As warm weather graces the Wabash Valley, high school sports teams are getting the opportunity for regular practice outside. For a Clay City boys track team that will be focusing on replacing some big point contributors from last season, the practice time is a welcome opportunity.
Gone from last season are experienced distance runners Andy Huggler and David Schroer along with middle distance specialist Kyle Tiefel. Roger Harden is gone from throwing events and both Camrand Tucker and Jared Defore will be missing from hurdles.
While graduation was tough on the Eels, Clay City has some talented athletes available to head coach Keith Jones.
The Eels will have seniors John Edwards, Jake Jackson and Kyle Booe available in throwing events this year. Booe was eighth in the sectional discus event and placed 14th in the shotput. Juniors Andrew and Matt Marrs will contribute in the events along with sophomore DJ Liechty.
Junior Billy Lucas will be a big part of the sprinting events after running the 100 in sectional action last year. This season he may get a chance at hurdles as well along with fellow junior Cole Schroer. Though currently nursing an injured foot, sophomore Travis Chadwell will also get an opportunity in the hurdles.
Basketball standout, Josey Vansickle will make his track debut this season and should be a valuable commodity in several events. Dustin Souder will take on longjumping duties this year.
The middle and long distance squads should be a strong point for the Eels with Logan Bettenbrock returning after placing eighth in the 3,200 last year at the sectional meet and fresh off a strong cross country season. Souder also has cross country experience along with sophomore Adam Schroer who were each All-Tri River Conference in cross country.
Other contributions will come from juniors Brent Wheeler, Daniel Curtis and Jordan Lynch. Sophomores Garrett Buis and Jeremy Reece join freshman Kyle Grassick on the squad as well. Sophomore Stephen Johnson, recovering from knee surgery, could be available late in the season.
The Eels begin their season on April 11 with a three-way meet with South Vermillion and Linton at 5 p.m.