Bay girls expect a repeat in the WSC
By Ryan Kaczmarski and Joe Ostrica
The Bay High School girls track and field team is poised for a repeat as West Shore Conference champions, with the largest senior squad the program has seen in 13 years, with 13 seniors.
“Our senior class is very strong,” Rockets head coach Kirsten Millet said. “Leading the way are distance runners Maddie Britton, Sarah Christel, Hallie Bechtel (all state qualifiers) and Morgan Cooley in the sprints.
Other returning seniors are Alyse Arko (distance), Heather Bingman (distance), Morgan Cooley (sprints), Andrea Hanna (distance), Brynne LaRiccia (throws), Maddy Mutch (pole vault), Alyssa Rosado (throws), Savanah Skelly (pole vault) and Margaret Sullivan (distance).
“We also have freshmen coming in to replace some of our gaps and loss of last year’s seniors in Meridan Oster, Milana Scarlato and Amanda Cusimano,” she added. “Amanda is coming off a very successful cross country season and will be running right behind Britton. Meridan placed high in the middle school high jump at the conference meet last year, and Milana is fast! We are looking for her to contribute right away.”
The Rocky River High School team also boasts 13 returning letter winners, and is looking to repeat last year’s undefeated record of 8-0.
The Pirates have two returning state qualifiers in Monica McDonough (hurdles, relays) and Emily Holcomb (relays). The captains are Ellen Corcoran (distance), Abbey DeCrane (long jump/pole vault/sprints) and Mackenzie Vining (pole vault/sprints).
“We also have a great group of talented freshmen and new members,” Rocky River head coach Julie Achladis said. “Our goal will be to battle for the conference championship (second in 2013), get many girls to the regionals and have some state qualifiers.”
The Lakewood High School squad is full of returning letter winners as well.
“We have a strong core group of seniors coming back this season,” Lakewood head coach Stephanie Toole said. “Their leadership will be key to another successful track season.
“i am also looking forward to coaching with all the new coaches on our track staff this season, including the new boys head coach Mike Dow, boys assistant Jacob Ott and girls assistant Abbey Wollenberg,” she added. “Our throwing coach, Rick Wallenhorst, is returning to coach this season as well. We also have several volunteer coaches in Pat McIlwee (pole vault) and Danielle Hamond (cross training) who’s expertise will be vital to the Rangers teams’ success this season.”
Although Lakewood graduated a strong group of seniors, including two members of the state qualifying 4×800 relay team, the core of the 2013 regional qualifiers are back this season.
“I am looking to build upon their success from last season,” Toole said. “Our team goals include a top-3 team finish at the WSC meet, a district championship team title and increased numbers of regional qualifiers.”
Key returning team members include Mallory Shaw (distance), Maeve Christie (middle distance), Clare Toole (pole vault/long jump/hurdles), Alyssa Hasman (distance/high jump), Megan Hogya (throws), Nicole Harris (sprints), Monica Harris (sprints), Liz McIlwee (pole vault/sprints) and Grace Latham (distance).
“We have several regional qualifying runners returning this season,” Toole stated. “Their experience and leadership will be vital in achieving our team goals.”
The Avon High School girls track and field team will rely on key returning runners to score points for the Lady Eagles this season. Juniors Emily Joyce (200, 400, 4×200, 4×400), Regan Betts (200, 400, 4×200, 4×400) and Allison Clark (800, 1,600) senior Jasmin Ortiz (100, 4×100) and sophomore Erin Laird (800, 1,600) are among the returning letter winners fourth-year head coach Sam Ulery will count on this season.
“We have a nice nucleus of returning runners, and we are looking to fill in some holes with our sophomores and freshman,” Ulery said. “We have many multi-sport athletes who love competing in track and field. We are trying to build a program, from the middle school up, in a way that will sustain success.”
Ulery expects Rocky River and Bay to be the key challengers in the WSC this spring.
“Rocky River and Bay are not only elite in our conference, but are also two of the elite programs in the state,” he said. “We would love to to move a couple of runners on to the regional and state meets.”