BELOIT - The Beloit Memorial girls track team lost a lot of firepower. The cupboard, however, is far from bare.
Though the wintry mix falling didn't add to the spiring mood, Monday marked the first day of track and field practice across Wisconsin.
Purple Knights coach Bob Shaver said despite the losses of WIAA triple jump state champion Eva Laun-Smith and state qualifiers Yolonda Johnson and Adela Diaz, his team has the opportunity to have a strong season.
Leading the list of returnees is Jazmyne Carter and Amya Bessel, who were both a part of the state-qualifying 4x400 relay team.
The Knights' top sprinter figures to be Ja`Naejah Logan, who was a member of the sectional-qualifying 4x200 relay team and just missed qualifying for sectionals in the 100 and 200-meter dash.
Shaver said he's been pleased with what he's seen after just two days at practice.
"I have a lot of new faces, and that's kind of nice," Shaver said. "I lost quite a few kids, including some big scorers. Adela and Heaven Wells graduated early, so we won't have them. It's kind of a rebuilding year, but at the same time we've got some proven talent back."
Jenny Aldama will lead the distance crew, while Shaver is still seeking depth in that area.
On the boys side, the Knights lost their lone state qualifier, Alberto Martinez in the 300-hurdles, to graduation.
Junior Eric Bridges should fare well after a solid sophomore season. Bridges placed sixth at sectionals in the 200-meter dash and Shaver expects his performance to improve in a number of events. "He looks to be in great shape here in the first few days," Shaver said. "He had a great year last year and is stepping up to be a real leader for us right now."
High jumper Daryen Gaines just missed out on a trip to state as a sophomore. Throwers include Amaurii Grosskopf and Matthew Wedig, who should be in the mix deep into the post-season meets.
Smith Mayse will lead the distance crew, while Shaver gets familiar with all his new faces on the squad.
Beloit Memorial will have its first chance to showcase its talent on March 17 when they travel to Whitewater.