Concordia Academy girls track returns some high-end talent

The Concordia Academy girls track and field team enters the season with some returning state entrants and overall numbers that have the Beacons thinking big.

“The girls have a pretty experienced group coming back,” said head coach Marc Paul. “We have some seniors with some experience at the state level. We have a couple of juniors with state experience and some good youngsters and some decent numbers all the way through.”

That’s enough for Paul to put the team as a contender for the Tri-Metro Conference title.

Among the Beacons’ returning talent is three-time all-state competitor Danielle Peterson. She earned her all-state awards running in the 4x100-meter relay team, which has finished seventh, fifth and third in her three trips to state. Peterson is also a sprinter in the open sprints and a pole vauler.

Another returning senior is Michala Walther, who heads out for track after earning an all-state honorable mention nod in basketball this winter. She ran at state last year in the 4x200-meter relay.

Junior Clara Paul, the daughter of the head coach, has been all-state twice and last year qualified for state in four events (long jump, triple jump, 4x100-meter relay, 4x200-meter relay).

Junior Ella Beardsley is also back after missing last season with a shoulder injury.

“I think we have a pretty good shot to have some decent placewinners in just about every event for the girls,” Marc Paul said.

Concordia Academy boys

The Beacons’ boys team is facing a bit of a transition year. Concordia is light on upperclassmen, especially juniors.

“It’s a group where we’ve got some talented guys and guys who could certainly potentially place at the conference level in the top eight,” Paul noted. “It’ll remain to be seen who can get up to the top three spots.”

One area of strength for the boys’ team is in the throws. The senior trio of Nick Johnston, Isaac Hernandez and Brandon Larsen are all back to lead the group.

Hernandez is also the team’s top sprinter.

Guy Hansen is one of just two 11th-graders on the team, and he is expected to be the top distance runner on the squad.

“We’ve had some pretty solid years here for a while,” Paul said. “It’s looking like we’re a pretty young team, so there could be some rebuilding going on there. It’s still a talented group, but it’s going to be tough for us to get into that third spot in the conference.”

Conference shake-up

The Tri-Metro Conference has a new look this season with the departure of six schools and the addition of three.

“This year is a little interesting with three new schools coming into the conference,” Paul said. “We haven’t seen a whole lot of them in the past, so we’ll see how that all plays out.”

The newcomers are Columbia Heights, Fridley and Holy Angels. Gone are Blake, Breck, Minnehaha Academy, Mounds Park Academy, Providence Academy and St. Paul Academy.

Concordia Academy gets its first look at some of its conference rivals on Tuesday in a meet at Columbia Heights. The Beacons also compete against Tri-Metro foes at Brooklyn Center on April 14 and at St. Croix Lutheran on April 21.

A couple of non-conference events Paul is looking forward to are invitationals at Lakeville North on April 18 and Park-Cottage Grove on April 24.

“It’s good to see some of the bigger schools and our kids get to see if they can compete at that level,” Paul said.

Brian Meyers can be reached at or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

2015 Concordia Academy track and field schedule

April 7    at Columbia Heights    4:15 p.m.
April 14    at Brooklyn Center    4:15 p.m.
April 18    at Lakeville North     10 a.m. invitational    
April 21    at St. Croix Lutheran    4:15 p.m.
April 24    at Park-Cottage Grove     3:45 p.m. invitational        
April 24    Hamline Elite Meet    5:30 p.m.
April 28    at Fridley    4:15 p.m.
April 30    Tri-Metro relays     3 p.m.  at St. Croix Lutheran    
May 5    Section true team     2:15 p.m. at Maple Lake        
May 12    Tri-Metro championships     1 p.m.  at Macalester    
May 28    Section 4A meet     2 p.m. at Macalester            
May 30    Section 4A meet     10 a.m.  at Macalester            
June 5    State meet at Hamline    3 p.m.
June 6    State meet at Hamline    3 p.m.

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