Courtney Downs returns as Piqua girls track and field coach.
Graduating off last year’s team were Hannah Went, Kylie Hays and Rebekah Wiles.
Returning letter winners include district high jump champion Ashley Ho — a junior — and seniors Liz Duer and Amy Burt; juniors Savannah Charles, Juliya Hsiang and Kenna Bell; and sophomores Kelsea Bell and Meredith Butt.
“We are really looking forward to the depth of our team this season,” Downs said. “We have returners in all field events as well as a veteran distance core. Our sprints group will be young this year, but it’s a very athletic group of girls that has always performed well for Piqua. We also have every member of our coaching staff back this year, which will continue in helping to build our program.”
Veteran coach David Tobias returns to lead the Buccs.
Graduating off last year’s team that finished third in the CCC were state qualifier Heidi Cron (400 relay) and discus thrower Megan Lange.
Back are three-fourths of the 400 relay team that qualified for state in sophomore sprinters Breanna Kimmel, Tori Lyle and Shae Robinson.
Also back are past state qualifiers in senior distance runner Carly Shell and junior distance runner Anna Dunn.
Other returning letter winners include seniors Maria Mohler, Danielle Swabb and Julianna Yingst; juniors Kelsey McReynolds, Kailyn Pond and Natalie Snyder; and sophomores Danielle Alexander, Brittany Daniel, Kelsey Dysinger, and Rayna Horner (move-in from Franklin Monroe).
They will be joined by 12 freshman.
“Our team goals are to be competitive at every meet and finish well at our Invitational, finish first in the CCC, and have some district and regional champions and qualify girls to the state meet again this year,” Tobias said.
The sprinters will include Horner, Breanna Kimmel, Pond, Robinson, Snyder, Jordan Crowell, Lindsey Kimmel and Danielle Rose.
Middle-distance runner include Lyle, Kelsey Dysinger, Yingst, Courtney Barhorst, Ashlyn Plessinger and Sarah Remley; while handling the distance events will be Shell, Dunn, Alexander and Paige Boehringer,
Handling throws will be Mohler, McReynolds, Mariah Dysinger, Daniel, Lauren Hebert and Swabb.
The pole vaulters will be Mohler and Kelsey Dysinger.
Doing the high jump will be Snyder, Lillian Hamilton and Leah Poling; while the long jumpers will include Horner, Breanna Kimmel, Barhorst, Poling, Olivia VomBaur and Anna Winn.
Coach Jacob Benanzer has seven girls returning from last season.
They are senior Jenna Mounts, juniors Kaitlyn Ellison, Caity Falls, and Allie Voisard, and sophomores Allison Langenkamp, Audrey Kittle and Hanna Cassel.
The top newcomers are sophomore Morgan Ely, and freshmen Cassidy Mayse, Becca Selanders, Shelby Ayers and Hollie Voisard.
“I’m looking forward to this year’s team,” said Benanzer. “There is a whole different attitude on this team and they seem real excited to compete this year. I have a lot of young talent and speed that will mix in well with our upperclassmen.”
Dwane Rowley returns for his seventh season as coach.
Returning letterwinners include sophomore state qualifier Alanna O’Leary, along with seniors Kassie Lee and Janelle Gravunder, junior Kaitrin O’Leary and sophomore Katie Allenbaugh.
“We need to overcome low numbers, any adversity and stay healthy,: Rowley said. “I look for these girls to be competitive and get better each week.”
Rowley hopes to finish in the top four in the NWCC.
Preston Elifritz takes over as coach.
The sprinters include juniors Morgan Rose and Jillian Wesco; sophomores Bailey Miller and Macy Fellers; and some freshman who have shown a lot of potential.
The hurdlers include Rose (300 hurdles), sophomores Kaitlyn Mack (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) and Abby Horne (100 hurdles, open 400) and some freshman that have shown a lot of potential.
The Lady Vikings returns three runners off their record setting 3,200 relay team and the distance runners will include senior Sami Sands (800, 1,600, 3.200); juniors Marie Ewing (400, 800) and Lorenza Savini (800, 1,600, 3,200) and sophomore Lindsey Yingst (400, 800, 1,600).
Senior state qualifier and school record holder Megan Kinnison returns in the discus, while senior Karson Mahaney and junior Emma Linn are back in the shot put and discus.
“With nearly half of our roster as freshman, our upperclassmen leadership will be vital as to how quickly we come together as a team,” Elifritz said. “We have definite potential to compete weekly, but our work ethic and character will guide the way.”
Elifritz hopes to compete for the top spot in the CCC and beyond in the postseason.
Nick Rhoades returns for his eighth season as coach.
Aliya Stine will lead the sprinters/hurdlers and be joined by Anna Miller and Maddie Hildebrand.
Regional qualifier in cross country Macy Flannary will run distance, while Kassidi Alexander will run mid-distance and Zara Zeller returns in the discus after placing in the CCC meet last year.
“The girls team should have a nice team year,” Rhoades said. “There are question marks with a lot new runners/freshman on the team. The potential is there if we have a good March.”
Brad Heaton returns as Russia coach.
The Lady Raiders have won the SCAL title the last five years.
Graduating off last year’s team were state-placers Emily Borchers and Leah Francis, along with Hannh Bornhorst.
Returning state qualifiers include former 400-meter state champion Lauren Heaton, who competed in the 400 and 1,600 and 3,200 relays last year; Molly Kearns (3,200), Grace York (1,600 relay, 3,200 relay) and Shae Goubeaux (3,200 relay).
“We lost a wealth of talent in Emily Borchers, Leah Francis, and Hannah Bornhorst, but the number of athletes going out for high school girls track is tremendous,” Heaton said. “The depth of our athletes will be a huge bonus led by our seniors: Lauren Heaton, Molly Kearns, Erin Gaerke, and Karissa Voisard.
“We also have back Megan Frazier and Olivia Quinter who were injured last year and were not able to compete at the end of the season. We expect Emily Bohman to do well in the pole vault and Christina Gaerke in the shot pot. Another talented junior is Audrey Voisard who will compete in the long jump. We also hope to see our state qualifiers from last year return to the state meet.”
Heaton looks forward to the challenge of defending the SCAL title and expects strong competition.
The Lady Tigers will once again bring back a strong group of returning state qualifiers to lead the team.
Junior pole vaulter Jenna Frantz is coming off a second-place finish at the Division II state meet last year.
Junior Camille Watren anchored the 1,600 relay team to a second-place finish last year and also advanced to the state in the 400.
Others returning off the four relay teams that qualified for state last year are Hayley Winner, Kayley Rushcau and Cassie Peters (sprint relays); and Madison Grilliot and Emily Langenkamp (3,200 relay).