The quantity may be smaller, but the quality certainly hasn't diminished any for the annual Noon Lions Invitational at Don Drumm Stadium this Saturday.
Down to just nine teams this year, the annual track meet is smaller than it has been in years past but remains one of the more competitive meets around.
Of the nine teams competing, just one has to travel more than about a half hour to get to town for the meet.
"It's nice that it's local schools so hopefully we'll have good attendance. There's definitely some good athletes, even though there are some smaller schools," said Marietta girls' track coach Mollie Schramm.
Among the teams competing this year are the Belpre Golden Eagles, Caldwell Redskins, Cambridge Bobcats, Frontier Cougars, John Marshall (W.Va.) Monarchs, Meadowbrook Colts, St. Marys Blue Devils, Warren Warriors and the host Marietta Tigers.
"I think all around, field events and on the track, there's going to be some competition," Schramm said.
Good competition figures to be the theme on both sides of the track, boys and girls.
"Cambridge has some real good athletes. We saw them at John Glenn. Warren, obviously, has a real good team. I think we have a pretty good team, too," said Marietta boys' track coach B.J. Mayer. "Caldwell and Belpre will throw some kids in there."
Field events and semifinal running events will get the meet started at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The girls and boys 100-meter dash semifinals will be the first event on the track before advancing to the girls' 4x800 meter relay.
A pair of sprint semifinals will follow that before the boys' 4x800 relay takes to the track.
The theory behind splitting up the two 4x800 relays is that it will allow some of the area's talented sprinters a little more recovery time between the 100 and 200-meter races.
"It's hard to go back-to-back that quick. Even though it's a shorter distance we want them to be as rested as we can," Schramm explained.
Last year the Lady Tigers claimed the Noon Lions title and they're looking to continue their impressive 2011 campaign and defend their title.
Marietta's girls are fresh off a win in the Fenton Relays on Tuesday as well, so confidence is running high for the Tiger track team. The Tiger boys also claimed the title at Fenton.
"We've been pretty fortunate this year to score in almost every event, maybe not first or second but get a couple people placing. When that happens that really seems to make a difference," Schramm said.
Marietta's boys were also second in a 25 team field at John Glenn despite winning just a single event.
"I think we're doing pretty well overall as a team," Mayer said.
"If we can't be first, we want to be second. If we can't be second, we want to be third."
After the conclusion of the 200-meter dash semifinals, there will be a 30 minute break in the afternoon's festivities before the running event finals will take place.
During that break, the Tiger track team will be presenting a check to the Strecker Cancer Center at Marietta Memorial Hospital for about $2,000, which was raised during the Marietta Night Relays to benefit area cancer patient care.
The Noon Lions Invitational, which is operated by the Marietta Noon Lions Club, is one of the biggest meets for the Tiger track team each year and is also a key fund-raiser for the Lions, a community service organization which holds numerous benefits in the community each year.
"It's good for the community. It's good for the school. It's real good for everybody. The stuff they (Lions) do for the community is great," Mayer said.