WASHINGTON - The Shepaug High School girls track and field team will be young overall but talented as it builds for the future.

Tara Flaherty returns for her second season as coach after spending 18 seasons coaching track at Wilby and Pomperaug.

The number of athletes out for the team this season is down to 22, but with just two seniors and two juniors on the team, a number of young athletes will get opportunities to compete and gain valuable experience for the Spartans.

“The girls team is down to 22 athletes this season, which is a lot less than we had last season,” Flaherty said. “While the numbers may be down, the quality of athletes is good.”

Upperclassmen are few, although senior captains Noelia Aguirre and Lauren Bresson are coming off promising fall and winter seasons. Both are both distance runners who have stepped up into leadership roles.

“They have been leading the team well, and the kids listen to them and look up to them,” Flaherty said. “

The juniors are Olivia Cody and Emma Krebs, who have shown a lot of promise through cross country and indoor track and field.

“We will need Olivia and Emma to step up for us this season as well,” Flaherty said. “Emma is now injury-free and we are looking forward to her contributions on the track. She is a phenomenal athlete.”

Flaherty said she expects a lot of contributions this season from the sophomores and freshmen that make up the rest of the team, adding that it is a motivated group with an opportunity to score for the team right away.

Nonnewaug should once again be a powerhouse in the Berkshire League, but after that there is usually a wide-open race to see who steps up as a contender to challenge the Chiefs. Whether or not Shepaug is that team, it will have some athletes among the area’s best come championship meet time.

“Our team is smaller in number this year, as our school population has decreased,” Flaherty said. “We will have some difficulty head-to-head against some of the larger teams, but are planning for some great performances at the Berkshire League meet and hopefully beyond. We have some challenging meets scheduled later in the season and we will have a group of about eight athletes that will be among the best in the area.”