Most of Republic’s top performers in 2023 return for another season. Among them are (clockwise starting upper left) Gracie Troester; Kristin Probst, Rilynn Finley, Alaina Norman, Gracie Woods; Norman; Jenna Belcher; Finley; Probst and Troester; and Gracie Woods.

Season Preview: Talented and Confident Lady Tigers Aim High for 2024 Track Season

The Republic girls track team enters the season with high expectations. The Lady Tigers return several key athletes, including state medalists Alaina Norman and Gracie Troester, setting the stage for a big spring.

Troester earned two state medals, in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs last year, and she nearly earned a third medal in the 800-meter run. In both track and cross country, she’s a standout performer who sets the tone for the team with her work ethic and results. “Gracie Troester is a very special individual. What she’s able to do is just phenomenal. I think that she leads by example,” coach Tori Mooneyham said. “Coming in this year, she is even farther ahead of where she was last year at the beginning of the season, and so I think we’re going to be extremely impressed with what she’s able to do.”

Kristin Probst, who runs with Troester on the cross country team, is another state-qualifying returner whom Mooneyham credits for strong self-motivation. “She’s like Gracie Troester with her work ethic. Those kids could train without me and be just fine,” said Mooneyham.

Norman’s ability to step into several roles provides flexibility and depth to the roster. “Alaina is just a huge asset to the team because you can put her in so many events,” Mooneyham said. Norman earned medals in both the shot put and the javelin last season, and she also contributed to the relays. This year, she’s eyeing the opportunity to participate in long jump, as well.

Gracie Woods is one of several returning athletes expected to play a crucial role in the team’s relay events.

“She’s a key person on every relay. She’s another kid who, if I could put her in five events, I would,” Mooneyham said.

Misora Nambara will also be back to compete in middle- and long-distance races. She has been a part of Republic’s successful 4×800-meter relay team in past seasons.

In the jumping events, Jenna Belcher is poised for an even bigger breakout season after qualifying for state in long jump and triple jump last year. Aubrey Haynes will also return to provide points in the jumping pits.

“Jenna’s going to be huge for us in the jumping events. She had a fantastic year last year,” Mooneyham said. “She’s going to have a little extra motivation. She didn’t perform as well as she wanted to at state. But that kid is very determined and very focused. I could see her getting it done this year at state.”

Rilynn Finley is back to help in multiple events. She participated in relay races and also placed at the Central Ozark Conference (COC) championship last year in the 300-meter hurdles, despite a relative lack of experience in that race. Chloe McCann is another hurdler who returns with another year of experience behind her.

The Lady Tigers also welcome back Molly Mason, who returns from injury and aims to reclaim her spot on the team’s successful relays.

Freshman Reese Finley could make an immediate impact and add depth to an already talented squad. It will also force Mooneyham and the rest of the coaching staff to make some decisions as the season moves on, finding the right spot for each athlete to maximize production and points from the lineup.

Relay races have always been a strength for the Lady Tigers, and as the season progresses, Mooneyham will be looking for combinations that maximize their potential for success. “We had some relays that kind of fell short last year, and now they’re a year older,” Mooneyham said. “It’s just figuring out what is going to give a kid the most success, and then what’s going to give the team the most success.”

In the throwing events, Republic expects strong performances from sophomore Avery Rossow and senior Ali Poulson. Rossow advanced to sectionals last year.

With so much experience, versatility, and talent, the Lady Tigers will take aim at championships in the COC and district meets. They accomplished both those feats last year for the first time in three decades.

“They’re coming into the season with a lot of confidence. They’re excited, and I think that will motivate them to do well in the season,” Mooneyham said.


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