Of the 11 athletes the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls track and field team sent to the Division I state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State, three competed at state a year ago and a fourth was at state three seasons ago.
For freshmen Cierra Hill and MiAngel Daniels, the state meet was a chance to soak in the experience, aided by the guiding hand of those veterans.
The 400-meter relay of seniors Daniella Johnson and Reyna Montgomery, junior Sara Richards and Daniels put together the best performance for the Lions, earning a runner-up finish in 47.72 seconds.
Daniels also ran on the 800 relay that was sixth (1:41.46) and Hill competed on the 1,600 relay that was sixth (3:55.14).
"It's really exciting running with these upperclassmen," Hill said.
"(The state meet is) the ultimate experience as a freshman," Daniels said. "We've definitely come a long way this year."
The performances of the relays, along with the point Daniels earned for placing eighth in the 100 hurdles (15.34), helped the Lions tie Big Walnut and Pickerington Central for 13th (15) behind champion Solon (47) as 74 teams scored.
The 400 relay turned in the third-best time during preliminaries (48.5) before bettering the time and place during the final.
Joining Hill on the 1,600 relay were senior Francesca Bowsher, Richards and sophomore Sami Shaw. Competing on the 800 relay with Daniels were Johnson, Bowsher and Richards.
A year ago at state, Johnson, Richards and Shaw ran on the 400 relay that was fifth (48.51) and on the 800 relay that was fifth (1:42.46), and Johnson added a ninth-place finish in the long jump (16 feet, 11 1/2 inches).
Montgomery was the other with previous state experience. As a freshman in 2010, she ran on the 400 relay that placed third (48.24) and on the 800 relay that was 14th (1:44.56).
"Each of us has an individual strength (in the 400 relay)," said Montgomery, who plans to compete in track and play basketball for Ohio Dominican University. "For me it's just important to have a crisp handoff and for Daniella it's the same thing. I feel like we started off the season OK and then at the end we put it all together."
"We were more happy with our (400 relay) than our (800 relay), but we're still happy with how our (800 relay) did," Shaw said.
Daniels was the only freshman in the 100 hurdles in the Division I state meet.
The Lions had one other freshman at state in Kearstin Turner, who competed on the 13th-place 3,200 relay (9:29.71) with sophomores Rylee Tanner, Kelsey Sandlin and Shaw.
Johnson had the sixth-fastest preliminary time in the 100 (12.03) but settled for ninth (12.5) in the final.
Sophomore Sydney Stokes placed 11th in the long jump (16-8 3/4).
"We're beyond excited," Bowsher said. "This has been the best team and the best season we could have hoped for."