CHESHIRE -- When you've got Travis and Trevor Ciempa on a running team, you're always in good shape. That's exactly the case this spring for the Hoosac Valley boys' track and field team.
The Ciempas, along with Jared Haley and Austin Poulton, give the Hurricanes great depth in the distance events. They were Hoosac's top four runners on the cross country team last fall.
"I think distance is going to be my strength," coach Ron Namislo said. "Those four guys will be able to help me with distance, and I got a few guys who are going to be some surprises, I think."
For a team that lost nine seniors to graduation, there were obvious holes that needed to be filled. The distance runners will help fill some of the void, but the addition of three football players will certainly help.
Running backs Zach O'Neill, Ian Hill and Tyler Mach are all on the track this spring running sprints.
"When you get the running backs out to help you, that's going to be a big help for us," Namislo said. "Coming into the season, that's the one thing I thought I might be in trouble with, but these kids are going to make a difference for me."
Namislo also received a boost in the middle distances with wrestler Mitch Graves joining the team. The senior has shown promise in early practices, and Namislo credits that to the great deal of running he's accustomed to from wrestling.
Another newcomer that should score for Hoosac is Nate Burdick. The senior will compete in some throwing events, but he may have penciled his name into some running events Monday.
"I haven't told him, he might have to do some running for me," Namislo said. "He's not looking forward to that, but what I saw [Monday], the kid's pretty natural."
Helping him secure field points will be Steve Coons, Dave Bailot and Matt Provost.
Coons and Bailot will both be mainstays in the discus and shot put events. Provost, who Namislo said looks to have improved a lot, will try to anchor the team in the javelin.
There's been much that's changed on the boys' side since last year, but Namislo's goal remains the same.
"Every year my goal always is to have a winning season," he said. "So we have seven meets, my goal is 4-3, and then depending how we do and where it comes along, maybe better."
The Hurricanes will be relying more heavily on certain people while turning to others for more points this season. The loss of Liz Provost, Miranda Gajda and Shauna LeFebvre will do that to a team.
"Those were my shot [put], discus and javelin throwers," coach Greg Lucia said. "That was almost like 25 points a meet right there between the three of them."
Lucia will be looking to his youth to pick up the slack as much as they can.
Ashton Goyette is the leading candidate in the javelin for Hoosac. The eighth-grader was on the team last year. After that, there's some patch work needing to be done.
Alyssa Bush, who underwent knee surgery in the fall, may be asked to compete in the discus, as well as Hannah Folino. Both threw a little bit last year, but it's not where either excels. Both are runners.
Folino, who had a solid cross country season in the fall, is at her best in the middle distances (800 and mile). She may be worked into a relay team, too.
Bush also runs the 800 and relays, but her rehab progress is a question mark.
As for the shot, Lucia's got plenty of youngsters to choose from. He has 15 seventh-graders.
"I think I'm maybe just going to have to grab some young kids, work with them the best we can," he said. "It might take a year before they grasp it and maybe can do something for us. I might just have to bite the bullett on that one unless somebody pops up here."
On the track, he's got some mainstays back who will have a little more pressure on them to pick up points. At the top of that list is Meg Rodowicz.
"Really, I'm going to have to rely a lot on Meg Rodowicz this year," Lucia said.
The junior will be back in the 400, which she finished eighth in last spring at the Western Massachusetts state qualifying meet. She will also be in the high and triple jumps and may be asked to run the 200 or 800.
"I know she still has a bad foot from time to time," Lucia said. "It's still a cary-over from basketball, so I'm hoping that she can work through it."
Fellow soccer player Courtney Hayer will likely be the leading force in the sprints, competing in the 100 and 200, as well as the long jump. Lucia said he's also hoping Drury transfer Cecily Malloy will be able to pick up points.
In the hurdles, Tori Wadsworth will look to use the past couple years as a launch pad in her sophomore season.
Lucia simply wants to get his team outside to get a better understanding of what he has on his roster.
"A lot of the young kids, I have no idea what to expect from them," he said. "Hopefully later this week we can get outside and start putting out the hurdles and stuff and seeing what we got because we got a practice meet next Friday against Monument."