The forecast this spring is pretty clear for a few of the area s best track and field athletes.
After great seasons last year, they re out to claim state prominence again. Past state champions such as Bowsher s Meshawn Graham, Napoleon s Ryan Fleck and Ottawa-Glandorf s Allison Schroeder, along with state runners-up like Rogers Erik Kynard and Woodmore s Erin Pendleton fit the description.
But it s not as clear for a number of others looking to make this a season to remember.
Perrysburg s Courtney Weiss, Ottawa Hills Katherine Jamieson and Whitmer s Derek Hopkins and Jeremy Jones are among those entering the season with plenty of promise.
Weiss enters her senior season focused on making a return trip to the Division I state meet after placing eighth in the 300-meter hurdles last spring.
The Yellow Jackets record holder for the event (44.36) entered the season more than ready after recently deciding to attend Ohio University where she ll continue to run track.
I want to get back to state, Weiss said. I just want to improve my times because I feel like I ve improved my times every year until now.
Perrysburg coach Vern Kiehl said Weiss is in position to finish out her high school career in style.
We think it s going to be a fun year for her with getting to state last year, Kiehl said. She has a great attitude. She s a hard worker and she s fun to be around. We hope she can just relax and go.
Jamieson burst onto the scene as a freshman a year ago in a major way by advancing to the Division III state meet in the 100 and 200 after starting out the season competing primarily in the 400.
There s no question there s natural talent but there is a lot of will and competitiveness, said Ottawa Hills coach John Brashear of Jamieson. The goal is simple to be better than we were before and not worry about other people.
Jamieson is already the school and Toledo Area Athletic Conference record holder in the 100 (12.42) and 200 (25.68) after sweeping the two sprint races in the conference.
I ve had state champions and I ve coached others who have made it to the state meet and she s right in that mode, said Brashear, who has coached the Green Bears for 20 years. She s the best pure sprinter we ve put through here at this point.
Jamieson was one of the few underclassmen competing at state in the Division III sprints, which makes her an obvious serious contender this spring.
The sky is the limit and the goal is to win the state championship in the next three years, he said. But we realize you can t control others [the competition].
Whitmer coach Greg Kubicki thinks he is fortunate to have a pair of seniors like Hopkins and Jones to coach.
Hopkins returns as one of the top pole vaulters in the state while Jones is among the best long jumpers back from the Division I state competition.
Hopkins, who is bound for Kent State, finished fourth at state in the pole vault last season. He competed during the winter and recently claimed first place in the state indoor meet held by the state track and field coaches association.
Hopkins, who cleared 14 feet, 8 inches for his best vault at the state meet last spring, topped 15 feet five times during the indoor season. Such consistency this spring certainly would make him a legitimate contender for the state s top prize.
We d like to see him challenge for that state title, there s no doubt about it. Kubicki said, of Hopkins.
Hopkins resume also includes winning one regional title, twodistrict titles and one City League title.
His goal is to be undefeated outdoors and challenge for the state title, Kubicki said. He s confident but he knows he can t just go through the motions.
Jones, a three-sport standout, made it to state in the long jump a year ago and placed eighth with a jump of 22 feet. He plans to continue with football and track at Northwood.
We re cautiously optimistic that he can jump with anyone in the state, Kubicki said. We think he should be in the mid-23s [feet], if he s not maybe 24."
As for the rest of the area, here s a look at a few other notables to watch out for this spring:
Is there anyone faster in the state among the Division I girls than Graham, the defending state 100 champion who also won a state title in the 200 as a freshman? That remains to be seen for the University of Michigan-bound speedster, who looks to go out on top.
Graham, who has represented the United States overseas in junior national competition, is one of the top runners in the state in the 100, 200 and 400. Her time of 52.51 in the 400 at the state meet a year ago was one of the fastest in the nation after finishing second to Euclid s Jessica Beard, who has graduated.
Graham figures as a favorite in all three events, but a 400 title would give her the one individual state title she has diligently pursued since her freshman season.
Anthony Wayne s Erika Schmidt figures as Graham s primary competition in the area for the second year in a row. Schmidt, a junior, streaked to a second-place finish at state in the 200 with a sizzling personal-best time of 23.94. She also ran fifth at state in the 100.
Rogers senior DaJon Booth, who attended St. John s Jesuit last spring, was a state qualifier. Booth, who will attend the University of Louisville, figures to be one of the top sprinters/hurdlers in the area.
Clay senior Nick Tammerine figures as one of the area s best in the 400 after qualifying for state last season.
Whitmer s Samantha Gwin reached state in the 400 last year as a freshman.
In Division II, Eastwood sophomore Cody Seifert is qualified for state in the 100 and was one of the area s top sprinters all season.
