By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
Perhaps it is the near-perfect dual meet record last season or the multiple returners with success across the district.
Regardless of the reason why, Greenwood first-year coach Megan Albert has the pieces in place on her team for another successful season from her mixture of athletes stemming from the co-op between Greenwood and Newport. The Wildcats finished last season 7-1 in dual meets, tied with East Juniata for the top mark in the Tri-Valley League.
Senior hurdler Gabe Schroff, who finished third at the District 3 Class A meet last season in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the 110 hurdles, will be a strong asset to the team according to Albert with his experience at the district level.
Schroff is far from the only returning Wildcat with district experience, giving Albert a group of athletes who know what it takes to not only qualify for districts but compete for medals.
Curtis Mather finished in 10th in the 300 hurdles for the Wildcats after joining Schroff in the finals.
”Both of the boys are diligent workers,” Albert said of Schroff and Mather. “They put in the time and the effort every day.”
Schroff’s biggest competitor in the hurdles could be East Juniata’s David Brantley. The senior three-sport athlete was the District 4 champion in the 300 hurdles last season, flying down the track in 40.17, qualifying for the state meet in the process in addition to taking third place in the 110 hurdles.
The Tigers will have to replace much of their Tri-Valley co-champion team from last season with Brantley being the lone district finalist returning. The Tigers will have to replace the points gained from Landon Sheaffer, a state qualifier at 1,600 meters last year after a third-place finish at the district meet and Spencer Reinford, who placed seventh in a pair of events during the district meet.
“In order to win the TVL, you need a lot of talent and hard work,” East Juniata coach Mark Ritzman said.
Much like Greenwood joining with Newport to compete under the Greenwood name, Halifax and Millersburg athletes both compete for Millersburg with returning athletes from both schools having district experience after finishing 3-5 last season.
Lonnie Palmer returns for his senior season under Indians’ third-year coach Jill Steffen after finishing in a tie for eighth in the high jump in the District 3 meet, clearing five feet, eight inches.
The Indians also return a pair of district finalists in the 3200 meters in juniors Alex McMullen and Stephen Berger. McMullen finished 10th at the district meet and Berger followed in 11th.
Upper Dauphin fourth-year coach Brian Hoover is coming off of a 2-6 season and the Trojans return senior Madison Crum-Burger in the discus. Crum-Burger, the kicker for Upper Dauphin’s football team, threw the discus 122 feet, six inches at the District 3 meet last year to take eighth place.
Neil Bodley finished in second in the shot put at the District 6 meet for Juniata with a throw of 130 feet, two inches.
Nick Gilbert finished in fourth in the 110 hurdles at the District 6 meet last season for Juniata in his junior season to lead the Indians. Gilbert also finished fourth in the 300 hurdles.