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Bellwood-Antis track teams optimistic about 2004 campaign

Bellwood-Antis athletes are getting prepared for the upcoming track and field season. On both the boys and girls squads there are a number of returning lettermen who helped their individual teams to the Mountain League championships. This year in addition to the Mt. League, the new Mountain Athletic Conference (MAC) is now on board.
The Blue Devils have dominated both boys and girls divisions in the past and hope to add to that in 2004.
The B-A boys are two-time defending champs in the Mountain League and have shared with backyard rival Tyrone every title since 1991. The Blue Devils won the league in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997. 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003, while Tyrone won league crowns in 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2001.
Gone from that squad are Cory Daly (142 points scored in Mountain League events), Matt Rogers (118) and Kyle Shiffler (100), who were the Mountain League’s number two, four and fifth highest scorers. There were just eight athletes who scored 100 points and Bellwood-Antis had four of the eight. Also lost to graduation are Damion Miller and Jesse Graham, who with teammates Dan Houser, Daly, Matt Plummer, and Shiffler ran on the 400 and 1600 relay teams both of which won medals at the PIAA State Meet in 2002.
Returning for the Bellwood-Antis male contingent are top Mountain League scorer Dan Houser, Rudy Bilka, Matt Plummer, Aaron Bell, Cory Sweigert, Pat McCracken, Eric Chamberlain, Elliott Geist and Chris Edmiston who all started in 2003.
Other returnees who are back from last season’s 10-1 squad include Wes Harpster, Matt Hostler, John McFalls, Mike Thomas, Brandon Cherry. Mike Seidel and Liam Flynn.
“We have some good returning people coming back who have experienced success in the past,” explained Bellwood-Antis boys coach Nick Lovrich. “We also have a talented group of younger kids coming out for track for the first time who might be able to help us out this season.”
That group includes seniors Will Edwards and Jon Somerton, who both ran on the B-A boys MAC Division IV championship team in cross country last fall, juniors Travis Ehredt, Aaron Gonzales, Joe Graboski and Derrick Hoffer, sophomores Dustin Harris, Tony DelGrosso, Dan Kovac and Carl Weiser and a large ninth-grade class consisting of Dan Campbell, Evan Celmo, Devon Clapper, Evan Hughes, Josh Kleinfelter, Boe Latchford, Adam Mueller, Andy Martinez, Tyler Narehood, Josh Peters, Brandon Pruznak and Jamie Rimmey.
“We don’t have as much proven depth as we usually do,” emphasized Lovrich, who is assisted by Charlie Burch, Ken Swanson, Bill Edmiston, George Bell. “We need people to step up and contribute. We need a total team effort from every athlete to work hard to become their very best. The kids need to remember that hard work made us successful last year and continue that.
“We would like to do well in our dual meets and in the new Mountain Athletic Conference. Hopefully we can improve on what we did last season in individuals, districts and states.”
On the girls side, long-time coach Julie Roseborough (281-50-2) is making her farewell tour, retiring after 39 years as the only head girls track coach Bellwood-Antis has even had.
The Lady Blue Devils won their second straight Mountain League crown in 2003, their fifth in the past seven years and have taken the league championship 15 times since 1979, double the total of any other school in that time period.
The B-A girls finished 10-2 in 2003 and return the number four scorer in the league in senior distance runner Allison Cherry (108 points) and the number eight girl in junior jumper/sprinter Stephanie Hatch (95).
The Lady Blue Devils will miss graduated seniors Emily Worthing, fifth place scorer in the league, Andrea Genesi, who medaled as a junior in the pole vault at States and Jennie Kaminski, Ashley Smith and Amber Wolfe, but return a ton of young talent, including returning starters Cherry, Hatch, Lauren Carter, Haley Crider, Erica Green, Ashley Mueller, Nicole Ross, Lindsey Claar, Jenna Ralston, Allison Sinisi, Laura Ayers, Ashley Edevane, Katie Gardner and Heather Shura. Only Shura, Gardner, Ayers and Cherry are seniors this year with the B-A girls going with 17 ninth graders and 11 sophomores in 2003, many of whom not only gained experience, but contributed heavily to the conference championship, both individually and as part of relays.
Also back from last year’s squad are senior Shawnta Bradford, junior Jess Weigman and sophomores Arin Cherry, Whitney Edwards, Amanda Houtz, Christa Lombardo, Katie Palmer, Chelsie Smeal, Heather Taylor and Emily Vantries.
Coach Roseborough, who is assisted by Robin Campbell, Rhonda Gensamer and Ashley Lovrich welcomes newcomers Lydia Gray, Sarah Bell, Rachel Bilka, Stephanie Damiano, Jenelle Gerwert, Megan Hosband, Lauren Leap, Jill McCartney, Jordan Morrissey, Brittany Webb, Sidney Young, Melissa Askey, Lindsey Erickson, Denielle Minori, Amber Dillen and Amber Noye.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” was the way coach Roseborough described the Lady Blue Devils hopes for the 2004 season. “We have 14 letterwinners, although there are some events where we don’t have much experience and some where we have no depth.”
B-A open the season traveling to Bedford today with the meet scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.