In their second year at the Division I level, the Canal Winchester High School boys and girls track and field teams are hoping to advance more athletes to the state meet than last season, when one boy and one girl qualified.

In their second year at the Division I level, the Canal Winchester High School boys and girls track and field teams are hoping to advance more athletes to the state meet than last season, when one boy and one girl qualified.

The coaches were confident entering the regional, which began last Wednesday and will conclude Friday at Pickerington North. The top four in each event will advance to state June 5-6 at Ohio State.

"I think that, depending on how some things go, that all our athletes will have a chance to qualify to state," boys coach Bruce Olson said. "Some obviously have a better chance than other. We've had some good practices lately and the guys are really focused. They'll have a chance to advance to state, or at least score some points at the regional. It shows that at least we're in the ballpark (with the top teams) and that we can score some points and hold our own.And it was neat to finish in the top third."

"(Emily Pifer) has the best chance, but you can't rule any of the other girls out either. You just never know what's going to happen," girls coach John Bender said. "(Jasmine Sullivan) has been running with a sore hamstring the last two weeks and it limits how much she can practice. In the long jump, (Whitney McDonald) is capable of going 17 feet. The 3,200 relay will have to run better than they have and I think they can do that it. So they'll all have a chance. The is the second year for us in Division I and we'd never had anybody in the top eight at state so we'd sure like to get to that point."

The Indians are hoping for continued postseason after good performances by the boys and girls at the district meet, which concluded last Saturday at Dublin Coffman. The boys finished sixth (43) behind champion Hilliard Darby (111). The girls were fifth (53) behind champion New Albany (108.5).

"They did well. We were pleased with their efforts and it went pretty much like we thought it would," Bender said.

"I thought we had a good meet," Olson said. "We had some personal records and lot of guys who were very competitive. There's been times in the past we were kind of slid back at district but that didn't happen this year."

For the boys, Zack Hitchens won the shot put (program-record 57-0), Travis Stevenson was third in the shot put (48-1), Tyler Norman was second (13-6) in the pole vault and D.J. Tupper was third in the 110-meter hurdles (15.0 seconds) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (40.41).

For the girls, Pifer was second in the 3,200 (program-record 11:13.32), Penny Boswell was fourth in the 3,200 (11:35.56), McDonald was second in the long jump (16-6.5), Sullivan was first in the 100 (12.55) and second in the 200 (25.5) and the 3,200 relay of Boswell, McDonald, Pifer and Hannah Spicer was third (9:49.38).

"Jasmine had her two best times of the year," Bender said. "The school record in the 200 is 25.44 and the school record in the 100 is 12.4, so she's really close to breaking both of those."

Pifer may have qualified to the regional in the 1,600 as well but Bender said he decided to pull her from the event.

"The biggest question going into the meet was should we try to double her in the 1,600 and 3,200," Bender said.

"We thought she had a better chance to get out in the 3,200. We also figured it was going to really hot, and it was, so we made the decision. But overall we felt really good about our meet."