Watterson High School girls track and field coach Sherry Yoakam wants her athletes to display team spirit.
The Eagles opened their season April 2 by tying Marion Harding for fifth (55 points) in the 11-team Hamilton Township Booster Invitational behind champion Hamilton Township (130).
Watterson then finished first (87) in a tri-meet April 10 ahead of host Whetstone (51) and Linden-McKinley (25) before finishing fourth (70) in the Bexley Relays on April 19 behind champion Olentangy Orange (96) as nine teams scored.
"Our first goal is for everyone to obtain their personal best in their event," said Yoakam, who is in her fifth season leading the program. "Although track and field can be a very individual sport, our second goal is to work and perform like a team. We need to be supportive and encouraging to everyone in our program. Achieving these goals always seems to make us better individually and as a team."
According to Yoakam, seniors Paulina Eberts, Alessandra Margello and Elizabeth Racher, junior Becca Gallagher and sophomore Hannah Smith are leading the sprint corps. The distance corps includes seniors Heidi Hetterscheidt, Alisa Noll, Samantha Paul, Rachel Reinhard and Sara Restuccio, junior Abbie McClelland and sophomore Jessica Passwater and among the middle distance runners are senior Maria Hoge, junior Hanna Merklin, sophomore Amy Griffith and freshmen Meghan Conners, Grace Thomas and Caroline Sugar.
Yoakam said senior Hannah Anthony and sophomore Taylor Koehler are the team's top hurdlers, senior Mara Liston and sophomore Abby Malone are leading the team in the high jump and Malone and sophomore Marissa Wierzbicki are the team's leaders in the long jump.
Among those competing in the shot put and discus are senior Lindy Gill and juniors Isabel Ciminello and Domi-nique Garrett.
"This year, we have the largest girls team I have coached at Watterson," Yoakam said. "We have 86 athletes participating. We have quite a few new athletes, not only to our program, but to track itself. All the girls on the team are very dedicated and we are looking forward to watching them grow in the sport."
Last year, Watterson placed fifth (57) in the CCL meet behind Hartley (162), Columbus School for Girls (104.5), DeSales (102) and Ready (64.5) and scored three points to place last in the 15-team Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby behind champion Dublin Coffman (141).
The Eagles did not have any regional qualifiers a year ago.
"As for the CCL, there are three new head coaches (at Hartley, CSG and DeSales) in the diocese and I am not sure how that is going to translate in their programs," Yoakam said.
Mankovecky back to lead boys track team
The boys track and field team returned its only Division II state qualifier from last season in senior Joe Mankovecky, who won the state title in the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 7 inches with Rossford's Manny Durden (6-5) placing second.
Watterson tied four teams for 18th at state behind champion Dayton Dunbar (49) as 81 teams scored.
Mankovecky has been competing this season despite having a back problem.
"Joe has a herniated disk in his back, but we sent him to compete in the Panther Invitational (April 12 at Hilliard Darby) as an individual and he tied his own school record by high-jumping 6-8 there," sixth-year coach Matt McGowan said. "It's tough to repeat as a state champion, but that's his goal."
According to McGowan, other key contributors this spring include seniors Sam Kayuha, Alec Pratt, Dominic Smith and Mark Widerschein, junior Mark Guza, sophomore Brad Kanney and freshman Max McClelland in the distance and middle distance events, juniors Cody Calhoun, DeAndre Golden, Dominic Lombardi and Ryan Urquhart, sophomore John Bair and Kanney in the sprint events, Bair, Lombardi and Urquhart in the hurdles and senior George Cleary in the shot put and discus.
"We've got a handful of experienced, talented athletes back," McGowan said.
Watterson opened April 2 by placing eighth (40) in the 12-team Hamilton Township Booster Invitational behind champion Hamilton Township (156.3). It then finished first (60) in a tri-meet April 10 ahead of host Whetstone (48) and Linden (41) and placed sixth (39.5) in the Bexley Relays on April 19 behind champion St. Charles (101) as 10 teams scored.
Last season, Watterson finished fifth (58) in the CCL meet behind DeSales (157), St. Charles (126), Hartley (79) and Ready (68), placed 10th (34) in the 13-team district 2 meet at Westerville South behind champion Eastmoor Academy (160) and placed 13th (17) at regional at Welcome Stadium in Dayton behind champion Dunbar (98) as 47 teams scored.
Mankovecky won the high jump at regional in 6-7.
Also competing at regional last year were Lombardi in the 110-meter hurdles (fifth, 15.53 seconds) and 300 hurdles (11th, 42.22), the 400 relay of Lombardi, Urquhart, Calhoun and Cal Kelleher (sixth, 44.42) and Kayuha in the 3,200 (13th, 10:38.77).
Kelleher no longer attends Watterson.
"St. Charles is a Division I school with a big team, so we may not have the depth needed to beat them in the CCL meet," McGowan said. "But we do have good athletes and my goal is to get kids to the regional and state meets and to score more points in those meets than we did last year."
Boys lacrosse team wins first four games
The boys lacrosse team was 4-0 before playing April 24 at Hilliard Bradley.
Watterson beat Westerville North 10-4 on April 19, as attacker Matt Foley had four goals and one assist, attacker Eddie Passen scored three goals, attacker Reed Abahazie had a goal and an assist and goalkeeper Jordan Lucki had 20 saves.
One day earlier, the Eagles defeated New Albany 7-2, with Abahazie scoring three goals and Lucki making 10 saves.