With just the seventh-fastest preliminary time among the eight who reached the final of the 400 meters last Saturday at Gahanna in the Division III district 1 meet, junior Anthony Adams of the Grove City Christian School boys track and field team realized how important getting off to a good start would be.

With just the seventh-fastest preliminary time among the eight who reached the final of the 400 meters last Saturday at Gahanna in the Division III district 1 meet, junior Anthony Adams of the Grove City Christian School boys track and field team realized how important getting off to a good start would be.

One of the 22 members of the Eagles' first-year program, Adams headed into the postseason already aware -- probably more than most of his teammates -- of what it takes to succeed in the postseason.

As a freshman in 2006, Adams didn't compete but cheered on his teammates as a member of Hilliard Davidson's Division I district runner-up team.

He became the first athlete from Grove City Christian to advance to the regional when he captured the district long-jump championship (20 feet, 4 inches) May 20. He then turned in a fourth-place finish in the 400 in 54.0 seconds last Saturday.

Adams led for part of the 400 final before finishing behind Quintin Aden (51.23) of Harvest Prep and Ridgedale's Travis Althouse (52.47) and Leci Lutz (53.77).

He later was joined as a regional qualifier by sophomore Jessie Barnes in the 200 (fourth, 23.55).

Adams added a tie for fifth in the high jump by clearing 5-6 as the top four moved on.

"My plan was just to get out fast, then pace myself and the last 150 go all out (in the 400)," Adams said. "I was in first place at the beginning, and I thought my timing was good."

Adams competed in the long jump and in the 400 preliminaries last Wednesday at Pickerington North.

Running finals are Friday.

Adams' personal-best in the long jump heading into last Wednesday was 20-8.

The 18.5 points Adams scored helped the Eagles finish 10th (27.5) of 11 boys teams behind champion Ridgedale (99.5).

"It's our first year for having a track team, so for us that's huge," said coach Mindy Burgett, who is the wife of athletics director P.J. Burgett. "We were excited to have a track team, so to have (regional qualifiers) is an added bonus."

Barnes had the seventh-best time (11.83) heading into the final of the 100 but ended up fifth (11.74) to miss qualifying to regional by 0.1 behind fourth-place finisher Michael Wellner of Fisher Catholic.

Worthington Christian's David Inboden was first (11.42).

Barnes then had just the eighth-best time in the 200 semifinals (24.43) but bounced back and finished behind Inboden (22.9), Althouse (23.5) and Northmor's Nick Davis (23.52).

Freshman Derek Vacha had the 11th-best preliminary time in the 800 (2:14.31) to qualify for the final but could not participate last Saturday.

The girls team did not have any athletes advance to the finals in any running event and did not score as Columbus School for Girls (144) was first.

"(Barnes) ran 11.74 in the 100, which is not even his best time and he almost made it," said Burgett, who was a state qualifier on the 400 and 800 relays at Lexington. "He likes the 100 a little better, but it depends on how he's running which one he does better in. We're excited about Anthony making it in the long jump as well."