After having its run of 11 straight South-West Conference titles ended a year ago, the Weston girls track and field team will look to get back to the top of the podium this spring.
The Trojans have nearly every important point scorer back from a team that was powered by underclassmen a year ago.
The team also will have middle distance standout Kathleen Murphy, who was injured last year, and adds a strong group of ninth graders.
“Having her back and having the freshman class come in gives us some energy out on the track,” said head coach Matt Medve, whose team is scheduled to have its first meet on Monday at Bunnell. “We’re pretty strong through the grades. We have a very good freshman class.”
Weston will be led by its four senior captains: Murphy, Eliza Wilson, Sophia Rico and Emma Radish.
Wilson and Murphy are both strong middle distance runners. Murphy is coming off an impressive indoor season that saw her win both the 1000 and 1600 meters at the SWC championships.
Rico, who competes in the sprints and jumps, won the SWC indoor long jump title this winter and was second in the pole vault.
Radish, a long sprinter, finished second last year in the 400 meters at the SWC outdoor championships.
Weston returns two strong javelin throwers in seniors Allie Dyment and Georgia Burkard. Dyment was third at last year’s SWC championships and Burkard was sixth.
The junior class is led by juniors Lauren Bigelow and Hannah Greene. Bigelow is a long sprinter, and Greene competes in the sprints and jumps. Last year, Greene was second in the SWC in the long jump and sixth in both the high jump and triple jump, while Bigelow was sixth in the 300 meters.
The sophomore class features Elise Russell in the jumps and sprints. Russell was the SWC indoor champ in the pole vault and took fourth in the long jump.
Two key newcomers are freshmen Ava Zielinski and Nicole Sztacheslki, both coming off strong indoor seasons.
Zielinski, a middle distance runner, finished third at the SWC indoor championships in the 1000 meters, while Sztacheslki, who will compete in the jumps and long sprints, placed third in the 600. Both also ran a leg on Weston’s Class M champion 4×400 relay team this past winter, along with Bigelow and Murphy.
Others expected to contribute points are senior Eliza Kleben, junior Michelle Gutowski, sophomore Elizabeth Murphy, and freshmen Ava Ascher and Natalie Haythorn.
Gutowski, Kleban, Ascher and Haythorn made up Weston’s 4×800 team that won the SWC indoor title, while Murphy finished sixth in the high jump.
The key loss from last year’s team is SWC pole vault champ Danielle Cass.
Medve said defending champ Newtown and Pomperaug should be the favorites to win the conference, adding “we’re pretty close behind.”
Weston edged Newtown by five points to capture its 12th SWC indoor title in 13 years this past winter.
“In any sport, the key thing is to stay healthy and get stronger as the year goes on,” he said. “We’re trying to stay healthy and get stronger and fill holes in certain areas and get ready for the championship season. We’re pretty well-rounded. of the 18 events, we should cover 14 of them pretty well.”