The Wauseon boys track and field team has many strengths heading into the season as they look to add another NWOAL championship to the resume this season. The Indians took home the league title a year ago and finished third at the Defiance District.
“Overall we should be successful again this season,” said longtime coach Joe Allen. “We have some holes to fill but have a nice freshmen group coming in that may be able to do so. We are going to rely on our strengths at the beginning of the season while we develop our inexperienced areas.”
Wauseon did have many key athletes graduate last year, however, they return a strong group as well.
Returning for the Indians are Zac Carroll (hurdles), Michael Cheezan (distance), Josh Lowry (distance), Aaron Newland (hurdles), Junior Martinez (sprints), Owen Newlove (distance), Dawson Rupp (jumps), Kyle Vernot (distance), Kyle Zirkle (throws), Aaron Beck (distance), Zach Fink (sprints), Luke Grime (throws), Seth Hutchison (hurdles) and Chase Reynolds (sprints).
“Our strength for this year is our distance group,” said Allen. “We have several letter winners returning from last years’ group. Coach (Tom) Vernot does a great job with this group. They will be led by Kyle Vernot who qualified to state in the 1600m run last year.
“We should also be strong in the hurdles. We have three returning letterwinners in that group. The hurdlers will be led by Seth Hutchison this year. Seth has placed at the Regional meet for us the last two years and we expect that he will have a great season.”
There are also a few things Allen would like to see improve as the year goes on.
“I would say our weakest area for the season is the sprints,” he said. “We are working on developing this group but most of our proven sprinters graduated last year. We are also weak in the field events, which is kind of strange as this is an area where we tend to be very strong.”
The most notable loss for the boys is Ethan Baker who qualified for state in both the shot put and discus competition last season. He placed sixth in the shot put but outside of the top 10 at 12th in the discus.
Other letter winners lost were Travis Adkins, Austin Bachman, Caleb Blanchong, Andres Blanco, Troy Brink, Clay Byers, Spencer Clausen, Mason Creager, Danny Hench, Kyle Knierim, Ty Leininger, Desmond Rapp, Collin Siller, Chase Starkweather and Tyler Wilson.
Looking to fill the void are newcomers Branden Arredondo, Jonah Figgins, J.T. Hutchinson, Wyatt Lane, Jordan Lange, Carson Mahlman, Brandon Martinez, Reece Mealer, Alex Moore, Andrew Pile, Andon Raker, Davon Ramos, Holden Serres, Sammy Sosa, Noah Tester, Damian Veith, Troy Whitmer, Lukas Dominique, Matt Malone, Brandon Moore and Dalton Sluder.
As always, the Indians will set their sights on a league championship.
“I believe that Archbold, Liberty Center, and Bryan will be battling for the league championship. We are hoping to be battling amongst that group, but in order to do so we are going to have to develop our weaknesses,” said Allen. “Patrick Henry, Swanton, Delta, and Evergreen will all have relays and individuals that win league championships this year as well.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010