Sara Tieri and Jay Hatleli met during the new teacher orientation during their first year at Rosemount. They happened to share an office. They also shared a similar sporting interest.

Both of them coached track and field that spring. They eventually started dating and got married two years later.

They are now in their 12th year at Rosemount High School, which consistently produces premium talent.

The Irish boys won a state championship in 2008. They flaunted great depth in 2009 and 2011, when they captured the True Team state titles. Trophies from conference and section championships help fill the Rosemount boys’ glass case.

Jay competed in the pole vault, long and triple jump, javelin and decathlon at North Dakota State. Sara played soccer and ran track for Rosemount as a youth, and later played soccer at Minnesota State Mankato.

Under their leadership, the Irish boys and girls should be strong once again this spring.

“We have some talented returners and a huge freshman class this year, so I’m very optimistic about what we can do this spring,” Sara Hatleli said. “I think there will be several freshmen who will contribute to the varsity lineup and have a lot of success this season.”

Junior hurdler Rachel Schow leads a talented group. Schow is the defending 100- and 300-meter hurdles champion, an impressive feat considering she was just a sophomore.

Schow joined the high school team as a seventh-grader as a sprinter. She began working with hurdling coach Parc Williams as a ninth-grader.

“The more we watched, it was very clear that she was good and should make it to state,” Sara Hatleli said. “I’m not sure if I necessarily expected her to be a double state champion, but hopeful that she would place pretty high in both races. There aren’t many people that can say they were a double state champion in individual events, so yes, it’s extremely impressive. It will be exciting to see what she can do the next two years of high school and then college.”

Other key returners for the Irish girls include four seniors — hurdler Renae Otto, shot put competitor Abby Monn and sprinters Marissa Knott and Maddie Schroeder.

Junior hurdler Ellie Vraa also returns, along with distance runner Liz Evenocheck and middle-distance runner Natalie Narloch.

Sophomore Josie French comes back with sprinting, high- and long-jumping experience. Eighth-grader Sydney Hansen will contribute again in middle-distance events. These veterans will be bolstered by a talented and fresh ninth-grade crew.

The South Suburban Conference includes six schools that placed in the top 10 at last year’s state meet: Lakeville South (second), Prior Lake (third), Eagan (fourth), Eastview (ninth) and Lakeville North and Rosemount (tied for 10th).

The boys finished 18th overall at the state meet last year. Apple Valley, Eastview and Bloomington Jefferson placed ahead of the Irish.

Three boys return from the 13th-place 4x200-meter relay — Luke Anderson, Aaron Elizondo and Sam Ivanecky. Senior Grant Jackson finished seventh at the state meet in the 200-meter dash last spring.

Senior Payton Otterdahl placed second in the shot put and added a third-place finish in the discus. The three-sport athlete has committed to be a thrower for North Dakota State next year.