By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — Girls’ track and field coach Liane Cook sees a lot of depth in the talents of the Lady Pioneers that should translate into a successful season.
This is Cook’s rookie season as the head coach of the Pioneers’ spring program following the retirement of Mike Mischo in 2014. He led the program for over two decades.
Cook also coached the girls’ indoor program over the winter, so she is familiar with several of the athletes and their abilities. Two girls from the indoor team made it all the way to MIAA All-States, Tia Patterson, a senior distance who will run for BC next year, and freshman sensation Kate Mitchell, who competes in the mid-distance and distance events.
“I think we could have a really successful team this year. To be successful in track and field you need not only the runners but also the jumpers and throwers. We have kids returning to all of these events who showed much promise last year,” she said.
The team boasts five distance leaders from whom much will be expected in 2015. “We expect great things from Leena Aurora, Tia Patterson, Marie Norwood, Danielle Collins and Kate Mitchell,” said Cook.
She added that the talented field of sprinters and hurdlers includes Jess Duhaime, Emma Mancini, Renee Delnegro, Emily Scollard and Haley Iapicca.
“Our jumpers will be led by Lilli Vo, Erica Richard, Emma Mancini and Renee Delnegro,” Cook added.
Valuable points can be earned in the throwing events to round out the team’s scoring potential in dual meets. Fortunately, more girls are taking an interest in these events, Cook said.
“We also have some returning throwers and some girls who have just started but show promise. Abbie Dickey returns to us from a great season, last year and indoor,” she said.
After just one week of practice, Cook said the team is “seeing great potential from the younger athletes.”
The team’s first dual meet is still 15 days way, thanks to the bountiful snowfall throughout this record-breaking winter.
Rather than plow off the tracks and the fields throughout the league, the CAL has condensed the scheduling of meets from the typical dual meets spread out over many weeks to groups of four tri-meets. Starting later in the season will give the snow a chance to melt (in theory) and allow the athletes to actually start training on their own tracks prior to their first meets.
The Pioneers will face their first opponents on Wednesday, April 15 when they head over to Masconomet to compete against both the Chieftains and the Newburyport Clippers. The meets will be scored separately.
The Pioneers will not host any meets this season, which, given the overall condition of the track surface, will be a plus for the runners who will compete on the best tracks available in the league.