Washington will try to continue climbing the Mid-Illini Conference boys track and field ladder.

Washington will try to continue climbing the Mid-Illini Conference boys track and field ladder.

After finishing eighth in the league in 2010, the Panthers rose to seventh in ’11 before earning a sixth-place result with 31 points a year ago.

“We have a good turnout,” said WCHS head coach Rocke Cooper of a roster that tops 60 athletes. “We’re just waiting for the weather to break.”

Spring-like conditions did not arrive in time for Washington to avoid cancellation of its scheduled opener March 19 at Central.

The senior class consists of: David Bouton, Brent Brown, Louis Manzella, Nolan Moore, Joe Raney, Andy Rettke, Robert Riedel, Bryce Wright and Kyle Knoblauch.

Brown was one of two selected by the conference in ’12 as a first-team at-large pick after top-three finishes in the triple jump and long jump.

He returns in those events, plus he could take part in the 100 and 200 dashes and 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

Riedel was fifth last year in the pole vault. He also is an 800 run and 4x800 relay option.

Joining Riedel as a long-distance candidate are Manzella (800, 1600, 3200) and Raney (800).

Additionally, Moore is back in the 800 after taking fifth in the M-I there. He also is poised for the 400 dash and 4x800.

Rettke can run everything from the 100 to 800, while Bouton concentrates on the 400 and 800.

Wright is a sprinter and long-junp participant.

Knoblauch is targeted for the 300 intermediate and 110 high hurdles.

Washington track juniors include: Nathaniel Baker, Brandon Bertelsen, Brogan Brownfield, Mason Chockley, Joshua Churchill, Jake Clark, Chris Friend, Chase Greenwood, Andrew Holderness, Colton Marshall, Seth Mordhorst, Joshua Norlin, Cameron Schone, Jesse Skory, Austin Strong, Aaron Strubhar, Korey Trout, Dane Wagler, Travis Wright, Gleb Efimov and Kevin Scott.

Baker, Brownfield, Churchill, Greenwood, Holderness, Mordhorst, Schone, Strubhar, Trout and Scott all are listed as shot put and discus specialists.

Bertelsen is pegged for the high jump, discus and 100.

Friend will race in the 100 and 200, while Chockley competes in the 400. Both could throw the shot.

Marshall could be involved with the shot and disc besides the 100 and 200.

Clark and Wagler are options to race in the 400 and 800.

Norlin and Skory are possibilities in the 100 and 200 dashes. Norlin also could factor in the 400, while Skory takes a leg of the 4x100.

Strong is a multi-dimensional Panther who could perform in both hurdle events, plus the long jump and 4x100.

He was the frosh/soph conference champion a season ago in the 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles.

Travis Wright and Efimov are sprinters.

The former Washington athlete could be a choice in the 100, 200, 4x100 or 4x200, while the latter is focusing on the 100 and 4x100.

The rest of the Panther squad consists of: sophomores — Seth Borrowman, Tyler Burns, Gavin Dingledine. Ganan Hahn, Harlen Henderson, Fuzzy Holmes, Henry Kirchner, Walter Koch, Bryson Miller, Sam Mitchell, Grant Nichols, Dakota Sherwood, Connor Smith and Tanner VanDeVeer.

Freshmen — Josh Backes, Colton Eddy, Thomas Fugate, Samuel Garrard, Noah Hahn, Lance Heffner-Taylor, Miles Howley, Randy Meneweather, Quentin Monagle, Payton Newell, Alex Phelps, David Sabotta, Elijah Strangel, Luke Strong, Kyle Tam, Jonathan Uhlenhake and Alex Welch.

Multiple underclassmen could develop into contenders for varsity conference points.

“We’re looking to start the season to get a starting point,” Cooper said. “We try to improve our times and distances each meet.”

With leadership from the senior and support from the other classes, Washington aims to pass another M-I team in the standings.

East Peoria is the host of the May 7 conference meet.

The Panthers also have a familiar assistant coach in the fold.

“We’re excited to have coach (Darrell) Crouch join us on the staff,” said Cooper.

Crouch, the football head coach, will guide the field events, Cooper instructs the long distance and hurdlers, while assistant Mark O’Neill directs the sprinters.

The Panthers are scheduled to host Manual Wednesday.