MARIETTA-Every prep track and field coach wants higher numbers on its team.
Marietta High girls head coach Mollie Schramm and boys boss B.J. Mayer are no exceptions.
With more thinclads on the roster, there's more competition in the preseason camp, and it can only make the team better when the opening season gets underway.
It also gives the coach more options as far as who competes where on the track.
"Our numbers are up from last year with I believe 11 freshmen out for the team and a total of 26 athletes," said Schramm. "Even with our numbers as they are it will be a little tough filling in all the events at relay meets."
Mayer is in a similar situation with the boys.
"We have 30 kids out for the team, and they are working really hard," he said. "But obviously we have some holes to fill."
After winning the East Central Ohio League title, Marietta graduated some good ones in Sam Garrison, Alex Wesel, Matt Roberts, Eli Parmiter, Mitchel Gearhart and Dustin Baker to name but a few. But the boys cupboard is far from bare.
Will Cogswell, the school record holder in the pole vault, is back, and has the potential to punch his ticket to the state track meet in Columbus.
Eddie Kimbrough figures to be the Tigers' main thrower in the shot and discus events. A standout lineman on the orange and black football team, he was injured late in the season. He's healthy now and rearing to go.
Another MHS senior to keep an eye on will be Mitchell Grose, a cross country standout in the fall. He of course will be setting the pace in the long distance events.
Marietta looks good in the sprints and hurdles with the return of junior Quinton Coffield and sophomore Andrew Roberts. Both are all-around athletes and figure to be productive scorers at meets this spring.
Mayer has added veteran track and field coach Rod O'Donnell to his coaching braintrust - and that's a big plus having an assistant of that quality in the program.
Schramm has also added an assistant in Jeff Davis, who is moving over from the boys team to help with the girls throwers.
The MHS girls also graduated quality thinclads in Paige Grosel and Abby Ketelsen, who is now competing at Slippery Rock.
Grosel, the school record holder in the pole vault, was an All-Ohio honoree in the event last season.
This spring, the girls will be led by a trio of seniors.
"We have three returning seniors with Julie Fobes, Haley Bonar and Erica Dawson," Schramm said. "I expect all three to make significant contributions to the team."
Fobes is a long distance specialist while Bonar's forte is in the throws.
Dawson, an All-Ohio basketball honoree, excels in the hurdles.