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TRACK AND FIELD: Boys' Downriver League preview (PHOTO)

Austin Sloan will return to throw for Coach Sam Childs' Anderson Titans.

After an undefeated season resulted in a Downriver League championship, the Roosevelt Bears will look to surpass last season’s accolades in the upcoming track season.

The Bears knocked off two-time defending league champion Woodhaven for the DRL crown last season, but Coach Dave Lustig still feels that his team has room to grow.

“These guys all understand that we all had a quality year last year, but we didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to accomplish,” Lustig said. “There were a lot of things on our agenda that we wanted last year.”

In preparation for the upcoming season, Mother Nature has hampered the training of many Downriver schools, but the Bears have taken advantage of their indoor facilities in recent weeks.

“We’ve become magicians at working that indoor track because we’ve kind of combined forces with our girls team when we use it, so we’re pushing 60 kids on that track upstairs and we’re making it work,” Lustig said. “The preference is being outside because you can get the legs going a little more consistently, but we’re making the most of it.”

The Bears bring back a number of returners from last year’s league championship team, including a talented junior-laden distance group.

Dominic Davis, Danny May, Cam Herron and Jake Coulter all return to the fold for Roosevelt in distance events.

In sprints, seniors David Davis and Damon Singleton will lead a group that also includes talented juniors Brandon Sowards and Eric Tyson.

Juniors Daries Davis and Jacob Zanski will be two of the team’s main hurdlers and the Bears will feature a trio of seniors in throwing events in Zach Casper, Jacob Bias and Aaron O’Meara.

Seniors Divon Robinson and Nate Sexton will be used in jumping events and will consistently see time on the track while sophomore Brent Williams leads the high jumpers.

“I think our depth on the track is going to be huge because we don’t have to overwork our guys,” Lustig said. “If we want to rest some people, we can do that and still put on some quality events.”

The Bears ran at Eastern Michigan on Friday, will run at Hillsdale on Thursday and will open their league schedule on April 11 against Trenton.



Woodhaven



Woodhaven relinquished its spot atop the league last year to Roosevelt, but the Warriors have no plans of fading into the background as the five-time defending News-Herald Invitational champions return a talented group looking to compete for a league title.

The Warriors graduated some important point scorers and Coach Mike Dennisuk knows that some of his inexperienced runners have some big shoes to fill.

“You try not to focus on what you lost, but we did lose some really big scorers for us that we really rode last year,” Dennisuk said. “We’re just hoping to find new replacements for them.”

The Warriors will be led by a talented distance crew that will be led by cross country all-stater Conrad Schultz.

Schultz, who signed with Grand Valley State earlier this year, will be joined by junior Cam Karagitz, senior Ricky Crowley, junior Kevin Toco and freshman Logan Kleam in the distance events.

Sophomore Niko France and junior Matt Jordan could be two of the top sprinters in the area and will be leaned upon along with senior Kenny Williams, who will run the 400 and compete in the long jump, and senior middle distance runner Dino Periera.

Junior Kris Childers will be relied on in hurdles and the pole vault this season.

In the field, senior Kyle Martin will also pole vault while senior Nick Watroba, junior Warren Adkins and sophomore Robert Duncan man the throwing events.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces and one thing that’s happened nicely in the last few years is that we find a kid here and there,” Dennisuk said. “It’s all about finding who blossoms up on the varsity team.

“They’re all aware that we’ve won five News-Herald’s in a row and we go out every time expecting to win meets. We expect that we can contend.”

The Warriors will begin their season on April 11 against Allen Park.



Allen Park



In a season that will feature a number of talented long distance runners, Allen Park will feature one of the fastest participants.

Jeremy Rafter, who reached the state finals in cross country during the fall, will lead the Allen Park distance crew.

“Jeremy is looking to equal his cross country season by running his last race at states,” Allen Park Coach Tim Collins said.

Richard Gamble and Jon Miller will head the Jaguar hurdle crew that will also feature a crop of strong freshmen in JR Whiteford, Nathan Mostoller and Gabe Brockway.

All three freshmen will also compete in the high jump.

Senior Aaron Letinski will lead the sprints and Kameron Delfine will pace the throwing in a pair of experienced groups returning for Allen Park this season.

The league season will being for the Jags at home on April 11 against Woodhaven.



Carlson



After losing a number of stellar field event athletes to graduation, first-year Carlson Coach Rob Baumstark will look to some key returners and some multi-sport athletes to lead the Marauders this season.

Senior sprinter Marcus Carter and sophomore sprint/middle distance runner Marvin Franklin will be key point scorers for the Marauders this season as will senior distance runner Cody Darnell.

Junior Joe Yoakum will run middle distance, sophomore Mark Klingel will join Darnell in distance events and big men AC Alfredo and Ryan Carlson will handle throwing duties for the Marauders.

