An increase in numbers has boosted the expectations for the Canal Winchester High School boys and girls track and field teams.

An increase in numbers has boosted the expectations for the Canal Winchester High School boys and girls track and field teams.

Last year the girls team reached the Division I state meet but did not score. The Indians were 15th at regional and fifth at district. In the MSL-Buckeye Division, they were second (128 points) behind Amanda-Clearcreek (132.5), and ahead of Circleville (114), Logan Elm (77), Fairfield Union (63), Teays Valley (56.5), Bloom-Carroll (52) and Hamilton Township (39).

The top athletes for Canal Winchester are seniors Cahner Jennice (high jump), Whitney McDonald (long jump/sprints), Emily Pifer (distance), Jasmine Sullivan (sprints/relays) and Shaneequa Watkins (discus/shot put), sophomores Ebonee Green (discus/shot put), Leah Shryock (pole vault) and Ali Stauffer (distance), and freshman Taryn Meidl (distance).

Pifer, an Ohio University recruit, currently holds program records in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Coach John Bender expects her to set a record in the 800 as well.

"We've got a good group, and this is the largest group we've ever had, too. More girls came out for track than ever," Bender said. "So we're working on establishing a good work ethic because for some of the girls, this is the first team they've ever been on."

The Indians hope to reestablish themselves as the top team in the league. They were headed for a fourth consecutive league title last year, but a disqualification in one event was enough to stop them.

"We thought we could win it last year, but we got DQ'ed in one event and we ended up getting second by two points," Bender said. "We want to win the league title again, and we also want more success at the district, regional and state levels."

Last year, the boys finished 57th (3) at the state meet, behind champion Gahanna (48). They were 13th at the regional meet and sixth at the district meet. At the league meet, the Indians were champions for a fifth consecutive time, finishing first (150) ahead of Teays Valley (112), Circleville (109), Fairfield Union (77), Bloom-Carroll (64), Hamilton Township (59), Amanda-Clearcreek (48) and Logan Elm (41).

The top athletes are seniors Zack Hitchens (throws/sprints), Brendan Kantner (sprints/relays) and Mike Mainella (sprints/relays). Hitchens was sixth in the shot put at the state meet last year.

The boys team also has a large number of athletes out this season. Its main goal is winning a sixth consecutive league title, but that will be difficult with Circleville and Teays Valley both looking strong this season.

"It's always a little tough at this time of the year, having some new athletes and wondering who's going to stick around and whatnot," coach Bruce Olson said. "We need to get some meets in. Our top strength is we have lot of depth, but we're going to be awfully young."

•The boys tennis team returns all but one player from last year.

The top players are senior Lucas Knicely, senior Kevin Tate, junior Ryan Toledo and junior Jeff Turner. Knicely will be at the first singles spot.

"I think he's one of the top two players in the league and I know he's excited for the season," coach Jason Moisey said of Knicely.

The rest of the lineup is still to be determined. Moisey wants to see how some of the newcomers develop and if they should be placed in singles or doubles.

"I know a lot of the good teams in our league lost a lot of key players, so the guys kind of feel like they have a chance in the league," Moisey said.

Having a combination of experienced players with others that are new to the team or sport altogether, has made it difficult at times for Canal Winchester, which practice on shared courts at Groveport.

"With the players we have, it takes a little bit more patience and time to work with the new guys. So we try to do that when we have more court space," Moisey said.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Canal Winchester baseball, softball, boys tennis and boys and girls track and field teams:

BASEBALL

Last Tuesday -- Played Licking Valley in opener

Last Wednesday -- Played DeSales

*Today -- Home vs. Logan Elm

Saturday -- At Westerville North vs. Hilliard Davidson and Westerville North

*Monday -- At Hamilton Township

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Amanda-Clearcreek

SOFTBALL

*Monday -- At Hamilton Township in opener

*Wednesday -- Home vs. Amanda-Clearcreek

BOYS TENNIS

Last Tuesday -- Played Columbus West in opener

Last Wednesday -- Player Fisher Catholic

Monday -- At Newark

TRACK & FIELD

Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished sixth (38 points) behind champion Lancaster (94) at Hammond Relays; Girls: Finished fifth (63) behind champion Pickerington Central (86)

Last Tuesday -- Competed against Baltimore Liberty Union

Saturday -- At Kiwanis Relays at Circleville

Tuesday -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll and Circleville

Schedules

TENNIS

March 30 at Columbus West

March 31 at Fisher Catholic

April 5 at Newark

*April 8 at Hamilton Township

April 12 at Westgate Park vs. Ready

*April 15 at Circleville

April 16 at Worthington Christian

April 19 at Newark

April 20 at Whetstone

April 21 at Watkins Memorial

April 23 at Fisher Catholic

April 26 at Grandview

*April 29 at Teays Valley

*May 3 at Bloom-Carroll

May 5 at Watkins Memorial

*May 8 at MSL-Buckeye Tournament at Teays Valley

*MSL-Buckeye match

TRACK & FIELD

March 27 at Pickerington Central in Hammond Relays

March 30 vs. Baltimore Liberty Union

April 3 at Circleville in Kiwanis Relays

April 6 vs. Bloom-Carroll and Circleville

April 10 at Pickerington North

April 17 at Heath

April 20 at Jonathan Alder

April 24 at Piqua Invitational

April 27 at Teays Valley vs. Fairfield Union and Teays Valley

April 30 Milt Will Invitational

May 4 vs. Logan

May 8 at Teays Valley