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Track teams ready to build on last season's success

Front row: Mike Sovis, Andrew Estrada, Max Hill, Riley Kurkowski, Joe Zielinski, Chase Garavaglia and Cody Kostecki. Kneeling: Aaron Johnston, Jonathan Sanchez, Kanon Hulbert, Brandon Cappuccilli, Jonathan Pletta, Alex Sutherland, Matt Schenten, Alec Smith, Matt Scheer, Aaron Pletta, Glacier Wallington and Joey Ufolla. Coaches Row: Joe Hurford, Mike Dobies, Kyle Feeney, Coach Matt Johnson, Coach George Schraut, Head Coach Bob Blunk, Coach Ray Sutherland, Coach Kieve Johnson, Erick Vandecar, Edwin Schlikkenmeyer and Anthony Cappuccilli. Standing 2nd Row: Tony Sands, Ryan Gillespie, James Patrick, Matt Strzelecki, Zach Kelley, Finn Anger, Logan Money, Connor Bice and Dallas Pruitt. Back Row: Keagan Konkle, Doug Klimbal, Jarred Butler, Graham Wellens, Bryce Clark, Mike Tuski and Jacob Peterson. (click for larger version)
April 04, 2012 - Senior leadership and a mix of underclassmen will be key in the success of the Oxford boys and girls varsity track teams.

Second-year Coach Bob Blunk said he hopes the boys can improve on last year's excellent season in which they won league championship honors in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

The girls finished third last season in the White Division, but have some of their top runners back. The boys won their first dual meet of the season, beating Rochester while the girls fell in the meet. Each team has competed in the Huron Relays this spring with good showings.

"Even though we lost some key runners from last year we have a good bunch of juniors, sophomores and even freshmen who are committed on the boys team," Blunk said.

The team is led by senior captains Doug Klimbal, Alec Smith and Anthony Cappuccilli.

Klimbal is a hurdler who Blunk said could have a great season. Smith is a distance runner who was a state qualifier in cross country in the fall. Cappuccilli runs the 400 and 800 as well as relays. Blunk said junior Ryan Gillespie is expected to perform well in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter distances.

Glacier Wallington, a freshman, will run in the 3,200 and 1,600 relays and has shown tremendous speed in sprint distances.

Senior Seth Miller is in his first season on the team and has shown good results in the discus and shot put in the early season, Blunk said.

Junior Mike Puski is also competing in the 3,200 relay and in intermediate hurdles.

"We are off to a good start with the win over Rochester and I think we have a very good mix of seniors and underclassmen," Blunk said.

The 1,600 meter relay is expected to be a bright spot for the boys' team.

Front Row: Brijana Jackson, Sabrina Smith, Brooke Kovacic, Rachel Lerma, Cara Commens, Jenna Feeney, Marbella Espinoza and Bri Jackson. Kneeling: Keila Mendez, Melanie Cappell, Kristen Godwin, Courtney Fox, Sarah Hillebrand, Valencia Jackson, Emily Vimr, Katie Economou, Kendall Rowley and Cheyanna Green-Molett. Coaches Row: Megan Kerin, Sommer Desotell, Emily Cleland, Coach Matt Johnson, Coach George Schraut, Head Coach Bob Blunk, Coach Ray Sutherland, Coach Kieve Johnson, Chelsea Johnson, Rachel James and Morgan Lavender. Back Row: Renee Hansen, Taylor Taraski, Chelsea Fritche, Brittany Johnson, Natalie Jones, Jessica Murphy, Aminah Pettiford, Angela Savich, Victoria Bearse and Christine Cappell. (click for larger version)
The girls team is led by seniors Brittany Johnson, her sister Chelsea and pole vaulter Sarah Hillebrand.

The Johnson sisters are expected to be key figures in the school's 3,200 meter relay which set a school record last season.

Hillebrand owns the school record in the pole vault, which she set last season at 10-feet-five inches. She finished second recently at the Huron Relays and has vaulted 10-feet-six inches already this season.

Junior Brooke Kovacic is one of the best long distance runners in Oxford history. She owns the school records in the 3,200 and was part of the 3,200 relay team that set a school record last season.

Kovacic made all-state as a sophomore and Blunk said she continues to improve.

"She never wants to take a day off and works very hard. She's a great kind," he said.

Victoria Bearse is the Wildcat's best discus and shot putter and finished fourth in the Huron Relays in the shot put, with a distance of 28 feet.

Blunk said he expects other girls to step up and contribute.

"We have some very good speed and these girls will have a good year," he said.

Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.
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