DuBOIS –Even the most skilled outdoorsmen occasionally find themselves off the beaten track in an uncomfortable setting.
That seems to be the case for the DuBois Area High School girls’ track and field team this season as it finds itself in some unfamiliar surroundings.
The Lady Beavers have certainly run roughshod over their competition in the recent past, rolling up a streak of eight consecutive undefeated seasons along with a streak of 71 consecutive dual meet wins.
DuBois’ last loss was a 76-74 loss to Altoona, April 15, 2008.
However, after the loss of 11 of their top 14 athletes from a year ago, the Lady Beavers find that streak may be in some serious jeopardy.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenging season for us,” DuBois girls’ head coach Scott Sullivan said. “My staff and I are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We are hoping our small but powerful nucleus is enough to get us over the top until our new athletes get up to speed.
“It’s a short season with the District 9 Championships less than seven weeks away,” Sullivan added. “This program has a long history of being resilient which will certainly be put to the test this season.”
But, don’t take that to mean that the Lady Beavers are likely to simply roll up in a ball and accept a less-than-promising fate.
DuBois still brings back several of its top performers including juniors Reese Sayers and Maddison King who each finished at the top of their respective events last season along with seniors Jessica Smith, who was second in the team in points, and Ashley McCluskey.
Sayers, Smith and McCluskey were all D-9 champions last year.
Sayers ran as part of the 400 meter relay team while Smith took first in the 800 and McCluskey won the javelin.
They, along with King, make up the core of the DuBois returners.
“We have good numbers out for the team but only a handful of veteran athletes with experience,” Sullivan said. “Their leadership will be paramount to our success. That all starts with our three returning district champions (Smith, McCluskey and Sayers).”
The hurdling events may be DuBois’ deepest area this season led by King and senior McKensy Peles, along with promising new coming freshman Brooke Quairiere and sophomore Kelly Hoffer.
Sayers will likely anchor the sprinting events for DuBois. She, along with King and freshmen Brynlie Galiczynski and Isabella Beers will in all likelihood make up the 400 relay team and hope to repeat its success.
Senior Brynn Morgan will also have her chance to make a mark in both the sprinting and hurdling events as well. Smith and Cassie Folmar are expected to lead the middle- and long-distance runners.
Smith will lead the middle-distance events while Folmar, who is recovering from an injury suffered during the PIAA Cross Country meet, is expected to return at some point to lead the long-distance events.
Ironically, Smith also missed a significant portion of last season with an injury but returned to district title in the 800.
Freshmen Genevieve Janocha, Kyra Hoover and Emalee Horner should also add some depth along with junior Julie Marchioni and sophomore Trulee Stainbrook.
In the field, the Lady Beavers are looking to continue their success, especially in the javelin event where they swept the top three spots with all three throwers tossing upwards of 100 feet.
It’s believed to be the first time in school history that has happened. McCluskey, the district champion, will lead that group along with senior Nicole Schalk, who took third.
DuBois could also get some help from junior Ireland Lydick and first-year thrower Gabi Wayne, a senior.
Sophomore Gabby Snyder and junior Crystal Clinger are expected to pick up where they left off in the shot and discus events, despite an injury to Clinger, while Wayne and freshman Danielle Baumgartner will lead a large group of other throwers looking to make a contribution.
Sophomore Jerica Fischer (high jump) Erin Crawford (triple jump) return in the jumps while several other letterwinners including, Brynn Morgan, King and Hoffer should also play a part as may Smith.
However, DuBois’ losses aren’t limited to the athletes. The Lady Beavers lost long-time assistant coach Rosary Pennington, who took a job in the Clarion Area School District this year. She will also be the new high school track and field head coach there as well.
First-year assistant Bob Bateman will join Justin Marshall (11th year), Brad Sweet (8th year) and first-year volunteer assistant Christine Dorman on the staff with Sullivan.
DuBois is slated to open the season when it hosts Elk County Catholic Tuesday.
Seniors: Erin Crawford, Enkhjin Erdenebat, Cassandra Folmar, Cheyenne Lupole, Ashley McCluskey, Brynn Morgan, McKensy Peles, Nicole Schalk, Jessica Smith, Gabrielle Wayne. Juniors: Abbey Carr, Crystal Clinger, Christina Cooper, Kassandra Dawson, Marissa King, Maddison King, Ireland Lydick, Julie Marchioni, Haley Pernesky, Reese Sayers. Sophomores: Taylor Charles, Alyssa Dixon, Jerica Fischer, Heather Gilga, Bethany Guldbrandsen, Faith Hannah, Kelli Hoffer, Nickysia Howard, Kailey Mattivi, Madison Metzger, Brianna Nelson, Charlie Renwick, Vanessa Roudybush, Gabby Snyder, Natalie Sprague, Trulee Stainbrook, Bayley Strouse, Tea Williams. Freshmen: Danielle Baumgartner, Isabella Beers, Alison Boykin, Madison Cable, Kaiya Forsyth, Brynlie Galiczynski, Krista Harper, Kyra Hoover, Emalee Horner, Genevieve Janocha, Kaylee Kronenwetter, Alexis Metzger, Lauren Milletics, Madison Pernesky, Brooke Quairiere.