Washington is in position to make strides in the Mid-Illini Conference.

Washington is in position to make strides in the Mid-Illini Conference.

Thanks to some strong returnees, plus Lady Panthers back from injury, the 2013 outlook is promising for the girls track and field team.

“I’m looking forward to our season,” WCHS head coach Tom Smith said. “We have some new kids on the team that I hope make an impact.”

Three members of last year’s league champion 4x800 relay — senior Danielle Williams and juniors Haley Willis and Ashlee Knott — are back.

The trio, along with the graduated Alyssa Johnson, also earned Illinois High School Association Class 2A state medals with a school-record time of 9:44.08.

Jaclyn Finney, a senior, figures to take Johnson’s place in the relay. She was out last spring after undergoing back surgery.

Knott was an event winner March 15 in the 800 run in an indoor meet hosted by Mahomet-Seymour.

Finney’s relay time that day, if it had occurred in the 800 race, would have given Washington a one-two finish.

Senior Lindsey Watson bolsters the roster after she returned to track following last year’s shoulder injury.

She will perform in the high jump and discus, if she does not experience any shoulder fatigue.

Sophomore Hailey Widder is back in the 300 hurdles after a top-five Class 2A sectional finish.

Madison Elmore, a sophomore, will run both hurdle events.

Lady Panthers previously known in other sports look to bolster the group of sprinters.

Senior Cassie Kibler and juniors Makayla Hartter and Carrie Johnson should increase the squad’s depth in that area.

As soon as Washington could get outside consistently, it planned to see who could work into field positions.

Sophomore Rachel Spires is a probable long and triple jump option.

The remainder of the team includes: seniors — Chloe Benson, Morgan Frans, Kelly Hinthorne, Megan Mattus and Brenna Sullivan; juniors — Alyssa Barrick, Ellen Cealey, Kaelia Chronoski, Hannah Davis, Marquerite Godwin, Alexis Schreiner and Jessica Sullivan.

Sophomores — Courtney Cook, Allison Faivre, Alicia Henning, Mariah Moore and Savannah Weston; and freshmen — Sierra Beard, Cecilia Boore, Sammie Gordon, Mary Jordan, Madisyn Leach, Lily Maxwell, Alexis Mount, Meghan Rest, Adrianne Streitmatter and Nicole VanBeuning.

Besides losing Johnson to Western Illinois University, Lady Panthers Julia Williams (Butler) and Ann Chapman (Valparaiso) departed for Indiana Division-I universities.

Williams, the M-I’s 3200 champion last season, was a state medal winner in cross country and track.

In a span of 10 days beginning Tuesday in East Peoria, Washington is scheduled to have five meets.

“We are going to race our way into shape,” said Smith.

The Lady Panthers want to contend in the conference this season after tying Limestone for fifth place in ’12.

“I hope we’ll move up and be real competitive in our conference,” Smith said.

Morton has won the last two league titles.

Washington was supposed to open its home schedule Tuesday vs. Streator. That meet was postponed, however.