New Era for Track at JM
By TRACY WATSON
MOUNDSVILLE — It is a new era for girls track and field at John Marshall High School as one Derrow has moved on and another taken over the Monarchs’ program.
With Brett Wysocki turning over the reins to the program first-year coach Lisa Derrow, however, her tenure begins without four-year standout, and current Marshall University athlete, Torie Derrow.
Torie Derrow was a two-time Captain of the All-Valley track team, leading the Valley with a 5 feet, 8 inches leap in the high just last year while also helping the John Marshall shuttle-hurdle-relay team to the top of the heap. She was also one of the top 100-meter high hurdlers in the area and one of the top athletes in the state of West Virginia.
But while Derrow may have graduated she left some key veterans behind, some of which trained with and around her and even competed with her in the hurdles.
There are plenty of sprinters and hurdler returning, including senior Amelia Nelson, junior Lainey Brown, sophomores Alexa Andlinger, Kaitlin Groves, Claudia Callahan, Emily Harr and Tayha Stewart.
Rounding out the sprinters are seniors Zabrya Robson and Cheyenne Pifko.
Junior Megan Byrd is one of the top returners in the state in the discus while Chastity Woods will also be counted on to score points in the weight events. The jumps and vaulting events will be handled by senior Aysa Carney, juniors Avery Derrow, Torie’s little sister, and Ashton Kudlak and sophomore Payton Thompson.
Junior Beth Allen provides experience in the distance events.
“We have some strong veterans coming back, some that saw success in the state track meet last season,” Lisa Derrow said. “But we are still looking to see where girls are going to contribute to this team the most in several events.
“This is a young team, and it’s still early, but I do know some kids will be in several events at most meets. Our numbers are not where we would like them to be, but our core group of kids that are here are once we can expect solid performances out of.
“These kids all work hard and give 100-percent. We set a school record in the shuttles at the state meet last year and that is something I hope we can build on this year.”
Other athletes who will be available to Derrow include, junior Shaina Litman, sophomores Claudia Callahan, Kaitlyn Groves, Sidni Harmon and Taya Stewart along with freshmen Brooklyn Bell, Morgan Brisco, Michaela Hall, Emilee Kettler, Bristan Ramby, Brindabani Turner and Sara Wellman.
Nick Myers returns for his second season as the boys’ coach and is looking for big things from his 2017 Monarchs.
“We have a great nucleus of returning athletes this season,” Myers said. “And we also have some great additions from a large freshman class, some of which look like they are ready to step up to varsity and be factors right away.”
John Marshall has a trio of sophomores, all of whom participated in Charleston a season ago at the state meet, that Myers expects big things from. Alec Edge, Brennan Wright and Ethan Cameron are all expected to assume leadership roles on the squad.
They will look to help fill the shoes of departed graduates Clay Thorn, Jimmy Michelucci, Kyle Caruso, Zeke Andrews and one of the biggest team leaders in Jacob Pifco.
“Those kids are going to be very hard to replace, but those three sophomores have so much potential and ability to win at the highest level,” Myers added.
Along with Edge, Wright and Cameron, other returning letter-winners include senior Owen Ruckman and junior Gavin Bankey.
Seniors Zack Hamrick and Ruckman will lead a strong group of distance runners while classmate Billy Fox, a seasoned swimmer, is out for track for the first time. Myers is happy with the fact that the team has added some speed and strength from the football team this year also.
Juniors Nick Coulter and Dereck Hess highlight the sprinters with seniors Jacob Kerekes and Carson Ray joining the program as throwers.
“I am excited to see these kids come out and compete for the first time, and early on they are showing a lot and really doing a great job in workouts,” Myers said. “We have set some very high expectations with our new letter standards for JM track and are making goals a priority with each athlete.
“So far it has shown very positive results for us. These guys are challenging themselves at practice and are competing for varsity spots. I am very excited to see how our early season training goes and if we stay focused on our goals. If so, we should be in the hunt when it matters most this season.”
The remainder of the John Marshall roster includes seniors Michael Schultz and Jeremy Farey; juniors Jacob Varner, Jesse Hudson, Zach Fassett and Gaven Bankey; sophomores Ray Carson, William Tyler, Ryan Campbell and Anthony Siler.
A strong group of freshmen include Austin Powell, Dayne Bumgardner, Malickey Schumpf, Kohlton Kocher, Dakota Sharps, Nick Lowe, Scotty Gates, Joey Goudy and Zack Leach.
Assistant coaches includes Jason Bennett, Alan Byard, Griffin Yocum, girls’ Head Coach Lisa Derrow and Wysocki.
March 25: at Parkersburg TBA
April 1: Bellaire Invitational TBA
April 11: at Weir 4:30 p.m.
April 18: at Wheeling Park 4 p.m.
April 21: at Park. South 4 p.m.
April 29: at Marietta 10 a.m.
May 2-6: OVAC TBA