Scott Kaye returns as Piqua boys track and field coach.
Piqua finished fifth in the GWOC North last season.
Piqua must replace two outstanding athletes in Andy Mayse and Tristan Cox.
Mayse was a state placer and three-time regional qualifier and Cox was a three-time regional qualifier.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Jacob Bushnell (sprints, middle distance); and Coeby Patton (hurdles, sprints); juniors Jackson Huelskamp (pole vault); and Preston Schaeffer (distance); and sophomores Mitch Fletcher (distance) and Owen Curtis (high jumps, sprints).
“We are looking for veterans to lead the underclassmen in the right direction and establish consistent scoring from this young team,” Kaye said. “With the graduation of big point earners in Mayse and Cox, we are in need of veterans to step up and bring in team scoring opportunities.”
Senior distance runner Johnny Fike returns to the lead the Railroaders.
Kyle Moore returns for his seventh season as Covington coach.
Covington finished third in the league, district and and regionals.
Graduating off that team were Zane Barnes, Adam Lefeld, Jayce Pond, Deron White and Mark Barga.
Senior pole vaulter Jett Murphy, a two-time state placer, is back.
Senior high jumper Zach Parrett finished eighth in the state high jump; while senior hurdler Cade Harshbarger was sixth in the 110 high hurdles last year and qualified for state in the 300 hurdless as well.
Senior Nathan Lyle and junior Gray Harshbarger were on the 1,600 relay team that finished fifth at state.
Other returning letterwinners are seniors Ethan Herron and Dylan Kelly; juniors Hunter Alexander, Tyler Fraley, Cayden Partin and Sam Pritchard; and sophomores Andrew Cates, Jesse Fisher, Cade Schmelzer and Alex Shaffer.
“After a bunch of big third places last year, we are trying to move into the top two in the big meets at the end of the year.” Moore said. “We want to perform well at the league and district meets, and send enough athletes back to the state meet that we place highly at the regional meet again.
“Then we would like to put as many athletes on the podium at the state meet as possible, and since six of our returners have been there before, they know what it’s like, and I know they want to make it back. We will have enough competition even just in the Cross County Conference (we were third at league and third at regionals behind Twin Valley South) that our guys will be pushed hard, and should hopefully get to the end of the season in great shape for a postseason run.”
Moore hopes to be in the hunt for the CCC title and expects strong competition from Twin Valley South, Miami East, and Arcanum.
Senior thrower David Stammen returns for the Wildcats.
Stammen was a state qualifier in the discus last spring.
Dwane Rowley returns for his ninth season as coach.
Lehman finished third in the SCAL last year.
Graduating off that team were John Henry Frantz and Jake Earhart.
Returning letterwinners include sophomores Brendan O’Leary, Chris Goettemoeller and Matt McDonald.
“We have low numbers in participants and are young, but we look for upperclassmen for leadership and to be competitive in all meets and events,” Rowley said. “We are looking to finish in the top three in the conference and have individuals compete for spots in the state tournament.”
Steve Karnehm returns as coach.
“This season, the boys should be exciting to watch,” Karnehm said. “We have 15-plus returning lettermen and other than a few injuries and other issues, we have most of our scorers back from the team that won the county championship and were district and conference runners up. We are off to a somewhat a slow start due to involvement in other extra curriculars, but we believe in well rounded student athletes, so the long run will be our focus.”
Key sprinters will include sophomore Daniel Baker, senior Dalton Taynor, senior Colten Weldy and junior Justin Brown.
“A host of others should figure into the mixture,” Karnehm said. “Taton Bertsch is an all around athlete who runs hurdles, sprints and the relays so his presence adds to our overall depth. Sophomore Aaron Lawerence, who was a surprise qualifier to the regionals last year returns to run both hurdles.
In field events, Justin Brown and Brendan Bertsch will see duty as the main high and long jumpers, while junior Blaine Brokschmidt has already proven his abilities by placing fourth at the indoor state championship recently in the pole vault. He will be joined by Kaleb Nickles who as a freshman went 12-6 last year. Throwing duties will be covered by senior Jack Runner and juniors Ryan Teale and Brennan Dalton, all lettermen from last season.
Distance runners will include junior Erik Austerman, who after a successful swim season, proved his abilities in running well indoors. Regional qualifiers from last year include sophomore Jonah Brautigam, and juniors Greg Austerman and Gavin Horne.
Junior Keagan Carsey will, with Taton Bertsch, assume double duty as a distance runner as well as a 200/400 runner.
“We are now a Division II program, so though we still face the same teams during the season, we will compete “up” a division when it comes to district, regional and state,” Karnehm said. “We welcome that challenge.”
Nick Rhoades returns for his ninth season as coach.
Graduating off last year’s team was Jack Yoder.
Returning letterwinners include senior Tristan Benedict and sophomores Ethan Cook (regional qualifier in 100 and 200), Cameron Stine (four-time district placer last year) and Seth Hunt.
“It appears the boys’ numbers will be down from previous years, but an increase in quality,” Rhoades said. “With only one senior and one junior, it makes us very young but with potential. Several of the younger athletes have had success already in the tournament, or has the ability to do great things this year.”
Freshman Dawson Hildebrand was a junior high state champion in the shot put last year.
”Dawson (Hildebrand), along with several other freshmen, did some great things in JH, but will have to prove themselves again in high school,” Rhoades said. “Our goal is to always finish in the top half of the league. With being so young, we will just put in the work, trust the process, and know it will pay off in the end.”
Dan Schafer returns for his ninth season as coach.
Russia finished third in the SCAL last year as well as finishing near the top in all its big meets.
Graduating off that team were Cole Tebbe, Drew Poling, Noah Drees, Jack Moorman
Returning letterwinners include Matt Seifring, Lee Magoto, Zackery Bell, Levi Lavy, Michael York, Andrew Deloye, Alex Seger, Dawson Luthman, Max Bohman
“We look to have a very good season this year led by the seniors,” Schafer said. “The underclassmen are much improved over last season we will be very competitive again this year.”
Schafer sees the SCAL as being strong again and hopes Russia will be among those at the top.
Versailles returns two state qualifiers in Josh Steinbrunner and Joe Spitzer.
Steinbrunner will run hurdles and compete in field events, while Spitzer leads the Tigers distance group.