WELLSBURG - Brooke track coach Amanda DeMarzio enters the season with the same problems that most schools seem to have these days, not many returning lettermen and not a whole lot of experience.
DeMarzio will field a girls' team that returns six athletes after losing a big senior class, led by do-it-all state placer Ali Crawford, while the boys' squad is also young with eight returning athletes.
Crawford finished second in the high hurdles, fifth in the low hurdles and helped the Bruins' 400 relay team to a fourth-place showing in Charleston last spring.
A good place to start will be with junior Amanda Loughrie who is the only returning runner off the 400 unit and also the 1,600-meter sprint relay, which took seventh at the state meet. She will also be a force in both the 100 and 400-meter dashes.
Though there are only four seniors - Juliet Casinelli (shot put, discus), Amber Govey (distance), Ashley Brown (sprinter) and Alexis Defibaugh (hurdler) - a large junior class, that along with Loughrie, has Krista Brady (sprinter), Kristin Brady (hurdler), Kelcey Coen (distance, mid-distance), who are all back, as well as Ashley Clutter (sprinter), Natosha Douglas (shot put, discus), Faith Johnson (sprinter), Jess Jones (hurdler), Jordan Paris (hurdler) and Shelby Richards (distance).
The sophomores are Michaela Anderson (sprinter), Logan Atkins (hurdler), Maddison Carroll (distance), Jentzen Kowcheck (sprinter), Calandra Olenick (hurdler) and Hayleigh Sutak (distance) while freshmen candidates include Jackie Carbasho (sprinter), Mekenzie DeFranco (hurdler), ALexa Gerrard (sprinter), Jessica Good (distance), Cheyenne Hudson (sprinter, long jump), Alexis Turner Davis (hurdler), Michaela Valero (shot put, discus), Ashley VanCamp (shot put, discus) and Logan Virtue (hurdler).
''After the loss of a big senior class, we are a young team as far as experience goes,' DiMarzio said. ''But while experience is down, numbers are up and that is a good thing.
''We expect big things from Amanda Loughrie and there are high expectations for freshman Cheyenne Hudson in both the sprints and long jump. Junior Kristin Brady will try to fill some of the spots left by Ali Crawford while we also expect a lot from Kelcey Coen, Krista Brady, Amber Govey and Juliet Casinelli.''
There are 10 seniors on the boys' roster, but only three of them are returning lettermen. Distance runners Matt Beaman and Jordan Harlan, who will also do middle-distance, and sprinter/middle-distance ace Nathan Morris. The other seniors are Jonathan LaMar (distance), Tony Martin (shot put, discus), Raliegh Mason (sprinter), Zac Morris (sprinter, shot put, discus), Trent Radcliffe (sprinter), Justin Riggs (shot put, discus) and Ben Rodgers (shot put, discus).
Juniors are Nigel Bowland (sprints), Trey Gilham (shot put, discus), Joey Montgomery (sprinter), all lettermen, Anthony Barnhart (distance), Logan Green (shot put, discus), Michael Max (distance), Joey Staffileno (shot put, discus) and Josh Zonker (distance). Sophomores, Matt Hartman (hurdler) and Antonio Pizzuti (distance) both return along with Aquil Dameron (sprinter), Cody Rine (shot put, discus) and Wayland Steward (hurdler).
The freshman portion of the lineup includes Cameron Brown (distance), Brad Combs (hurdler), Matty Filippelli (sprinter), Thomas Lancaster (shot put, discus), Gavin Lewis (hurdler, sprinter), Harley Ree (distance), Zach Tweedy (distance) and Dylan Yost (distance).
''As with the girls, we have a nice roster, just not a lot of experience,'' DiMarzio added. ''Our sprinters will be led by seniors Nathan Morris, Raliegh Mason and junior Nigel Bowland while a strong distance group has Antonio Pizzuti, Matt Beaman and Jordan Harlan.
''Junior Anthony Barnhart also has some promise in the distance events while our hurdlers will be young with sophomore Matt Hartman and freshman Gavin Lewis. We have some interesting matchups in the shot put and discus where a huge surge of football players have come out for the first time and we are looking forward to that.''