Spencer Will Pace Weir Boys
By TRACY WATSON
With a huge roster, consisting of 35 athletes, and the return of senior speedster Donavan Spencer, Weir High track and field Coach Tom Taylor is anxiously looking forward to the start of another season.
Spencer was a W.Va. Class AA state champion in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes as a junior while also taking part in the Red Riders’ 4X100-meter sprint relay squad which took home a third place finish.
Junior Jaylon Bridges is also back, and the only other returning member of that relay quartet, and the only other state placer for Weir. However, there were six other qualifiers for Charleston, including juniors Cole Girod (distance), Trey Elbon (distance), Keyshawn Faulks (hurdles) and Lavelle Hall (distance). Seniors are Tyler Virtue (distance) and Jimmy Whitlatch (sprints).
The remainder of the Red Riders’ roster includes seniors Isaac Piatt (field events) and Owen Boyd (field events); juniors Ben Fedoush (field events), Zach Martin (field events), Jacob Conley (distance), Dustin Lengyel (distance) and Kris Lincke (field events.)
A small sophomore class has Dante Daddario (sprints), Tre’ Volpatti (distance) and Quincy Dameron (sprints) while a large freshman contingent is comprised of Spencer Vida (distance), Jonathen Gold (field events), Scott Edmond (distance), Chris Hoover (distance), Matt O’Niell (field events), Sebastian Spencer (sprints), Skyler Jackson (sprints), Michael Zias (field events), Eli Stewart (distance), Joey Cowher (distance), Boston Beatty (distance), Jericho Givens (distance), Mason Cassels (sprints) and George Wansack (field events).
“With the return of two-event state champion, and school record holder Donovan Spencer, and the maturing of our athletes in the distance and field events, Weir is looking forward to another very good year,” Taylor said. “We have 35 boys out for track this year which should make us competitive in all events.”
Jeff Lewis’ Red Riders are ready to get the season off and running, even after losing some key athletes from last year’s strong squad.
“We lost several key athletes due to graduation, but we are working hard to fill those vacancies,” Lewis said.
In fact, Weir finished fourth in Class AA at the state meet in Charleston with 15 state qualifiers bring home three state titles, including a state meet record in the shuttle hurdle relay.
“I know we have holes to fill, but there are high expectations for this year’s team as well,” Lewis said. “We have a total of four seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen on this year’s roster.
“The composition of the team is really quite balanced and I am very impressed with the work ethic of this group. I am looking forward to seeing this team develop as we progress through our season.”
Leading the sprinters will be junior Caroline Fodor, who was a member of the state championship 4X200-meter relay team as a sophomore and finished fifth in the high jump. She will be accompanied by classmates Naveah Colliers, Taryn Davis and Haley Brown as well as freshmen Nokiera Harper, Sara Hudachek and Sydney Ball.
Seniors Amelia Adams, a member of last year’s shuttle team, and Kali Potock lead the hurdlers with Fodor, junior Meghan Hawthorne and freshman Olivia Bernola among the other timber-toppers.
State qualifier Abby Cowher, a senior, leads the distance runners and will be joined by senior Anna Creel, juniors Meghan Hawthorne and Mackenzie Holloway and freshmen Olivia Dowler and Emily Budik. Adams, Cowher and Hawthorne were all members of the 4X800 quartet that advanced to Charleston last season.
Throwers will be juniors Bailey Stead, Madison Efaw, Hannah Larkey and Cori Pierce along with freshman Stephanie Crago. Fodor will once again compete in the high jump while sophomore Aleah Osaba will be the team’s long jumper.
Lewis returns for his sixth season leading the Lady Red Riders and will be assisted by Paul Stevens.
Oak Glen Boys
Coach Rance Everly’s Oak Glen boys’ squad are a young group looking for some kids to take over leadership roles early in the season.
Gone are a good group of distance runners that were OVAC 4X800 champions in Canyon Colson, Cyle Perez, Zach Mynes and Tanner Gorby. Alson gone are leaders Ryan Cunningham, Matt McCune and Shawn Troutman.
“We are a young team, but we do have a few key returning athletes,” Everly said. “But they are going to have to become leaders quickly also. At the same time, I am very excited to watch us grow as the season goes along and we continue to improve.”
Returners who will be looked upon to step up include sophomore Kellen Tropeck, who finished fourth in the discus as a freshman in Charleston; senior Chase Crago (200), sophomore Jake McCoy (400), junior Preston Campos (100), and shuttle hurdle relay members in seniors Connor Rosenlieb, Dakota Graves and Cody Warren along with junior Collin Stanley.
Seniors include Jeffrey Coble (distance), Gary Garrison (weights), Justin Gumm (distance), Cody Null (sprints, mid-distance), Isaac Rosohac (weights) and Luke Smith (weights). Juniors are Ty Biela (weights), Draven Burton (weights), Joe Durante (weights), Jaden Glenn (sprints), Hunter Gorby (distance), William Straights (weights), Gus Weekley (weights) and Collin Williams (weights).
Small sophomore and freshmen groups include Preston Howard (weights), Charles Lauritzen (springs/jumps) and Logan Meadows (sprints) along with first-year athletes Jeffery Bauduin (sprints), Lucas Harris (sprints), Dakota Holbrook (sprints/mid-distance), Ethan Littell (sprints), Seth Mozingo (sprints/mid-distance/hurdles) and Matt Wright (sprints).
Richard Everly is the team’s assistant coach.
Oak Glen Girls
Former athlete Ashley Benavides, now Tharp, takes over for Diane Wells as the girls’ coach and she does so with very high expectations.
“As a first-year track coach my expectations are pretty high,” Tharp commented. “I want these girls to give it their absolute best every practice and in every meet. I have a lot of younger girls this year that will have to step up.
“But we have a lot of growing and learning to do as a team. I want them to have goals and as the season progresses, I want them to have met those goals. We have a tough season ahead and hope that my returning and new girls strive to do their best.”
Seniors on this year’s roster are Emilie Troutman and Dominica Price while the junior class has Lizzie Orenzuk, Olivia Arneault, Kylee Williams, Devin Tallman, Sydney Hall, Emmy Severs, Jordan Rodriques and Lauren Mahan.
Sophomores are Chole Molish, Krista Smith, Maggie Kovalcik, Destiny Cloninger and Krissy Neely while the freshmen include Hayley Davis, Emma Reed, Linsey Valgamore, Kaylee Travis, Emily Ashcraft, Abigail Myers and Sierra Wright.
Having just taken over the squad, Tharp was still working on filling spots and deciding on events.