The College of Wooster men's track and field team looks to build upon last season's strong team performance with a veteran core and promising young scoring contingent.
"The men really started to come together as a team at the end of the season last year and we had some excellent performances at the conference championships," said head coach Dennis Rice. "With a core group of guys with championship experience, we want to be able to energize the whole team and build that confidence to show what we are capable of. We have a lot of potential, and if we can progress as a team through the season, we will hit that ultimate goal of hitting our peak at the outdoor championships."
Junior Brian Lief, who became the first Fighting Scot since 2014 to claim a first-place finish at the conference meet after winning the outdoor 800 meters, will lead a competitive group of middle distance and distance runners, a majority of whom helped lead Wooster last fall to its highest NCAC cross country finish since 2013.
Among the cohort is junior Jacob Denbeaux, who earned All-Ohio honors in the outdoor 1500 meters (4:05.99) and indoor mile (4:28.31), and junior Jackson Feinknopf, who emerged as the Scots' No. 1 harrier in the fall with a 15th-place all-conference finish at the NCAC cross country championships.
Junior David Westcott adds depth to the mix and has shown big improvements during his tenure, according to the staff. On the track, the junior distance runner totaled three top-eight performances, led by a personal-best 9:57.65 to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Kenyon Invite.
In addition, senior Geoffrey Carney-Knisely, an Academic All-America selection last year, provides veteran leadership and depth among the Scots' distance specialists. Carney-Knisely is expected to compete in the 5K, 10K, and steeplechase.
In the throws, sophomore Spencer Wilson burst onto the scene late with a personal-best 142 feet, 4 inches in the discus to claim all-NCAC honors while besting his previous personal record by over seven feet. Additionally, classmate Justin Robinson earned experience at the championship level, both in the discus and shot put. The sophomore threw a season-best 37 feet, 5.25 inches at the indoor Great Cleveland Championships.
In the jumps, junior Jack Petrecca garnered two first-place claims as part of five top-five performances in outdoor competitions last year, including a second-place all-conference leap of 6 feet, 4 inches at the NCAC Championships. In indoor action, Petrecca totaled four first-place jumps, highlighted by a career-best 6 feet, 5 inches at the Fighting Scots Invitational.
As for long jump, junior Jarret Art returns after peaking at the right time in 2017, leaping to a personal-best 21 feet, 8.25 inches at the conference outdoor championships to claim seventh place. Art is expected to contribute in the sprints and relays as well.
Dennis, who last year broke the school record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.84, returns as the Scots' top hurdler and is expected to compete in the multi-events. Bailey, Dennis, and Fox were all apart of Wooster's 4x100 relay at the conference championships.
Other impactful contributors include junior Simon Weyer, a cornerstone of Wooster's record-setting distance medley relay, as well as sophomore Aedan Pettit and junior Cullen King in the middle distance and relays, senior Jacob Nowell in the pole vault, and long-distance specialists in junior Hyuga Uchida and sophomore Miki Rae.
Wooster opens the indoor season at the Oberlin Tri-Meet on Jan. 12 before hosting the Wooster Quad on Jan. 20 at the Scot Center.