Track Teams at Park Are Young
By KYLE LUTZ
WHEELING — For both the Wheeling Park boys’ and girls’ track teams, there are going to be plenty of new faces and the amount of upperclassmen is limited on each side.
The boys graduated seven of the nine state qualifiers from last year’s squad including Richard Cummings, a two-time High Point winner at the meet. He won state titles in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, shuttles and was a member of the 4×100 relay team.
Jamez Coles and Elijah Bell were also on the winning 4×100 team. Timmy Goldbaugh and Jake Pedelose were also members on the shuttles. The other qualifier was Clay McDonald.
The two state qualifiers that are returning are senior Maezi Mosby, who place seventh in the long jump and sophomore Justin LeVelle, a member of the winning 4×100 and qualifier in the 100.
“Maezi should be well in the 21’s in the long jump this year,” Patriots coach Drew Beihl said. “Last year was his first year. Justin has some big meet experience as a sophomore. He was able to score in some bigger meets and qualified for the finals in a big meet in Pittsburgh last year as a freshman. We’re going to kind of rely on those two to keep pushing the kids.”
The boys only have five seniors including Mosby. Three-year letterwinner Jarred Beihl returns (mid distance), along with Nate Moulton (400) and Noah Moulton (200, 400). Justin Hibbs rounds out the class of 2017 as a first year thrower.
The juniors are Aaron Allen (pole vault, sprints); Matt Porter (Sprints, hurdles); Michael Harriman, who is expected to have a big year (distance); Nate Phillips (sprints, relays); Logan Tucker (sprints); Justin Sharpsky (sprints); Troy Zimmerman (hurdles, high jump), Cross Wilkinson; Alasdair Hicks (sprints) and Justin Allen.
The sophomores include distance runner Ronnie Saunders, who is coming off a third-place finish at the state championship. The other distance runners are Brenden Sands, CJ Powell and Max Warnick.
Ryan McCave is a first-year thrower while Cade Miller and Nathan Safreed return for their second year. Jermain Snodgrass will run sprints and throw shot put while Tyler Porter will do sprints and hurdles. Jack Cook will run sprints and Devaughn McWhorter will see time in the 400 and 800 as Kyle Radaker (sprints); Isaak Murphy (distance) round out the sophomore class.
The freshmen include Corbin Rutan, who finished 13th at the state cross country meet (distance); Kai Schultz (hurdles, sprints); Shawn Crow (distance); Garrett Rogerson (distance); Jeremiah Ueltschy; Ethan Romanek; Cameron Hicks; Noah Reardon; Rapheal Bradley (sprints, relays); CJ Miller (mid distance); Morgan Adams (sprints) and Alex Puskarich (sprints, long jump).
“When I took over for Coach Doc (Chris Daugherty), I think there were 11 or 12 OVAC titles in a row that he had and we haven’t won one since I’ve been there. We’ve been close a couple of years,” Drew Beihl said. “So obviously getting back to that level to competing for an OVAC championship. Competing in the regionals. Those are always our goal is to perform our best at those two meets.
“Just overall improvement from week to week. How are kids adjusting. How are kids competing. That’s a big word we’ve been using in practice is compete with each other and compete against each other. Try to turn each day into an individual competition. Obviously we’re young and with us being unproven in a bunch of kids, we’re kind of hoping to go out and compete and show we’re not really fallen off the face of the earth.”
On the girls side, Bryan Arbes takes over as the new head coach. With a difference in coach there is also a big difference in numbers. Last year, 17 girls were on the roster.
But with Arbes walking the hallways and convincing some to come back out for the team, this year the number is pushing 40.
“It’s big responsibility,” Arbes said about being the new head coach. “I’m definitely learning that there’s a lot more that goes into being a head coach than just being an assistant. You definitely have some big shoes to fill. I’m excited about that. Numbers are definitely up.”
Like the boys team, there is a small of amount of seniors with two of them being state qualifiers last year. Sydney Moffett who placed fourth in the shuttle hurdle relay and sixth in the high jump returns for her final year. Bailey Druschel also was on the shuttle hurdle relay team and Sherayle Baylor (sprints) is running for the first time since her freshman year.
The junior class has a lot of talent as a handful of them qualified to the state meet last year. Morgan Glass (sprints, hurdles, mid distance, long jump) placed third in the 4×200, along with Katie Stakem (sprints), while Sarah Ihlenfeld and Madison Jebbia (mid distance) both come back from placing sixth in the 4×800. Beighley Ayers (distance) was a state qualifier last year and looks for another run at the state meet after having a successful cross country season in the fall in which she placed fourth at the state meet. The other juniors are Katie Bleifus (sprints); Briana Liddle (shot put, discus); Megan Murphy (sprints, hurdles); Nicole Ridgley (distance) and Natalie Turner (sprints).
Brady Browning (sprints, pole vault); Alexa Crebs (sprints, hurdles, mid distance); Emily Hudrlik (sprints, pole vault); Kyra Kreger (shot put, discus); Nevaeh Lekanudos (sprints, mid distance); Shamya Mayfield (sprints) and Hannah McCardle (sprints are the sophomores.
The Patriots will have a strong freshmen class as Khaliah Carter (shot put, discus) comes to the team as the PAC 8 Middle School shot put record holder. Brooklyn Jackson (mid distance) was on the 4×400 champion team for the PAC 8 along with Ashley Wiethe (mid distance, hurdles). Amari Poole (sprints) has some championships under her belt already as she was a champion in the 4×200 along with Tasia Walker (sprints, long jump) with both of them also being on the record-setting 4×100 team. Walker was also the PAC 8 200 hurdle runner-up. The person that beat her in the race happens to be on the track team as well in Aubrey Wiethe (sprints, mid distance and hurdles).
The other freshmen are Emily Croft (distance); Emma Delk (mid distance, discus); Isabella DiSaia (distance); McKenna Dunbar (sprints, high jump); Rahzia Gray (shot put, discus); Kiersten Holman (sprints); Emma Ihlenfeld (sprints, mid distance); Kassidi Kloss (shot put, discus); Jaiyza Johnson (sprints); Alex Knight (sprints, high jump); Elizabeth Romanek (sprints) and Abigail Snedeker (sprints).
“My goal is to qualify more girls to the state meet,” Arbes said. “My goal is 20. If I meet it, that’s great, but as long as it’s in a few of that, I think with our lineup we can take 20 down. I definitely think we can bring home some state medals in different events.”
The assistant coaches Jason Chambers, Travis McKinley, Jeanne Jendras, Sarah Fisher, Jacob Galik and Alexis Virtue.
*March 25: at Kim Nutter Invitational 4 p.m.
March 31: at Herbert Hoover Invitational 4:30 p.m.
April 8: Dick Dei Track Classic 9 a.m.
April 18: Brooke, John Marshall, Magnolia 4 p.m.
April 21: at Butler Invitational 4 p.m.
April 25: at Cambridge 4:30 p.m.
**April 28-29: Gazette Relays TBA
***May 2: OVAC Qualifying 4 p.m.
***May 4: OVAC Qualifying 4 p.m.
May 6: OVAC Championship 10 a.m.
May12: Regionals (at Brooke) 4 p.m.
May 19-20 State Meet 9 a.m.
* at Parkersburg
** at Laidley Field
*** at St. Clairsville