Bishop Donahue will begin the 2012 boys track and field season missing three high-profile performers who all picked up diploma's last spring, however, all is not lost for the Bishops who have plenty of athletes and a new head coach to pick up the pieces.
Trent Krupica, a former Donahue runner, takes over the reins of the program and will be looking to keep the McMechen school as competitive as it has been in recent campaigns.
That will have to happen without a very talented trio that included David Beiter, Bobby Richmond and Andrew Barrows.
Senior Captain, and hurdling standout, Tyler Zahnow, will be relied upon to get things going for Donahue. Zahnow was fifth in both the 110 highs and 300 intermediate hurdles a season ago in Charleston and will also lead the shuttle hurdle unit.
Jordan Bonar, a standout running back on the football team, is a newcomer to the team and will run sprints and the shuttles.
Other first time track participants will include Lavonate Hampton, Josh Miller, Saquan Hill, Billy Baurle and Dalton Lantz, all who could make an immediate impact.
That group will all be sprinters and help fill relay spots.
Gabe Mickey and David Beazel will be the top distance runners, both taking part in the 3,200, 1,600 and 800 with Justin Horan running the 800 and 400. Sophomore Jacob Zombeck has also been a surprised and will compete.
Others who will contribute include Cole Koontz, Bo Campbell and Geno Aquino.
"I believe we are going to surprise a lot of teams," Krupica said. "We have good team speed, even with our youth and also some nice athleticism.
Krupica will also be guiding the girls' team, which he believes could very well be one of the best the Bishops have had in quite some time.
Senior Sara Trader is the team Captain and will be a force in the 400, 800 and the distance relays. Joining her for distance events will be senior Catherine Breault and freshman Rebekah Trader along with Aggie Holiday, Kenadee Kleeh and Avi Wu.
Elaysia Hill is just a sophomore, but finished sixth in the 100 at the state meet last year and nearly qualified for the 100.
A pair of high-quality hurdlers are available in Lexi Tweedlie (300, 100 highs, shuttles) and Elizabeth Potts, who could also run sprints. Other hurdlers include Haley Zahnow, Shannon Barrows, Jillian Edge and Loran Clayton.
The Beiter sisters, senior co-Captain Sarah and Becky both qualified for the state meet in the shot put and discus and return this season in the weight events, in which Krupica feels the Bishops will score points. Bobbi Fahey brings depth in the events.
''My expectations are very high,'' Krupica said. "We want to win the OVAC Class A meet, a Mason Dixon championship and be competitive in the regional and get as many to Charleston as possible.
''I will really be pushing these athletes to put their best efforts forward because I believe if they do that this could really be a season for them, and Bishop Donahue to remember.''
Coach Leslie Lively and his boys' squad are another team that has made some noise the last few seasons, and return some fine athletes for this campaign.
Leading the way will be senior speedster Casey Pingley, who captured the 100-meter dash state championship a season ago in Class A and was second in the 200.
Pingley was also part of the Lumberjacks' 400 and 800-meter sprint relay units that advanced to the Charleston.
The remaining senior quartet will also be looked upon for big things in Dylan Edgell, Clay Ueltschy, Joey Hayhurst and Jon Smallwood. Both Edgell and Ueltschy competed in the state meet in 2011 while Hayhurst will throw the discus and shot put.
Smallwood and Josh Baker will fill spots in the two shorter sprint relays, but will also mean a lot more to the team as well.
Junior Spencer Mason has his sights set on the school record in the shot put and will be looked upon to help grow up-and-coming throwers Wesley Dulaney, Russell Stout and Jack Wells.
Troy Hubbard, Chuck Roberts, Brett Christensen and TC Long will be the distance runners, and lead a very competitive 3,200 unit. Chase West, Nathan Arnolds, Jack Wells and Wesley Dulaney will also run distance.
Freshman Trey Smith will help the hurdlers, that include Ueltschy, Troy Hubbard, Caleb Norris and Edgell.
"The coaches and team are very optimistic heading into the upcoming season," Lively said. "With very few seniors lost from the program and some real nice returnees, the ability for a big season is there."
Lively is also very happy with a generous donation from the Mike McGuane Foundation that has allowed the track team to purchase a new pole vault pit, high jump pit, uniforms, hurdles, shots, training equipment, starting blocks and a protective storage building.
Deb Kocher's Lumberjills will also benefit from all of the new equipment as the girls' team continues to rebuild for the 2012 campaign.
First-year girls' coach Jay Salva is dealing with youth, and just 11 athletes, but still believes that his team has the ability to make some noise as the season goes on.
The only senior on the roster is Taylor Parsons, who Salva believes is one of the best hurdlers in the entire valley. He will also count heavily on his two juniors Lynnsie Parson, who is multi-dimensional and will be used in a number of different events, and Logan Cosper in sprints and relays.
Josie Fox is the team's only sophomore and will also be called upon in sprints, hurdles and relays.
