BELOIT - Returning talent is abundant when it comes to local teams in Rock Valley Conference track.
Brodhead-Juda's Brekan Day tops the list, as the state's WIAA Division 2 state champion high jumper is back for his senior season.
Big Foot's Jackson Enz, who won the state crown in both the 100 and 300 hurdles is back, too...only he's not hurdling this spring.
Enz, who tore his ACL while playing football in October, was advised by doctors that he can run sprints, but won't be able to compete in the hurdles. Enz is headed to North Dakota State on a football scholarship in the fall.
The other headliner is Brodhead-Juda's Madee Harding, who placed second in state in the 400 and fifth in the 200. Harding's teammate Cora Purdue placed 11th in the 800.
Clinton has a pair of state returners in Clinton's Clayton Hahn (eighth in discus) on the boys side and Payton Severson on the girls side.
New Clinton boys coach Jacob Standiford, who took over for longtime coach Ray Vance, said he's encouraged by what he's seen thus far.
"We've got a pretty good group of young sprinters," Standiford said. "And one big thing for us is we've got some kids who have never been out for track before that are giving it a shot. That's going to really help us out. A big strength will be our throwers, where we have Kenny Ballmer and Cody Glass to go along with Clayton."
Zach Krause returns as the team's top sprinter, while Brice Enright will lead the distance runners. Austin Beaumont was headed for a school record in the pole vault before breaking his ankle last year as a junior.
On the girls side, Clinton coach Megan Starrett said her team should be strong in a couple of areas.
"We aren't super deep but we've got a couple of good sprinters," Starrett said. "We are bringing back Candice Koehl, Hannah Welte and Abby Garner so we will have some good depth there"
The distance runners are led by junior Charlotte Mueller while Jessica Jacobson will lead the way in hurdles and the pole vault.
Big Foot sent two relays to state, as their 4x800 squad placed third and their 4x400 team placed fourth.
Turner coach Andy Coldren believes his Trojans will be improved.
"We've got good numbers again," Coldren said. "We have 80 kids total, with 40 on each side. That's about what we've been in the past, with the lowest in the last several years being in the mid-60's. The thing I'm not happy about is that the conference isn't using dual meets to determine the standings. That's where we would do really well because we have that depth."
The Trojans will host the annual Beloit Daily News Invitational and in addition to three home dual meets, Turner will also be the site of the WIAA Division 2 regional meet and the middle school conference meet.
Coldren was optimistic about the boys team, with half of his 4x200 team that missed qualifying for state by less than a second returning and with the addition of Sereno Ferone, who Coldren called the best athlete in the school.
"We are still figuring out what to do with Sereno," Coldren said. "He had a 30-inch vertical today in testing, and every coach besides the throwing coach wants him competing for them. It'll just be a matter of finding the best fit, but he will be a big help right away."
Destiny Wash, Jayla Chancy, Montana McMahon and Alreniss Segura are all back from Turner's state-qualifying 4x200 squad, and Coldren said there are some promising freshmen that will provide immediate assistance at the varsity level.
"We have Olivia Tinder out and like with Sereno, it's just a matter of finding where she's going to fit best," Coldren said. "She's a great athlete, and I would think she could help us in jumps and sprints. Dale Lee Wilson had a good year as a freshmen last year, and McMahon will help us in different areas. We should be pretty solid in mid-distance this year, too."
Like virtually every team in the coverage area, the Trojans and Cougars will begin their season on March 7 in Whitewater.