By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The high school girls track and field preview for the Aurora Greenmen’s 2023 season:
Head Coach: Greg Cicero, 1st year at Aurora (16th overall).
Coaching Staff: David Kindall, Megan Watt, Mark Dingman, Tom Nalepa, Jenna Schadle, Brendan Gallagher, Chris Radtke.
2022 Record: Suburban League American Division champions; district runners-up.
State Qualifiers: None.
Returner Letterwinners (13): Grace Barto, sr.; Hannah Rogge, sr.; Kassidy Fry, jr.; Eva Logan, jr.; Cassidy Trem, jr.; Lauren Baka, soph.; Carolyn Jakosh, soph.; Amy Kolta, soph.; Sydney Langell, soph.; Gianna Previte, soph.; Lilian Strok, soph.; Felicite Williams, soph.; Brooke Zeid, soph.
Underclassmen to Watch: Ellie Phillips, Ella Cicero, Izzy Leindecker, Amelia Kilway, Abigail Roginjic, Juliana Huth.
“This team is very young, with over 90 percent of the athletes being freshmen and sophomores,” head coach Greg Cicero said. “We will be looking to gain experience throughout the season and building on our training as the season progresses. While we are on the upswing numbers wise, we will be looking for our younger athletes to step up and find their niche as the season unfolds.
Cicero believes the team’s strengths will be in the middle events, including the 200, 400 and 800 meters, along with the 300 hurdles.
“The relays will be trial and error for the first half of the season, with so many athletes without experience,” Cicero said. “I think the field events will progress nicely throughout the seaso. With so much youth, we are looking for athletes to stand out in practice to earn those invitational events, while dual meets will give us a chance to look at the broader picture. Our goal is that all athletes achieve a personal best this season.”
The group is highlighted by senior Hannah Rogge, who returns to the lineup after a successful season in 2022.
Other standouts will include juniors Kassidy Fry and Cassidy Trem, who Cicero said can be “point-scoring machines in multiple events all over the track.”
Gianna Previte, a talented sophomore, will also join the mix.
“She will be counted on to score in both hurdle races and run quality relay legs,” Cicero said.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of depth for the Greenmen, with Nikki Antonelli, Luciana Avila, Raquel Bailey, Julianne Barto, Cora Beech, Ella Cicero, Natalie Davis, Alaina Hawes, Natalia Johnson, Kenzie Kaplan, Izzy Leindecker, Olivia Leon, Ava Marino, Mykala McClendon, Ellie Phillips, Brooke Pierce, Addyson Rumskey, Stella Seiler, Iris Smith, Addison Stask, Manasa Thlusani and Riley Verespej are all ready to find their spot.
Phillips, Cicero, Leindecker, Pierce and Rumskey are all freshmen that Cicero said he expects will have an impact in the open events and relays.
“The spring squad will have to be flexible as the season gets underway, but we expect them to contribute early and often,” Cicero said.
Senior Grace Barto has already celebrated a decorated career, including qualifying for the state championships in 2021, and returns to add more to her legacy in 2023.
She is joined by additional standouts, including junior Eva Logan and sophomore Sydney Langell.
“Eva is positioning herself to step up and become a key contributor in the distance events,” Cicero said. “Sydney will be counted on to provide scoring during meets.”
Freshmen Brooke Zeid and Lauren Baka have the opportunity to make an impact right away, according to Cicero.
Other distance runners for Aurora include Grace Berendt, Samantha Bucalo, Ellie Hanff, Juliana Huth, Amelia Kilway, Amy Kolta, Chloe Lors, Brooke Palian, Abigail Rogonjic and Lilian Strok.
Kassidy Fry was a regional qualifier in 2022 in the high jump. She will be joined in the event by Addyson Rumskey and Ellie Phillips.
The throws group is young, but there is “a lot of potential with active arms and feet,” according to Cicero.
The group is made up of Lucy Bonnet, Carolyn Jakosh, Brooke Manav, Kaylin Rodela, Ziyi Wang and Felicite Williams.
Trem is a returning long jump with potential and Riley Vererspej will compete in the pole vault.
“Events could come together quickly and experience will be earned by the younger athletes,” Cicero said. “The overall numbers of the underclassmen show a renewed interest. Grace Barto and Hannah Rogge take the younger athletes under their wings and guide them.”
“The amount of inexperience in large meets to start the season could be an issue, but starting with two duals will help ease the concern,” Cicero said.
April 5: vs. Kent Roosevelt
April 12: vs. Stow
April 26: at Tallmadge
April 28: at Chardon
May 2: vs. Cuyahoga Falls
May 8: Suburban League Championships at Tallmadge
May 10: Suburban League Championships at Tallmadge
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