Marysville High School boys track and field coach J.B. Ritchie believes a dedicated offseason regimen will pay dividends for the program this season.
After serving as coach of the boys and girls teams last season, Ritchie will focus mainly on the boys team this spring, as Luke Sundermeier has been named girls coach.
Sundermeier, 27, was an assistant coach last season.
"Overall, the kids are really working their tails off in workouts," Ritchie said. "What I really like is what Luke and I did over the winter is we set up a winter conditioning program for the kids, so the kids who trained and lifted weights over the winter are really showing some great stuff during practice, so that's real exciting."
Sundermeier, who was a pole-vaulter, is a 2004 graduate of Bowling Green High School and 2008 graduate of Heidelberg University.
"We're a combined program, so all of our coaches coach all of our kids, but having coach Sundermeier on is a complete godsend with doing paperwork and organization," Ritchie said. "Last year was very difficult for me doing both and now with our numbers being skyrocketed -- we have so many kids out this year -- having Luke onboard is going to be phenomenal. It's great."
Marysville opened April 5 in the Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson.
The boys team should be led by senior Nick Williams, who was a member of the state-qualifying 3,200-meter relay last season. At state, Williams joined 2013 graduates Clay Cochran, Jordan Bollmann and Josh Brady to place eighth in a program-record 7 minutes, 57.28 seconds.
At regional, the 3,200 relay was third (8:03.25) and Williams was seventh in the 800 (program-record 1:55.73), while sophomore Hunter Harding (throws) finished 14th in the discus (119 feet, 5 inches).
Also back is junior Jesse Ramirez (sprints, relays), who joined Williams, Cochran and Bollmann on the second-place 1,600 relay (3:28.4) in last season's OCC-Central Division meet.
Senior Chris Lyons (sprints, relays) has returned after missing last season with a hamstring injury. Other key returnees are juniors Michael Coffey (middle distance), Brock Shick (sprints, jumps, relays) and Joe Weingates (jumps) and sophomores Tyler Branton (sprints, jumps), Josh McPheron (distance) and Alec Sandusky (distance).
Ritchie also is expecting contributions from freshmen Luke Couchman (relays, sprints), Blake Dearwester (middle distance), David Haake (sprints, relays), Gavin Norris (sprints, relays), Dylan North (sprints, relays), Bodie Riddle (jumps) and Cade Saunders (jumps).
The girls team is looking to return to the regional after failing to qualify an athlete for that meet last season.
Senior Camelia Kiss (jumps, hurdles, sprints) placed second in the high jump (5-2) last season in the league meet.
"Camelia is hoping to have a pretty good senior season," Sundermeier said. "Last year she tried the high jump for the first time and ended up second in the (OCC-Central meet), so between that and her hurdles and sprints, she has some pretty big goals. Hopefully we'll keep her healthy and see what happens."
Also back is senior Mim Stonecipher, who last year tied the program record in the pole vault (9-0) in her first season in the event.
"Mim is pretty excited for her senior season," Sundermeier said. "She did a lot of work in the offseason. She went to camps, jumping indoors this winter at some meets, and she's really dedicated herself to learning the pole vault. She tied our school record last year, so she has a lot of momentum on her side."
Other key returnees are seniors Hannah Burns (pole vault, jumps, hurdles), Mackenzie Edgar (jumps, sprints), Aly Heeb (sprints, middle distance) and Maddy Hoy (middle distance), juniors Rachel Murdock (hurdles, jumps, sprints) and Tracy Prinster (sprints, jumps) and sophomore Beth Miller (800).
Sundermeier also is expecting contributions from freshmen Jenna Gastineau (middle distance), Aubree Lewis (jumps, sprints, discus), Susie Reed (distance) and Ashley Segner (middle distance).
"Numbers are on our side this year -- we're way up -- which speaks a lot to the offseason with some of the conditioning programs that we put together and getting the word out to the other sports," Sundermeier said.
Boys tennis team wants another winning season
The boys tennis team is hoping to improve on last season's 10-9 overall record, which marked its first winning season since 2006.
Junior Javan Bushong is replacing his brother, 2013 graduate Gavin Bushong, at first singles.
"Javan helped us get a few key wins last year," sixth-year coach Brian Ash said.
Gavin Bushong, who is playing at Baldwin Wallace University, was the Monarchs' lone district qualifier last season, going 0-1 in singles.
Ash said junior Collin O'Conner will play second singles and junior Austin Noland and sophomore Grant Martin to split time at third singles.
Senior Hunter Cox and junior Devin Syar will play first doubles after playing second doubles last season, and seniors Steven Britt and Kyle Pratt will play second doubles.
Marysville opened April 1 by defeating Grove City 3-2 on April 1 at home. Winners were Martin 6-4, 6-3 at third singles, Cox and Syar 6-1, 6-4 at first doubles and Britt and Pratt 7-5, 6-4 at second doubles.
The Monarchs lost at Kenton 3-2 on April 2. Winners were Cox and Syar 7-6, 6-1 at first doubles and Britt and Pratt 6-0, 6-1 at second doubles.
Marysville opens OCC-Central play Tuesday, April 8, at home against Westland.
Last season, Marysville finished the OCC-Central tournament with 33 points to place sixth in the league behind champion UA (81, 7-0). The Monarchs were 3-4 in league matches.
This year, teams will compete in the OCC tournament based on their finishes during the regular season. The first-place teams in each OCC division will play each other May 3 at a site to be announced to determine the overall league champion. Second-place teams from each division also will play each other, and so on.
"I like what we have coming back," Ash said. "We're pretty confident in the team. We have the potential to finish as high as third in our division."
Softball team opens with win
The softball team opened April 1 by defeating Teays Valley 6-1 at home.
Cori Long was the winning pitcher, allowing a run on three hits while striking out four and walking one.
Riley Nelson homered and doubled and Hunter Lobdell doubled, singled and had an RBI. Katelynn Russell also homered.