Woodmore track and field coach Brian Ryman admitted that overtaking Eastwood and Otsego at this year’s Northern Buckeye Conference meet will be very difficult.
That does not mean, however, that he doesn’t want the Wildcats to aim high.
“We definitely want to place as high as we can in the NBC,” Ryman said. “For the boys, a second-place finish would be good. Eastwood is tough. To finish top three in the league, I would be very happy. I think the girls can finish just as well as the boys in the NBC. I expect to have a second- or third-place finish from the girls.”
Woodmore competed against Otsego and Rossford on Tuesday in a meet that got cut short by the weather. The Wildcats have had their share of success this spring.
Their boys and girls both finished second behind Springfield at last Saturday’s Fostoria Booster Invitational. The boys placed second and the girls took third at the Patrick Henry Invitational early in the season, and both Woodmore teams have beaten Genoa, Lakota and Elmwood.
“The biggest thing about the boys’ team is how energetic and enthusiastic they are,” Ryman said. “I have a lot of good seniors, with Dan Sprinski, Malachi Brown, Jordan Buck and Derek Anthony. It’s great having them on the team because the younger kids are looking up to them and trying a lot harder. They’re trying to aspire to do what the seniors are doing.”
Anthony qualified to last year’s Division III state meet in the 800, “and so far he’s right on track this season,” Ryman said. Anthony also competes on the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
“His times have been in low 2s (minutes), but the weather hasn’t been great and we haven’t had the competition that we’re going to have,” Ryman said. “He’s won pretty easily in most of his (800) races. The 4x400 team has shown some potential, and the 4x800 has done well in our dual meets, but we’re going to have to drop some times to get to that next level.”
Brown, a sprinter who helped the 4x200 relay team advance to the state meet in 2013, has been “doing great,” Ryman said. “He’s winning the 200 and 400 and coming in second or third in the 100 at our invitationals.”
Sprinski competes in the high jump and long jump, and Buck is the team’s top distance runner.
“The only time Dan has lost was when he took second in the high jump last weekend, to a kid from Springfield who jumped 6-4,” Ryman said. “He’s around 6-0, 6-2 consistent and is jumping in the low 20s (feet) in the long jump.
“Jordan is doing real well and is winning the mile and two-mile in our dual meets. Over the weekend he took first in the two-mile and got third in the mile. He was right up there against the bigger schools.”
Ryman said junior Grant Weis has been a nice surprise.
“This is his first year in track,” the coach said. “He’s been running the 200 and 400 and 4x400, and his 400 time has been coming down around the low 53s. For a kid to come out as a junior, he’s turned out to be a pretty good performer.”
The Wildcats are young in the shot and discus, but they have 13 throwers on the squad.
“That’s a huge increase for us,” Ryman said. “Ben Wilt, a freshman, has shown lot of potential in the discus. He’s throwing in the low 100s and it’s been nice to see him improve.”
Ryman said he’s excited about the future potential of the Wildcats’ girls’ squad.
“This group is pretty neat,” he said. “We have some good seniors, but a lot of really good freshman talent. That’s been kind of fun. It lets you know how good we’re doing now, it’s only going to get better.”
Three seniors – Allie Wank, Sarah Alexander and Kelli Magsig – are having solid seasons. Wank, a three-year letterwinner, has transitioned down to the 400 and runs on the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
“She’s progressing really well,” Ryman said. “She’s running around 1:05 in the 400, but she’s going to start bringing that time down as it warms up and we get later in the season.”
Alexander and freshman Liz Koenig are the team’s top high-jumpers.
“Sarah went 4-8 in the high jump and it’s nice to have her, as a senior, and Liz as a freshman,” Ryman said. “Sarah can show her the ropes and help her get better. Liz has cleared 4-10 already this season. Kelli Magsig has been a nice surprise. She has never gone out for track and she is really improving. She has been one of our strongest throwers.”
Sophomore Courtney Burner is Woodmore’s top distance runner and has been experimenting with the 800. Freshman Camryn Bench has excelled in the 100 and 200.
Ryman said other promising girls include freshman Lily Rothert in the long jump, 400 and 800, freshman Jade Icsman in the sprints, and sophomores Jordan Grzegorczyk and Jessica Sotak in the pole vault.
“Jade placed in the 200 at last week’s invitational,” Ryman said. “For a freshman to be placing at those big invitationals, I definitely like to look at that for the future. Jordan made regionals last year in the pole vault and has been vaulting pretty well this year. Jessie is also a good pole vaulter for us.”