With 14 returning lettermen, including eight with regional experience, three with state experience and one state placer, the Barnesville High boys look poised for another good season while the Lady Shamrocks lost 80 percent of last year's scoring to graduation and will have to rely on 12 returning letter winners and some young performers this season.
The Barnesville boys last spring finished third in the OVAC Class 3A division and seventh overall, while turning in a second place finish in the Division III District Meet under seventh-year coach Dylan Rogers.
Lost to graduation were Daniel Brown (pole vault), Joe Burkhart (mid-distance), Logan Castello (throws), Spencer Lake (pole vault), Robert Thomas (distance) and Dalton Turner (sprints).
"We have a lot of returning lettermen, however the seniors we lost played a vital role in our team's success last year," Rogers stated. "Castello was top three in the discus and seemed to manage a place in the shot about every meet. He was the OVAC 3A champion in the discus and placed in the shot put. He also was a regional qualifier in the discus placing third in the Division III District.
"Brown was our top pole vaulter the past four years," Rogers continued. "He has also placed in the OVAC and advanced to the regional in that event. Turner played a vital role in our relays the past four years, including a trip to the state meet in the 4x400. He is now running for Wheeling Jesuit."
In addition to Castello, the 'Rocks had three other individuals and four relay teams advance to the regional meet.
Kohl Campbell was third in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, while Matthew Burkhart won the 800-meter run and Caide Bunfill won the district long jump. Also advancing to the regional last year was the 4x100-meter relay team (Royce Hall, Tannor Burkhart, Kane Stephens, Castello) with a fourth place finish, the 4x200-meter relay squad (Kohl Campbell, Stephens, Hall, Bunfill) with a second place finish. The 4x400-meter relay team of Stephens, Turner, Bunfill and Matthew Burkhart was second and the 4x800-meter team (M. Burkhart, Logan Crumbaker, Cole Meyers, Joe Burkhart) was fourth to also reach the regional. At the regional meet, Bunfill placed fourth in the long jump to earn a berth at the state tournament where he finished eighth in that event to earn all-Ohio honors. The 4x400-meter relay team captured third in the Regional to qualify for the state meet.
Senior lettermen returning this year are Hall (100/200-meter dashes), Campbell (110/300-meter hurdles), Tannor Burkhart (100/200 dashes/300-meter hurdles), Stephens (100/200/400-meter dashes), Matthew Burkhart (400/800-meter), Jordan Graham (throws), Bunfill (200/400/long jump) and Butch Holskey (throws).
Other senior candidates include Kevin Bennet (400/800-meter), Hunter George (1600/3200-meter) and Bailey Burkhart (pole vault).
"We are returning a state placer in the long jump in Bunfill," Rogers said. "He is a tremendous athlete and puts forth 100 percent effort every day. He was also part of our state qualifying 4x400 relay team which returns three of the four from last year. Also a member of that team was Matthew Burkhart, who is one of the hardest workers on this team. He has worked very hard to be one of the valley's top 400 and 800-meter runners. He qualified for the OVAC finals in both of those events and was a regional qualifier in the 800 last year."
Junior lettermen back are Crumbaker (800), Sam Wehr (1600/3200), Justin Lucas (800/1600/3200), John Crum (1600/3200), Meyers (800/1600/3200) and Lucas Rogers (400/800). Additional juniors are Drew Strauss (throws) and Andrew Briddell (throws).
There are just two sophomores -- Remmy Boyd (400/800/pole vault) and Draven Persons (1600/3200).
Six freshmen -- Ryan Lucas (100/200/400), Trey Warner (100/200/400), Owen Oliver (100/200/400/long jump), Trey Ciroli (100/200/400), Ryan Crum (800/1600/3200) and Caden Lake (pole vault) -- round out the roster.
"In addition to Bunfill and Matthew Burkhart, other sprinters to look out for this year will be the seniors Stephens, Hall and Tannor Burkhart; the junior Rogers and the incoming freshman Ryan Lucas," Rogers pointed out. "Our top hurdler, Campbell, was an OVAC and regional qualifier in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. He has the potential to be one of the top hurdlers in the valley this year."
In the distance events, the Shamrocks will be led by John Crum, Meyers, Lucas, Wehr, Ryan Crum and George.
"We have some good talent in our distance runners," Rogers stated, "and I feel confident we will do well in the mile and two-mile races. We lost a lot of points due to graduation in the field events, but I feel we have some athletes that can step in to help us out. Our top returning thrower will be the senior Graham. He brings back a lot of experience and placed at the OVAC meet last year in the shot put."
