A strong preseason has created a positive atmosphere throughout the Hartley High School track and field program.
The girls team has returned three athletes who competed in the Division I state meet a year ago, while the boys team has a strong junior class and is getting a boost from senior Alonzo Saxton, who is back after not running last spring.
The boys team opened the season April 5 by finishing third (69) in the 12-team Eastmoor Academy Invitational behind the champion and host Warriors (155) and Grove City (94). The girls were third (88) behind Grove City (127) and the host Warriors (90).
"We just completed a good indoor season," coach Reggie Osborne said. "So far I'm real pleased. We've got a relatively young team. We don't have a lot of seniors on either team."
Junior Cameron Hart is the top boys returnee after finishing fifth in the long jump (21 feet, 9 1/2 inches) in the Division II state meet a year ago. He also will compete in the high jump, an event in which he placed fourth (6-4) in the indoor state meet March 8 at the University of Akron and tied for fifth (6-6 1/4) in the New Balance Indoor Nationals on March 14 in New York.
Saxton, a Duke University football recruit who was sixth in the 200 meters (22.95 seconds) in the indoor state meet, should be a contributor for the first time since his freshman year when he helped the 400 relay take 12th (43.79) in the outdoor state meet.
Other key boys should be juniors J'Air Wheelwright (sprints, long jump) and Kristopher Hill (sprints) and sophomores Jared Croswell (shot put, discus) and Sheldon Henderson (sprints, middle distance).
Seniors Naja Greer and Deja Martin and junior Emily Franz should lead the girls team.
At state last year, Greer was sixth in the 200 (25.09), Martin placed 14th in the 100 (12.298) and Franz and Greer both ran on the 1,600 relay that was 13th (4:01.28).
In this year's state indoor meet, Greer took third in the 200 (25.02), Franz was fourth in the 800 (2:21.63) and the 800 relay was sixth (1:45.53).
Junior Kristian Brown and freshmen Ky'leana Allen and Kacey Ragland are other key girls sprinters.
Wahle, Smith lead girls lacrosse team
The girls lacrosse team has attempted to move forward without junior attacker Colleen Feeney, who was its leader in goals last season but was injured in the preseason and is out indefinitely.
Senior midfielder Sarah Smith and senior defender Brianna Wahle are the top returnees for the Hawks, who lost to Olentangy 16-14 on April 4 to fall to 1-3.
Hartley earned its first win April 1 when it beat Dublin Coffman 12-8 and opened Central Independent League play April 8 against Watterson.
"I'm very confident that we can get the job done and have another successful season," said coach Molly Gilbert, whose team went 8-8 last year. "Our two seniors, Brianna Wahle and Sarah Smith, will hold key roles in maintaining high expectations for this year's team. Our team has proven so far that they're working better and better together."
Other key returnees are juniors Alex Orkis (midfielder) and Maddy Montgomery (midfielder) and sophomore Emily Hernon (midfielder). Juniors Alli Servick (defender) and Rachel Ryan (goalkeeper) and sophomores Talia Caridi (midfielder) and Sami Skelly (defender) also are contributing.
New tennis coach out to build program
After having just four players a year ago when it went 0-10 overall and 0-4 in the CCL, the boys tennis team again is dealing with a small roster.
The Hawks have a new coach in Heath Goolsby, who played tennis at Wright State and has been serving as an assistant girls basketball coach at Hartley.
Hartley, which has five players, opened April 1 with a 4-1 loss to Eastmoor. The Hawks began CCL play April 8 against St. Charles.
"I'm excited," said Goolsby, a 1987 Mifflin graduate who teaches at Bexley Middle School.
"My goal was to get as many out as possible because I was told last year they sometimes only had three players at a match. They didn't get a win last year so I'd like to get one, especially for the seniors."
Seniors Andrew Nouanesengy and Max Steele are returning players. Seniors Roman Amorati and Logan Rahe and junior Andrew Price also are competing.