Waterford's boys and girls track teams will be the underdogs going in to today's Tri-Valley Conference track meet at Vinton County.
While both squads have enjoyed success this season, the TVC competition will be stiff.
"Belpre is the team to beat," said Waterford boys coach Steve Littler. "They're the two-time defending champs."
Times file photo
Belpre’s Matt Lopreste high jumps at the Fenton Relays in Williamstown on April 23. The Golden Eagles are scheduled to compete in the Tri-Valley Conference meet at Vinton County today.
The Wildcats were the runners-up last season and will look to knock off the Golden Eagles this time around.
"We think we'll do well in several events," Littler said.
The Waterford boys will rely heavily on their strong relay teams and distance runners.
Lee Wittekind and Eli Strahler are expected to place for the green and white in the distance events. Littler said Strahler will likely compete in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs, making for a big workload.
The performance in the long jump by Jacob and Jaret McCutcheon will also be key for the 'Cats.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing matchups will occur in the 110 and 300 meter hurdle races. Waterford's Austin Shriver and Belpre's Dakota Hoffman are two of the top boys hurdlers in the area and will be going head-to-head today.
"I think Austin Shriver has an excellent chance," Littler said.
Other key athletes for Chris Palmer-coached Belpre will be Cray Sistrunk, Kyle Windland, Sam Petty, Brice Pittenger and Matt Colvin.
On the girls' side, the Scott Miller-led Lady Wildcats also face a big challenge.
"The Eastern girls are just so deep and talented" Miller said. "They have a lot of good athletes. I'm not sure anybody can touch them."
Waterford will take 10 girls to the TVC meet, and while quantity is down, quality is up.
"The girls have been doing really good," Miller explained. "They're been working hard all season. I expect they'll do well."
Maddy Sury is an elite long jumper for the 'Cats. Ally Rohrer is coming off of a nice performance in the Noon Lions Invitational at Don Drumm Stadium Saturday, where she placed first in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Katie Semon and Maggie Kroll will compete in the distance events and Lydia Beardsley will join Rohrer in the sprints.
Katrina Schwendeman will compete in relays for Waterford while Hope Schilling and Marissa Melem are the team's top throwers.
Also look for Bell Huffman to contribute in the high jump and Tess Teters in the long jump. Huffman and Teters will also run in relays.
"It should be a really good meet," Miller said.
The Belpre girls will also look to make noise. The Lady Golden Eagles are usually very competitive, routinely finishing in the top three teams at the TVC meet in recent years.
Hurdler Taryn Carr will likely be Belpre's top performer.
This year, each TVC division (Hocking and Ohio) will have its own meet, and the top four finishers in each event at both meets will compete in the TVC Meet of Champs on May 15 at Nelsonville-York.