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Bullis eager to see what girls track team can do in 2021

Courtesy Photo The 2021 Alpena High girls track team includes: front row: Grace Mitchell, Samantha Zolnierek, Abby O’Bryan, Tiffany Foster and Katie Kurowski; back: Hannah Tracey, Keslee Jex, Maddie Linton, Madi Szymanski and Matea Torres. Missing are: Martina Bajo, Alicia Ballor, Emily Black, Cailyn Burrone, Chloe Lawrence, Brittany Mischloney and Tiffany Tessmer.

ALPENA — Despite 20 years of coaching experience, this season may be a little different for Joy Bullis.

As she guides the Alpena High girls track team, Bullis knows she’s got talent on her roster, but she has yet to see its full potential.

Having different team members in quarantine for the past several weeks during the coronavirus pandemic means different athletes have practiced or competed at different times.

Still, after having no 2020 season because of the pandemic, Bullis is thankful to be back on the track and eager to see what her team can do.

“It’s awesome (to be back),” Bullis said. “I’m so thankful that we can have sports. We definitely have some talent, we’ve just got to get them into a race.”

Alpena got off to a solid start last week at the Shake Off The Rust Invitational, finishing sixth against tough competition. Bullis is still tinkering with her lineup, but ultimately the goal is to have at least one quality point scorer in each event.

“Track has always been that way, having a quality scorer in each event and I’m close,” Bullis said. “I was super impressed with the meet in Davison.”

Among those point scorers for Alpena, Bullis will be counting on Madi Szymanski to score big in the distance events. The junior showed no signs of rust last week en route to winning the 800 and 1,600 runs.

Junior Grace Mitchell was another big scorer for the Wildcats, finishing sixth in both the 200 dash and 3,200 run. In the throws, senior Brittany Mischloney took third in the discus and fourth in the shot put.

Another important scorer for Alpena will be sophomore Tiffany Tessmer in the hurdle events. Tessmer has impressed with her natural ability in the event and finished 11th in the 100 hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles last week.

Bullis is also impressed with the versatility of senior Tiffany Foster, who competed in the 200 dash, two relays and the long jump last week.

Other members of Alpena’s track team include Samantha Zolnierek, Abby O’Bryan, Katie Kurowski, Hannah Tracey, Keslee Jex, Maddie Linton, Matea Torres, Martina Bajo, Alicia Ballor, Emily Black, Cailyn Burrone and Chloe Lawrence.

Friday’s meet in Midland will act as a time trial of sorts as Bullis will get just her second look at the Wildcats in the competition, but she’s eager to see them race.

“I can’t wait to see them race and I hope we just keep improving,” Bullis said.

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