The Columbus School for Girls track and field team began dreaming about what it could accomplish this postseason when the Unicorns learned they would be competing in Division III after being in Division II the previous two seasons.
They continued to turn their dreams into reality by scoring 70 points to win a Division III regional meet held May 28 and 30 at Fairfield Union ahead of runner-up Columbus Academy (57) as 43 squads scored.
"We've been excited to see what we can do this year ever since we heard that we were moving to Division III," sophomore Eleanor Smith said. "The competition is still good, but we have more of an opportunity to shine against schools that are a similar size to us. Winning regional is an awesome accomplishment because it shows that we're one of the top Division III teams in the state."
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Ohio State.
"We're hoping to have some individuals and relays do really well and if that helps our team win or do well, that would be great, too," coach Elon Simms said.
Smith helped score 33 points at regional, as she won the 400 meters (team-record 57.44 seconds) and finished second in the 800 (2:17.55).
She also combined with Emma Harris, Isabella Pesavento and Ayla Kazemi to win the 1,600 relay (4:00.25) and teamed with Harris, Grace Tierney and Anna Tierney to place fourth in the 3,200 relay (9:41.87).
"Eleanor's been our big point-scorer all year and she really came through for us again at regional," Simms said.
In last year's Division II state meet, Smith, Rebecca O'Donovan, Isabella Pesavento and Harris placed fourth in the 1,600 relay (3:59.04).
"Our goal for our 1,600 relay is to go under 3:57 to beat our school record and to place first at state," Smith said.
"In my individual races, I'd definitely like to get on the podium in both of them and possibly finish in the top five."
Also at regional, O'Donovan, Cecilia Pesavento, Mo Ruff and Isabella Pesavento won the 800 relay (1:46.48) and Isabella Pesavento, Nia Caldwell, Ruff and O'Donovan won the 400 relay (50.07).
"Our sprint relays were a nice surprise because we've usually struggled in those races over the years," Simms said.
Cecilia Pesavento finished second in the 100 hurdles (16.15) and Isabella Pesavento took fourth in the 400 (59.47).
"Our athletes are looking good overall heading into state, so the next step is to get as many as we can through to the finals," Simms said. "Once you're in the finals, anything can happen."
Also competing at regional but not advancing were Cecilia Pesavento in the 300 hurdles (fifth, 46.86) and Erika Sims in the long jump (14th, 13 feet, 6 3/4 inches).
In a district meet held May 20, 21 and 24 at Whitehall, the Unicorns scored 101 points to win the title ahead of runner-up Mount Gilead (80.33) as 24 teams scored and the top four finishers in each event advanced to regional.
Placing first were Smith in the 800 (2:17.87) and 400 (57.81) and Cecilia Pesavento in the 100 hurdles (16.28).
Finishing second were Ashley Harrington, Ruff and the Pesavento sisters in the 800 relay (1:49.17), Saidyah Babatunde, Caldwell, Ruff and O'Donovan in the 400 relay (51.34), Cecilia Pesavento in the 300 hurdles (46.81), Harris, Isabella Pesavento, Kazemi and Smith in the 1,600 relay (4:01.83) and Sims in the long jump (16-10 1/2).
Placing third were Harris, Smith and the Tierney sisters in the 3,200 relay (9:46.8) and Isabella Pesavento in the 400 (1:00.71).
"Most people don't think of CSG as having good athletes and runners, but that just motivates us to do our best," Simms said.