Although it brings back a fair amount of experienced competitors, the New Canaan girls track team has a fairly new look in 2011-12. The Rams' roster is comprised of 60-plus team members and a whopping 40 of those are freshmen. What's more, the first-year dominated lineup will be led by a new head coach, though he's familiar with many of the team members.

Former assistant Art Brown steps into the head coaching role with plenty of optimism for his developing squad.

"I'm looking forward to it. We have a really young team," Brown said.

Graduates who leave significant holes to fill include middle-distance runner/ relay competitor Melanie Escalante and distance runner Caroline Murray.

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"They'll be difficult to replace," Brown said.

The coach, however, sees strengths in the middle-distance areas, in part because of the talent that comes to the team from the fall's cross country squad.

New Canaan's captains are pole vaulter Abby Wasden, hurdler and sprinter Christina Konstantinovic, 1,600 meter and 3,200 runner Stephanie Benko and 800, 1,000 and high jump competitor Cara Schulte.

Team chemistry certainly seems to be high from the onset.

"We have a really good group of girls and we all get along really well so it should be a fun season," Konstantinovic said.

"I'm pretty excited. I think we're going to be pretty good this year," said Benko, who came in third in the Class L 3,200 event last winter.

The Rams were second in the FCIAC Eastern Division, sixth in the FCIAC Championships and 13th in the Class L State championships last winter. The goal for the Rams this year is to improve and perform at their best.

"I think we'll be competitive," Brown said.

Key team members include senior high jumper Alexis Najarian, junior shot put competitor Sydney Czech, junior distance runner Lana Delvecchio and junior sprinter Eileen Dinnie.

Sophomores include distance runner Isabel Hetherington, middle-distance runner Liz Gordon, sprinter Maureen Schott, distance runner Elizabeth Perry, middle-distance runner Emily Wood and high jumper/middle-distance runner Alex Naughton.

Freshmen include distance runner Caroline Ostrand, middle-distance runner Corinne Vietorisz and mile-runner Lily Baer.

"We have some talent. We have a really strong sophomore class," Brown said. "I think we're heading in the right direction."