Track & Field
Steady girls team secures OCC-Ohio title
Gahanna Lincoln High School girls track and field coach Roger Whittaker called his team's performance during the OCC-Ohio Division meet May 16 and 18 at Thomas Worthington "workmanlike."
What that looked like for the Lions' opponents was top-three finishes in 12 of 17 events and two events in which Gahanna had two placers among the top three.
The performance helped the Lions score 177.5 points and capture their first league championship since 2010.
Gahanna finished ahead of Pickerington Central (141), Pickerington North (116.5), Reynoldsburg (78), Lancaster (46.5), Grove City (43.5), Newark (35) and Groveport (21).
"We knew what we had to do and a lot of times we had two or three people score in an event," said senior Reyna Montgomery, who ran on the first-place 400-meter relay (48.58 seconds) with Daniella Johnson, Sara Richards and Tara Tedrick and added a fourth-place finish in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches). "We had to just follow what our coaches told us. Our (400 relay) has been doing really well. We've got a great chance of making it to state and placing."
The Lions are competing in the Division I, district 2 meet that was held May 21 and 22 and concludes Saturday, May 25, at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 29, and May 31 at Pickerington North.
Also winning league championships were MiAngel Daniels in the 100 hurdles (15.04), Rylee Tanner in the 800 (2:21.38), Johnson in the long jump (17-1/4) and the 3,200 relay of Kelsey Sandlin, Sami Shaw, Tanner and Kearstin Turner (9:45.1).
Earning league runner-up finishes were Johnson in the 100 (12.29), Sandlin in the 1,600 (5:16.85) and 3,200 (11:57.14), Turner in the 800 (2:22.58), Sydney Stokes in the long jump (16-5), the 800 relay of Francesca Bowsher, Daniels, Richards and Stokes (1:45.13) and the 1,600 relay of Bowsher, Richards, Stokes and Cierra Hill (4:03.19).
Shaw added a third-place finish in the 400 (59.25) and Stokes was third in the 300 hurdles (47.63).
Gahanna last won a district title in 2010. Last season, the Lions were third (85) of 17 teams in district 2 behind Hilliard Davidson (101.5) and Pickerington Central (93.5).
Whittaker was excited about the contributions that freshmen such as Daniels and Hill had been providing heading into the postseason.
"I thought it was a team effort like we've had all year long," Whittaker said. "We're a team filled with some exceptional athletes. We're getting people with our depth. We just come in with our hard hats and everybody does their job.
"The attitude of this team is really mature. They know how good we are, so win or lose, they don't worry about it. They're very studious the way they look at computer times."
Boys team settles for third in league
The boys team came one point short of earning a runner-up finish in the league meet.
Pickerington North scored 202 points to win its fourth consecutive league title ahead of Pickerington Central (99), Gahanna (98), Lancaster (90), Groveport (67), Newark (54), Reynoldsburg (26) and Grove City (19).
The boys also are competing in the district 2 meet.
"We're pretty happy with the performance of the entire team," coach Ed Rarey said. "We felt we were pretty strong in our relays."
Riak Reese won titles in the 100 (10.79) and 200 (21.88) and Luke Mokma placed second in the discus (159-3).
The 400 relay of Eric Buckner, Jordan Burns, K.J. Jackson and Theo White (44.12) and the 800 relay of Buckner, Jackson, Reese and Mark Daniels (1:29.75) also earned runner-up finishes.
"Our (800 relay) really stepped up," Daniels said. "We ran sub 1:30, which was our goal. Overall it was a good day."
Chris Blakely added a third-place finish in the 800 (1:57.1) and Mokma took third in the shot put (52-8 1/2).
Daniels qualified for the final in the 200 but elected to scratch because of a hip injury. Buckner placed fifth in that event (23.6), while Jackson was fourth in the 100 (11.5).
The Lions' sprint corps has impressed Daniels.
"It's a very strong (group)," he said. "We usually try to push each other. When you see the other guys do well it makes you want to work harder."