The Dublin Scioto High School girls track and field team is anchored by athletes from what was the area's best Division I cross country team last fall.

The Dublin Scioto High School girls track and field team is anchored by athletes from what was the area's best Division I cross country team last fall.

That's one of the reasons coach Matt Suttle thinks this could be a strong year for the Irish.

"I think (the cross country team is) what we're known for right now and having one of the strongest distance squads in the area," said Suttle, whose team was fifth (61.5) to Gahanna (143) at the Icebreaker Invitational last Saturday at Watkins Memorial. "We have some sprinters, we're just not as deep there."

The cross country team was a district champion and regional runner-up before finishing ninth (208) behind champion Rocky River Magnificat (28) at the Division I state meet.

Leading the distance runners are senior Keelin Gorman, senior Katie Papesh, and sophomore sisters Minori Minagawa and Sakiko Minagawa.

Those three made up last year's 3,200-meter relay, which finished 15th at state in a program record 9 minutes, 31.34 seconds.

Minori Minagawa also placed eighth in the 3,200 (program record 11:09) at state. She earned the only point for the Irish, who tied four others teams for 66th behind champion Reynoldsburg (82).

Senior Shelley Diewald, sophomore Lindsay Keeran and freshman Kimberly Wedinger also competed at state in cross country.

The 800 relay returns was ninth (1:46) was ninth at regional and consisted of senior Nicole White, sophomore Camaria Cannon and sophomore Rachel Christian.

White also competes in pole vault.

Also expected to make an impact are seniors Hannah Miller, Angelo Roll, Alicia Rector and Jill Tucker, and junior Cori Piatka. Sophomores Rachel Christian, Rachel Groh, Kamil Muse and freshmen Jessica Cronau, Rana Hilal and Alyssa Lustgarten should also be regular participants.

The Irish were eighth (25) at last year's regional behind Reynoldsburg (113). They were second (103) to New Albany (108.5) at the district meet.

Scioto was second (154.5) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet behind Westerville Central (161.5), and ahead of Olentangy (93), Westerville North (66), Westerville South (62), Marysville (51), Jerome (37) and Liberty (37).

• Boys coach Kevin Foley thinks his team could improve over last year now that some of its key athletes are healthy.

Adding to the optimism was senior Michael Shibko's performance at the Icebreaker Invitational, where he set the program record in winning the pole vault (14 feet, 9 inches).

Shibko also competed on 800 relay that also returns senior Darien Dalton-Ragland. The 800 relay was 13th (1:33.18) at last year's regional meet.

The biggest key to this year's success is staying healthy. Distance runner Luis Carbajal and hurdler Gerald Looper missed last season with injuries.

"They key is to keep Luis Carbajal healthy," said coach Kevin Foley, whose team was eighth (33) at the Icebreaker Invitational behind champion Watkins Memorial (177).

"So far he is. He's had a pretty good winter of training. He has the potential to be one of the better kids in the area."

Carbajal won the 1,600 last Saturday in 4:43.2.

A knee injury kept Looper from competing last season and last fall during football season, he suffered a broken foot. He still is working his way back from the foot injury although he's expected to compete.

Scioto also is looking for a boost from senior Omeed Moghaddas, who didn't compete as a sophomore or junior but was sixth last Saturday in the 1,600 (5:00.1). Other top sprinters are Stacey Blount and Michael Hawkins.

Juniors Tervon Moore and Jason Williams, sophomore Taylor Talentino and freshmen Tyler Bruney and Michael White also are expected to make an impact.

The Irish scored 39 points to place last in the OCC-Cardinal meet behind Olentangy Liberty (114.33), Marysville (103.5), Westerville North (94), Westerville Central (91.5) and Westerville South.

"We're still a relatively young," Foley said.

"For some of the juniors and seniors it's their first year out. So we have pretty good numbers this year and some pretty good athletes. It should be fun."

At a glance

•Coaches: Boys -- Kevin Foley, 15th season; Girls -- Matt Suttle, second season

•Next meet: Boys -- Saturday at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson; Girls -- Saturday at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

•Key athletes: Boys -- Luis Carbajal, Darien Dalton-Ragland, Gerald Looper, Michael Shibko; Girls -- Keelin Gorman, Minori Minagawa, Sakiko Minagawa and Katie Papesh

SCHEDULE

March 27 at Icebreaker Invitational at Watkins Memorial

April 3 at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

*April 6 vs. Olentangy

April 10 at Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North

*April 13 at Westerville South

April 17 at Dublin Classic at Coffman

*April 20 vs. Westerville North

April 23 at Lancaster

*April 27 vs. Westerville Central

May 1 at Gary Smith Invitational vs. Thomas Worthington

*May 4 at Olentangy Liberty

May 7 at Larkin Invitational at Upper Arlington

May 13-15 at OCC-Cardinal Division championships at Olentangy

*OCC-Cardinal meet