LOCAL SPORTS

Coming off a CBC championship season, the Tecumseh girls track team was focused on going after the repeat as possibly the favorites.

Now, head coach Mark Holbrook is looking for some younger kids to step due to some injuries and other situations with some of their key athletes this spring.

Out of action this season will be thrower Macy Berner and record holding hurdler Audrey Diller, while Jasmine Hassell is trying to return next month from an ACL suffered in soccer, and one of the top pole vaulters in the league Faith Legg is not running track this year.

“We are young and decimated with injuries,” Holbrook said. “But it is the largest roster we have had for a long time, 75 total, and it’s usually in the 40s.”

“31 of the 75 kids are freshman which makes us a lot younger and inexperienced. Half of the roster are freshman or sophomores.”

Even with so many young kids, Holbrook has liked what he has seen so far in the preseason.

“We do have some newcomers and it has been a great energy with these kids,” he said. “Since we are so young these kids are working so hard to get spots. The atmosphere is great, but it is a bit hectic for the coaching staff with so many kids getting but we are getting used to it.”

Holbrook said the expectations are still there for the girls, despite the youth. Even on the boys side, he feels a better year is ahead for Tecumseh.

“Our goal for the girls is winning the county and that is on our radar,” the coach said. “We are prepping to fill the right spots to repeat as champs.”

“On the boys’ side, we lost two key people to graduation but they will be more competitive than in the past. They were third in the CBC last year, and we have a goal for second. The girls goal is to repeat.

Leading the way for the boys team will be distance runner Garrett Gemmaka, a junior who was a regional qualifier last year.

“He is our leader on that side,” Holbrook said. “We will go as he goes in distance. He is a leader in practice, and we expect regionals for him. Ethan Adams also comes over from baseball this year as a junior, and he is right there with Garrett. He is a great addition to the program.”

In sprints, watch for newcomer Lucan Rodgers, a sophomore who did not run last year. Also junior Shane Gray will be a key 400 runner.

Junior Quinton Kruizovich is returning from last year, and will likely be one of the main runners and 300 hurdles. Also out for the first time is senior Clay Mastin, who is expected to contribute.

In the field events, junior pole vaulter Simon Herbert returns as the county champion and third in the CBC. Seniors Brock Watson and Brenden Barger return in shot put, and both are four year throwers.

For the girls, Jenna Diller is their top returning distance runner, as the sophomore was a regional qualifier as a freshman. She will run the two-mile along with senior Natalie Allen, who has contributed since she was a freshman.

The sprints are where the Arrows will be gaining a lot of their points, as their top two runners Jaci Rife and Kylee Mastin both return as sophomores.

“Jaci has a lot of expectations on her shoulders, breaking four records as a freshman,” Holbrook said. “She qualified for regionals in both the 100 dash and 400 as a freshman. I think she had a good learning experience last year and her goal is to get to state or stand on the podium at regionals.”

“Kylee is another regional qualifier as a freshman in the 800, her and Jaci provide the work ethic for everyone.

In the pole vault, junior Sidney Maxwell was third in the county last year, and placed in the CBC.

For the girls, Holbrook feels they could be the hunters in the CBC instead of the hunted even as defending champions.

“It is going to be interesting with Jamari (McDavid) gone for the sprinters, and with Lauren Carter back at Bellefonmtaine, they could be the team to beat,” Holbrook said. “Jonathan Alder is really an unknown but they do have some good distance runners, as does Shawnee.”

“For the boys, Alder is again unknown, but I think they have some good distance runners. Still Bellefontaine is on top, they ran away with it last few years, and have a lot of kids back.”

*Tecumseh will host their Invitational on Saturday at the track. Joining the Arrows will be Dayton Christian, Greenon, Graham, Shawnee, Northwestern, Fairborn, Miami East, Emmanuel Christian, and Columbus Centennial. The meet begins at 11AM.

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