While a lot of the talk about track in West Virginia's northern panhandle has centered on Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated dropping to Class A, very little has been said about the fact that move leaves only two schools in the AA ranks locally.
It also means that while the Silver Knights and Blue Eagles could make some noise in small-school track, it also very well could mean a surge into the Golden Bears and Red Riders' programs, respectively.
Veteran Weir girls' coach Jeff Lewis is excited about a squad that lost nobody to graduation and returns seven state qualifiers, including a pair of placers in Charleston and all the members of three relay units that put points on the board at the state meet.
Leading the way is senior distance ace Kristen Mastrantoni, who finished fourth in the 3,200 and sixth in the 1,600 at Laidley Field, and sprinter Raven Young, who took eighth in the 100-meter dash.
Alexis Virtue could also put up some big numbers running distance along with Rachel Marker, Ella Jennings, Kiara Candelario, Alexandra Lengyel and Margaret Budik. Along with Young, speedster Shelva Burns returns in the sprints and that duo will be accompanied by Chantelle Harper, Kylee Leathers and Alesia LeSane.
The hurdlers will be led by Gracen Hayes along with Ontasia Petteway, Megan Longwell, Virtue, Samantha Calhoun and Leathers while the shot put and discus members include Morgan Abbott, Michayla Dobosz, Madison Dalrymple, Ella Jennings, Courtney Schexnayder and Abby Wells, Candelario and Sierra Schoolcraft will both high jump.
''This is a very well-balanced team,'' Lewis said. ''I am very impressed with the work ethic and potential of these girls, and I look forward to seeing them develop as a team and progress throughout the season.''
Chris Hill's club will be looking to a talented group of returning athletes to help guide a big freshman class that he is very excited about.
There are three returning placers from the state meet, but those three comprise the majority of Weir's 400 and 800-meter sprint relay units that both finished in fifth place in Charleston. Juniors Clarence Bennett and Cole Slates, along with sophomore JoJo Rice, will all be back for those events and hope to score points in others as well.
The seniors are led by Shane Davis, Kenny Murhart, Nate Masters, Brandon Zapotoczny, Bryan Miller, Ben Suter and Mateo Collett while the remaining juniors include Shyler Gaunt, Alex Hannah, Noah Woods, Ryan Dragonior, Tyler Warrick and Devin Dollison.
Sophomores will be Alec Collett, Bryan Phillips, Chris Wood, Jonathan Fedoush, Jordan Lamp, Tyler Riggle and Dylan Keys while the freshman class consists of Kameron Davis, Mike Ceraolo, Brandon Konnovitch, David Gianni, Jason Sprinkle, CJ Reed, TJ Szymanek, Matt Stonebrake, Nick Martin, David Mayhew, Jake Suter, Matt Thopmson and Sam Williams.
''We are looking to gain on experience gained from last year,'' Hill said. ''There are 36 athletes out this year with plenty of new additions. We are looking to be more competitive and hopefully get some placers in the regional and state meets.''
Oak Glen girls
Coach Diane Wells has plenty of returning talent in the fold, and a chance to once again make themselves known in Charleston in late May.
Leading the way is senior sprinter Alexis Burch who placed in three individual events last season after scoring 23 points at the state meet as a sophomore. In 2012, Burch was second in the 400-meter dash and third in both the 100 and 200. A season earlier, she won the 400, was second in the 100 and anchored state championship efforts in the 800 and 1,600 relays.
Showing the Golden Bears are not a one-girl team, and are a little versatile is junior Kelsey Chambers, who as a sophomore was second in the 3,200-meter run and fourth in the 1,600 in Charleston and seniors Kaleen Crane who will again attempt to score in the shot put after taking seventh in 2012 and classmate Megan Collins who was sixth in the 400.
The balanced Bears will also receive help from seniors Jennifer Lybert (sprints, long jump), Natali Ramsey (distance), Kayal Swiger (distance and hurdles) and Abby Tice (distance) along with juniors Maddison Blackwell (field), Michelle Campbell (hurdles), Tori Feicht (hurdles), Megan Nally (hurdles), Devon Mines (distance), Morgan Poling (high jump) and Rachelle Woofer (field).
Sophomores are Emmy Delekta (discus), Brianna Logston (field), Christen Mangano (mid-distance), Felicity Nolder (distance) and Morissa Nolder (hurdles, sprints). Freshmen candidates are Alexis Arnott (sprints), Bridgette Beamis (field), Natali Chappell (sprints), Lydia Groves (field), Mackenzie Jones (sprints) and Cassidy Sloss (mid-distance).
Oak Glen Boys
Rance Everly welcomes back a veteran, senior-dominated roster that also has some returning state qualifiers.
In all, Everly has a roster that consists of 10 seniors, seven juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen.
''We are definitely a senior dominated team, but I feel like we have good numbers in every class,'' Everly said. ''So I really do consider this a veteran team.''
Leading the squad are a pair of long jumpers that both qualified for the state meet last season and are both considered serious threats to head back to Charleston and make some noise. Senior Josh Weltner is considered among the best in the Class AA while sophomore Micah Swiger is not far behind him.
Zach Springer also qualified for the state meet in the discus as a junior and is back for another shot while there are plenty of returning runners in both the 400 and 3,200-meter relays, both of which competed in Charleston in 2012.
''We are still working out a lot of details on who is going to run in which events,'' Everly said.
The remaining seniors on the roster include Clayton Flowers, Randy Holloway, Kyle Mack, Ethan Malcomb, Myka McGaffic, Eric Oliver, Zach Staley and Jeffrey Stivason. Junior members are Chris Bailey, Chris Burnham, David Campbell, Skylar Pinkerton-Lamp, Devin Polen, Brock Smith and Cody Tropeck.
Sophomores are Chance Staley and Cody Waggoner while freshmen candidates include Justin Cornell, Tanner Gorby, Bradley Hilt, Zach Mynes and Louis Neer.
''These kids are working very hard early on and there are some good competitions for individual and relay spots,'' Everly continued. '
'I really expect us to be competitive in every meet we attend.''