By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
Last season was a bit of a banner year for the STMA girls track program.
The Lady Knights won the Mississippi 8 conference for the first time during Jason Massmann’s time as head coach of the team. The Knights also finished second in the section meet and sent several athletes to the state meet.
Massman said the team has some great leadership across the board for the upcoming season in junior Rachel King, a distance runner, and Erin Autio, a long and triple jumper. Both competed at state during the past couple of years. Lizzy Heil, who competed in the state meet as an eighth grader last year, was another name Massmann mentioned. He also named Josie Burns and DJ Noel as key contributors.
There is a huge group of freshmen on the track team and Massman said they are very important to the team because in track, an athlete that young can sometimes contribute immediately; something that might not be said about some other sports.
“I think we probably have about 20 freshmen on the team right now, and that’s encouraging; it speaks toward our future.”
Seeking improvement is something Massman stresses to his kids. He said when a kid knows how much progress they made during a season, it gives them something to feel good about. It can be considered an ultimate goal for the team and any individual athlete, he said.
“That’s what you kind of have to be going for because otherwise you become stagnant and you don’t see improvement if you’re not always kind of reassessing those goals and setting new goals for yourself.”
Other things Massmann and the other coaches stress to the team are proper nutrition, proper sleep habits, proper intake of fluids, managing the stress of being a student-athlete, with the student part coming first, he said.
Massmann sees the team competing indoors for a little while until the weather is ready to cooperate.
“We’re probably looking at the second week of April. If we can be on the outdoor track and competing out there at that time, I think that’d be a pretty good goal.”
Massmann’s favorite part about coaching track is the variety of events and that there is something for everyone. There are 18 different events in the usual track and field meet, he said.
The Knights open the season at home with an indoor meet against Anoka Friday, March 21.