Two years ago, the Nordonia High School boys track and field team saw its five-year league winning streak come to an end.
Now, as the Nordonia girls attempt to match that feat with a fifth straight league title of their own, the Knights are hoping to jump-start another streak in 2017.
However, the Nordonia boys team was able to accomplish something in 2016 that the girls squad was not able to do: Win a district championship.
During the regular season, the Knights finished 5-2 in the National Division of the Suburban League. That was good enough for second place in the final standings.
At the district meet, Nordonia finished in a tie for first place with Twinsburg. Both teams scored 82 points en route to victory.
At the regional meet, Nordonia's Tony Woods qualified for states in two events: the 100 and the 200. He won a regional championship in the 100 with a time of 10.7. Unfortunately for the Knights, Woods was a senior and has since graduated.
Daniel Banks also qualified for the state meet a year ago. He did so in the 400 with a time of 49.6. The good news is that Banks will be back for the 2017 season as a senior.
According to head coach Scott Barwidi, two other major losses to graduation for the Knights were Brian Zaborszki and Isaiah Anderson. Banks, naturally, is one of the top returning athletes.
Other such athletes for Nordonia include senior Andrew Wahl, senior Spencer Coppedge, senior Ray Kovalchick and sophomore Sam Hopes.
Barwidi indicated that the Knights are strong in a number of areas. They'll be relying upon those areas to score points while the team works to improve its areas of weakness.
"The experience of our vaulters, hurdlers, and sprinters will drive this team," said Barwidi. "We are looking to develop the young distance runners that we have and are excited to watch them grow."
According to Barwidi, although distance running is an area of concern, there are plenty of opportunities for growth and improvement. Those opportunities include upperclassmen who can pass their knowledge and expertise on to the younger crop of runners.
"We will need to develop our young distance runners," said Barwidi. "We have some experienced seniors and juniors who will need to guide them on how to work and achieve success."
In terms of goals for the upcoming campaign, Barwidi indicated that those goals are the same as they are before the start of every season. The major objectives are to win the league (or division) championship and get as many athletes to the state meet as possible.
Barwidi is starting his ninth year at Nordonia and 12th overall as a head coach. His assistant coaches this season are Ranzy Lardell, Brent Nenadal, Mike Martin, Matt Beery, Jim DiCicco, Elle Barwidi, Ron Gura, Brittany Buck and Heather Eckenrode.
Nordonia was set to open the new season March 28 against division rival Hudson at home, but results were not available at press time.
On April 1, the Knights will compete in the Bill Dodd Invitational.