Senior Mallory McCormick and her teammates in the Hartley High School girls track and field program can erase a painful memory in a few weeks.
After winning the Division II state championship in 2011, the Hawks seemed on the verge of reaching state in several events last season but fell short in every opportunity of advancing from the Division I regional meet.
They don't intend on having that happen again during their second year competing in Division I.
"We're returning most of our team and now we have the experience of being in Division I," McCormick said. "We feel like we're better prepared this year. It would be a really big deal (to make it to state). It's my senior year and we're still in Division I, so it would be big."
As a freshman in 2010, McCormick was an alternate on the 1,600-meter relay won by Taisha Ferguson, Aisha Cavin, Chelsea Scott and Maya Pedersen in a state-meet record 3 minutes, 49.94 seconds.
Then as a sophomore, McCormick ran the first leg of the 1,600 relay that also included Naja Greer, Pedersen and Scott and had the second-best preliminary time.
In the final, Greer, Pedersen and Scott were joined by Cavin and won in 3:50.13.
Last year, the 1,600 relay of McCormick, Greer, Emily Franz and Sydney Williams settled for sixth (3:57.65) at regional.
McCormick is the lone senior this season on the 1,600 relay, which again includes Greer, a junior, and Franz and Williams, who are sophomores. They were fourth in last week's area honor roll (4:06.47).
Running with athletes like Cavin, Pedersen and Scott has had a lasting effect on McCormick as she's taken on a leadership role this spring.
"I've learned to like (the 400) after running a lot of 800s," McCormick said. "We're definitely kind of a young team, but we're definitely an up-and-rising team. We're a very close team. We push each other.
"Even training with (Cavin, Pedersen and Scott), they pushed me and they pushed the whole team. They were experienced and would call the newer people over to talk to them. I don't mind (being in a leadership role), actually. It's me calming down other people and that helps other people relax."
McCormick, who plans to compete in track for Ohio Wesleyan University, also has been running on the 800 relay in addition to the 1,600 relay and 400.
Also last season at regional, the 400 relay that included McCormick, Greer, senior Nala Key and junior Deja Martin (49.84) and the 800 relay that included McCormick, Greer and Williams (1:44.55) both were seventh.
Greer was in the area honor roll in the 200 (25.4) and 400 (59.06) and Franz was listed in the 800 (2:22.1) last week.
"Naja Greer is doing extremely well, as is Emily Franz and our (1,600 relay)," coach Reggie Osborne said.
Defense leading girls lacrosse team
Before losing to Bexley 15-10 on May 2, the girls lacrosse team had won four of six games with one of the losses coming by one goal to DeSales 7-6 on April 19.
Seniors Dory Cassidy and Clare Kossler and juniors Rylee Paxton and Briana Wahle have led a defense that gave up an average of 6.4 goals during the team's first seven victories.
Hartley was 7-7 before closing the regular season May 7 at Pickerington North.
"(Our defense) has been doing awesome," coach Molly Gilbert said. "We've got a young goalie (sophomore Maria Taylor) and she's been stepping up and making some great saves. We've been playing some heavily defensive games."
The loss to Bexley was the Hawks' third game in as many days. They beat Granville 10-7 on April 30 but lost to Columbus Academy 13-8 on May 1.
During a 19-3 loss to Worthington Kilbourne on April 25, Hartley lost senior attacker Sara Sweeney to a knee injury that could sideline her for the remainder of the season.
"(Sweeney has been) our leading scorer and pretty much the heart and soul of our team," Gilbert said. "You're seeing the youth of our offense right now. It's all just a learning experience.
"(The Bexley game) was our third game in a row and they took a ton of shots on us. We have to stop a team when they're taking a ton of shots."
The Hawks open the Division II South/Central Region tournament Monday, May 13, at Cincinnati Wyoming. The winner plays in the second round May 16 at Cincinnati Indian Hill.
Softball team ties for second in CCL
The softball team beat DeSales 3-1 on May 1 to salvage a tie for second (2-4) in the CCL with Ready and the Stallions.
Watterson beat Hartley 6-1 on April 17 and 4-2 on April 29 and won the championship at 6-0.
The Hawks were 11-10 overall before playing Grove City on May 7 and North Union on May 8. They close the regular season Tuesday, May 14, against visiting Hilliard Bradley.
Hartley was sixth in last week's Division II area coaches poll.
During the win over DeSales, junior infielder Sidney Melton hit a solo home run.
Through 18 games, junior catcher Cassie Plageman had 30 RBI and Melton had 19.