116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — After a year without track and field, everybody has questions.
'What events is everybody going to do?' said Linn-Mar girls' coach Nathan Hopp. 'How will we maximize everybody?'
The Lions have more answers than most.
Eight state placewinners from 2019 are back, led by senior Micah Poellet and junior Lily Haars, from a team that placed fifth in the Class 4A competition.
Of course, there was no 2020 season, due to COVID-19. Linn-Mar kicked off its new campaign at the Dickinson Relays, March 8 at the UNI-Dome. Lots of promising stuff there.
The Lions earned top-10 placings in 10 of 13 events, including Haars' second-place finish in the 400-meter dash (1:02.23) and the 3,200-meter relay's runner-up effort of 9:57.48. The 1,600-meter relay was fifth in 4:19.07.
'I've been training all winter,' Haars said. 'Getting back on an actual track, it's super fun.'
Poellet has 'been doing the triathlon thing right now' (she's signed to compete in that sport at the University of South Dakota), according to Hopp, but the distance ace will be back with the Lions as they enter their outdoor season.
As a sophomore, Poellet was fourth at state in the 1,500 meters, fifth in the 3,000, sixth in the 3,200 relay. The state cross country champion in 2018, Poellet was fifth in Fort Dodge last October.
She headlines a distance crew that also features seniors Lilly Geelan, Sarah Murphy and Chloe Skidmore. Geelan was seventh in the Dickinson 800 (2:30.82); Murphy was eighth in the 1,500 (5:03.83).
Haars was a freshman when the Lions won the 2019 Drake Relays 1,600-meter relay. Now she's a veteran.
'It's going great. Our young kids are looking good. They've been getting after it,' said Haars, who wants to compete both on the track and in the swimming pool at an NAIA program someday. 'I'll probably run 400s and 800, maybe mix in some 200s.
'I hope we can be even better than my freshman year.'
The senior Gorsich twins highlight the sprinting crew. Leah was on two placewinning relays in 2019; Lauren was ninth in the 200 at Dickinson in 28.37 seconds.
Other key returners include juniors Emily Schmidt and Mary Gustason.
So, where do the Lions fit in the big-school hierarchy, whether it's the Mississippi Valley Conference, or the Class 4A team race in May?
'A lot is going to come down to depth,' Hopp said. 'We have smaller numbers than usual, 58 this year. But I feel confident about those 58.
'It's going to be a year with a lot of question marks. I don't know what everybody else has, but I know what we have, and I like what we have.'
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