Led by four All-Ohio athletes, there's plenty of firepower for the Woodridge girls track and field program for this spring.

Depth will also be a key for the Bulldogs as co-head coaches Jeff Howard and Les Carney hope to snag a league championship in the challenging Portage Trail Conference Metro Division, and advance athletes in the post season.

Last year, the Lady Bulldogs placed 19th in Ohio in Division II and placed third in a tough regional meet.

Woodridge opened the year April 1 in a quad meet at Orrville, but results weren't available as of press time.

"The 2017 squad looks solid," said Howard. "We have 44 girls on the roster and this should provide depth in most events."

Pacing the club will be four All-Ohioans that shined in the cross country teams' state championship campaign -- senior twin sisters Natalie Fleming and Nicole Fleming, junior Molly Howard, and senior middle distance standout Katie Kearns.

In addition, there is returning senior Clare Willett (distance), who is headed to Malone University.

"The distance runners are coming off of a state championship in cross country this fall and should score well," said Howard, who has strong depth.

Woodridge returns its entire 3,200-meter relay team which placed fourth in Ohio, earning all-state honors. This cast includes Howard, Kearns, Natalie Fleming, and anchor Nicole Fleming.

Molly Howard finished fifth in Ohio in the open 800-meter race and is a major threat.

Nicole Fleming ran 12th in Ohio in the open 1,600 race and was a regional runner-up.

Willett placed 16th in Ohio in the open 3,200, where Natalie Fleming was seventh in regionals.

Senior Gracey Radwany also returns as she will help in the sprints, hurdles and relays. Radwany will compete at Walsh University next spring.

Junior Nicole Seff is also back and primed for a big year in the long jump, pole vault, high jump, and hurdles. She placed sixth in the pole vault in regionals and 10th in the long jump.

Another veteran junior -- Adelle Tannous -- will make in impact in a host of races. She can be used in sprints, middle distance, and relays. She will be a more of middle distance runner this spring.

Other key returning juniors are Mari Baker (sprints, hurdles, relays), Sade Wards (sprints, relays), Rachel Frierson (throws), Kiara King (sprints and throws), and Demia Balentine (throws).

"Mari, Adelle, Sade and Kiara should lead the sprint crew while Seff may be our leading point getter in the jumps," stressed Howard.

Sophomore distance runner Sarah Frederick also returns.

Tannous ran in the team's 800 relay (seventh in regionals) and 1,600 relay (seventh in regionals), which also included Nicole Fleming and Howard.

Ward and Baker ran on the 400 relay, which was eighth in regional action.

According to Howard, top newcomers include freshman Izzie Dolciato (middle distance), freshman Erin Eby (sprints, hurdles), freshman Libby Howard (distance), sophomore Camryn Miller (pole vault, jumps), freshman Allison Palm (distance), freshman Leah Stanfield (hurdles), freshman Eleanor Sterling (throws), and freshman Cher Strain (throws).

Woodridge has some throwers who are young (Sterling and Strain) and the juniors who have improved (King, Frierson, and Balentine) to create a nice mix of depth.

The Lady Bulldogs will be a threat in the league, which should have some balance.

"[Lodi] Cloverleaf returns a slew of good distance runners and a really strong hurdler, plus they are strong in the throws," said Howard.

The Bulldogs open league action April 4 at home against Norton and Ravenna and compete at the Kenston Relays April 7 in Bainbridge. Woodridge hosts Coventry and Streetsboro in a PTC meet April 11.

Howard and Carney are assisted by Mike Duve, Scott Mercer and Andrew Linebarger.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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