Bianca McLemore of the Whetstone High School girls track and field became a three-time Division I regional qualifier, but was unable to extend her season to include a trip to the state meet.
The junior finished 15th in the long jump in the regional meet held May 28 and 30 at Pickerington North, with a leap of 15 feet, 2 inches. The top four finishers advanced to state, which will be held Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Ohio State.
McLemore was the only regional qualifier for Whetstone. She had finished fourth (16-6 1/2) in the 17-team district 3 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby, as the top four finishers in each event advanced to regional.
"Bianca had an excellent day in the long jump at district," coach Kofi Owusu-Ansah said. "She jumped a personal best and it signified her rebound from nagging injuries that kept her from performing at the high level she's used to this entire season."
If McLemore had matched her district performance at regional, she would have placed fifth. Hilliard Davidson's Molly Balcer finished fourth (16-7).
Whetstone did not score at regional, as the top eight finishers in each event earned points. Pickerington Central won the regional title with 75 points, as 41 teams scored.
The Braves scored 10 points at district to place 14th behind champion Davidson (129).
In addition to McLemore in the long jump, scoring were sophomore Alasha Williams in the 400 meters (seventh, 1 minute, 3.13 seconds), the 1,600 relay of junior Liz Khoury, sophomore Alissa Fair, Williams and McLemore (seventh, season-best 4:11.24) and the 3,200 relay of Khoury, senior Julianna Hausman, junior Corrin Moss and junior Helen Davis (eighth, 10:25.37).
"I'm very proud of Alasha for making the district finals in the 400," Owusu-Ansah said. "She had a very good first season for us. She ran 1:00.31 to win the City title. Unfortunately, she came up a little short in the (district) prelims (by running 1:02.13) and ended up in lane (No.) 8 for the finals, which isn't a good lane for an inexperienced runner. She ran a 1:03.13, which is a time she can normally jog on her better days. All in all, this year was a great learning year for her about consistency."
Owusu-Ansah has high expectations for the 1,600 relay next season.
"I'm super excited for the (1,600 relay)," he said. "With them all coming back, we have a chance to do something very special next season. I see us competing for a spot at regional, if not state, next year.
"We'll need to replace Julianna Hausman in the 3,200 relay. She (was) a big part of the relay, so we will look to find a replacement who can fill her shoes."
Whetstone scored 80 points in the 17-team City League meet held May 12 and 14 at Mifflin to finish third, behind Eastmoor Academy (93) and Centennial (85). The Braves also finished third in the City meet last season.
Winning league titles were Williams in the 400 and the 3,200 relay of Khoury, Hausman, Moss and Davis (10:34.11).
Placing second were the 1,600 relay of Khoury, Fair, Davis and McLemore (4:15.37), Davis in the 1,600 (5:42.9) and sophomore Elizabeth Schwartz in the 3,200 (13:06.77), and finishing third were Khoury in the 800 (2:35.19) and McLemore in the 300 hurdles (49.12).
The Braves lose two seniors in Hausman and Kelli Chin.
Among those expected to return are Davis, Fair, Khoury, McLemore, Moss, Schwartz and Williams, juniors Edwina Amagnoh and Karina Spulgis and sophomores Cassie Labardy and Emily Morrison.
Season ends for boys track team
The boys track and field team did not have any Division I regional qualifiers.
Whetstone scored one point in the 16-team district 3 meet to place 14th, behind champion Davidson (122).
Scoring was the 3,200 relay of senior Hayden Palmer, freshman Matthew Hausman, sophomore Clayton Peacock and senior Evan Myers (eighth, 8:44.47).
"I was really pleased with the team's effort at district," coach Joe Monda said. "We competed in 12 events and had (personal records) in eight of them. We're a young team and we're just working on things and building.
"The ones that stood out the most are the only two seniors. Hayden Palmer improved his time in the 800 by six seconds and Evan Myers improved his time in the 3,200 by 10 seconds."
Whetstone finished ninth (27) in the 17-team City meet behind champion Eastmoor Academy (162).
The Braves did not win any league titles. Placing second were Palmer in the 1,600 (4:47.33) and Myers in the 3,200 (11:04.02).
Also scoring were the 3,200 relay of Palmer, Hausman, Peacock and Myers (fourth, 8:47.64), Hausman in the 1,600 (sixth, 4:55.99) and the 1,600 relay of junior Edwin Amagnoh, Hausman, freshman Bry'shon Carter and sophomore Keegen Hill (sixth, 3:39.77).
"With as young and small of a team that we had, the future looks bright," Monda said. "We had nine freshmen and six sophomores finish the season of the total of 20.
"Top returnees next year will be Edwin Amagnoh in the sprints, Bry'shon Carter in the hurdles and long sprints, Clayton Peacock in the mid-distance, Matthew Hausman in the distance and (junior) Lawrence Williamson III in the hurdles."
Others expected to return include sophomores Sam Green-Lauber, Griffin Hill and Alan Sscwanyond and freshmen Zion Mackey and Zac Wright.