While the Boonsboro boys are the two-time defending Washington County indoor track and field champions, they’ve had trouble matching that success outdoors in recent years.
The Warriors haven’t been county champs since 2002 outdoors, where there are more events and, therefore, more bodies needed.
Boonsboro will be stretched thin again this spring.
“Numbers are low,” said Warriors coach Becky Walter, who has about 30 boys on her roster. “There’s not much depth, but we have the talent. ... There are just only so many events I can put Kenny Kopp and Coby Gussio in.”
Gussio ranked No. 1 in the Tri-State area last spring in both the long jump (22-6) and triple jump (44-11 1/4) and was No. 2 in the 400 (48.95), while fellow senior Kopp can score big points in the vertical jumps and hurdles.
Boonsboro’s arsenal also includes junior J.R. Lowery, who won a Class 1A indoor state title in the shot put last month, and senior Evan Moser, who placed fourth at last fall’s state cross country meet.
Walter also expects big contributions from seniors Rodney Flora (sprints, jumps) and Arthur Lacey (middle distance) and sophomore Ethan Allnut (sprints).
“We’ll probably have trouble filling some of the relay teams,” Walter said. “We might be overlooked early on, but once we get to that state meet, we’ll look to be in the top three.”
The Wildcats, the two-time defending outdoor county champs, return only two of their seven all-county selections from last spring — junior Evan Hardy (distance) and senior Nate Willis (middle distance).
Senior Stephen Christy, who set a county meet record in the high jump (6-4 1/4) last spring, could make it three if he decides to rejoin the team. His status is unknown.
Hardy, a two-time state champ indoors this year, leads a distance crew that was the county’s best in cross country last fall.
Standout wrestlers Reggie Russ and Eric Davis, both seniors, join junior Collin Linton for a formidable trio of sprinters, while senior Chima Ezidinma (jumps) and sophomore Jesse Zeger (hurdles) are both coming off breakout indoor seasons.
“We just have to find a couple field-event people — some pole vaulters and some discus and shot put throwers,” coach John Bailey said. “But on the track, we’ll be able to hold our own.”
Senior sprinter Jordan Alston, who won county titles last spring in the 200, 4x100 and 4x200, highlights the Rebels’ returnees.
Senior Brandon Horning and sophomore Bryan Durboraw lead an improved distance squad, while sprinters Chip Rittenhouse, a senior, and Kwasi Ofosu-Ameyaw, a junior, and senior hurdlers Anthony Green and Devon Herring all held their own this year indoors.
“Compared to last year, I think we’ll be a little better. We’re going to see more production from our distance runners,” said coach Dwayne Freeman, whose boys were county runners-up last spring. “But looking at Boonsboro and Williamsport, it’s going to be tough to compete with them. But we’re going to give it a shot.
“I’m pretty optimistic. There are always pleasant surprises with us, and I’m counting on that again this year.”
Senior Anthony Winter, a football superstar in the fall and a 2A indoor state champ in the 55 dash and shot put in the winter, will take the stage for one final season with the Hubs this spring.
“Any time you have a guy who can score 30-40 points by himself, you can’t beat that,” coach Robert Waugh said. “We’ll definitely be relying on him a good bit.”
But Waugh insists there’s more to the Hubs than just Winter.
“We have a lot of new talent, a lot of guys who haven’t run track before,” Waugh said.
The newcomers include seniors Mike Franklin and Zach Schreiber, both all-county football players.
Sophomore Jordy Hose (hurdles) and senior Olympic Johnson (jumps) were both standouts indoors this year.
“We have a lot of positive feelings going on,” Waugh said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of success the past few years, but we’re definitely feeling good about this year.”
Leopards coach T.J. Hood is all about work.
“It will take a lot of work for our boys to compete for a county title this year,” he said. “But I’m really looking forward to working with them, because they want to work.”
Half of the Leopards’ all-county selections from last spring are back — seniors Jason Jerwick (distance), Johnny Karroll (pole vault) and Derek Smith (sprints) — while senior Cody Betson (hurdles) and junior Chad McCullough (sprints) are coming off breakout indoor seasons and sophomore Luke Daigneault placed ninth at the 1A state cross country meet last fall.
“They’re definitely a more dedicated group than last year. They’re working harder than our boys worked last year at this time,” Hood said. “We don’t have the star power of the last few years, but we could have a pretty solid team.”
The small Blazers (less than 20 boys) have two big talents in seniors Jason Hill (distance) and Devin Repp (middle distance).
“Devin Repp is just a monster in practice,” coach Doug McBurney said. “Hopefully the kids are watching how he works.”
At the 1A indoor state meet last month, Hill was the runner-up in the 1,600, while Repp placed fourth in both the 300 and 500. Junior Eric Martell (throws) also had a solid indoor season in the shot put, and McBurney said he has high hopes for freshman Matt Breakall (distance).
“I wish we had more kids, but we’ll work with the ones we have,” McBurney said. “We have a few solid kids who should do really, really well and some younger kids who’ve shown some promise who haven’t run track before.
“We’re not going to be winning any meets or anything. We’re just aiming to get better.”
With 23 boys, the Panthers’ roster is about twice the size it was last year.
They have five returnees — seniors Tanner Dobrzanski (sprints) and Brian Robair (throws), juniors Tyler Cheng (pole vault) and Evan Smith (throws) and sophomore Liam Faith (hurdles, jumps) — and some key newcomers in seniors Jarrod McCoy (throws) and Spencer Heller (sprints, jumps).
Senior Stephen Starliper, who qualified for the 1A state cross country meet last fall, is one of four Panthers who will split time between track and baseball. Participating in two sports in the same season is now allowed in the county.
“We’ve got things going here,” coach Jeff Spielman said. “Now it just depends on how hard these kids want to work and what they want to do, and we’ll see what happens.”
ATHLETES TO WATCH
Jordan Alston, South Hagerstown
The senior sprinter is back for more after winning county titles in three events last spring.
Coby Gussio, Boonsboro
The senior doesn’t want to be remembered as the greatest county athlete to never win a state title.
Evan Hardy, Williamsport
The junior was undefeated in the 1,600 and 3,200 indoors this winter.
Jason Hill, Clear Spring
The senior was the 1A state runner-up in the 1,600 indoors.
Johnny Karroll, Smithsburg
The senior has once finished first and twice finished second in the 1A pole vault at states.
Kenny Kopp, Boonsboro
Hurdles, high jump, pole vault, relays — the senior is worth big points.
J.R. Lowery, Boonsboro
The junior’s 1A state-winning throw in the shot put (50-7 1/2) indoors also would have been tops in 2A and 3A.
Devin Repp, Clear Spring
The senior won his heats in the 300 and 500 at the 1A indoor state meet, finishing fourth overall in each.
Nate Willis, Williamsport
The senior has been at his best with a baton in his hand. He helped win a 1A state title in the 4x800 last spring.
Anthony Winter, North Hagerstown
The senior is an all-around force, starring on the track in the sprints and on the field in the shot put.