Park girls' track and field coach Matt Maher tells every prospective athlete that he will find them a spot on the team.
That's because with a team of 35 athletes, a number much smaller than some Suburban East Conference teams that can generate more than 100 girls, the Wolfpack have to be flexible.
"A lot of girls didn't come out this year," Maher said. "But the girls that are out, they've been there almost every single day."
About 10 seniors graduated from last year's team, including Ally Gorres who qualified for the Class 2A state meet in the 100-meter dash. The talented sprinter is one senior who will be difficult to replace.
"We brought her up as a seventh-grader," Maher said. "We had Ally for six years. She was great the whole entire time. That's one you don't just turn around and replace."
The Wolfpack are young in most events this season, except the long and triple jump where three seniors are on the roster.
Having small numbers can be especially challenging when it comes time for meets like section true team competition. When events measure a team's depth, having only 35 athletes can pose a challenge.
"It's challenging to fill a roster because once we get deeper in the season, like true team goes three deep in every event," Maher said. "Even if we are 35, trying to fill every position three deep to score is the challenging part.
Boys' Track and Field
Last year's Park boys' track and field team featured a talented group of sprinters.
The Wolfpack did not send any boys to state, but the boys' 4x100-meter relay team was two-tenths of a second away from a qualifying spot.
While many of the senior sprinters graduated last spring, head coach Mike Moran said the Wolfpack will return some sprinter depth this season, including Edmond Nkwain, Marnez Trotter and Hezekiah Tolefree.
"We will be competitive there, but those guys are kind of hard to replace," Moran said about the graduating sprinters.
Moran expects most of the team's points to come from underclassmen this season. He expects the 4x400 relay to be most competitive when it is time for section meet.
Scott Burazin, Jacob Diaz and Justus Robinson will help score points in distance events, and Blake Pierre, Bryce Holtan and Joe Timp will compete as middle distance runners.
Moran pegged Benjamin Mills, Braden Reinke and AJ Steinmetz as athletes who will help compete in the hurdle events.
Pole vaulters will include Benny Pierre, Edric Waindim and Zach Zenjo; throwers will consist of Noah Trummer and Andrew Drigans; and the jumping events will likely be manned by Payton Shafer, Mahdi Benalshaikh, Justus White and Aiden Harwell.