A year after missing a regional qualifying spot by one place, Grove City High School's Nick Kowaleski finally earned his due last Saturday.

A year after missing a regional qualifying spot by one place, Grove City High School's Nick Kowaleski finally earned his due last Saturday.

Kowaleski was fourth in the 100 meters (11.31 seconds) at the Division I district 1 track and field meet at Dublin Coffman to earn the final regional qualifying spot. Gahanna's Blake Heriot won the race in 10.79

"Once I finished, I wouldn't believe anybody that told me I qualified," Kowaleski said. "I had to hear it announced officially. I thought I should have gone (to the regional) last year. Now, I feel justified."

He won't go to the region alone. The 400 relay of Ryan Barberi, Jordan Fisher, Tim Jordan and Kowaleski finished fourth (44.39) behind Olentangy Orange (43.33) to advance.

"They ran their personal best for this year," coach Jane Taylor said. "They had really good handoffs and ran really well. I think they also wanted to do it for Tim since it's his senior year."

Grove City scored 12 points at the meet to finish 15th, behind champion Gahanna (120).

The regional meet started last Wednesday at Pickerington North and ends Friday. The top four placers advance to the state meet June 4-5 at Ohio State. Grove City has had someone compete at state in two of the last three seasons.

On the girls side, the Greyhounds scored two points to finish 15th at the district 1 meet behind champion Gahanna (123).

Those points came from the 400 relay of Beth Boes, Miranda Gaitten, Emily Laffin and Lizzie Criss, which finished seventh (51.18) to Gahanna (49.83).

•The Central Crossing boys team also sent representatives to the regional in two events.

In his first year competing in the shot put, Darius Morris made it to the regional meet after finishing fourth (46 feet, 9 inches) in district 1, behind Westerville Central's Trey Devereaux (47-10 1/2).

Tory Clark also advanced after finishing second in the long jump (20-5 1/4) to Olentangy's Josh Perry (21-8).

"With the numbers being down, we were a Division I school, but we were a Division II team," coach Glenn Blue said. "I knew that we had such a small team, but we have certain individuals that were capable (of making it to the regional meet). I fully expected Chris (Yanichko) and Kyle (Dyer) and Darius."

Yanichko, Central Crossing's record holder in the 3,200 (9:48), finished ninth (10:22.35) to Westerville North's Jeff Hannaford (9:31.73). Dyer barely missed qualifying in the 800, finishing fifth (2:00.86) behind Gahanna's Harry McFann (1:57.17). St. Charles' Colin Merrill took the final qualifying spot (fourth, 1:59.45).

The Comets finished ninth with 22 points.

The girls team did not have a regional qualifier and finished 13th with 12 points behind champion New Albany (120).

Sarah Hunter and Tia Smith had the best days for the Comets. Hunter finished sixth in the 300 hurdles (47.83) to New Albany's Kelly Brittan (45.82). Smith was sixth in the 3,200 (12:14.45) to Dublin Scioto's Sakiko Minagawa.

At a glance

Below are the regional qualifiers for the Central Crossing and Grove City boys and girls track and field teams with district event, place and time/distance/height:

CENTRAL CROSSING

Boys - Tory Clark: long jump (second, 20-5 1/4). Darius Morris: shot put (fourth, 46-9). Girls - None

GROVE CITY

Boys - Nick Kowaleski: 100 (fourth, 11.53). 400 relay: Ryan Barberi, Jordan Fisher, Tim Jordan and Kowaleski (fourth, 44.39) Girls - None