By Dan Arritt     3/22/2017

The Santa Margarita girls’ track and field team added several school records to the books on its way to capturing the CIF-SS Division 3 title last spring.

Hopefully, they were written in erasable ink.

That’s because the Eagles figure to replace many of those marks again this season, while adding a few new ones.

The Santa Margarita girls set school records last spring in the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relays, the 200 meters and the triple jump, and all those who contributed to the school records are back this season.

The first mark that figures to be fall is the first event in the standard track and field format, the 400 relay.

Mallory Barnes, Lauren Drysch, Nikki Merritt and Tessa Green set a school record and became just the third quartet in Orange County history to run the one-lap relay in under 47 seconds, finishing second in 46.99 at the Division 3 finals last season.

All four relay members are back this season.

With that in mind, there’s no reason the Eagles can’t take a shot at the Orange County record of 46.57, set by Kennedy High School in 2005.

Merritt and Drysch were also on the 1,600 relay that set a school record of 3:49.88 at the state prelims last June in Clovis. They were joined on the four-lap relay by Sam Walsh and Erin Gerardo, who also return this season.

Breaking the county record in that event might be a stretch for the Eagles, but they’re certainly within reach of the all-time best Trinity League time of 3:48.98, set by by Mater Dei in 2013.

Most of those relay members will likely earn key points in individual events as well, giving the Eagles a solid chance at defending their team section title and possibly making a run at a state championship.

Drysch won Division 3 in the 400 last spring and her time of 56.80 was just out of reach of the school record of 56.47 set by Emily Kalmbach in 2002. Drysch also placed fourth in the 200 at the same meet.

Merritt was second in the 300 hurdles and third in 100 hurdles at the section finals, and Gerardo was fifth in the 300 hurdles and second in the pole vault.

Kate Thomas won the pole vault in Division 3 and two weeks later finished fifth in state. Green was seventh in the 100 at the section finals, Liana Edger was fifth in the high jump, and Elizabeth Weeks was fifth in triple jump, a week after setting a school record of 38-6 1/4 in the prelims.

All are back for more this season.

Mater Dei figures to give Santa Margarita the biggest challenge during Trinity League action.

The Monarchs finished ninth in Division 2 last season, but graduation took a toll on the Monarchs this season.

One of their key returners is two-sport star Kelli Godin, who finished seventh in the 100 meters at the section finals last season, eighth in the 200 and ran a leg on the 400 relay team that finished second in Division 2 in 47.83.

Godin and Haley Hopkins are the only returners from the one-lap relay.

The Monarchs also have one of the top pole vaulters in the state in McKenna Caskey, who finished second in both Division 2 and state.