WILLIAMSTOWN - A dozen teams will comprise Saturday's field for the 8th annual Ryan Jobes Spring Special at Williamstown High School.
Last spring, the now two-time defending Class A state champion Yellowjacket girls of head coach Zach Hall and state runner-up WHS boys of Doak Markley swept the team titles at the Jack Jones Track and Field Facility. However, things might not be as easy this time around. Aside from host Williamstown, the field also consists of Hurricane, University, George Washington, East Fairmont, Doddridge County, St. Marys, Magnolia, Ritchie County, Wirt County, Tyler Consolidated and Parkersburg Catholic.
"I think Hurricane is pretty strong and Ritchie will be strong also," Markley noted. "I think it will be tough to repeat because the points are going to be spread around pretty well. It's going to be whoever has the most quality points stand up."
Hall, who is hoping for some solid efforts from his girls that includes both defending event champions Andrea Chidester (100) and Megan Steele (high jump), said of repeating that "it's wide open right now and you have those three triple-A schools.
"This is the first year we've had three of them, but I like competing against bigger schools instead of seeing the same teams all the time. I like seeing new faces. It will be the first time we see Doddridge County too, and they will be tough this year."
Expected to return to defend his high-point crown from a year ago is Magnolia senior Stephen Rogalski, who rolled up 32 points, thanks in part to earning victories in the 100, 200 and the high jump. Blue Eagle teammate Kage Rohde won the long jump last spring while Williamstown's Evan Smith is the defending shot put champion.
Female runners Maggie Drazba of St. Marys and Amelia Paladino of University are expected to compete. The senior Drazba won the 2-mile at the RJSS last year while Paladino swept the 800 and 1600 events. Paladino claimed the Class AAA state title in the mile while Hurricane's Tori Dent, also a junior, was runner-up to Paladino in that event.
"People should come out and see one of the best ever in the state of West Virginia," added Hall about Drazba, a West Virginia University recruit.
The field events kick off the competition at 10 a.m., with the running events starting at 11 a.m.