Graduation left a hole in the roster of the Oak Harbor High School boys track team.
The Wildcats, who placed third in the Wesco North, fourth in the district and 33rd in the state in 2018, lost 17 seniors to graduation, including eight who received postseason honors.
Coach Jay Turner will try to plug that gap with 17 returning lettermen: seniors Cody Fenton, Michael Fisken and Josh Stone; juniors Lincoln Basett, Justin Campbell, Gabriel Daggett, Michael Gomez, Peyton Horn, Nathaniel Nunez, Brandon Parham and Dallas Riddle-Stevens; and sophomores Bennett Andersen, Brenden Andersen, Brecken Collins, Matt Kelley, Caden Leckelt and Riley Williamson.
Turner said it is “pretty tough to determine right now” what new athletes will score points for the Wildcats, but jumper Juan Luna Eliot has stood out in the early practices.
The team’s strength will be its throwers and jumpers, according to Turner.
“We graduated a lot of good sprinters last year, so replacing them is our biggest challenge,” he said.
The team’s goals are “to improve every week and to get faster, stronger and have fun,” Turner added.
Oak Harbor hosts Coupeville and South Whidbey for the Island Jamboree at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14.
The regular competition begins when Marysville-Pilchuck and Archbishop Murphy travel to Wildcat Memorial Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. meet Thursday, March 21.