Courtney Downs returns as Piqua girls track and field coach.
Graduating off last year’s team were Amy Burt, Liz Duer, Taylor Shroyer and Erin Patrizio.
Returning letterwinners include two-time regional qualifier senior Ashley Ho (high jump) and sophomore thrower Jaelyn Furman (discus).
Also returning are seniors Kenna Bell, Savannah Charles, Juliya Hsiang and Hannah VanGorden; juniors Meredith Butt, Gabbie Knouff, Jade Schneider and Mikayla Schaffner and sophomore Olivia Ames.
“This is easily the largest team we’ve had in my five years coaching at Piqua,” Downs said. “We have about 40 girls on the team right now. We have several athletes that used to compete at the junior high level that took a couple years off coming back to the program that have been huge assets to the volleyball program.
“That, combined with large underclassmen numbers and devoted senior class, we’re going to have a lot of depth this season. We also have a new throwing coach in Kelsey Treon this year. She has a strong throwing background from her time at Versailles. Jon Dolph is also coming in as a strength coordinator for our field events this season as well. We knew if we wanted to continue with the success of the program, we needed to expand our coaching staff to include these elements.”
Piqua is hoping for a top three finish in the GWOC North.
The Railroaders will be led by distance runner Karmen Knepp, a regional qualifier last year as a freshman.
Knepp earned All-Ohio honors this fall in cross country.
Dave Tobias returns as Covington coach.
The Lady Buccs are coming off a very successful season, where they won the Cross Country Conference and district titles.
Graduating off that team were distance runners Carly Shell (Ohio University) and Julianna Yingst, thrower Danielle Swabb and pole vaulter Maria Mohler.
Junior Breanna Kimmel (100) is a returning state qualifier, while juniors Tori Lyle and Shae Robinson have state tournament experience in the 400 relay, along with Kimmel.
Other returning letterwinners include seniors Anna Dunn — a multiple state qualifier in cross country — Kelsey McReynolds, Kailyn Pond and Natalie Snyder; juniors Danielle Alexander, Kelsey Dysinger and Rayna Horner and sophomores Paige Boehringer, Lauren Christian, Lillian Hamilton, Ashlyn Plessinger and Leah Poling.
Newcomers include junior Danielle Rose, sophomore Taylor Ely, and freshman Sarah Barnhart, Madison Hite, Morgan Kimmel, Morgan Lowe, Alexis Meyer and Maci White.
“We want to be competitive at every meet and finish well at our invitational,” Tobias said. “We will also want to defend our CC championship and district title again this year. As always, we will work to produce some district and regional event champions and qualify girls to the state meet again this year.”
Sharon Roeth, assisted by Glenn Brown, is coaching the girls track team and also has a good list of veteran athletes.
Returning this season are seniors Caity Falls, Audrey Kittle, Allie Voisard and Kaitlyn Ellison, juniors Morgan Ely and Hanna Cassel, and sophomores Shelby Ayers, Becca Selanders, Cassidy Mayse and Holly Voisard.
Top newcomers will be junior Lauren Brubaker, sophomore Jessica Monnier, and freshmen Jen Oliver, Kaitlyn Fishel, April Stammen, Ava Parin, Hannah Hollinger, Rockelle Anderson and Alex Freytag.
“We have the entire team returning plus a strong freshman class, so we’re looking forward to a good season this year,” said coach Roeth. “Our regional performers Caity Falls and Shelby Ayers have their eyes on state, as do several other girls and relays. We made good strides last year and want to use that momentum to build this year’s season. They are great girls and are working hard to be ready to compete. The league is always tough and produces some of the best athletes and teams in the state, and our goal is to be competitive in all meets and move up in the league standings this year.”
Dwane Rowley returns for his eighth season as coach.
The Cavaliers finished third in the NWCC a year ago.
Lehman will led by two-time state qualifier Alanna O’Leary, a junior sprinter.
Also returning are senior Kaitrin O’Leary and sophomores Maria Schmiesing and Madelynn Wiseman.
“We are fairly young and not much meet experience, but we look to be competitive in all meets and events,” Rowley said. “We are looking to finish as top three in the conference and compete for individual spots in the state tournament.”
Rowley expects to at least match last year’s finish in the NWCC.
Preston Elifritz returns as Miami East coach.
The Lady Vikings finished third in the CCC and third at district.
Graduating off that team were state qualifier Megan Kinnison and Karson Mahaney.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Marie Ewing (state qualifier, 800), Jillian Wesco, Lorenza Savini, Macy Fellers, Emma Linn and Morgan Rose; juniors Kaitlyn Mack and Lindsey Yingst; and sophomores Delaney Bourelle, Bailey Miller, Maria Staton, Ashlyn Monnin, Liza Bair, Amber Kinnison and Mady Osborne.
The Lady Vikings hope to improve on last year’s third-place finish in the CCC, but Elifritz expects strong competition from Twin Valley South and Covington.
Nick Rhoades returns as coach.
Aliya Stine, a multi event placer at the CCC and district meets, will lead the sprinters; while Treanna Lavy will lead the middle distance runners.
Macy Flanary, a regional qualifier in cross country, is back to run distance, while Alicia Dunning will compete in the high jump.
Key distance runners? Macy Flanary (regional qualifier in the XC)
“Low numbers have crippled any chances of a team championship,” Rhoades said. “We have a chance of some individuals that can score in many meets.”
Brad Heaton returns as the Russia coach.
Last year, the Lady Raiders were SCAL champions, district runnerup, third at regionals and 12th at state.
Graduating off that team were state placer Lauren Heaton, state qualifier Molly Kearns, Erin Gaerke and Karissa Voisard.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Rachel York, Grace York and Shea Goubeaux; juniors Emily Bohman, Emma Gerdes, Olivia Quinter, Maddi Moorman and Becky Pinchot and sophomores Smantha Gaerke, Katie Heuing, Laurissa Poling, Anna Fiessinger, Claire Meyer and Emma Delaet.
Goubeaux and York are back from the 3,200 relay that placed fourth at state last year, while Bohman was a state qualifier in the pole vault.
“We should be pretty good in the middle distance races as well as the 1,600 and 3,200 races, along with 4×800 and 4×400 relays,” Heaton said. “We will definitely be strong in the pole vault. The incoming members will need to step up in some of the other events if we want to win the league again this year.”
Russia hopes to defend its SCAL title with a lot of hard work.