When cross country standout Nick Schneider joined the Dublin Jerome High School boys track and field team last season, he needed a specialty event.

When cross country standout Nick Schneider joined the Dublin Jerome High School boys track and field team last season, he needed a specialty event.

His decision was easy. Schneider decided to concentrate on the 3,200 meters, and he quickly enjoyed success. After finishing seventh at the Division I district meet last season, Schneider earned the school's lone regional berth this season with a personal-best effort last Saturday at the Division I district 1 meet at Dublin Coffman.

The sophomore finished third in 9 minutes, 47.39 seconds behind Pickerington North's Nathan Corder (9:33.71) and Daniel Garleb (9:36.88).

"I've been trying to find my tempos and I knew which guys I could stay with and which guys I could beat," Schneider said. "I knew who was going to be that top four and who I needed to stick in front of."

"It doesn't surprise me at all," coach Joe Strangis said. "No. 1, he's a competitor, No. 2, (cross country coach David Stroh) has him on a great program, and No. 3, it's his hard work. Those are the things that adds up to him qualifying."

The top four in each event at district advanced to the regional, which began last Wednesday and will conclude Friday at Hilliard Davidson. The top four there will advance to state June 6-7 at Ohio State.

"I just want to drop more time," Schneider said. "I'm thinking about dropping five more seconds. That's my goal."

Schneider has been the team's top distance specialist this season despite coming off a stress fracture in a foot last fall.

"I came off an injury during the cross country season and right when I got out I got a nice pair of racing flats, which helped cushion my foot," Schneider said. "Also, I upped my speed workouts a lot."

At district, the Celtics tied Jackson for 13th with 15 points. Gahanna (142.5) was first.

Strangis expected his 800 relay of E.J. Williams, Reza Ghoorkanian, Cody Burris and Jeff Robison to contend for a regional spot, but it was disqualified because of an illegal handoff during preliminaries May 20.

"We had a little mishap," Strangis said. "We had a little messed up handoff, they were out of the zone, but those kind of things happen and you just have to get over them."

Burris, Ghoorkanian and Robison bounced back to join Chris Osbun to place seventh in the 400 relay (44.84).

•The girls team saw its season come to an end after failing to qualify an athlete for the regional meet.

The Celtics finished 13th (10) at the Division I district 2 meet at Coffman behind first-place Lancaster (118).

Sophomore Abbey Dunnan closed the Celtics' day by turning in a record-setting performance in the 3,200. She was in the top four for most of the race before settling for fifth (11:40.46) just behind final qualifiers Stacy Steigerwald (11:36.19) of Delaware and Amanda Porter (11:39.33) of Teays Valley.

"I felt good, but I should have gone on the seventh lap instead of waiting," Dunnan said. "This was an awesome experience. I did better than last year and I broke the school record."

Dunnan held the program record in the event earlier in the season, but senior Kara Wadenstierna broke that when she ran an 11:46.57 at the Teays Valley Invitational on May 10. Dunnan took the record back at district, with Wadenstierna finishing eighth (11:57.68).

"I'm not ready to be done with high school track, but I'm running in school next year, so I'm excited about that," said Wadenstierna, who will attend Wheaton College in Illinois. "I can't exactly explain what went on (during the race), but I don't have any regrets from the season and I'm proud of what I've accomplished."

"I thought both girls had a chance to get in in the 3,200," coach Shea Stammen said. "I thought that was one of my best shots."

Sophomore Katelyn Veltri was seventh (2:25.22) in the 800.

"I thought Katelyn had a chance in the 800," Stammen said. "She ran a great race, a season-best. She was just a couple places short, but she's very inexperienced in the 800, so for her to come in in her first year of ever running the 800 and getting seventh and being trained as a sprinter, I thought that was huge for her."