DuBOIS — The DuBois boys track team enters this season with an interesting mix of veterans and younger athletes who will hope to help the program bounce back from a tough 2017 season.
DuBois crowned just one champ — the now graduated Rick Lines in the javelin — as part of a squad that finished fourth in the team race at the District 9 Class 3A Championships a year ago with 28 points. District runner-up Matt Holben (pole vault) was also lost to graduation along with several other competitors who were staples in the Beaver lineup last season.
With that 2017 showing behind them, veteran head coach Bryan Clinger and his staff have their sights set on turning things around with a fresh start and squad that features 50 athletes. That number is broken down fairly evenly between classes — 16 seniors, 10 juniors, 11 sophomores and 13 freshmen.
The roster features a host of athletes who have competed at the varsity level for the Beavers the past couple years. That group is headlined by a trio of returning district placewinners in junior Jordan Meinert and seniors Kenny Garvey and Seth Braid.
“For the 2018 track and field season, we are focusing on academics first and the team concept for a successful year,” said Clinger last week. “We have a nice number of athletes out this year and have a nice group of freshmen. I’m looking forward to some good weather so we can get some more time on the track.
“It’s been hit and miss outside, but we have been working hard inside. We are focused on putting a lineup together where we can keep everyone healthy for our first meet on April 3 against Elk County Catholic.”
Outside of Lines, Meinert was DuBois’ top performer at districts a year ago. He was the runner-up in the high jump while also placing third in the long jump and fourth in triple jump.
Clinger is looking for Meinert to lead a jumping crew that also will feature sophomore Noah Pierce and freshman Tanner Shenk. The jumping corps lost Bradyn Schwabenbauer to graduation.
Garvey and Braid look to lead the sprinting and distance runner groups, respectively. Braid was fourth in the 800 last year, while Garvey was fifth in the 100 dash.
Joining Garvey as returnees in the sprinting corps are seniors Ethan Fields and Dom DiLullo. That group will also feature senior newcomer Kyle Hopson and freshman Zach Henery.
When it comes to the distance runners, Braid will be joined by veterans Kaleb Stevens (junior) and seniors Layton Yarus and Jacob Butterfuss as leaders of that contingent.
Junior Brenden Saunders and senior Keaton Chapman headline the Beaver hurdlers, while seniors Riley Barnett and Austin Shaffer-Doan and sophomore Alex O’Harrah will be called upon to lead a throwing group that also lost Dave Henninger and Drew Buskirk to graduated along with Lines.
Clinger will once again be assisted by Brad Sweet and Greg Posteraro.
DuBois is set to open the season Tuesday at Elk County Catholic, with DuBois Central Catholic also scheduled to be at that meet.
Seniors: Riley Barnett, Seth Braid, Jacob Butterfuss, Keaton Chapman, Dom DiLullo, Ethan Fields, Peter Foradora, Kenny Garvey, Kyle Hopson, Nick Meholick, Cole Meighen, Cole Norris, Zhane Powell, Denton Runyon, Austin Shaffer-Doan, Layton Yarus. Juniors: Damien Ashenfelter, Andrew Boyle, Perrin Chappel, Rian Leamer, Jordan Meinert, Nicholas Newcamp, Malachi Oakes, Brenden Saunders, Kaleb Stevens, Evan Way. Sophomores: John Angelo, Lucas Buchanan, Manny Deemer, Michael Eisman, Gavin Frantz, Elijah McDonald, Taylor McDonald, Alex O’Harrah, Noah Pierce, Jackson Pletcher, Logan Wells. Freshmen: Brady Barnett, Brandon Connor, Nick Erdely, Tucker Fenstermacher, Ryan Gildersleeve, Zachary Henery, Caleb Hook, Carlos Howard, Caleb Keighly, John “Jack” Kunes, Rowen Murray, Daniel Raiford, Tanner Shenk.