The North Penn boys and girls track teams have been out in the cold, with hopes of another conference title to push them through the tough weeks of March.
The Knights and Maidens aim to once again overcome tough challenges from their Suburban One League Continental Conference rivals, and repeat as conference champs.
But it's never easy in the Continental.
"We are in the most competitive conference for girls track and field in the state,' Maidens coach Jim Crawford Jr. said. "All of the teams in the conference have some outstanding individuals, which means that every dual meet will be a super challenge.'
Pennridge and Central Bucks West are amongst those battling for the top spot.
"We look forward to competing in one of the toughest — if not the toughest - leagues in the state,' said Rams boys coach Bob Hosier. "The competition we will meet on a weekly basis will help prepare us for the Saturday invitationals that give us the opportunity to qualify for the District 1 meet.'
Versatile Joey Logue will be a key point scorer for the Rams while Ryan Grace leads a tremendous distance group for the Knights. Distance ace Marissa Sheva is back for the Pennridge girls, while West has plenty of proven performers to lead the way.
"With such a strong group of seniors, there is the risk of the younger athletes resting on their laurels, so making sure everyone is doing their best to improve and support some of the standout athletes that are on this team will be key,' Bucks coach Kiki Bill said. "Every year, it seems we say the same thing: we are undoubtedly in the toughest conference in the SOL, the toughest district in the state, so, we hope to survive the regular season healthy and strong so that we can thrive in the postseason.
Over in the Bicentennial Athletic League, Christopher Dock is out to defend its crown.
"This should be a very good season,' Pioneers coach Tim Eger said. "We have state-caliber athletes in almost every field event.'
The Methacton girls, always well-represented at the big meets, aim for another undefeated run through the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
"I really like the make-up of our team,' coach Rob Ronzano said. "If we are able to stay healthy and the weather cooperates, it should be another season where we can challenge for a PAC 10 title. The younger athletes have mixed well with the veterans and all athletes have begun to push each other in practice.'
Following is a team-by-team look at the area.
Central Bucks West
Coach: Greg Wetzel (third season)
Last Year: 5-2 in the Suburban One League Continental Conference
Key Performers Lost: Shawn Young (West Chester University); Austin Kline (Bloomsburg University); Chris Berry (La Salle); Ethan Long; Greg Branch; Cory Radkins (Bloomsburg); Jimmie Kilgannon; Will Fernandez (Bloomsburg); John Williams; AJ Morgan; Ian Fortna; Jackson Butkus (The Citadel)
Key Returners: Ben Aunins, Sr., distance; Dan Nowakowski, Sr., hurdles; Adam Anastasiadis, Jr., throws; Andrew Baker, Jr., utility; Brad Baker, Jr., throws; Josh Bazzano, Jr., pole vault/sprints; Joe Brill, Jr., middle distance; Ian Davies, Jr., distance; Jason Douple, Jr., pole vault; Gillis Wang, Jr., sprints; Rock Fortna, So., middle distance; Brian Iatarola, So., distance/jumps; Kyle Johnson, So., javelin; Declan McDonald, So., distance; Ryan McIlhinney, So., middle distance; Jacob Schiela, So., throws; Mitchell Smith, So., sprints; Ryan Walsh, So., sprints; Carter Zerweck, So,, middle distance
Others to Watch: Matt Bowen, Jr., middle distance; Christian Bobowicz, Fr., sprints; Teagan Fortna, Fr., middle distance; Noah Griffin, Fr., hurdles; Alec Hofer, Fr., middle distance; Joe Manetta, Fr., sprints; Brian Mass, Fr., distance; John Smith, Fr., sprints/long jump; Ben Smullen, Fr., distance; Evan Washington, Fr., sprints/hurdles
Strengths: Young, hard-working, talent and depth, especially in the mid-distance and distance events
Question Marks: Experience and firepower, especially in the jumps
Wetzel Says: "We enjoyed a senior-heavy roster last year. We graduated our top eight point scorers from the 2013 season as well as our 10-13th top point scorers. Our only top-10 returning point scorer was then-freshman Rock Fortna. We have a stable of motivated athletes surrounding him that are a pleasure to coach, but to handle the firepower of the SOL Continental, we will need many individuals to step up.'
