The Hundred boys' and girls' track teams, in their second season, have doubled in numbers and are looking to open some eyes this season with a bunch of student athletes who want to bring some life into the sport at Hundred High School.
With second-year Head Coach Sean Snedden back for the boys', the Hornets look generate more points up with the addition of six more athletes to put on the track.
Without a track to practice on, however, the Hornets will use more of their athletes in the middle and long distance events. Back from last season are sophomores Holden Moore, Andrew King and Logan Moore in the 3,200 meter and 1,600 meter. Freshman Danny Stewart and senior Courtland Armstrong will compete in the 400 meter run and 4x400 meter relay events to go along with the long distance guys.
Junior Logan Kuhn will try his luck in the hurdles, while fellow classmates Ethan Geho and Isaac Hornbeck will compete in the shot and discus, as will sophomore Danny Kolat and freshmen Phillip Carson and Tyler Norris.
Sophomore standout Greg Jones will compete in the 400 and 800 meter runs, while freshman Danny Stewart will be in contention for the sprinting events.
All these Hornet athletes will compete in different events as the season goes on. And, if they can get a sand pit in place for the long jump and a few hurdlers to practice on, it would help the kids get better and better.
"Last season was our first year competing in track, and we doubled in size," said Holden Moore. "Coach Snedden is keeping us on our toes and getting us in shape to compete. With the experience we got from last season, I hope we can continue to get better and better and be able to get our times good enough to move on to regional and state competition."
The girls, also, are without any seniors on the squad, but will feed off sophomore lettermen Kaityn Kuhn, Ashley Miller and Meliah Umstead until their six freshmen can adapt to the sport.
Kuhn and Umstead will compete in the long-distance events, while Miller will compete in the hurdles. Freshmen Carson Baker, Hailey Eastham, Madeline Goff, Miranda Goff, Miranda Gray, Caitlyn Keller and Rachel Watson are eager to compete for Coach Jessica Ferrell and start building a competitive team for Hundred High School with their young team.
Baker, Eastham and Goff will compete in the sprinting events along with the shuttles, while Watson will enter the shot and discus competitions.
"We have a very young, but eager, bunch of student athletes who want to keep getting better and better each day and build a nice squad that will get even more kids involved in the future," said coaches Snedden and Ferrell.
The Hornets will compete in some meets at Clay-Battelle, Bellaire and St. Clairsville in the OVAC Track Championships and would like to get in a few closer meets as well.
The Lady Hornets fared well last season under first-year Head Coach Jeff Shriver and were one out from playing for the Sectional title. But, after losing starting hurler Emily Ebert, third baseman Shelley Cork and outfielder Taylor Ashcraft to graduation last year, it may be an uphill battle for Hundred to get back where they would like to be.
However, Shriver has a weapon that many softball teams would like to have and that's Roger Tustin. Tustin, who is Shriver's assistant coach, has been coaching girls how to pitch for many years and is a bonus for any club.
Tustin started to teach Paige Shriver, Jeff's daughter, the art of pitching a little last season, while turning Ebert into one of the best hurlers in the valley. Paige studies the game inside and out and will, no doubt, be ready to bring it. Tustin will also be coaching junior Erika Hunter a thing or too about the art of fast pitch hurling.
However, for every good pitcher there needs to be an even better catcher, and the Lady Hornets have a pretty good batterymate in Andrea Nagy. Nagy is only one of four senior players on the team. She has the GUN to keep any would-be base runners from trying to steal and is one headache that Shriver won't have.
Hundred has a new girl in town, a transfer from Greater Beckley, named Bethany Wheeler. Wheeler is a player. She appears equipped to do all the things a softball player needs to do, hit, catch, field, throw and pitch. Wheeler is softball smart, and, along with Paige, Hunter and Nagy, the Lady Hornets have four top-notch players to get them started.
But, four nice ball players don't make a team. There are nine other Hornets on the team that want to be able to sting opponents time-after-time once the season starts this week.