Rossford senior Rachel Clay looks to make a second trip to state. She ran eighth in the 400 last season.
O-G s Emily Heitmeyer, Defiance s Mikaela Tolbert and Clyde s Lindsay Smetzler are all returners who advanced to state in the 400.
In Division III, Ayersville s Demetrius Trapps (100) and Elmwood s Curtis Smithey (400) are returning seniors seeking to make it back to state.
Archbold sophomore Autumn Loutz (100) and Columbus Grove s senior Jaimie Lewis (400) qualified to state as well.
In Division I, Central Catholic s Sharise Calhoun and Whitmer s Courtney Siebenaller have been two of the area s top hurdlers since their freshman seasons. The two City League friendly rivals figure to continue their competitiveness as seniors all the way to state.
Calhoun placed sixth in the 100 hurdles at state a year ago while Siebenaller advanced to state in the 100 and 300 hurdles events last season.
In Division II, O-G s Schroeder is the one to beat in the 300 hurdles after winning the state championship with a school-record time of 43.32.
Oak Harbor senior Erica Lipstraw and Swanton senior Kristen Smith were both state qualifiers. Lipstraw, who placed fourth a year ago, figures as Schroeder s top challenger from the area.
Napoleon s Marlea Rolander returns for her senior season as one of the state s best at 100 hurdles after finishing sixth at state.
In Division III, Lakota junior Jacob Smith, who qualified for state in the 110 hurdles a year ago, represents one of the area s top returning hurdlers.
In Division I, St. John s Joe Miller looks to close out a stellar high school cross country and track career with another trip to Columbus, a place he s been quite familiar with in past seasons.
The Titans senior, who ran fifth at state in the 1600 a year ago, is also capable of excelling in the 800 and 3200.
Findlay senior Alison Leckrone, a state qualifier in the 3200, is perhaps the area s top returning distance runner along with teammate Brier Sterling, a junior, who also qualified for state in the 3200 a year ago.
In D-II, Defiance seniors Kristen Barth (3200) and Lauren Fett (1600) are returning state qualifiers who give Defiance a solid 1-2 punch in distance events.
In D-III, Delta s senior trio Nick Thomas, Nate Westphal and J.D. Wilcox make up a
formidable distance group. Thomas leads the way after placing eighth at state in the 3200.
Liberty-Benton sophomore Seth Butler is one to watch in the 400 after finishing fifth at state.
Gibsonburg s Jordan Kirwen and Woodmore s William Wegert are also strong both qualified for state in the 1600.
Liberty-Benton s Anna Farmer (1600), Brynn Chaskel (3200) and Lakota s Carly Reese (1600) are also returning state qualifiers.
Bowsher s Ashley Harris is the only returning D-I state qualifier from the area. The Rebels senior competed in the shot put and discus.
In D-II, Derrick Vicars competed for Delta and qualified for state a year ago in the shot put and discus, placing third in the shot put. Vicars, who has transferred to Genoa, figures to be a serious state contender in both events.
In D-III, no name has been more synonymous with winning the state discus competition than Pendleton in the last four years. This year figures no differently as Erin Pendleton looks to replace her sister, Emily, as four-time champion.
Erin, a Woodmore junior, finished second to her state record-holder sister last season. Yet, her toss of 154-10 would have claimed her first place in either of the other two divisions.
Rogers Kynard is coming off an indoor season in which he cleared seven feet on multiple occasions in the high jump.
A state runner-up a year ago, Kynard is on a mission to not only win his first state title but also shatter the state record.
His personal-best jump of 7-3 earlier this year qualified him for the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer in Eugene, Ore.
Also in D-I, Shaun Joplin of Southview looks to return to state in the high jump.
In Division II, Napoleonsenior Fleck, who will attendAuburn, is in pursuit of his second state championship in the high jump in three seasons.
Fleck looks to rebound from a disappointing showing last year when the D-II competition took place on a day that started out with heavy rainfall prior to the start of the competition.
Napoleon sophomore Kendall Homan figures as one of the top girls in the long jump after placing seventh at state.
In Division III, Liberty-Benton s Kerry Cramner was a state qualifier in the long jump.
Kate Saums and Paige Vaupel return as two of Liberty-Benton s top jumpers after qualifying for state as sophomores. Saums placed seventh in the high jump while Vaupel finished eighth in the long jump.
Whitmer s Siebenaller, a perennial state contender in the pole vault, is among the favorites to win the event this spring after finishing sixth last season. The senior is a past state indoor champion.
In D-II, O-G s Chelsea Imm placed seventh at state in the pole vault last year.
In Division III, Lakota s Cami Wasserman finished third in pole vault at 11 feet.