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Seneca East Boys Track

March 28, 2014
The Advertiser-Tribune

Coach: Justin Ruffing, sixth season.

2013: Won the Midland Athletic League, district runner-up

Returning letterwinners: Seniors Zach Gregg (sprints/PV/LJ), Kyler Green (sprints/PV), Owen Best (throws), Adam Hall (sprints), Jason Willman (distance), Ben Frankart (hurdles), Rob Schaffer (distance). Juniors Brady McWilliams (distance), Isaac Phillips (sprints), Wesley Pipher (distance), Hunter Saylors (hurdles), Jared Stockmaster (distance), Bryce Watson (distance), Daniel Cook (distance). Sophomores Cory Depinet (sprints/PV/hurdles), Brayden Walker (sprints/HJ), William Sampson (hurdles/jumps), Elliott Hoepf (distance), Zach Kelbley (throws), Donovan Meyers (sprints), Jake Schoen (throws), Noah Nichols (distance).

Others: Juniors Garett Boesser (hurdles), Zach Aiello (sprints/jumps). Freshmen Brady Ferris (throws), Bram White (throws), Trevor Schaffer (throws), Brennan Martin (sprints), Garrick Manning (distance/hurdles/HJ), Xavier Collins (throws), Gunner Wilson (distance), Jacob Skidmore (distance), Dakota Wilson (throws), Collins Gibbs (distance), Aaron Fry (throws), Mark Soski (sprints/PV), Jacob Margraf (distance/PV), Aaron Lee (hurdles/PV), Austin Sprenger (hurdles/PV), Jared Kaiser (sprints/PV), Kyle Shepherd (throws), Leo Dulin (throws), Scotty Gulley (hurdles/PV).

Outlook: One would expect after five seasons and five MAL championships that Ruffing would be a little presumptuous.

But he's exactly the opposite.

He's also not arrogant enough to assume that his sixth season will mean a sixth MAL title either.

"You need luck and there's going to be some teams who can score some points. We've won five years in a row," Ruffing said. "The kids know that's what the expectations are. Does that mean it's easy? No. We have to stay healthy, score some points and have some luck. That's our goal."

He said the team has also gotten used to being the hunted.

"We prepare every meet we go to, to have that target on us. People don't like seeing us win," Ruffing said. "We're used to people going after us. We know about it and we're ready for that."

He's also excited about the final MAL meet being held at Seneca East.

"The meet is going to be on our own track. I don't know about the kids but me especially, I go into it without a lot of sleep and things like that," Ruffing said. "It will be something special. It will definitely have something extra special to it."

This season stands to be something special overall as the Tigers bring back three state qualifiers.

The team boasts nine pole vaulters, but vaulting to the head of the precipitous class is Gregg and Depinet. Gregg was runner-up last year and Depinet placed sixth in the state meet.

"For Gregg, it comes down to vaulting well on that day and he can win," Ruffing said. "The kid who beat him twice was a miss away from (Gregg) winning. Once last year ended, everyone knew what the goal was."

Depinet was a case of a kid riding a hot streak.

"He got in a groove last year at the end of the season. He did what he needed to do at state. He vaulted well," Ruffing said. "He'll be a big time guy for us in the sprints and hurdles. To make All-Ohio as a freshmen, anything less these next three years is not what he wants. He's going to be a heck of a sprinter for us."

Willman placed sixth in the one and two mile events last year.

"Since he's been a freshman, he's been the backbone of the distance guys. This will be the fourth year we're strong in the distance events," Ruffing said of Willman, who placed eighth in the two mile in 2012. "He's fought through injuries. He might be the hardest working kid I've ever coached."

But beyond that Ruffing also has competitors he thinks could be regional qualifiers and he hopes can make that next step to Columbus. Frankart in the 300 hurdles and Owen Best in either of the throws are possibilities as well as the 4x100 relay team of Gregg, Depinet, Walker and Adam Hall.

"We'll really be able to hang our hat on the distance. Everywhere else its finding who can step up for us and take that next step," Ruffing said. "We have good athletes and guys we think are ready to take that next step for us."



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