The Northside Christian girls track team has become pretty good at winning titles at district and region meets.
But that success has not carried over to state.
The Mustangs have not finished higher than 13th in the team standings the past three seasons at the Class A state meet. Part of that is due to underclassmen qualifiers adjusting to being on such a big stage.
But the young athletes are not young anymore. Most are juniors. And they no longer have a just-happy-to-be here sentiment.
Northside Christian coach Jeff Goodwin believes they can contend for a state championship today.
"For the first time we've been here, we have a chance of medaling in every entry," Goodwin said. "We hope that will get us some points. The nerves shouldn't be there anymore. We really think we can be in the top three."
The Mustangs have just about every event covered. Jennica Mullins (high jump), Asia Olds (long jump) and Jessica Artille (pole vault) are strong in the field events. Olds is versatile with top-four seed marks in the long jump and 200. Victoria Goodwin can score in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Katelyn Greenleaf is dominant in the distance events (800 and 1,600). Northside also has two relay teams, the 4x100 and 4x800, that can place in the top five.
And that doesn't include the 4x400 relay, which had the top time in Class A heading into the postseason but was disqualified in the district meet.
"We have athletes that can place on down the line," Goodwin said. "We just need to have everybody running at their best."
Northside's boys team also has a chance to place in the top five. The big point-scorers for the Mustangs will most likely come in the distance events with the 4x800 relay and the 800.
"We're bringing 27 athletes to the state meet and only four are going for the first time," Goodwin said. "Most have been here for a while. They know what to expect."