Duneland Athletic Conference
Athletes to watch: Archie Sullivan, Sr., middle distance; Brett Lara, Sr., PV: Billy Biehl, Jr., middle distance; Tyler Vore, Sr., distance; Kevin Kenney, Sr., distance.
Outlook: The regional champion Trojans are again built for bigger meets. Three-fourths of the state runner-up 3,200 relay is back. Sullivan is a 400 medalist and Lara a state qualifier who vaulted 15 feet indoors. An influx of football players has aided the sprints and throws. "Our top kids will be as good as anybody else's," coach TR Harlan said. "We just don't have great depth."
Athletes to watch: Mitchell Kessler, Jr., throws; Tyler Gray, Sr., distance; Ryan Kepshire, So., distance; Troy Grady, Jr., hurdles; Tristan Peterson, Sr., hurdles; Wesley Honaker, Jr., sprints.
Outlook: The Bulldogs won sectionals last year with runner-up finishes in the DAC and regionals. Several school records fell for the program that finished 12th at state. The 400 and 3,200 relays finished third there. Much is back for a very motivated, deep team.
Athletes to watch: Kyle West, Jr. hurdles; Gelen Robinson, Sr., throws; Chuck Sykes, Jr., sprints; Ethan Gomez, Jr., sprints; Tyler Mitchuson, Sr. jumps; Kurtis Markiewicz, Jr. pole vault; Zack Hupp, So. distance; Tyler Kramer-Stephens, So., distance; Casey Garvey, So. distance; Nathan Bowdish, Jr. sprints; Roger Jachna, Sr. middle distance.
Outlook: Robinson, the state runner-up in both the shot and discus, will lead a young and deep team still working on competing on the big stage.
Athletes to watch: Anthony Didion, Sr., distance; Mike Ash, Sr., sprints; Ryan Neary, Jr., discus; Dion Williams, So., jumps, sprints.
Outlook: Didion, who will run for Belmont, is a track and cross country state medalist. Ash and Neary also have a shot to qualify for state. "If everybody stays healthy, I think we can compete with anybody," coach Bob James said.
Athletes to watch: Jeff Colby, Sr., throws; Billy Grant, Sr., sprints; Garrett Ferrell, Jr., PV; Terry Jackson, Jr., sprints.
Outlook: Of the 65 out for the team, 38 are new and most of them are football players. First-year coach Patrick Coffee made a training deal with Zac Wells, so many of the Bucs' strongest and fastest gridders are on the track.
Athletes to watch: Ryan Jones, Sr., LJ/sprints; Daniel Armstrong, So., HJ; ShanQuan Hemphill, So., HJ; Dylan Jensen, So., sprints, LJ, hurdles; Bryon Berg, Fr., distance.
Outlook: The Wolves' arrow is pointing up. Jones, Armstrong and the versatile Jensen all qualified for indoor state.
Athletes to watch: Lorenzo Wells, Sr., sprints; Taylor Sebben, Jr., sprints/hurdles; David Clegg, Sr., middle distance; Danny Mills, Jr. hurdles; Jared Nieves, Jr., sprints.
Outlook: The sprint and hurdles group remain strong for new coach Nick Haas, though the Indians are light in the jumps. Tyler McCann heads the throwers and Lucas Sullivan the distance runners.
Athletes to watch: Andrew Jankowski, Sr., distance; Kevin Hickey, Sr., distance; Connor Ritzi, Sr., distance; Corey Alfredson, Sr. distance; Andrew Guzek, Sr., SP.
Outlook: The sectional champion Vikings will lean on a veteran group from the cross country team in the longer events. Jacob Chapman heads the hurdles and sprints. Valpo's numbers remain strong at more than 90.
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Athletes to watch: Arnulso Villar, Sr., middle distance; Arturo Ruiz, Sr., distance, relays; Tian Ng, Sr., middle distance.
Outlook: First-year coach Kyle Kwasny, a former Lake Central and Purdue track athlete, is happy his small team is working hard to build a foundation for the future.
Athletes to watch: Zach Shrieber, Sr., distance; Zach Matias, Sr., hurdles; Curtis Gibson, So., throws; Otis Granberry, So. sprints.
Outlook: Only three athletes with varsity experience return out of 21 on the team, so this spring will be a learning experience. Shrieber was a regional qualifier last year.
Athletes to watch: Malik Myles, Sr., long sprints, relays, LJ/HJ; Gerardo Lemus, So., distance; Anthony Fleming, Sr., LJ, long sprints; Julian Gonzalez, Jr., distance; Jalen Fielder, Fr., hurdles, sprints; Daejon Flakes, So., distance.
Outlook: Both Myles and Fleming made it to state as sophomores and are hoping to return. A new group of distance runners have given life to the program. If field events can get some consistency, a conference title is possible.
