Fifth-year Dublin Scioto High School girls track and field coach Matt Suttle only can hope that his team is getting its injuries out of the way now and will be close to full strength in the coming weeks.
"We have an abundance of injuries right now and we need to get some girls healthy," said Suttle, whose team opened April 6 by placing fourth (74.5 points) in the Newark Invitational behind champion Westerville Central (114.5) as 14 teams scored. "If we get through this, we could have a pretty good season."
Senior sprinter Aysia Prewitt is sidelined with knee issues and sophomore middle-distance runner Shayla Wigand is expected to miss the season with foot problems. Senior Jessica Cronau was looking to add depth to the distance corps after competing four years in cross country, but she suffered a knee injury while skiing during spring break and is out indefinitely.
Prewitt, senior Charissa Newkirk, junior Madison Scurlock and 2012 graduate Camaria Cannon combined to win the 800-meter relay (1 minute, 42.06 seconds) in the Division I state meet last season at Ohio State.
The same four girls combined to finish 12th at state in the 400 relay (49.7) and Wigand, sophomores Vanessa Robinson and Emily Trzeciak and 2012 graduate Minori Minagawa finished 12th in the 3,200 relay (9:29.63).
The Irish scored 13 points at state to tie Beavercreek for 15th behind champion Reynoldsburg (56) as 72 teams scored.
Other key returnees include juniors Mya Hodge and Brooklyn Robertson. In the regional meet last year at Pickerington North, Hodge placed seventh in the 100 hurdles (15.73) and Robertson placed ninth in the long jump (16 feet, 1 1/2 inches).
Also at regional, Trzeciak finished eighth the 1,600 (5:31.75), as Scioto tied New Albany for fifth (31) behind champion Reynoldsburg (77) as 43 teams scored.
The Irish placed second (112) in the 16-team district 3 meet last season at Hilliard Darby behind champion Reynoldsburg (116.5) and won their third consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division title, scoring 142 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Westerville Central (98).
Olentangy Liberty (91.5) placed third in the league meet, followed by Westerville South (78.5), Jerome (72.5), Marys-ville (65), Westerville North (59) and Olentangy (54.5).
As part of OCC realignment last summer, Liberty, Marysville and Olentangy moved out of the OCC-Cardinal and were replaced Darby, Hilliard Bradley and Worthington Kilbourne.
"I think we have a good group of sprinters and we have a good corps of hurdlers, not just Mya," Suttle said. "Right now, we have a lot of freshmen and it is one of the larger groups, as far as numbers go, that we have had here. We have to find out where to put them and where they best benefit the team."
Shamrocks return abundance of talent
Coffman got a head start on the season by competing in the indoor season during the winter months.
In the Division I indoor state meet March 16 at the University of Akron, senior Rachel Weber, an Ohio State signee, placed third in the 800 (2:14.08), junior Beatrice Hannan placed fourth in the 200 (25.09) and seventh in the 60 (7.88) and senior Emily Mangelson finished 10th in the 60 hurdles (9.69).
"I think the indoor season helps a lot," fifth-year coach Greg King said. "It helps get you prepared both physically and mentally for the tough outdoor season in central Ohio."
Weber and Hannan were key components last season, when Coffman tied Solon for third (29) in the Division I outdoor state meet behind Reynoldsburg and Lorain (34).
Hannan teamed with seniors McKenzie Bailey and Kaylee Taylor and 2012 graduate Sara Johnson to finish third in the 800 relay (1:42.33) and teamed with Johnson, Bailey and senior Rylee Axner to place sixth in the 400 relay (48.64). Hannan also competed in two individual events, placing seventh in the 200 (25.09) and ninth in the 100 (12.51).
Weber teamed with juniors Rachel Bosworth and Julia Fries and 2012 graduate Clarissa Bons to place eighth in the 3,200 relay (9:22.91), and sophomore Oyesade Olatoye placed third in the shot put (43-5).
Bosworth and Fries, both of whom reached the state podium last year in individual events, are expected to miss the season with injuries, King said. Bosworth placed fourth in the 3,200 (10:55.15) and Fries placed eighth in the 800 (2:15.86).
Others expected to be key contributors include senior Bridgette Widmyer (high jump), juniors Christina Brown (throws) and Betsy Rechel (throws) and freshman Sana Qamar (distance).
Qamar finished 63rd (19:08.39) in the Division I state cross country meet last fall.
"Our strength is probably the sprints this year and also the throws," said King, whose team opened April 6 by placing fourth (75) in the 21-team Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson behind champion Gahanna (125). "We have a lot of young distance runners and sprinters. They are pretty good, but you never know how young kids will perform in meets."
Last season, Coffman placed second (73) at regional and won its second consecutive district title by scoring 141 points in the 17-team district 1 meet at Darby to finish well ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (97).
The Shamrocks also won their second consecutive OCC-Central title, scoring 179.5 points to finish ahead of Davidson (164), Kilbourne (82), Darby (78.25), Thomas Worthington (62.75), Upper Arlington (56), Central Crossing (20.5) and Westland (15).
Liberty and Marysville have replaced Darby and Kilbourne in the OCC-Central.
Seniors, juniors lead way for Celtics
Jerome also found success in Division I indoor state meet, with senior Kaitlyn Willette reaching the podium in two events.
Willette placed seventh in the 1,600 (5:18.24) and teamed with seniors Brooke Boyle and Erin McAuliffe and freshman Carly Davis to place sixth in the 3,200 relay (9:42.05).
"One thing that I'm excited about is that our juniors and seniors are starting to take ownership of the team and they are taking leadership roles," fifth-year coach Randi Beatty said. "We have been working hard over the last few years and now things are starting to happen."
In the Division I outdoor state meet last spring, the Celtics scored six points to tie Bowling Green, Centennial and Rocky River Magnificat for 37th.
Boyle and Willette teamed with 2012 graduates Amy Erdelsky and Rebecca Rings to finish ninth in the 3,200 relay (9:25.12).
Other key returnees include juniors Taylor Elder (sprints), Hannah Kayuha (sprints/long jump) and Celine Vong (throws) and sophomores Keemia Rashidi (hurdles) and Devin Sadler (sprints).
Jada Williams, a junior who was a regional qualifier in the 100 and 200 last season, transferred to Pickerington Central.
"We look at things a little different than in the past," said Beatty, whose team opened April 2, losing to Olentangy Orange 98-37 in a dual meet. "The majority of our strength has been in middle distance. We try to focus on the 400s and the 800s and then we can have kids go up to distance or down to sprints."
Jerome finished 14th (21) in the Wildcat Premier on April 6 at Davidson behind champion Gahanna (125).
Last season, the Celtics tied Gahanna and Orange for seventh (27) at regional, finished fifth (49) in the district 1 meet and placed fifth (72.5) in the OCC-Cardinal meet.