Whitmer s Chris Laser is one of the area s top pole vaulters. He claimed the Division I district title last year at 13 feet. Laser cleared 14 feet at an indoor meet last week in Findlay.
Springtime is speed time.
It s also a time for strength and agility to be put to the test.
Stopwatches and measuring tools are in high demand at this time of the year.
Track and field season is just ahead.
Here s a preseason glimpse at who and what to watch for in the area. The season officially begins meet competition Saturday.
Sprints: Start s Jordy Franklin and Javon Haythorne and Fremont Ross Adam Wilhelm are expected to contend for top billing in the 100 and 200 meters among Division I boys sprinters. Franklin and Haythorne were prominent contributors in Start s overnight rise as a major player in boys track last spring.
Wilhelm returns for his senior season as a sprint favorite after finishing third at state in the 200 behind Cleveland Glenville graduates Ted Ginn Jr. and Stephon Fuqua, respectively.
Libbey junior Danyelle McGary is a natural in the 400, but qualified for state in the 200.
In Division II, Port Clinton s Kari Kreutzfeld returns as one of the top girls sprinters. She was a state finalist in the 200 last season.
Hurdles: Rogers senior Darryl Elston figures to make noise in both hurdles events after placing third at state in the 300 hurdles.
Elston recently ran well enough to place fifth in the 55-meter hurdles (7.77) and fourth in the 200 (22.82) during the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches state indoor track and field championships held at the University of Findlay.
Tiffin Columbian s Frank Perna returns for his senior season looking to improve upon an eighth-place finish at state in the 110 hurdles. Fremont Ross Elon Sims and Scott s Tony Taylor are also a couple of hurdlers to watch.
In Division II, Clyde s Jared Martin figures to make a strong push in the hurdles events.
In Division III, Liberty Center sprinter Curt Silveus, a state finalist a year ago, is looking to make a return to the state meet in his senior season.
Middle distance: Wilhelm also returns as the top Division I boys runner in the 400. He was fourth at state and was the only underclassman to finish in the final eight last season. Findlay junior Ryan Sottoway is a favorite in the 800 after running seventh at state as a sophomore.
McGary dominated the 400 for much of last season and was within a few meters of claiming a Division I state title as a sophomore before running out of gas as Euclid freshman Jessica Beard surged to cross the finish line first.
In Division III, Arlington senior Kevin Bash and junior Jared Krout return as two of the state s top 400 runners.
Among the girls, Bowsher sophomore Channelle Caldwell reached state in the 800 as a freshman.
Long distance: Christy Titus and Barbara Powers lead a strong contingent of proven runners from Bowling Green s girls team which claimed a second straight Division I state cross country championship. The Bobcats girls distance group, as a whole, is second to none in the state.
Whitmer s Skyler Schmitt established himself last year as a dominant distance runner during a breakout sophomore season. A Division I state finalist in the 3200 a year ago, Schmitt rates as a frontrunner among the area s distance specialists.
In Division II, Eastwood s James O Brien placed in the top 10 at state in the 1600.
In Division III, Holgate s Jason Ordway returns for his junior season after running third at state in the 3200.
Ottawa Hills sophomore Hollis Barber swept the TAAC girls races in the 800, 1600 and 3200 last season.
Jumps: Clay s Marty Veith, St. Francis Shayne York and Southview s Malcolm Campbell showed plenty of promise a year ago in the high jump, making them favorites this season. Veith cleared 6-6 to take third place at the state indoor meet at Findlay.
Central Catholic juniors Chris Willis and Neil Mitchell competed well in the long jump during the recent indoor season and have shown potential to continue jumping well this spring.
Maumee s Mikki Sutherland and Perrysburg s Liz Allen are among the top Division I returners in the high jump. Sutherland returns for her senior season after placing second at state last season with a jump clearing 5-7.
Whitmer s Chris Laser cleared 14 feet in the pole vault during indoor competition and is looking to go higher outdoors.
In Division II, Swanton sophomore Abby LaVigne is one of the state s top returners in the long jump. She placed ninth at state last season.
In Division III, Toledo Christian junior Bethany McGraw rates as head of the class in the long jump after claiming the state title last year.
Liberty Center senior Denise Matheny, who finished third at state, could provide her toughest challenge.
Liberty-Benton senior Jeffrey Busching ranks as one of the top Division III long jumpers in state after placing fourth at state last season.
Throws: Southview s Bahiyjaui Allen returns after an impressive sophomore campaign that ended with her finishing sixth at state in the Division I shot put. St. John s Marcus Waugh (ninth at state) and Bowling Green s Adam Metcalf return as two of the area s top Division I boys shot-put competitors.
In Division II, consider Wauseon senior Drew Weber and Port Clinton senior Evan Whiting as legitimate contenders for the state title in the shot put after finishing third and fourth, respectively, last season.
In Division III, Woodmore sophomore Emily Pendleton returns as the reigning state champion in the discus. Ottoville s Stacey Wanna-macher intends to defend her state championship in the shot put.
Among the boys, Columbus Grove s Blaine Maag placed at state in shot put and discus.
Contact Donald Emmons at:email@example.com 419-724-6302.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.