There are many unknowns for Wauseon boys track this season with a host of letter winners returning but few with postseason accolades.
If their younger athletes can develop as the season progresses, it should make for a nice season.
“The success of this year’s squad really depends on how we can develop our underclassmen to perform,” said head coach Joe Allen. “I believe that we have some talent but we will have to work to find the best fit for our team.”
At the forefront for the Indians are their seniors.
“I believe that our three returning senior letterwinners are going to have very good season,” stated Allen. “Xavier Torres is coming off a very successful wrestling season and was a regional qualifier for us in the long jump last season. I fully expect him to have a great senior season. Michael Cheezan is a two time state qualifier in the 4×800 relay and is very motivated to get back to state this year. Braden Hernandez is a very good sprinter. I believe he has a chance to get to the regional meet this year.
“We once again have great numbers as we boast a team of more than 50 athletes. That will help us to win some smaller meets.”
Other returnees are J.T. Hutchinson (hurdles), Owen King (throws), Greg Moore (jumps), Andrew Pile (jumps), Sammy Sosa (throws), Noah Tester (sprints), Damian Veith (sprints), Andrew Higgins (hurdles), Benicio Vielma (hurdles), Noah Sauber (sprints), Braden Vernot (distance) and Layton Willson (distance).
They are also adding newcomers Samuel Blanco, Anthony Cheezan, Braxton Goings, Carter Hite, Dylan Michael, Carter Nofziger, Zach Pfund, Davon Ramos, Jonas Tester, Luke Tester, Hunter Wasnich, Isaac Wilson and Jaytin Windisch.
But, the Indians will have to replace multiple-time state qualifier, Kyle Vernot. Last year as a senior, Vernot placed fifth at state in the 1600 meter run.
Also gone is Josh Lowry, who placed seventh in the state in the 3200 meter run last season. Both Lowry and Vernot qualified as part of the 4×800 meter relay team that finished ninth at state.
Others who graduated were Lukas Dominique, Junior Martinez, Brandon Moore, Owen Newlove, Cam Sauber and Kyle Zirkle.
“I believe that our biggest weakness is experience,” said Allen. “We have a very small group of seniors who are letterwinners. While those seniors have participated in big meets and are ready to lead in the overall we are very young. We have a lot of juniors, sophomores, and freshmen that we are going to rely on to score points this year.”
Allen implies that it could be an uphill battle for his boys to capture a Northwest Ohio Athletic League title this season.
“I see the NWOAL being very competitive once again this year,” he said. “I could see Bryan, Archbold, and Liberty Center all battling for the top spot. We just hope to be in contention this year because of how much we lost from last year’s team.”
The Indians won the league in 2018 and were also co-district champions at the Division II Defiance District.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010