Wilmington High School girls track and field coach Roger Ilg isn’t discounting an SBAAC American Division championship for his Lady Hurricane this season.
However, after 36 years, Ilg knows a long-shot when he sees it.
“To be honest, a bunch of things would have to go right to beat New Richmond,” he said.
And that’s not a slight against his squad. New Richmond has won the last two American championships.
“This team is working so hard to improve and, make no mistake, they want to be good,” Ilg said of his team.
Ilg will be assisted again by throws coach Eileen Grosse and volunteer distance coach Maggie Parson at the high school and at Rodger O. Borror Middle School by Karen Heslop and Megan Sellers.
Top returning athletes are Kaitlynn Hickey, who qualified for the regional in shot put last season; Anna Borton; Izzy Coomer; Sadie Bowman; Emilee Pham and Maggie Simonson. Bowman, Coomer and Borton won SBAAC titles last season as part of the 4×100-meter relay.
Among those not returning to the team are Jasmine Jamiel, Sami McCord, Sophie Burt, Claire Burns and Cayleigh Vance.
WHS has just three seniors on the roster along with 20 freshmen and sophomores.
Ilg said his team needs experience to realize its potential. “We are so young,” he said. “I would like each member to continue their hard work and for each girl to reach or exceed their own goals.
”I know it will take a bit of time for the girls to see results that they expect but by mid-April I feel they will begin to gain confidence in themselves and their teammates. I then feel we will begin to grow with each passing week.”
The old saying goes “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.”
The East Clinton girls track and field team epitomizes that notion, coach Michael Fritz says.
“Once again this is not a huge team but the quality of the athletes we have is very exciting,” he said.
Fritz, in his seventh year at East Clinton, will be assisted by Bob Henson and Bob Malone at the high school level and David Borris and Jim Vest at the middle school level.
Top returning athletes are first-team SBAAC runner Carah Anteck; Emma Malone, Kenton Deaton and Rhylee Luttrell.
”I like the dedication and focus our team has to start the season,” said Fritz. “Malone and Anteck have been showing a drive and dedication with their preseason workouts like I have’t seen in a long time. They are primed to have very successful seasons.
“Also with Kenton and Rhylee still in the fold, and key newcomers senior Myah Jones and freshmen Josie Jones and Timmi Mahanes, we should have a strong squad.”
Health will be the main issue for East Clinton when May and the SBAAC Track and Field Championship comes around.
”I expect our team team to produce several high finishers at the SBAAC meet this year,” Fritz said. “Unfortunately due to our numbers, it will be a challenge for us to win the league title overall but I believe we can have many of our athletes placing high in individual events.”
Numbers, as the season begins, are not a great issue for the Clinton-Massie girls track and field team.
But head coach Dean Richardson says his young Lady Falcons can improve upon their sixth place finish in the American Division meet last season.
“We are a young team but I really like how hard we are working,” said Richardson. “We just need to continue to work hard in practice and we will see improvements throughout the season.”
Richardson, now in his fifth season as the girls head coach, will be assisted by Scott Rolf, Jordan Phipps and Forrest Goings at the high school level and Jim Wagner, Jimmy Brady and Matt Hudson at the junior high level. Richardson spent 17 season as the middle school or assistant coach at Massie.
There are 11 returning athletes with Rylee Richardson (regional finalist in 100-meter hurdles), Emma Muterspaw (first team All-SBAAC cross country), Nora Voisey, Molly Lynch and Ally Wellman leading the way.
The top loss to the program is A.J. Houseman, who is running at Wilmington College.
Richardson believes Wilmington and Western Brown are the league favorites in 2020.
Savannah Rhodes is the news girls track and field coach at Blanchester High School.
She takes over for long-time highly-successful coach Tony Blevins, who was Rhodes’ coach at BHS.
The Ladycats were a distant second to Williamsburg last season in the SBAAC National Division meet. That runnerup finish ended Blanchester’s run of three consecutive National Division crowns.
BHS lost to two dominant performers from last year’s team – the National Division field performer of the year in Regan Ostermeier and the National Division’s runner of the year in Olivia Gundler.
Several underclassmen from last year’s team were eligible to return but had not been confirmed at this time.