PBL girls track and field begins season with indoor meets

PAXTON -- Twenty-eight athletes will perform for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda girls track and field team this season.
 
"We have quite a bit of returners," PBL head coach Alex Goudy said. "There are not a lot of freshmen."
 
Emily Graves is the one PBL girls athlete returning from last year's IHSA Class 1A state meet.
 
She vaulted at 9-6 in the state preliminaries. Graves has the school record in the pole vault at 10-0.
 
"I would suspect that she'll break that school record early on, probably even at the Charleston meet (on Saturday, March 10)," Goudy said.
 
Kiara Bachtold is a freshman pole vaulter. 
 
"We're hoping to see good things out of her as well," Goudy said.
 
The Panthers return another school-record holder in Olivia Frichtl, holds the school record for fastest time in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdle events.
 
Last January, Frichtl signed her letter of intent to continue her track and field career at Illinois College.
 
"She's been working really hard," Goudy said. "She's been going to Elite (Performance) in the morning and working out pretty hard. I'm hoping that she gets done what she wants to get done this season since it's her last year. I know she's been working hard."
 
Frichtl finished third in the 60-meter hurdles at the University of Illinois Armory Meet on Wednesday, Feb. 21 while teammate Katelyn Crabb finished first.
 
Lexi Johnson finished first in the long jump while Crabb finished second.
 
"(Lexi Johnson) said she wants to try the high jump this year, as well as running the 200, which is her specialty," Goudy said.
 
Assistant coach Tom Rubarts works with the jumpers, Goudy works with the throwers, head boys coach Dustin Franckey works with the distance runners, and assistant coach Mike Tipsord works with the sprint crew.
 
The PBL High School boys and girls track and field team are, according to Franckey, in their second year of being in a combined program.
 
"We've got them all kind of divided up," Goudy said. "Things seem to be going pretty well so far."
 
"I think the girls can make some noise at the conference level and the sectional level," Franckey added. "They've got the talent and the numbers to win."
 
Ariana Gentzler finished second in the triple jump and fifth in the high jump at the Armory Meet. 
 
Hannah Schwarz, a freshman, finished fifth in 100-meter dash at IESA AA sectionals and was part of 4x200 relay team that finished fourth.
 
"We're looking for some good things out of her," Goudy said. "She did really well during her eighth-grade year. She had a really good time in the 4x200 the other night."
 
Evie Ellis finished sixth in the 1,600-meter run at Armory while Katie Harms finished 16th. Marissa Arnette finished 19th while Olivia Wilson finished 21st.
 
"A lot of the distance crew is in from cross country, which is great," Goudy said. "They've been training -- a lot of them have been running all winter long."
 
Gracie Smith finished 12th at Armory in the 400-meter dash. 
 
"She's been running really well, so I think she'll do pretty good this year, too," Goudy said. "She already ran a pretty good time in the 400 the other night."
 
There are four shot putters, three of which performed at Armory. Emma Stocking, Kalli Goudy and Savanna Davis placed 14th, 18th and 19th, respectively.
 
"The numbers aren't really high, so we're working on that," Goudy said.
 
After another meet at Armory at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, PBL will participate in the Charleston Indoor Invitational at Eastern Illinois University at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, March 10.
 
Following another meet at Armory at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, and the Clinton Maroons Last Chance Indoor Meet at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington at 4 p.m. Monday, March 19, PBL will look to be in the Illinois Prep Top Times Meet at IWU at 3 p.m. Friday, March 23.
 
The Panthers' outdoor season will start at Watseka at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27.
 
"Right now, we're just trying to see where everybody is comfortable in the first of these indoor meets," Goudy said. "I think it's going to be a pretty good season. I'm excited to see how it's going to turn out. I hope we get some more girls to state and things like that. Some of the other girls worked out this winter to try to stay in shape for this season."

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