The Canal Winchester High School girls track and field team features a formidable trio of high-caliber athletes in senior Kayla Scott, junior Taylor Smith and sophomore Joscelyn Powell.

The Canal Winchester High School girls track and field team features a formidable trio of high-caliber athletes in senior Kayla Scott, junior Taylor Smith and sophomore Joscelyn Powell.

Last year, Powell became the program's first athlete to qualify for the Division I regional meet in four individual events and set program records in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. She finished sixth in the state meet at Ohio State in the 300 hurdles (44.9 seconds).

Scott set a program record in the 1,600 (5:10.22) last year while placing third in the district 4 meet at Hamilton Township and placed third in both the 1,600 (5:10.47) and 3,200 (11:16.48) in the state indoor meet March 17 at the University of Akron.

Smith won a district title in the high jump (5 feet, 3 inches) last year and is also the anchor of the sprint relays and one of their top long jumpers.

With those athletes leading the way, 20th-year coach John Bender sees a lot of potential in his team.

The Indians opened March 24 by finishing fourth (54) in the seven-team Hammond Relays behind champion and host Pickerington Central (84). They will compete in the Newark Invitational on Saturday, March 31.

"We have three superior athletes who are capable of doing well in whatever events they enter, and that will give us an advantage over a lot of teams," Bender said. "Those three girls are three of the best athletes we've ever had, and it's possible we could have our best team ever if we can stay healthy and perform to our potential."

Leading the distance and middle distance corps are Scott, seniors Ali Stauffer and Jessica Wheeler, junior Elizabeth Kifer and sophomores Haley Adams and Sarah Collins, while Powell, junior Catie Traylor and sophomore Ashley Mavis are the team's top hurdlers.

Mavis, Powell, Smith, Traylor, junior Kelly Henderson and freshman Arena Paige lead the sprint corps, seniors Halle Davis and Ebony Green and juniors Rebecca Lusignolo and Sarah Miles will compete in the throws, junior Rachel Muller, sophomore Gretchen Rosch and freshman Alexandra Kifer will compete in the pole vault and Smith and senior Leah Shyrock will compete in the high jump and long jump.

"We have those three really talented athletes and a number of kids who we're hoping can compete well enough at district to make it to regional," Bender said.

Last year, the Indians scored 173 points to win the MSL-Buckeye Division meet for the fifth time in six seasons. Circleville (125) placed second, followed by Bloom-Carroll (84), Hamilton Township (72), Teays Valley (64), Logan Elm (50), Fairfield Union (50) and Amanda-Clearcreek (43).

The Indians finished fifth (71) in the 13-team district 4 meet behind champion Hilliard Davidson (110).

At district, Powell won the 300 hurdles (program-record 44.66), finished second in the 100 (12.66), placed third in the 110 hurdles (16.02) and finished fourth in the 200 (26.25). She also set a program record in the 100 hurdles (15.15) in a preliminary.

Canal Winchester then scored 11 points in the regional meet at Pickerington North to finish 20th behind champion Reynoldsburg (88) as 40 teams scored.

Powell placed third in the 300 hurdles in a program-record 44.5 at regional and was the Indians' lone state qualifier. The Indians scored three points at state to tie seven teams for 55th behind champion Reynoldsburg (47) as 70 teams scored.

"Bloom-Carroll, Circleville and Hamilton Township have some outstanding athletes, but we expect to do real well in the MSL meet again," Bender said.

Boys track team not as deep as past seasons

The boys track team should be led by a strong group of hurdlers that includes seniors Sam Decker, Tyler Jenkins and Antonio Whitfield.

The sprint corps is led by Decker, Jenkins, Whitfield and senior Jordan Dalton, while seniors Jimmy Fraley, Jarrod Genther, Aaron Robertson and Dan Willard lead the team's distance and middle distance unit, seniors Bryn Campbell and Joe Rumora lead the team in the throws, Jenkins is the team's top pole vaulter and Whitfield is the team's best long jumper.

The Indians opened March 24 by finishing sixth (50) in the seven-team Hammond Relays behind champion Pickerington North (110). They will compete in the Newark Invitational on Saturday, March 31.

"We have 10 seniors who have done a great job for us their entire careers," seventh-year coach Bruce Olson said. "We're covered across the board. We just aren't as deep as we've been in the past. We usually have 50 or more athletes, but our pay-to-(participate) fee more than doubled (from $140 to $300 per student) and now we have about 35 boys, which is our smallest number in years. That's a concern for the future."

Last year, the Indians captured their sixth league championship in seven years, scoring 215 points in the MSL-Buckeye meet to finish ahead of Hamilton Township (104), Fairfield Union (86), Circleville (77), Bloom-Carroll (65.5), Teays Valley (62), Amanda-Clearcreek (30.5) and Logan Elm (22).

Canal Winchester scored 65 points in the 16-team Division I district 1 meet at Hilliard Bradley to finish third behind Thomas Worthington (87) and Pickerington North (78.5), marking its best finish in a Division I district meet since moving up from Division II in 2008.

The Indians then scored 27 points at regional to tie Lancaster and Westerville Central for ninth behind co-champions Thomas Worthington (37) and Westerville North (37) as 39 teams scored.

Canal Winchester scored three points at state to tie six teams for 61st behind champion Cincinnati LaSalle (36) as 78 teams scored. Genther placed sixth in the 1,600 in a program-record 4:16.82.

"As much as I'd like to deny it, I'd say we're probably favored to win the MSL meet again," Olson said. "But Hamilton Township is up and coming and Circleville has a rich track tradition, so we'll be very cautious of those teams."