Barnesville track and field has been a staple of success over the course of history.
As head coach Dylan Rogers begins his fourth season, his biggest challenge could be finding a way to replace the large number of points scored by Jacob Anderson.
The current West Liberty Hilltopper competitor was the area's premier intermediate hurdler. He finished sixth in the Division III state meet and was the OVAC champion.
T-L Photo/MIKE PALMER
PICTURED ARE the key returnees for the Barnesville boys’ track team. Front row, from left, are Robert Thomas, Jeff Hart, Josh Schnegg, Kyle Devine and Brandon Davidson. Back row, from left, are Michael Thomas, Dalton Turner, Mason Moore, Logan Castello, Colten Strauss and Daniel Brown.
T-L Photo/MIKE PALMER
PICTURED ARE the key returnees for the Barnesville girls’ track team. Front row, from left, are Hannah Swallie, Samantha Burkhart, Karleigh Clouse, Trista Newsom and Shayla Markovich. Back row, from left, are Kayla Erickson, Jayna Hannahs and Cassidy Rush. Absent was Emma Castello.
"It'll be hard to replace the points Jacob scored," Rogers said.
While the Shamrocks, who also lost Katlin Grimes and Abel Broomhall to graduation, might not have that one lock for a victory, Rogers thinks the team's depth will be better.
"Our depth will allow us to replace Jacob's points and we've got some guys who can step up," Rogers said.
Leading the way for the Shamrocks is senior hurdler Jeff Hart. He was a regional qualifier in both the high and intermediate hurdles. He will be joined by Daniel Brown, who will be one of the Shamrocks more versatile competitors. He'll also sprint and pole vault.
In the sprints, which Rogers thinks should be much stronger, Josh Schnegg, Brown, Dalton Turner and Michael Thomas
A solid contingent of distance runners include Mason Moore, Brandon Davidson, Turner and Thomas.
In the field, Brown will be joined at the vault by Hobie Howiler. In the throwing events, Kyle Devine and Logan Castello are the top entrants in both the shot put and discus.
Others looking to contribute include: senior Josh Schnegg, junior Hideki Dec, sophomores Colten Strauss, Robert Thomas and Kittitat Tiraputtichai, freshmen Royce Hall, Kohl Campbell, Tannor Burkhart, Devin Clouse, Kane Stephens, Matthew Burkhart, Jeb Plumly, Jordan Graham and Caid Bunfill.
"Overall, we're a young team," Rogers said. "Two thirds of our boys are sophomores and freshmen, which excites me for the futre. However, the juniors and seniors on this team are very talented, so I am definitely not overlooking this year's team."
Rogers is assisted by former state intermediate high hurdle champion Jayme Detling.
THE LADY SHAMROCKS have a new coach, but he's no stranger to running sports.
Long-time head cross country and junior high track coach Mark Brown has taken over, hoping to re-energize the Barnesville program that has seen a drop off in numbers in recent years.
"I really like this group of girls," Brown said. "I think we have a chance to be somewhat competitive. We might not win a lot of (big) meets, but I think we can be in the middle of the pack."
Barnesville features nary a senior, and only one junior on the team and several athletes out for the sport for the first time.
"We'll be somewhat inexperienced," Brown said. "We'll have some good younger kids, but I am really pleased with how they're working."
The Lady Shamrocks will feature one of the area's top throwers in sophomore Shayla Markovich. She was an OVAC placer and regional qualifier in the shot put and discus last season.
"Shayla is a good athlete, who has gone to some camps and really worked hard at it," Brown said. "We expect her to have another good year."
Sophomore Karleigh Clouse was a regional qualifier in the 3200 meters. Trista Newsome also is a returning regional qualifer. She took part in the pole vault last season.
Junior Emma Castello is also a returning letterman that could make a bigger impact.
Brown is high on freshman Hannah Swallie, who was one of the area's premier middle distance runners in junior high last season.
Other youthful Lady Shamrocks to keep an eye on this season are sophomore Jayna Hannahs and sophomore Cassidy Rush.
The sophomore contingent is comprised of Samantha Burkhart, Kayla Erickson, Nichole Farson, Alexis Starr and Caitlyn Toohey.
The balance of the freshmen include: Sydney Baum, Shaylen Butler, Blake Castello, Kasi Castello, Jenna Grear, Mackenzie Henry, Makayla Patrick, Sara Reynard, Alexis Thomas, Carley West, Abby Wharton and Mikayla Willis.
Brown is being assisted by Melissa Dodd, while Tony Ciroli and Amanda Wahl are working with the junior high.
The complete Barnesville track schedule looks like this:
April 3 - Shenandoah, Monroe, Conotton Valley; April 5 - at Bellaire Early Bird; April 11 - at St. Clairsville Porterfield Invitational; April 17 - Buckeye Trail, Conotton Valley; April 19 - at Shadyside Relays; April 22 - Union Local; April 26 - at Bellaire Relays; April 28 - at Bellaire; May 1 - Girls at Dave Ice Bellaire Invitational; May 5 and 7 - OVAC Qualifying at St. Clairsville; May 10 - OVAC Championship at St. Clairsville; May 17 - Shamrock Relays.