Let's start with the infield. At shortstop it will be either Shriver, Hunter or Wheeler, depending who is pitching. At the hot corner is four-year lettermen Nikki Cunningham; at second is Allie Hayes, and at first base there is either Wheeler or Hunter when they are not pitching or playing shortstop.
In reserve, freshmen Madeline Goff or Macy Long can fill in at all infield positions, as well as put some time in the outfield. In the outfield, it looks to be either Tameka Kernen or Mady Wheeler, while in left field, it will be freshmen Sydney Hoyle and at centerfield, freshman Brittany Tustin.
While the weather has kept Hundred from getting outside and playing on their field, Shriver has his girls working on their hitting and fielding inside the Hornets' Nest. While not the same as hitting live pitching outside, Shriver has picked up some pointers from Magnolia Head Baseball Coach Dave Cisar and has his team making contact.
It's way to soon to tell how many games they may win. But, if the girls just listen to coaches Shriver and Tustin, and play good fundamental softball, by season end Hundred should be ready to challenge for their sectional.
Hundred will open its season against Notre Dame at home on March 24 and will be on the road at Cameron March 25. Both games set to get started at 5 p.m.
The Hundred Hornets lost four starters to graduation last spring, but still have enough talent returning to have a successful run in the 2014 season.
How the Hornets replace those graduates will go along way in telling Head Coach Gregory Hostetler and Assistant Coach Terry Riter how the team will fare this year. The alumni players included Chris Varner, Issac Efaw, Zachary Debolt and J.P. Hennen.
The loss of Varner will hurt the most, but the resurgence of Hunter Goddard will soften the blow considerably. But, losing power hitters Debolt, Efaw and Hennen, will hurt just as well. However, out with the old and in with the new comes a ray of hope for Hostetler. Juniors Goddard, Brandon Armstrong, Davin Copeland, Robert Morris, Shane Matthews and Caleb Singer will be there to bolster a different look that should get the coaching staff very excited about this stage of the game.
Armstrong, who has recovered from a concussion in football, will likely be the team's opening day starter, but will see plenty of seniors Josh King and Steve Morris. In addition, juniors Matthews and Robert Morris will anchor the starting roles in the pitching department, while freshman Derek Crihfield will also get his feet wet.
The new-look Hornets will come into the season as underdogs. However, the younger kids like freshman Devin Kimble, sophomore, Hunter Goff, and senior Patrick Allen (out for the first time) could give the baseball team a shot in the arm.
"We only have three seniors out with the remainder of the team consisting of six juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen, said Hostetler. "I will be looking for these boys to step up and compete at a high level from the get-go. Having Armstrong back on the field gives us another nice pitcher and a great centerfielder.
"All the boys are making contact with the ball and the guys are working very hard on their defensive skills. We just need to get on the field and work at it."
The starting infield looks like Robert Morris at first base, while Singer looks to get the call at second. Copeland is the leading candidate to open the season at shortstop, while Steve Morris will hold down the hot corner and Goddard will be behind the plate.
In the outfield, it looks like Matthews at left, Armstrong in center and Crihfield in right. But don't count out Goff, Allen and Kimble to showcase their defensive skills in the outfield as well.
"King is our utility player," said Hostetler. "When he isn't pitching, he will play somewhere. He is the only four-year starter on the squad and can do it all."
King added, "I think we will win more games than we have the past several years. Everyone on the team is working very hard and is more dedicated than we have ever been since I've been here.
"With Brandon in center, if we make a mistake he will track it down and make the catch or keep it in front of him.
"With the experience of King, Armstrong, Copeland and Goddard hopefully the Hornets can get us off to a fast start,"stated Hostetler. "I will be playing a lot of underclassmen, so hopefully they can mature fast. And if they do, I think we can have a very fine season."
Hundred opens the season on the road March 26 at West Greene before its home opener March 27 against the Morgantown Trinity Warriors. Both games are set to start at 5 p.m.