As freshman Bianca McLemore of the Whetstone High School girls track and field team listened to the public-address announcer during the Division I, district 1 meet to find out who had qualified for the regional meet in the long jump, she heard one name she wasn't expecting to hear -- her own.

As freshman Bianca McLemore of the Whetstone High School girls track and field team listened to the public-address announcer during the Division I, district 1 meet to find out who had qualified for the regional meet in the long jump, she heard one name she wasn't expecting to hear -- her own.

McLemore jumped 15 feet, 8 inches to place second in the district meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional meet May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North.

The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.

"I wasn't sure where I was (compared to the other competitors), so when they called my name I was really surprised," McLemore said. "I was trying really hard since it's my first time (at district). I was just excited to make it to the finals."

McLemore had the eighth-best jump among central Ohio's three district. Her season-best is 16-2 1/2.

She also competed at district in the 200 meters and 400. She didn't make the final of the 200 but turned in a sixth-place finish in the 400 (1 minute, .84 seconds).

"We knew she'd be a good runner," coach Kofi Owusu-Ansah said. "I thought she would have been more likely to make it (to regional) in a running event as opposed to the long jump.

"I thought she could be a finalist (in the long jump) at district. She started in the mid-15 (feet) range and got it up to 16-2 by the City League meet (May 7 and 9). It was a surprise that she ended up making it to the regional with 15-8. The biggest drop has been with her running."

Also competing at regional for the Braves was junior Arionna Darling in the shot put.

After throwing 38-7 to take third in the district 1 meet, Darling began regional competition on May 23 with a throw of 36-6 1/2. That would prove to be her best throw, as she went 35-4 1/2 and 36-6 1/2 on her next two throws before fouling on her last attempt.

She placed 10th, as Olentangy's Katelyn Daniels (45-3 1/2), New Philadelphia's Kaitlyn Menges (40-10), Dublin Coffman's Oyesade Olatoye (40-4 3/4) and DeSales' Sophia Nnadi (39-11 1/4) advanced to state.

"Unfortunately, throwing two feet less than (at district) is not going to cut it," Owusu-Ansah said. "She had a great season. She broke two schools records this year, so that's an awesome thing."

Darling, who holds the program records in the shot put (38-7) and discus (109-2), is considering participating in AAU track in the offseason.

"I just have to always be on my 'A' game," she said. "You can't be nervous. On my last throw, I just stared at the ball."

Boys track team to lose six seniors

The boys track team did not have any Division I regional qualifiers, as senior Kris Bachtel was seventh in the 800 (2:00.48) and teamed with seniors Estifanos Mewael, Alexander Singer and Keinin Ali to place eighth in the 3,200 relay (8:29.78) in the district 2 meet that concluded May 19 at Darby.

The Braves scored three points at district to finish 16th of 16 teams behind champion New Albany (100.5).

The other seniors were Austyn Brown (shot put/discus) and Harley Tripp (distance).

Among those expected to be key contributors next season are junior Ricky Cantor (discus) and sophomores Hayden Palmer (middle distance) and David Simmons (long jump/high jump).

The Braves finished seventh (34.33) of the 15 teams that scored in the City League meet May 7 and 9 behind champion Eastmoor Academy (153).

"They all improved," coach Joe Monda said. "I think what was good about this group was that they never gave up. I was proud of how they finished."