Columbus North has established itself as a girls track power the past couple of years.

The Bull Dogs won back-to-back sectional titles and added a Conference Indiana championship and finished 19th at state last season. But with state medalists Mackenzie Caldwell, Gabby Sims and Tessa Krempel now competing in college, the road to more titles will be a little tougher.

“It’s hard to replace that talent with the Krempel girls (Tessa and Mara) and Gabby and Mackenzie, but I think we have a good nucleus back that we can be competitive that we can go after the conference title again and the sectional,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “It will be interesting to see what girls step into those roles and what we can get from the freshmen coming in.”

The Bull Dogs still have junior Sierra Lax, who finished ninth in the 3,200 meters in last year’s state meet, along with state qualifiers in senior Debie Gedeon (100 hurdles), junior Katrina May (pole vault) and sophomore Rachel Brougher (1,600). Lax and Brougher were All-State runners in cross-country and led North to a fifth-place state team finish.

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Seniors Olivia Malone (300 hurdles), Janelle Peters (long jump) and Kaitlyn Barnes (pole vault) were regional qualifiers. Peters, Gedeon, junior Emma LaVelle and Malone are all back from the regional-qualifying 4×100 relay team, while Peters and junior Elle Williams return from the regional-qualifying 4×400 squad and juniors Nina Bouthier and Allison Coffey are back from the regional qualifying 4×800 team.

Coffey, senior Morgan Neal and freshman Arig Tong will provide depth in the distance events.

“We have some girls that have had some success in cross-country, and we hope that carries over onto the track,” Sipe said. “We’re going to be good in the hurdles, and with Katrina in the pole vault and Elle Williams in the 400. Traditionally, our strength is the distance, but we’re starting to be strong in other areas, and that’s what makes us competitive.”

Junior Johanna Anderson returns in the high jump. Sophomore Maliah Howard-Bass, who recently helped North to a state basketball title, is out for high school track for the first time and will compete in the sprints, long jump and high jump.

“It’s going to be kind of see-as-we-go and see where people fit in and what they can do,” Sipe said.

At a glance

2015 girls track schedules for Bartholomew County schools:

Columbus East

April 4;Bloomington South;10:30 a.m.

April 7;Seymour;4:45 p.m.

April 11;at Columbus North Invitational;11 a.m.

April 14;Shelbyville;5 p.m.

April 16;at Jennings County (with Brownstown Central); 5 p.m.

April 21;at Bloomington North;5:15 p.m.

April 23;at Columbus North;5 p.m.

April 28;Madison;5:30 p.m.

May 5;at Brown County;4:30 p.m.

May 12;HHC at Madison;6 p.m.

Columbus North

Wednesday;Whiteland;5:30 p.m.

April 7;at Bloomington South;5:30 p.m.

April 11;North Invitational;11 a.m.

April 14;Seymour;5:30 p.m.

April 17;at Franklin Central Showcase;6 p.m.

April 18;Midwest Prep at Lawrence Central;11 a.m.

April 23;Columbus East;5 p.m.

April 25;at Brown County Talon Relays;10:45 a.m.

April 28;at Shelbyville (with East Central);5:30 p.m.

May 1;Conference Indiana at Bloomington North;5:30 p.m.

May 8;at Martinsville Relays;6 p.m.

May 13;Franklin;5 p.m.

Hauser

April 6;Trinity Lutheran, Crothersville;4:45 p.m.

April 9;at South Decatur;4:30 p.m.

April 20;Waldron, Triton Central, New Palestine;4 p.m.

April 23;at Rushville (with Waldron);5 p.m.

April 24;at Edinburgh Relays;5 p.m.

April 27;at Triton Central (with Southwestern);5 p.m.

April 28;at Batesville (with North Decatur, Jac-Cen-Del);5 p.m.

May 7;at Indian Creek (with Brown County, Southwestern);4:30 p.m.

May 12;MHC at Waldron

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.