Opening meet: Tuesday against Hatboro-Horsham
Coach: Tim Eger (12th Season)
Last Year: 6-1 in the Bicentennial Athletic League; second in the league; third in District One Class 2A
Key Performers Lost: Jonny Bishop, sprints; James Clements, middle distance; Tyler Denlinger, hurdles, 800
Key Returners: Brooks Inciardi, Sr., jumps; Eric Morton, Sr., sprints; Don Roessler, Sr., middle distance; Evan Scott, Sr., pole vault; Josh Wolfe, So., hurdles
Others to Watch: Colin Bernd, So., distance; Michael Gunden, So., distance; Cole Rupert, So., hurdles, pole vault
Strengths: Jumps, sprints
Question Marks: Big freshman turnout but, with that inexperience, there could be a lack of depth
Outlook: Should perform well in the BAL, the district, and be able to send a good core of seniors to states
Coach: Keith Spiers (seventh season)
League: Philadelphia Catholic League
Key Performers Lost: Peter Danielson, distance; Austin Bauersmith, distance; James Ward, sprint relays
Key Returners: Marlen Fenstermacher, So., sprints, relays, long jump; Michael Iacono, Sr., sprints, relays, long jump, discus; Dan Kelly, Jr., high jump; Dan Miller, Sr., 400, 300 hurdles, relays
Others to Watch: Scott Jacobs, Jr., 200, 400, relays
Strengths: Long jump; discus; 300 hurdles
Question Marks: Numbers, depth
Coach: Christian Stamm
Key Returners: Mayur Bhandary, Sr., pole vault: Aneesh Bhatnagar, Sr., distance; Kevin Capizzi, Sr., jumps/sprints; Mike Cassidy, Sr., field; Josh Cerrato, Sr., jumps; Brett DeGemmis, Sr., throws; Tom Duffy, Sr., middle distance; Stephen Fiorentino, Sr., hurdles; Jordan Hammond, Sr., throws; Lucas Hepp, Sr., throws; Michael Hou, Sr., jumps; Derek Li, Jr., distance
Coach: Jay Jones (9th season)
Last Year: 6-1 in the Suburban One League Continental Conference; Conference Champs
Key Performers Lost: Riley Gaibler; Vince Esposito; Jack Macauley; Jared Alston; Dan Boardman; James DeSimone; Austin Smith
Key Returners: Ryan Grace, Sr.; Eric Rothenberger, Sr.; Jordan Green, Sr.; Joe LeConey, Sr.; Gift Omo-Ekpadi, Sr.; Brian Piscitelli, Sr.; Tyler Johnston, Sr.; Phil McGinty, Sr.; Reece Maurer, Sr.; Tom Boyle, Sr.; Pat Zancoli, Sr.
Others to Watch: Ryan Tung, Jr.; Janeel Solankio, Jr.; Brett Fenstermacher, So.; Chris Jeffries, So.; Justin Boyette, Sr.
Strengths: Overall balance.
Question Marks: Hard to find any right now, as NP had a qualifier in every event at the indoor Meet of Champions.
Opening meet: Saturday at Muhlenburg
Coach: Bob Hosier (31st season)
Last Year: 7-0 in the SOL Continental; second in the conference
Key performers lost: Kenny Crawford, throws; John Dubyk, throws; Sean Hagerty, sprints, hurdles, jumps; Kyle Hagerty, sprints, hurdles, jumps; John Kim, sprints, hurdles, jumps; Nick Stenderowicz, sprints, hurdles, jumps; Colby Trauger, sprints, hurdles jumps; Stefan Bruder, distance; Jordon Halteman, distance; Joe Masgai, distance
Key Returners: Ryan Sterling, Sr., throws; Sprints/Hurdles/Jumps — Mike Class, Sr.; Mike Tatarowicz, Sr.; Luke Williams, Sr.; Nick Koehler, Sr.; Alex Moran, Sr.; Distance — Joey Logue, Sr.; Matt Schulberger, Sr.; Alex Has, Sr.; Jeff Henderson, Sr.; Noah Trueblood, Sr.; Sprints/Hurdles/Jumps — Quinn Tompkins, Jr.; Cody Dillinger, Jr.; Bob Bollinger, Jr.; Austin Patrick, Jr.; Distance — Alex Alvarez, Jr.; Conor Brady, Jr.; Phil Gunderson, Jr.; Alex Masgai, Jr.; Justin Musco, Jr.; Alec Nahas, Jr.; Dan Williams, Jr.; Throws — Austin Knepp, So.; Sprints/Hurdles/Jumps — Matt Firuta, So.; Owen Eisen, So.; Distance — Jon Darlak, So.