Baumstark specifically targeted some Carlson football players to come out for the team to serve as point scorers and to prepare them for next season.

“While it’s not mandatory, it’s highly suggested that they come out for track,” Baumstark said. “There’s a lot of promise and there’s a lot of potential with this team, but that word potential is a dangerous word.”

The Marauders will open the season on April 11 at Melvindale.



Anderson



A number of important returners and a slew of new faces will pace the Anderson Titans on the track in Southgate this season.

The Titans will feature a talented spring crew that features seniors Demetrios Sanders, Devin Tyra and TaVon Wheller and juniors Tyler Knott and Ryan Belknap.

Junior Thomas Jozwiak will be a force in distance events and will be joined by senior Jacob Deibis in the long races.

Seniors Trevor McGrath and Chris Sprinkle will run with junior Da’Sion Love in the middle distance and Coach Sam Childs will also expect contributions from sophomores Alex Doherty and Ryan Sander.

In the field, Tyra will lead the long jump crew and the throwing duties will be handled by seniors Austin Sloan and Evan Sleep as well as junior Ray Young.

Senior Chris Cooney and junior Jacob Brandes will both multitask at hurdles and high jump and junior Ryan Owen will pole vault for the Titans.

“Our field events and our hurdles are kind of up in the air right now, not only because of the weather, but because we have a lot of new faces here,” Anderson Coach Sam Childs said. “We have a roster of 60 boys, so I feel that depth will be a strength this year.

“While the weather has been very un-spring like, the attitude and work ethic of our kids has been outstanding. I feel that they’ve done a great job of bringing the right attitude to the beginning of the season.”

Anderson will open the season on April 11 against Lincoln Park.



Melvindale



A trio of talented veterans will return for Melvindale this season to lead the Cardinals in 2013.

Daizoun Oliver, who claimed league and regional championships in the 100, 200 and 400-meter relay last season, returns to lead the Cardinals after placing in the top-five of both individual events in last year’s state finals.

He will be joined by high jumper/long jumper Anthony Fitzgerald and thrower Matt Schzran to pace the Cards.

“The trio should be among the leaders in the Downriver League,” Melvindale Coach Dave Valkevich said.

Khaled Mousa and Reynaldo Quintero will lead Melvindale’s improved distance group and pole vaulters Tomas Villareal and Brandon Garza should also provide points for the Cards this season.

Melvindale will open the season at home against Carlson on April 11.



Kennedy



Kennedy’s top runners this season will be a mixture of returning juniors and seniors who will look to surprise some opponents in league competition.

Junior Michael Kinney returns for his third-straight season and will lead the Eagles’ hurdle crew in both races.

“Michael is working extremely hard in the pre-season and I am optimistic that he can be one of the top hurdlers in the Downriver League,” Kennedy Coach Chad Putnam said.

Senior Joseph Fornetran will cover the most distance for the Eagles and will run in the mile, the two-mile and 3200-meter relay.

Senior Kelvin Tye and junior Sean Persondek will provide versatility for Kennedy this season as Tye will be used in numerous relays and individual events ranging from sprints to the 800-meter and Persondek will run anywhere from 400-meters to one mile.

Junior Erick Craig will run in the 400 and 800, Demetrius Hayes will run in sprints and the throwing duties will be handled by Andrew Wilson and Jacob Szcepanski.

“Overall, we probably lack the depth of some of the other local teams, but I think we have a few solid competitors in place already and I am optimistic that some of the new additions to our team can develop into competitive athletes,” Putnam said.



Lincoln Park



Lincoln Park will be spearheaded in the 2013 by strong returning junior class.

All-around threat Robert Atwater will lead the Rails in high jump and pole vault this season and Byron Evans returns as one of the top throwers in the area.

“We’ve got a lot of good juniors,” Lincoln Park Coach Tommy Nuttall said. “It’s a real exciting class.”

Other key juniors include Deshawn Tillman in high jump and sprints, Ravon Coleman in sprints and hurdles, James Rogers in distance and middle distance and Jason Marcox in throwing.

Senior Lamar Burgess is another talented dual threat in sprints and high jump, sophomore Quinn Chapman will look to make noise in pole vault and middle distance and senior Dylan Mcleod will lead the Rails in distance events.

Senior James Keith and sophomore Brandon Henderson will add to Lincoln Park’s throwing depth and sophomore Robert Horton will look for points in distance.

Former Lincoln Park athletes Rickie McDowell and Eric Peoples return for the Rails in coaching capacities to help bolster Nutall’s staff.

“My assistants are doing a great job and I really look at them as the same as me,” Nutall said.

The Rails open the season against Anderson on April 11.

Last Updated: 3/22/2013 2:22:28 PM EST

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