The Press Newspaper
Depth will not be a bonus for Woodmore's boys and girls track and field teams
this spring, but the Wildcats have contenders.
The 'Cats have several individuals and relay teams that will compete not only for Suburban Lakes League championships, but state berths as well.
“Depth is going to be an issue, but we have some really strong individuals who are going to do very well,” coach Brian Ryman said. “Even without having the depth we're going to score enough points, so I think we're going to do pretty well this year.”
Ryman coaches the Wildcats' boys’ squad along with co-coach Mike Marino, who coaches the boys and girls 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 events as well as the relays.
Woodmore's boys 4x800 relay team placed third at last year's Division III state meet. Three members of that relay - seniors DeVaughnte Askew, Brock Avers and Justin Garver – return. Junior Grant Weirich is filling the spot vacated by the graduated Chris Jacobson.
“Grant is looking pretty good,” Marino said. “He's having a little struggle with the 800. He's not sure how to run it yet, but he's a strong kid and he has potential. I think we'll do well in that 4x800 once we get him rolling. We're ahead of schedule from where we were last year.”
The Wildcats' boys’ team placed seventh at the Margaretta Relays and took sixth at last Saturday's Lakota Invitational.
Askew is being counted on to score lots of points this season. He returns in the 400, where he was a regional finalist last season, and is a team co-captain.
“Askew is going to do very well in the 400,” Ryman said. “He's a hard worker. He was new to Woodmore last year and right at the start he was a leader. He's one of those kids who always puts that effort in and tries to do better and improve. He'll be in the 4x800, the 400 and he will experiment in the open 800. He really likes the 400. I think he'll go down to Columbus this year.”
Freshman Andrew Shrewsbury shows potential in the 200 and 400, according to Ryman.
“Last year as an eighth-grader he won the SLL in the 400,” the coach said. “This year he's been consistently in the low 50s (seconds) in the quarter. That shows strong promise.”
Another freshman, Michael Travis, is running the hurdles and the 400, while junior Cody Curry specializes in the pole vault, long jump and 300 hurdles.
Senior Ben St. John, a co-captain, “is showing a lot of early promise” in the shot put and discus, according to Ryman, and Garver and Avers have been strong in the 800 and 1600.
“Each year they just consistently keep dropping their times,” Ryman said. “They're way ahead at this point in the season where they were last year. I have no doubt by the end of this season they're going to be setting PRs.”
Woodmore's girls team, under head coach Mike Pendleton, took first place at the Margaretta Relays, fifth at the Liberty-Benton Relays and fifth at the Lakota Invitational.
The Wildcats graduated two-time state discus champion Erin Pendleton, who placed third in the shot put at last year's state meet. Her younger sisters, Carly, a junior, and Megan, a freshman, and freshman Niki Busdeker are throwing the shot and discus this season.
“Niki has thrown 30 feet in the shot,” coach Pendleton said. “She started at 26 feet, so she is stepping up. We're hoping to get her to 31, 32, feet. Same way with Megan. She threw 31 tonight (Monday), and it just takes time. We have a couple freshmen who will do very well. We have a pretty strong freshman class.”
Lacy Nagy, a junior, is the Wildcats' top runner in the 1600 and 3200 and competes on the 4x800 relay.
“We're hoping as it gets a little warmer her times will drop down,” Mike Pendleton said. “She made it to state as a freshman in the 3200 and did pretty good down there. She made it to state in cross country, too, so we're hoping things will come along for her.”
Sophomore Taylor Avers and senior Lynne Schroeder are Woodmore's top 800 runners and also compete in the 4x800 with Nagy and junior Meghan Haar.
“Meghan is doing very well,” coach Pendleton said. “We can put her in a lot of events. She runs the 200 and you can put her in the 400, the 800 - in a lot of different things.”
Marino said Avers is going to “excel” in the 800.
“She was second at districts last year and didn't get out of regionals, but she was only a freshman,” Marino said. “Lynne Schroeder was first at districts and she had foot surgery and is just now getting competitive. She's way ahead of schedule where she should be. She's a tough kid. I'm keeping her low impact, in the 4x800 and sometimes in the 400. Eventually she will be in the 4x400.”
Senior Kitty Smith has already smashed the school record in the pole vault. She recently vaulted 9 feet, 8 inches, breaking the previous school record of 9-0 set by Carrie Netcher. Karissa Boisselle has also vaulted 9-0 this season and will score points along with fellow junior sprinter/hurdler Jessie Wolfe.
Coach Pendleton said a couple factors have to come into play if Woodmore hopes to unseat Eastwood's girls as SLL champion.
“It would be nice to contend for that,” he said. “Everybody is going to have to be healthy and do exceptionally well. Eastwood is strong and has the numbers. We don't have the numbers, but we can contest with them if everybody does their job. The few people we have will score a lot of points for us, if everybody stays healthy.”
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