In addition to Graham, Holskey (shot) and Strauss (shot/discus) will be expected to add support in the throws.
Those expected to do well in the jumps include Lake (pole vault), Bunfill (long jump) and Justin Lucas (high jump).
"I have very high expectations for all of our open sprint and hurdle events along with all of our relays," Rogers admitted. "The majority of the runners on our relays have been on these teams the past two or three years. Overall, I feel that we are going to have a very competitive and balanced team," he added. "We are returning 14 lettermen from last year's team and I am very excited to get the season started. There is a lot of potential on this year's team and as long as they work hard all year, they will do a lot of great things."
Rogers is assisted by Melissa Dodd (throwers) and Jayme Detling (pole vault/hurdles). Leah Hannahs and Wesley Lewis will handle the junior high teams.
A trip to Newcomerstown will be a new addition to the schedule, while Rogers believes Bellaire, Martin Ferry and Magnolia will be the top teams in the OVAC in Class 3A. The Shamrocks will find out real quick how they will be facing these three in a season opening quad.
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The Lady Shamrocks, under fifth-year head coach (33 years total track coaching) Mark Brown, have a lot of holes to fill after graduation claimed nine seniors that accounted for 80 percent of last year's scoring.
"It is like starting from scratch," Brown admitted. "We are going to have a lot of new people and will have to rely on our returning letter winners. I am pleased that the numbers continue to grow each year, but we have several juniors and sophomores that are competing for the first time."
The Lady 'Rocks were third in OVAC Class 3A last year and had one senior qualify in three events at the regional meet, another that qualified for both the regional and state meets and another in a single event.
Claimed by graduation was Karleigh Clouse, a regional qualifier in three events including third at the district in the long jump and the 200 and fourth in the 100; Shayla Markovich, a four-year letterwinner who qualified for the state meet two consecutive years; and Trista Newsom, who was a regional qualifier in the pole vault.
Other graduated seniors include Caitlyn Toohey, who was all-OVAC in the discus; Nichole Farson, who was all-OVAC in the shot put; Madison Neiswonger (mid-distance), Alexis Starr (mid-distance), Cassidy Rush (hurdles) and Jayna Hannahs (sprints).
"We lost some good seniors from last year," Brown admitted, "and we are scrambling to find people to fill spots this year. Some of our freshmen are going to compete this year."
Brown returns 12 letterwinners including senior three-year award winners Blake Castello (sprints/pole vault) and Hannah Swallie (sprints/distance); and one-year monogram winner senior Kasi Castello (throws).
There are also three junior two-year letterwinners -- Kiley Ciroli (sprints), Cara Singleton (sprints/hurdles) and Michelle Steele (sprints) returning.
The other six returning award winners are sophomores Taylor Clemons (distance), Mya McEndree (distance), Madison Sellers (sprints/jumps), Alle Sinisgalli (sprints/hurdles), Harlie Stewart (sprints) and Heaven Farnsworth (hurdles).
Other senior candidates include Raegan Boyd (throws), Mackenzie Henry (sprints) and Alexis McLeod (sprints); other juniors are Hannah Burkhart (sprints), Samantha Drake (throws) and Alicia Humbracht (sprints/jumps), a foreign exchange student from Germany.
Additional sophomore candidates are Natalie Butler (throws), Izzy Cacioppo (throws), Elizabeth Hetrick (distance) and Kyleigh McGee (throws).
"We have several sophomores and juniors competing for the first time," Brown pointed out. "We are going to have a lot of new people and I am not sure what spots they will all fit into yet."
Rounding out the roster are 14 freshmen -- Kerah Bewley (throw), Sage Fader (sprints), Ashlyn Gordon (throws), Katlyn Hannahs (throws), Riley Helmick (distance), Joscelin Hetrick (throws), Lexi Johnson (sprints), Emily McGee (sprints), Dani Meyers (sprints/throws), Kayla Morris (throws), Baylee Patrick (sprints), Allison Sheppard (throws), Lani Shepherd (throws) and Kassi Steele (sprints/pole vault).
"We will have to rely on our 12 lettermen until we find out whom from the new and younger athletes can give some support and score some points," said Brown.
The Lady 'Rocks will compete in the Newcomerstown Invitational, but they will not be going to the Shadyside Relays.
Brown points to Bellaire and St. Clairsville as two strong teams they run against and Caldwell when it comes to the D-III District meet.
Brown is assisted by Melissa Dodd, with Leah Hannahs and Wesley Lewis coaching the junior high teams.