for the Meet of Champions. The team finished sixth at the Group I sectionals during the indoor season.
St. Joseph (3-6) has few numbers with just three key returnees in Phoebe Carano, who won the South Jersey Non-Public B title in the shot put last season, distance runner Alexis Hoerter and versatile runner Brianna Hernandez.
Wildwood Catholic (2-8) has a very small roster this season and will struggle to compete in all events. The team does have a few veteran competitors in senior Grace Lederer and juniors Emily Johnson, Katie Wallace and Delaney Wallace.
Our Lady of Mercy Academy (0-8) coach Lee Douglas hope to improve on last year's winless season. Further information about the team was unavailable.
Barnegat (4-1) returns a strong group of seniors in Erin Frank, Jamie Lynch, Rachel Maltais and Brianna Young. The team has depth, but lacks runners in the distance and hurdle events, First-year coach Kevin Smith hopes the large group of newcomers will fill in the holes as the team looks to be competitive in B-South.
Lacey Township (1-4) welcomes a large group of incoming freshman. The team is young and lacks some experience as they compete in A-South for the first time in the outdoor season. The Lions have strength in distance, especially in standout Danielle Leavitt. Seniors Jessica Mentzel and Ashley Napoli are also returning for Lacey.
Pinelands Regional (0-5) returns three veterans who have already made a statement in the indoor season. Distance runners Heather Scott, Lauren Zodl and Gillian Schriver all qualified for two events in the state indoor meet.Other talented veterans include DanaRose Brown, Rachel Hancharuk and Kylie DeMaria. The Wildcats will look toward newcomers, like Noel Hartman and Vikki Olivier, to fill in the gaps from last year.
Southern Regional (9-0) looks to repeat as South Jersey Group IV champion and collect its seventh Shore Conference title. Jillian Smith, Danielle Smolyn and Courtney Muraczewski are just some of the top returnees for Southern. The 1,600 relay team of Jenna Ritchie, Carly Burnup, Melana Hammel and Brianna Angellella finished seventh at the Meet of Champions and third at sectionals this winter.
Cumberland Regional (0-5) and coach Michelle Hoxworth hope to bounce back from last season when the Colts failed to win a meet. They will have to replace Shekinah Lightfoot, who won the state Group III title in the high jump.
Wildwood (0-5) has a high number of girls when compared to recent years and hopes its numbers will help yield success, especially in distance. The Warriors welcome back Hediyah Farlow, Sinai Pelaez and Shelby Thornton. Sophomore Leishley Reyes is coming off a successful basketball season and could be one of Wildwood's promising newcomers.