Athletes to watch: Kendrick Huff, Jr., hurdles; Jalen Burnett, Sr., sprints; Isiah Walker, Sr., distance; Brandon Grasha, Jr., distance; Josh Morando, So.; distance; Trashan Clemons, Fr., sprints/LJ.
Outlook: The defending GLAC champs graduated 11 seniors. A much younger squad is led by Huff, who was a regional qualifier last year. Distance should be very good. The young sprinters will need to get up to speed.
Greater South Shore Conference
Athletes to watch: Sal Cordova, Sr., distance; Ahmad Rucker, Sr., throws; Jake Casko, Jr., long sprints; Lee Howard, Jr.; sprints, HJ; Anthony Mayers, Sr., sprints; Mike Harvey, Jr., long sprints.
Outlook: Cordova was a state qualifier in cross country and Rucker the city champ in the shot. The GSSC champs will have a tougher challenge with Hanover joining.
Athletes to watch: Andrew Huff, Sr., Nick Fowler, Jr., long sprints, throws; Geo Harrell, Sr., throws; Javonta Whitehead, Sr., HJ, LF, sprints; Javon Whitehead, Jr., HJ, LJ.
Outlook: Mike Leyendecker replaces Ivan Zimmer as coach. Huff hopes to make regionals in 3,200. Javonta Whitehead is in his first year of track and has already cleared six feet in the high jump.
Athletes to watch: Matt Yzaguirre, Sr., sprints; Sam Bokodi, Sr., sprints and hurdles; Jeremy Burns, Sr., middle distance; Ronnie Strain, Sr., throws; Alec Nirtaut, Jr., sprints and LJ; Mike York, Jr., middle distance; Nick Zak, Jr., distance.
Outlook: The Wildcats finished in a second-place tie with Andrean at the Indoor Hoosier State Relays. Yzaguirre is the school record-holder in the 100 and 200. Hanover looks to make some noise in its first season in the GSSC.
Athletes to watch: Keith Durbin, Sr., throws; Carlos Luna, Sr., sprints; Ben Neals, Sr., sprints; Brian Howell, Jr., HJ, sprints; Alex Rodriguez, Jr., sprints; D'Angelo Sims, Sr., sprints, hurdles.
Outlook: The numbers are down after football coach Rich Lunsford stepped down, and several football players followed him to football conditioning. Some key remaining athletes could have a good year.
Athletes to watch: Brad LeBlanc, Sr., sprints; Jesse Anderson, Sr., distance; C.J. Cooper, Sr., long sprints; Ryan Tichenor, Jr., long sprints; Leo Espino, Jr., distance; Jake Cooper, Jr., sprints, LJ; Robert Grant, Sr., HJ
Outlook: The main goal is to be up and running at top speed by the conference and sectional meets.
Athletes to watch: Joel O'Shea, So., distance; James Mills, Sr., distance; Jacob Wasz, So., sprints; Jake Bertucci, Sr., throws; Jesiah Lee, Fr., sprinter.
Outlook: The Bearcats have several top-end scorers, but aren't deep with just 18 on the team.
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Athletes to watch: Adam Kopil, Sr., throws; Rich Thiel, Jr., hurdles; Jonathan Grady, Jr., sprints; Owen Satoski, Jr., middle distance; Justin Anderson, Sr., middle distance; Christian Germonprez, Sr., distance.
Outlook: After a second-place finish at the HSR Indoor State Finals, the 59ers have depth, 53 out, and several events with athletes poised to make a long run in the spring tournament.
Athletes to watch: Ernie Ray, Sr., discus; John Petroskey, Sr., distance; Reno Erving, Sr., relays; Brent Dunn, Sr., relays; Tyler Donahoe, Sr., sprints; Shane Tomaga, PV; Ludwig Skog, PV; Miguel Marcano, PV.
Outlook: The Brickies were NCC champs and return four state qualifiers. Hobart looks strong in the distance, sprints and field events.
Athletes to watch: Derick Tesh, Sr. HJ, hurdles; Tyler Niehoff, Sr. discus; Brandon VanSoest, Sr. shot put.
Outlook: It will take a few meets to sort things out, but 40 athletes are out with a good mix of talent. The Kougars hope to compete for a sectional championship.
Athletes to watch: Cody Munster, Jr, throws; George Fields, Sr, sprints, LJ; Brian Blaylock, Sr, distance, Colton Wilkey, Jr, middle distance, Reese Mitsch, Sr, middle distance.
Outlook: A good mix of youth and age will help the Red Devils move forward. The jumping events are a concern, but the other areas are pretty solid.
Athletes to watch: Tommy Bolanowski, Sr., distance; Ryan Kritzer, Jr., distance; Miles Barilla, So., sprints; Calvin Sanders, Sr., hurdles; Saam Mojtahed Sr., long sprints; Milos Trivunovic, Sr., PV.
