This year's Trumbull County Track and Field Meet at Lakeview High School will feature one certainty - a new boys team champion.
Warren G. Harding was last year's Division I state champion, but the Raiders were decimated by graduation - losing their senior-laden stranglehold on the area, district, region and state. Now, WGH has mostly freshmen and sophomores - preparing to reclaim the county and other titles next season.
This year, McDonald and Lakeview will compete for the county crown and John F. Kennedy and Liberty will be seen as dark horse candidates.
McDonald, which won Saturday's Poland Invitational, is poised to possibly win the Division III state title for the first time since 1999. It would be the first Trumbull County team state Division III title since Maplewood split with Liberty-Benton in 2000.
Lakeview, which was the Division II runner-up in 2009, has strong distance, middle distance, field events this season.
Liberty has shown shades of excellence in its sprints, which makes the Leopards a contender.
And, Kennedy is very strong in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays, which puts the Eagles in the mix.
For the first time since Howland won the county title in 2003, the team title will belong to someone else beside WGH.
Now, if the Raiders end up winning the team title, their perspective changes dramatically heading into this year's district at Austintown Fitch in mid May.
Speaking of the Raiders, the WGH girls are the favorite to repeat as girls champion with Howland and Lakeview giving chase.
WGH has been very strong in the sprints this season, coming with a good fourth-place showing at this year's Mansfield Mehock Relays - featuring some of the state's best teams.
However, the best sprinter in the area is Lakeview's Lauren Schattinger, who is the favorite in the 100 and 200.
Individually, Maplewood senior Jordan Moxley is the favorite to win the girls high jump for the third straight season. Moxley is the two-time state indoor champion and the defending Division III state outdoor champion in this event.
However, McDonald senior Matthias Tayala could win the boys discus for the fourth straight season, an unprecedented feat at Lakeview. Tayala, who will head to Kent State University on a track and field scholarship next season, won discus his freshman year at John F. Kennedy and his sophomore and junior seasons at McDonald. Mineral Ridge's Nicole Moore was the only female to win an individual event four straight times at Lakeview - the 1,600-meter run from 1998 to 2001.
Both Tayala and Moxley will compete in their respective events on Thursday.
The county meet begins today at 4 p.m. with a couple of finals, while the rest are preliminaries and semifinals - leading up to Thursday's finals beginning at 4:30 p.m.