A large freshman group includes Kayla Hizer, another athlete who will be utilized everywhere, Haley Hizer (shuttles, 400, long jump), Cierra Yoho (distance), Mallory Estel (shot put, middle-distance), Megan Pierce (hurdles, field events), Sadie Helmick (shot put, discus) and Jennifer Dahms (sprints, long jump).
Taylor Parsons, a well-decorated hurdler, and Joni Myers were lost from last season.
"I honestly expect success," Salva mentioned. "It should be an exciting season in which we will be doing the pole vault for the first time in a very long time.
"We are very strong in hurdles and sprints and Taylor Parsons works so hard and is so determined. Lynnsie Parsons and Logan Cosper should also score us some points.
"All 11 of our girls have worked hard and our goals are to win Class A in the OVAC and the Mason-Dixon Conference while finishing in the top 10 in the state. I know those sound like lofty goals, but these girls have the ability to reach them."
Coach Kim Huffman's Paden City boys' squad will be young, with just two returning athletes, but she feels that they are on the verge of building a nice program.
There are four seniors with Keith Hardbarger and Dylan Crawford both back to compete in the shot put and discus and Jarod Stewart and James Baker both out for the team for the first time.
Austin Quinn and Zach Estel are the only sophomores while a strong freshman class includes Kennedy Cain, Brandon Cross, Kane Pyles, Denton Thomas, Michael Lanham and Dean Frye.
"I am really not sure exactly where everyone is going to be right now, but we still have a little time to figure it out," Huffman said. "I do feel like we will be strong in distance events and also sprints and hurdles.
"As far as all the new kids go, I am very excited about that and I am hoping that we can start building into great things over the next four years."
Huffman feels like her team's best events could be the 1,600, 3,200, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay.
There are plenty of athletes to choose from on both the rosters for Weirton Madonna and Coach Eric Nejus. There are also plenty of state meet qualifiers on the girls' unit.
Leading the way will be senior Kaitlyn Conner, who finished fourth in the long jump at the state meet while also helping the 400 relay squad to a third place finish and the 800 to a fourth.
Sophomore Gianna Anile was a member of the 800 team while junior Makenna Dziatkowicz was on the 400 unit.
While Conner is the only senior on the squad, Dziatkowicz, Ali Yakbek and Taylor Pavan are the only juniors, leaving for a big group of underclassmen.
Anile leads the sophomores along with Francesca Basil, Christine Bae, Shelby Tenaglio, Shelby Kirk, Mariah Mott and Breanna Dalfol while the freshmen will include Molly Pavan, Gabrielle Kotten, Julia Hammer, Camie Dowiak and Kylie Johnson.
There are also plenty of sophomores and freshmen on the boys' team with Nate Nero and Nick Longhi the only seniors and Josh Francis, Alan Green, Garrett Hypes, Kirk Holmes and Dominic Notny making up the junior class.
Sophomores include Josh Smearman, Stevie Maus, Garrett Bever, Elliott Nero, Gabe Hypes and Travis Brown while the freshmen are Anthony Basil, Matt Green and Marquise Jeter.
Boys' Coach Tom Hart will be starting from scratch, losing his top three athletes to graduation and another to a serious knee injury. Jarrod Dunn and Seth Ward were both four-time state qualifiers while distance ace Austin Chambers might have been if not for an injury last year.
Sophomore Zach Ward was going to be counted on heavily, especially in relays, however, he sustained a knee injury during basketball season.
That leaves the brunt of things falling to a freshman and two newcomers to the unit. Freshman Clayton Ward could make some noise in the sprints and long jump while Felix Ashler (HJ) and Billy Estel (shot put) will both be sprinters.
"The kids have worked very hard and are doing everything we ask with no complaints and I am very proud of them," Hart mentioned. "With Zach's injury we are now going to have to focus on individual events with the athletes that we have.
"We really felt we could be competitive in the shorter relays, unfortunately we will need to reestablish our goals."
Girls' coach David Evans is in better shape numbers wise with 11 athletes, and the future looks bright with only two seniors and no juniors on the roster.
Senior Sarah Smith is a three-time state qualifier in the distance events and Evans hopes she will be pushed even harder by freshman newcomer Rena Reid, who he says had a fine junior high career.
The Dragons could be dangerous in distance and middle-distance events. Sophomore Jordyne Higginson, who was on the school's eighth place 3,200 unit at the state meet with Smith last year, will run the 400, 800 and two longer relays.
A trio of freshmen will all be available in the 400, 800 and relays in Jensen James, Laura Jochum and Josie Garland. While exchange students Adriana Jaramillo (400, 800), from Equator and Ekaterina Kholod (100, 200, shot put, high jump, long jump), from Eastern Russia, will compete.
The throwers will be seniors Kathy Sanner, Sammie DeBolt and sophomore Cheyenne DeBolt along with Jochum.
"I believe we can score some points in the weight and distance events," Evans said. "I am also hoping that Rena Reid will be able to push Sarah Smith into even bigger things in distance."