Outlook: With Bolanowski and Kritzer, the Mustangs will be very strong in distance events. Looking to pick up in some other events so the team won't finish second in both conference and sectionals.
Athletes to watch: Darius Mahone, Sr., hurdles/relays; Devin Henderson, Sr., sprints; Carey Moore, Sr., throws; Ryan Kemp, Sr., middle distance; Rashad Jackson, Sr., sprints.
Outlook: Mahone made it to state in the 400. Some newcomers have been hampered by the weather, but the sky could be the limit for the Hornets.
Athletes to watch: JaQuan Ross, Sr., sprints, LJ; Darrin Payne, Sr., sprints, hurdles; Klayton Porter, Fr., sprints, hurdles; Kevin Farris, So., LJ/HJ; Bradley Cochran, Sr., middle distance.
Outlook: First-year coach Craig Bucknell is working to bring the Panthers program back to respectability. The numbers are low, but the potential talent is high.
Athletes to watch: JonVea' Johnson, Sr., sprints; Lonnie Johnson, Sr., field; Henry Smith, Sr., sprints; Deronte Buggs, Jr., sprints/middle distance; Khalil Upshaw, Sr., field and hurdler.
Outlook: The Cougars won their first sectional since 1997 last year at Highland. Many of their top athletes are back. The Johnson cousins lead the way, with JonVea' finishing third in the 100 and fourth in the 200 at state. Coach Gene Johnson is trying to keep his talented team healthy for the postseason.
Porter County Conference
Athletes to watch: Kyle Feck, Jr., 200/400; Austin Aguilera, Jr., 400/HJ.
Outlook: The Wolves' roster of 16 includes just one senior. Feck was the team's MVP and a regional qualifier.
Athletes to watch: Blake Wallace, Sr., sprints/LJ; Austin Riese, Sr., PV; Brad Blank, Jr., HJ, middle distance; Erik Brebner, Jr., distance; Scott Crawley, Fr., middle distance.
Outlook: With Hanover Central's departure, coach Mike DeFries' Hawks look like the team to beat in the PCC. Hebron's core of standouts covers most areas. Wallace, the school record-holder in the 200 and 400, Riese and Blank were all regional qualifiers.
Athletes to watch: Cody Nelson, Sr., hurdles; Grant Hamstra, So, distance; Doug Satoski, So., jumps; Alex Sanders, Jr., distance, PV; Jared Birky, So., sprints.
Outlook: Nelson is the team's only returning individual scorer from the sectional roster returning.
Athletes to watch: Nate Rhodes, Jr., distance; Tyler Bailey, Sr., LJ, sprints; Michael Mathis, Sr., hurdles; Cody Mathis, Jr., distance; Travis Younggreen, Sr., sprints.
Outlook: Bailey and Rhodes were regional qualifiers. The Tigers number just 11, but new coach Brian McMahan is intrigued by the speed of newcomer Youngreen.
Athletes to watch: Bryan Flannery, So., distance; Carter Brown, Jr., hurdles, LJ; Blake Werner, So., HJ, PV; Marcus Walker, Sr., throws; Brandon Claussen, So., distance.
Outlook: Former coach Kim Werner returns after about a decade. She has 13 first-year participants among a roster of about 20, including senior Robert Miller and juniors Dillon Johnson and David Williams.
Athletes to watch: Joe Nugent, Sr., sprints; Dustin Payne, So., sprints; Luke Soliday, Sr., hurdles; Zach Titus, distance; Michael Phillis, So., distance.
Outlook: Washington lost a dozen to graduation, leaving a young roster with just two seniors. The PCC champ in the 100 and 200 as a sophomore, Nugent lost his junior season to a torn hamstring.
Athletes to watch: Devin Barber, Jr., distance; Jeremy Zazacky, Sr., distance; Bryan Walker, So., hurdles; Gabe Pantale, So., sprints/throws.
Outlook: The Blackhawks will be road warriors with the installation of an eight-lane, all-weather track replacing the old cinder surface. "We've got a younger core, but I think they're kids who are really into it," coach Alex Tomsheck said.
Athletes to watch: Xavier Walter, So., 200; Marvin Rea, So., 400; Jordan Grady, Sr., LJ/HJ; Joseph Mims, Sr., sprints.
Outlook: Marsalis Gibson won the state title in the 110-meter hurdles last year. He is gone, so a new group must carry on the tradition. Much talent is there, just looking for experience.
Athletes to watch: Martayveus Carter, Sr., sprints, relays; Patrick Shaw, Sr., sprints, relays; Tre'Quan Burnett, Sr., sprints; Jakhari Hightower, sprints; Deontae Rush, hurdles.
Outlook: The Cardinals' numbers are down a bit, but still have some high-flying seniors, especially in the sprints.
Note: No information available for Griffith, Highland, Morgan Township, Rensselaer and River Forest.
— Compiled by Times sports writers Steve Hanlon and Jim Peters