GALION — With the success of Northmor’s winter sports teams, the track and field teams for the Golden Knights are hoping to keep the momentum alive in the spring.
Despite key loses from both the boys and girls squads, Northmor is hoping the returning athletes will give a solid postseason push.
The boys squad will once again be coached by Kevin Ruhl, now entering his third season as the track coach.
Ruhl will have some quality athletes returning to his team this 2017 in the form of Demetrius ‘Meechie’ Johnson, James Walker, Kolton Smith and AJ White.
Meechie was the Division III state long jump champion in 2015 and qualified again last season. Johnson was also the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Blue Division champion in the long jump, the 200- and the 400-meter dash events. Walker, now a senior, was a regional qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles in 2015 and qualified for the state meet in the high jump a year ago. Smith, also a senior, was a regional qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles and in the high jump last season. White is a distance runner for the Knights that will be returning from a tough injury last season and is expected to reach the regional meet at minimum.
Some key loses for the boys team were: Spencer Adams- distance; Collin Berg- hurdles; Nathan Bird- discus; Josh Caudill- shot put; and Aaron Vite- pole vault.
“Many of these guys were regional and state qualifiers,” says Ruhl. “These guys scored a lot of our points last year on our MOAC runner-up team.”
The loses for the girls team at Northmor are not as big in numbers. Isabelle Ditullio and Brooke Bazzard are gone to graduation but head coach Mark Yaussy, entering season 22, can look forward to a large pool of returning talent.
First, there are the six senior returning letter winners for the Lady Knights.
KaraLee Patterson will be back after being named to the all-MOAC first team last season, as well as qualifying for regionals in the pole vault. Kristen Duryea, a three-time state cross country qualifier will also be back for her senior year. Returning senior letter winners joining Patterson and Duryea are: Allie Borders, Selena Cortez, Jenna Dunn and Rachel Morrison.
Other returning letter winners for Northmor are: Juniors Brooke Bennett, Cristianna Boggs and Viv Cutrupi. Sophomores Samantha Peters (two-time state cross country state qualifier) and Maiya Craft.
“We should be a very balanced team with many competitive sprinters and distance runners,” states Yaussy. “We hope to finish in the top three at every invitational we participate in and improve each week to prepare for the state tournament.”
Both coaches from Northmor agree that Mount Gilead will be the team to beat in the MOAC Blue Division. The Knights boys team finish runner-up to the Indians in the MOAC meet last season, 157.5-145. The Lady Knights also earned runner-up honors behind Mount Gilead a season ago, 164.5-124.
Northmor will officially kick-off their 2017 season on the road at the Ridgedale Invite on Saturday April 1.