Others to Watch: Dylan Henry, So., sprints; Cayce Giblin, So., sprints; Austin Howell, Fr., sprints; Matt Ludlow, Fr., jumps
Strengths: Distance, relays, horizontal jumps, sprints
Question Marks: Vertical jumps, pole vault, throws
Opening meet: Saturday at the Pirate Invitational, Palisades High School
Coach: John Donahue (sixth season)
Last Year: 4-4 overall and 3-4 in the SOL Continental
Key Returners: Mitch Schlegel, Sr., sprints/hurdles: Paul Caracciolo, Sr., middle distance: Ryan Walter, Sr., middle distance: Nalson Vo, Sr., sprints: Manny Nieves, Sr., sprints: Austin Malloy, So., jumps: Chadd Ziegler, Jr., pole vault: Matt Holocombe, Jr., throws: Cody Wild, Jr., throws
Donahue Says: "We hope to build on the great improvement we saw last year as a dual-meet team. We suffered key losses in throws, jumps, and distance to graduation. Most of our sprinters are back from last year. We have three of the four runners back who made districts in the 4x1. Mitch Schlegel is one of the best 200/400 runners in the league so we should be very strong in those events.'
Central Bucks West
Coach: Kiki Bell (11th season)
Last Year: 5-2 in the SOL Continental
Key Performers Lost: Cait Mautz; Lizanne Furst; Gretchen Krause, Coast Guard Academy; Julia Patterson, Lehigh University
Key Returners: Jamila Branch, Sr., sprints; Kelsey Horst, Sr., sprints; Courtney Taylor, Sr., sprints; Julie Wisniewski, Sr., throws; Meghan Iatarola, Sr., distance
Others to Watch: Maddie Villalba, So., middle distance; Olivia Berry, Jr., middle distance; Zoe Bremier, Jr., sprints; Lauren Livezy, Sr., throws; Hannah Sexton, Fr., jumps/hurdles
Strengths: Talented core group of seniors to lead the team
Question Marks: Depth
Opening Meet: Tuesday at Hatboro-Horsham
Coach: Tim Eger (12th season)
Last Year: 6-0 in the Bicentennial Athletic League; League Champs; third in District One Class 2A
Bicentennial Athletic League Championships: 1st Place
Key Performers Lost: Shea Neal, Sr., sprints
Key Returners: Lauren Anderson, Sr., jumps; Niki Clements, So., pole vault, hurdles; Emily Derstine, Jr., hurdles, sprints; Bailey Kratz, Jr., long jump, sprints; Maddison Landis, So., middle distance; Tabitha Miller, Jr., jumps, hurdles; Kereece Seuren, Sr., throws
Others to Watch: Megan Bishop, Sr., distance; Sharon Curtis, So., middle distance; Eden Nafziger, Jr., middle distance; Emme Raieta, Fr., middle distance; Olivia Seavy, Jr., middle distance; Jeni Swartley, Sr., distance
Strengths: Jumps, throws, hurdles
Question Marks: Sprints
Coach: Larry Wilson (38th season)
Last Year: 7-0 in the Catholic Academies League; third at leagues
Key Performers Lost: Emma Keenan; Liz Forcellini
Key Returners: Maggie McGuire, So., middle distance; Sidney Hirowka, Jr., middle distance; Jen Baumher, Sr., sprinter; Allie Flynn, Sr., distance; Rachel Kohler, So., sprints; Mary Casey, So., hurdles/sprints; Erica DeCandido, So., sprints/triple jumper
Others to Watch: Madi Ginaddi, Jr., sprints; Stephanie Szekely, Fr., distance; Kim Sanders, Fr., jumps; Catherine Peele, Fr., middle distance
Strengths: Middle distance, hurdles, sprints
Question Marks: Throws and jumps
Wilson said: "Our goal is to go undefeated and win the league championship.'
Opening meet: Wednesday, March 26 vs. Nazareth
Coach: Keith Spiers (seventh season)
League: Philadelphia Catholic League
Key Returners: Mikayla Beaver, So., 800, 1,600, relays; Hannah Beck, So., 1,600, 3,200, relays; Anna Benecke, Sr., 800, 1,600, relays; Adrienne Fenstermacher, Sr., discus; Elizabeth Reid, Jr., 100, 200, 400, relays, jumps
Others to watch: Kayla Connelly, Fr., 800, 1,600, 3,200, relays; Clare Hill, So., high jump, 300 hurdles
Strengths: Sprints, distance
Question Marks: Best numbers ever for LC, just a question of whether or not it translates to most successful outdoor season yet.
