|2018 COVINGTON TRACK PREVIEW...
With several athletes returning with state experience, the Covington boys and girls track teams look forward to another big season in 2018.
COVINGTON - The Covington boys and girls track programs have become accustom to qualifying several athletes to state track meet in Columbus.
And with a roster consisting of several state qualifiers and state placers, there are very high expectations for yet another great season in 2018.
The girls, who are coached once again by Dave Tobias, return seven girls with state experience - seniors Breanna Kimmel, Rayna Horner, Shae Robinson and Tori Lyle; juniors Lauren Christian and Paige Boehringer and sophomore Morgan Lowe.
Kimmel, who enters her senior season as a three-time state qualifier, looks to become Covington's first female athlete to qualify for state in four straight years and join two men, Kelly Deeter and Ryan Stover as four-time state qualifiers in track.
Horner is coming off of a 6th place finish at state in the 400 and teamed with Morgan Lowe, Paige Boehringer and Breanna Kimmel to place 7th in the 1,600 relay, while Lauren Christian finished 6th in the shot put.
Lyle and Robinson - both seniors - were on the 4x200 relay team at state as freshmen and look to return to Columbus in their senior campaigns. Robinson has missed the majority of the last two seasons with injuries.
Other returning letterwinners include seniors Danielle Alexander, Kelsey Dysinger, and Danielle Rose; juniors Lillian Hamilton, Ashlyn Plessinger and Leah Poling; and sophomores Morgan Kimmel and Maci White.
Covington is also looking to defend its Cross County Conference championship for the third straight year.
"Our goals include looking forward to defending the league title for a third year," Tobias said. "Along with going for another district title and qualifying 10-plus girls to the state meet."
The boys track team, who is coached by Kyle Moore, has several athletes returning with state experience in seniors Jett Murphy, Zach Parrett, Ethan Herron, Nathan Lyle and Cade Harshbarger, along with junior Gray Harshbarger.
Murphy returns as a two-time state placer in the pole vault as he finished 4th as a sophomore and 3rd last year as a junior. Coming off of a knee injury that forced him to sit out basketball season, Murphy looks to improve on his school record mark of 14' 10" and finish atop of the podium as a senior.
Harshbarger returns as a two-time state qualifier and a state placer as he finished 6th in the 110 meter hurdles a year ago, while Parrett is fresh off of an 8th place finish last year in the high jump.
Nathan Lyle and Gray Harshbarger also have state medals in their resumé as they were one-half on the Buccs' 4x400 meter relay team that finished 6th a year ago.
Other returning letter winners include senior Dylan Kelly; juniors Hunter Alexander, Tyler Fraley, Cayden Partin and Sam Pritchard; and sophomores Andrew Cates, Jesse Fisher, Cade Schmelzer and Alex Shaffer.
Plus, with a talented group of youngsters ready to push the upperclassmen, Covington is hoping to improve on its third place finishes in the league, district and regionals.
"After a bunch of big third places last year, we are trying to move into the top two in the big meets at the end of the year." Moore said. "We want to perform well at the league and district meets, and send enough athletes back to the state meet that we place highly at the regional meet again.
"Then we would like to put as many athletes on the podium at the state meet as possible, and since six of our returners have been there before, they know what it's like, and I know they want to make it back. We will have enough competition even just in the Cross County Conference (we were third at league and third at regionals behind Twin Valley South) that our guys will be pushed hard, and should hopefully get to the end of the season in great shape for a postseason run."