J.B. Ritchie is eager to tackle his added responsibilities as coach of the Marysville High School track and field program.
Ritchie has replaced the retired Jim Gannon as boys coach and is interim girls coach in place of Lori Robinson, who is on maternity leave.
"I'm really excited about taking over not only the boys, but also the girls," said Ritchie, who also coached the girls in 2011 when Robinson was on maternity leave. "So far it's a lot of work, but I've had fantastic coaches in my life through high school and college. I still communicate with them for advice and tips and ideas.
"I'm really looking forward to continuing to build the program from what it has done in the past couple of years and really spring boarding us to become more competitive -- not only in the OCC, but in the state as well."
The boys team opened March 30 by finishing sixth (41 points) in the seven-team Hammond Relays at Pickerington Central behind champion Pickerington North (119).
The Monarchs then finished first (98) in a home tri-meet April 2 ahead of North Union (45) and Upper Arlington (24).
Marysville returns several key contributors from last season.
In the Division I, district 2 meet a year ago, junior Nick Williams (sprints/long jump) was fifth in the 400 meters (50.4 seconds), Williams, junior Chris Lyons (sprints) and sophomore Jesse Ramirez (sprints/long jump) ran on the fifth-place 800 relay (1:32.42) and senior Clay Cochran (distance) was eighth in the 800 (2:00.56).
Seniors Josh Brady (middle distance), Josh Kent (throws) and Adam Spaulding (sprints/hurdles) are captains.
Other key contributors should be seniors Jordan Bollman (sprints/hurdles) and Blake Janssens (middle distance/distance), juniors Tyler Catipon (sprints/middle distance) and Joseph Henault (throws) and sophomores Michael Coffey (middle distance/distance) and Joe Weingates (sprint/hur-dles/high jump).
Freshman standouts, according to Ritchie, have included Tyler Branton (sprints), Hunter Harding (throws), Jake Hiltscher (sprints) and Alec Sandusky (middle distance/distance).
Last season at regional, Marysville scored three points to tie for 31st behind champion Pickerington North (60) as 38 teams scored.
The Monarchs finished 10th (18) in the 16-team district 2 meet behind champion New Albany (100.5).
Marysville finished sixth (62.5) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet behind Westerville Central (116), Westerville North (111), Olentangy Liberty (104.5), Westerville South (94.5) and Olentangy (89.5) and ahead of Dublin Jerome (55) and Dublin Scioto (27).
Marysville now is competing in the OCC-Central with Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Davidson, Liberty, Thomas Worthington, UA and Westland.
The Monarchs lost eight athletes from a year ago to graduation including Dereck Fleury, who finished sixth in the shot put (50 feet, 4 1/4 inches) at regional.
The girls team opened by placing seventh (26) in the seven-team Hammond Relays behind champion Pickerington Central (102) and then finished first ahead of UA (52) and North Union (41) in its home tri-meet.
Seniors Mikayla Mosey (sprints), Jess Wickline (throws) and Ashley Zani (middle distance/long jump) are captains.
Other key contributors should be juniors Hannah Burns (pole vault/high jump/hurdles/sprints), MacKenzie Edgar (sprints/long jump), Aly Heeb (sprints/middle distance), Maddy Hoy (distance), Camelia Kiss (sprints/hurdles) and Mim Stonecipher (sprints/middle distance/pole vault) and sophomores Rachel Murdock (sprints/hurdles/high jump) and Tracy Prinster (sprints/hurdles/long jump).
Freshman standouts, according to Ritchie, have included Brooke Gindlesberger (sprints), Juliana Harding (sprints/high jump/pole vault), Beth Miller (middle distance/distance), Devon Stephen (sprints) and Sam Weingates (sprints/hur-dles/long jump).
Marysville must replace 2012 graduate Brooke Brown, who was the girls team's only regional qualifier. She placed seventh in the 3,200 in 11:46.33.
Marysville scored two points at regional to tie for 38th behind champion Reynoldsburg (77) as 43 teams scored. The Monarchs finished 10th (26) in the 17-team district 2 meet behind champion Davidson (101.5).
Brown, Zani, Heeb and Hoy combined to set the program record in the 3,200 relay when they finished fifth in 9:47.6 at district.
Marysville finished sixth (65) in the OCC-Cardinal meet behind Scioto (142), Westerville Central (98), Liberty (91.5), Westerville South (78.5) and Jerome (72.5) and ahead of Westerville North (59) and Olentangy (54.5).
"Both teams look solid," Ritchie said. "We're a little more evenly distributed with the boys. Our numbers are up, which is great. We are in a loaded division in the OCC. Team-wise it will be very tough for us to compete in the OCC. Getting strong relays together and individuals to score very high is where we look good. That's a big important goal of ours."
Softball team opens with win
The softball team opened April 1 with a 10-5 win at Teays Valley.
Cori Long was the winning pitcher, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. She struck out seven. Erin Unterbrink pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing no hits.
Tess Cox singled twice, doubled and had two RBI. Riley Nelson tripled, singled and drove in three runs. Lexi Foster, Hunter Lobdell and Maddie Shelly each had a hit.
"I thought the girls played well in the cold elements," coach Jennifer Segner-Maxwell said. "They capitalized on a few errors by Teays Valley and scored early. Cori Long pitched well, but then they started to hit her in the later innings, so we brought in sophomore Erin Unterbrink and she shut them down.
"Our hitters did a good job putting the ball in play. We forced (Teays Valley) to make plays. The girls played well for their opening game. I am looking forward to good things with this team."
The Monarchs lost at Gahanna 7-3 on April 4.
Baseball team earns pair of wins
The baseball team won two of its first three games.
After losing at Gahanna 12-2 in five innings April 1, the Monarchs defeated host Worthington Kilbourne 6-3 on April 2 and host Westerville North 9-5 on April 3.
Against Kilbourne, Kyle Hites, Jarod Yoakam and Aron Mowery each had two hits. Yoakam and Mowery each had two RBI.
Matt Mulholland was the winning pitcher, allowing six hits while striking out six and walking five.
Against North, Mulholland had four singles and two RBI and Billy Kidd had two hits.
Jake McNabb was the winning pitcher, allowing three runs and five hits while striking out three in three innings.
"We are playing OK right now, not great," coach John Carder said. "We still have a lot to work on, but we're finding ways to win a couple games. We need to get better if we want to contend in the (OCC-Central)."