Coach: Rob Ronzano (11th season)
Last Year: 9-0 in the PAC 10
Key Performers Lost: Seline Tan-Torres (400M, 800M) - Bucknell; Kristin Beatty (Pole Vault); Zoe Bongiovanni (300H, 400M) - Bloomsburg; Elexa Sherman (400M, 800M); Brianna Earnshaw (800M, 1600M)
Key returners: Kara Steinke (12) - 800/1600/3200; Aghina Marshall (11) - LJ, TJ, HJ; Jenny Martin (11) - LJ, 100M Hurdles, Jav; Nicolette Serratore (11) - TJ, 100M Hurdles, Jav; Jess Holub (11) - 400/800; Carly Foster (11) - 100/200/400; Tejerra Ellis (11) - SP/Discus; Nura Gouda (11) - Discus; Heather Titanich (11) - HJ; Lizzy Kapralick (11) - PV; Meagan Rinella (11) - PV; Caroline Duffy (10) - 100/200/400, Nikki Rimlinger (10) - 100M Hurdles, 300M Hurdles; Abby Konkoly (10) - 800/1600; Kelly Groth (10) - 100/200; Lauren Engleman (10) - 800/1600
Others to Watch: Rainah Dunham (9) - 200/400; Angela Ramsden (9) - 200/400; Gianna Fazio (9) - 100/200; Ryann DeOrio (9) - 800/1600
Strengths: The key to the team's success for the last few years has been its depth. Methacton will have about 60 girls out for the team, but more importantly, will be able to cover all of the events with multiple quality athletes. Despite the weather conditions, the girls have shown a great work ethic throughout the indoor and in the beginning of the outdoor season.
Question Marks: Like any other team trying to get ready for the season, preparation and trying to avoid injuries are always an issue. The Warriors also have several young athletes that will be experiencing the PAC 10 for the first time. Seeing how they respond to the pressure of each competition will be something to watch.
Opening Meet: Saturday at the Oxenreider Relays
Coach: Jim Crawford Jr. (40th season)
Last Year: 5-2 in the SOL Continental; Conference Champs; Seventh in District One Class 3A; 10th in PIAA Class 3A
Key Performers Lost: Sydnee Jacques; Kailah Holmes; Christine Johnson; Chloe Johnson-Hyde; Lexi Wallace; Kristen Morrison; Rachel Oberholzer; Jillian Sarm; Haley Sienkiewicz
Key Returners: Collen McGovern, Sr., distance; Stephanie Bresadola, Jr., distance; Leiana Dean, Jr., middle distance; Allison King, Jr., sprints; Megan McGeehan, Sr., sprints; Jenna Reimer, Jr., jumps; Ali Valenti, Jr., distance; Melanie Vlasic, Sr., distance; Phoebe Clowser, So., distance; Victoria Finley, Jr., pole vault; Morgan Kull, So., pole vault, jumps, hurdles; Katrina Marger, Sr., throws; Maude Mengel O'Connell, So., throws, jumps; Brianna Mengel, Sr., distance; Dominique Mosley, So., hurdles, jumps, sprints; Sarah Wiener, Jr., hurdles, pole vault
Others to watch: Lauren Alarie, Fr., sprints; Jessica Brenfleck, Fr., sprints; Nikki D'Agostino, Jr., throws; Lauren Follis, Fr., hurdles; Kirsten Hatton, Jr., distance; Jani Johnston, So, throws; Dela Matthew, Fr., hurdles, sprints, jumps; Natalie McCollum, Jr., throws; Uche Nwogwugwu, Fr., jumps, sprints; Madison Oropeza, Fr., middle distance; Maryann Pavlik, Fr., sprints, hurdles; Tara Peng, Sr., throws; Seema Sajjan, Fr., distance; Piyasha Sarkar, Fr., sprints, hurdles; Kathleen Stevenson, Fr., sprints; Sarah Tung, Fr., middle distance; Brittany VanStrien, Fr., throws; Mikaela Vlasic, Fr., middle distance; Allison Williams, So., sprints
Strengths: Experience; numbers; distance
Question Marks: Replacing last year's seniors with newcomers; need quick development in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws
Coach: Bill Smith (14th season)
Last Year: 7-0 in the SOL Continental; second in the conference
Key Performers Lost: Natalia Pinkney; Ella Fox; Paige Hansen; Caitlin Sheva
Key Returners: Taylor Chapman, Jr., sprints; Ariana Przybylowski, Jr., sprints/jumps; Lindsay Sheehan, Sr., sprints; Zoe Williams, So., sprints; Marissa Sheva, Jr., distance; Sara Damon, Sr., hurdles; Jadzia Watsey, Sr., hurdles; Katrina Przybylowski, Sr., high jumper
Others to Watch: Margo Brill, Fr., middle distance/distance; Monica Brill, Fr., middle distance/distance
Strengths: Plenty of star power
Question Marks: How quickly the youngster come along and develop
Opening meet: Saturday at Palisades Invite
Coach: Mike Feliciani
League: SOL Continental
Key Returners: Jill Batten, Sr.; Alyssa Qahash, Sr.; Jess Offner, Sr.; Hope Ferrebee, Jr.; Noelle Noble, Jr.; Natalie Bulgier, Jr.; Elizabeth Morris, Jr.; Tessa Edwards, So.; Eli Bell, So.
Others to Watch: Cheyenne Scott, Fr.
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.