Washington Evening Journal
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Voss, Demons ready to make SEC run
Washington girls aim to unseat Mt. Pleasant and Fairfield at top of the conference
WASHINGTON — The last two years have been a battle at the top of the Southeast Conference between area teams Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant, but an up-and-coming Washington team is ready to make their push in 2023.
Washington, which moved up from fourth in 2021 to third in 2022 lost just one senior to graduation last year, and the Demons are poised to run with the top of the league.
“It’s really cool to kind of be the underdog,” said Grace Voss, one of five seniors on Washington’s team. “They might not see us coming.”
Voss is the defending SEC high jump champion, clearing 5 feet at the 2022 meet. The Demons had two relay champions, as Kendall Hinrichsen, Abigaili Kleese, Voss and Lauren Horak won the 4X800, and the distance medley squad of Nevaeh Brown, Ada Kendall, Voss and Kleese won as well.
“I'm really excited to see our competition this year in the conference,” Voss said. “I think it's going to be a really tight race.”
The Demons’ loan state qualifier in 2022 was Abigail Kleese, who qualified individually in the 800. Voss says, she hopes the Demon 4X800 can finally break the mold this season to get the whole group up to Des Moines.
“The 4X800 qualifying for state is a big goal for us this year,” Voss said. “We've missed it the last two years. I'd also like to qualify for high jump as well, and I would hope our d-med can also qualify.”
The Demons are still young this season, as only five seniors appear on the 2023 roster. Voss says it’s key for the upperclassmen to light the way.
“We are a younger group, and we have a lot of underclassmen, but we have really strong leadership for the seniors,” Voss said. “I think leadership is a big part of it, the seniors reminding everyone to stay positive.”
Washington will get to go toe-to-toe with four other SEC teams on Thursday in Mt. Pleasant, as the Panthers welcome in the Demons, as well as Fairfield, Keokuk and Burlington, as part of a 10-team co-ed meet.