Despite losing 22 seniors that contributed to two different state runner-up teams, Brookfield East's girls track and field team feels it has the pieces in place in order to put together another strong season.
The Spartans must find a way to replace two seniors — Rachel Werking and Allie Bullen — that made up for 27 of their 30.5 points at the state meet last season.
"People like to call it a rebuilding year, but I don't like to call it rebuilding," Brookfield East girls track and field coach Lisa Farley said. "We have a lot of girls that we need to now fill spaces, but I feel like we have the girls to do that.
"We're usually in the 80s in terms of numbers. We have over 20 freshmen that came out, but we also had a lot of sophomores come out. I'm happy with the number of girls that came out and the level of talent we acquired from both the freshmen and sophomores that are new. I think that's really going to help us out."
Brookfield East returns Eleni Tongas, Lizzy Cagle and Emily Breider with state experience, as well as other key contributors from last year in Katie Work, Bella Rosa, Meg Swietlik, Gina Behling, Rose Dundun and Tess Harold.
Seniors in the program include Harold, Swietlik, Tongas, Erin Donnelly, Anni Hartay, Jamie Keith, Gabby Maggit, Maddie Malloy, Valerie Miller, Grace Pitzen, Giovanna Rezende, Selena Rivas, Melissa Torbey and Liz Tripi.
Donnelly, Tongas, Swietlik and Natalie Rouse will serve as captains. Potential impact newcomers include Lexi Penney, Riley Kindt, Emma Tabor and Abby Werry.
Brookfield East began the indoor portion of its schedule with a third-place finish at the 23-team Nelson/Daniels Classic at UW-Whitewater on March 18.
The Spartans scored 44 points to finish behind Cary-Grove (Illinois) with 59 points and Sussex Hamilton at 47.50 points.
"I was expecting to do well in certain areas, but I was really happy with third place," Farley said. "There are good things to come. It is good early in the season to have these meets to see what the newcomers can deliver."
Tongas, who placed fifth at state in the high jump as a junior, opened her senior season by winning the high jump at UW-Whitewater by clearing 5 feet, 4 inches. She also earned a fourth place in the 55-meter hurdles in 9.29 seconds.
"She's had a really good meet," Farley said. "She is starting the season in the high jump where she ended last season. She'll continue to do well for us in the high jump, hurdling events and probably the long and triple jump, as well."
Coming off a 10th-place finish at state in the shot put as a sophomore, Cagle threw 38 feet, 1.5 inches to take third.
Breider, who qualified for state as part of the 4x400 relay, took second place in the 400-meter dash in 59.99 seconds and was third in the long jump with a top leap of 16 feet, 8 inches.
"Emily has always helped us in relays, which I'm sure she'll continue to do, but I'm hoping to get her an opportunity to compete more in the open 400, which is her race," Farley said. "She ran the 400 at Nelson/Daniel against Bianca Stubler of Sussex Hamilton. She will be competing at UW-Madison next year. She really always pushes Emily. They went first and second, with Emily being just about a second behind her. It was really good motivation for Emily since Bianca was second in state last year in the 400."
Natalie Rouse placed fourth in the shot put at 36-01¼, Gina Behling was sixth in the 3,200-meter run in 12 minutes, 17.41 seconds and Olivia DeValkenaere was eighth in the shot put in 33-10¾.
The Spartans took sixth in the 4x800 relay with Meg Swietlik, Isabel Szablewski, Sophie Tasker and Behling posting a time of 10:47.32.
Brookfield East will compete at the West Allis Central Invitational on March 24 before returning to West Allis Central for the Greater Metro Conference Indoor Championships on March 29.
"The conference is going to be tough and competitive, but I think we'll definitely be in the mix," Farley said. "Going into indoor conference, you still feel like you are getting to know your team. With more than half of our team being new, we are definitely still figuring things out. I'm just so excited to have what we have."