When it comes to participating in spring sports in the year of 2021, every day is a blessing. Just ask Owatonna girls track and field coach Ann Christensen.
“We’re just thankful that everyday we’re out here and able to do the things that we really missed out on last year,” Christensen said over the phone recently. “You can just see everybody’s just happy to be out doing the things we haven’t been able to do for so long.”
Much like other spring sport athletes across the state of Minnesota, it’s been nearly two years since the Owatonna girls track and field team was last able to lace up their cleats or throw various heavy-weighted objects. Despite this fact, Christensen is confident that her team will be able to hit the ground running — pun fully intended — when competitions begin in short order.
“Every [event] we have people that are returning and are going to do an awesome job. We have a lot of up-and-coming people that look like they’re going to be contributing right away, too.”
The Huskies will be led by their four senior captains — Lindsay Bangs, Emma Dahnert, Sarah Kingland and Maggie Newhouse — all of whom have significant varsity experience in addition to strong leadership skills and great athletic talent. Christensen believes that these four will provide the foundation for a Big 9 title winning squad.
“We are looking to be the conference champions. We really do feel like we’re pretty solid all the way around. We don’t have events that are going to hurt us.”
However, while a conference title is well within the Huskies’ reach, a section title may take a bit more effort. However, precedent may be in Owatonna’s favor, according to Christensen.
“Our section is extremely difficult, but we have won it and we have gone to state. So, you never know. We like to keep that as something we aspire [to].”
While conference and section titles — perhaps even putting forth a solid effort in the state tournament — are solidified goals, the coaching staff’s goals for each individual athlete will be addressed as the season progresses. After all, it’s difficult to know what each athlete can truly accomplish until they go head-to-head with their competition. That said, there are three goals that Christen believes each athlete can achieve, regardless of how their season ultimately plays out.
“Have fun, enjoy the season, cheer for each other.”
Tuesday, April 13 — Austin, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 20 — at Rochester Century meet, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 27 — at Mankato East meet, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 4 — at Mankato East meet, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 11 — Owatonna meet, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 20 — at Albert Lea meet, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 27 — Big 9 Conference meet, 10:30 a.m.