By most accounts, the Hudson girls track and field team exceeded expectations a year ago.

That means expectations will be that much higher this season. However, the Lady Explorers figure to be up to the task.

Last year, Hudson finished with a record of 5-2 in the National Conference of the Suburban League.

The Lady Explorers also finished in third place at the Suburban League Meet at the end of the regular season. Nordonia won the title.

In addition, Hudson qualified its 3,200-meter relay team to the state meet. The good news is that the Lady Explorers only lost four seniors to graduation. Three of those four athletes competed in the track events: Lauren Gorze (300 hurdles), Audrey Moeglin (3,200) and Arielle Dalea (800 and 3,200).

The other graduating senior competed in the field events. That senior was Gretchen Weaver in the shot put.

According to Hudson head coach Mike Schmidt, the Lady Explorers' major losses were Dalea and Gorze.

The good news is that Hudson returns a lot in the way of talent and experience for the 2017 season. That's one of the many reasons that expectations will be high.

In fact, Hudson is returning 10 seniors this season. That crop of seniors includes Amy Morris (400), Sydney Booth, Sydney Cravener (high jump), Macy Lori (pole vault), Christina Core, Amanda Bellish, Ally Gold (300 hurdles), Megan Boyda, Heather Furbee and Giuliana LaMarca.

There also are nine juniors on the varsity roster. Among those nine are Bryn Strawbridge (sprints), Andrea Giaimo (sprints), Natalie Kahle, Bryn Meyer (high jump), Emily Akin (400), Jenna Reitenbach, Tori Shiver, Cameron Bujaucius (1,600) and Hannah Teed (800).

There's also a sophomore expected to see extensive action on the varsity squad. That sophomore is Taylor Miller (long jump).

Schmidt also mentioned a pair of newcomers from which he expects significant contributions during the upcoming season. Those newcomers are freshmen Molly Stecker and Leah Hartman.

Having graduated just four seniors and having 10 seniors returning, Schmidt pointed to depth as one of the Lady Explorers' strengths at the outset of the campaign.

"We're young in the field events, though," he said.

With as much experience as Hudson has returning, Schmidt believes Hudson can make a run at this year's conference crown.

"Our goals are winning the league championship and sending as many girls to regionals and states as possible," Schmidt said. "The league is going to be tough, though."

Schmidt is entering his fourth year as the head coach at Hudson. His assistant coaches are Eddie Hoffmeier, Dave Kohl, Nicole Becka and Megan Petraska.

The Lady Explorers are scheduled to make their 2017 debut against Nordonia March 28 at Boliantz Stadium in Macedonia. The competition is set to begin at 4 p.m.

Email: faceto@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9444

Facebook: FrankAcetoRecordPublishingCoSports

Twitter: FrankAceto_RPC