First-year Central Crossing High School track and field coach Doug Boggs certainly appreciates the mild spring weather that has graced central Ohio.

First-year Central Crossing High School track and field coach Doug Boggs certainly appreciates the mild spring weather that has graced central Ohio.

"Oh, for sure," he said. "We're definitely ahead of the game. We've been out a lot and had time on the track. You don't usually get that. It really helps with us being so young, too. We've got a lot of work in we usually haven't by this time."

The Comets opened March 24 in the Icebreaker Invitational at Watkins Memorial, and the highlight was senior Will Doering winning the boys 3,200 meters (10 minutes, 2.33 seconds) with a comfortable cushion over runner-up Taylor Williams (10:11.5) of the host Warriors.

The boys team finished fifth (62 points) among 16 teams behind champion Logan (154.5) while the girls were 15th (2.5) in a 15-team field behind champion Hilliard Darby (114.5).

Senior Kyle Dyer placed second (2:03.9) in the boys 800 behind Logan's Seth Vermillion (2:02.3), and senior Donovan Wonacott was runner-up (4:39) in the 1,600 behind Watkins Memorial's Erich Vlaar (4:32.5). Senior Stanley Gates took fourth (4:42.4) in the 1,600 and sophomore Isse Roble was fifth (10:33.2) in the 3,200. Also, junior Tory Clark took third (20 feet, 1 inch) in the long jump behind Franklin Heights' John Pyles (21-8 1/2) and Worthington Kilbourne's Jeremie Nsumbu (21-1/2).

Dyer, Gates, Wonacott and Doering all ran on the Division I regional-qualifying 3,200 relay (12th, 8:15.07) last spring. The Comets finished eighth (19) in the district 3 meet won by Dublin Coffman (116.5), as the relay was fourth (8:07.99) to advance with the last regional berth.

Wonacott also was a regional qualifier in the 1,600 (eighth, 4:27.12). At district, Doering (fifth, 10:11.01) and Dyer (sixth, 2:02.66) both just missed earning regional berths in the 3,200 and 800, respectively.

"Our strength is in the distance events as usual," said Boggs, who was an assistant on former coach Glenn Blue's staff last season and previously was track (two years) and cross country (three years) coach at Grove City Christian. "The (3,200 relay) has a goal of making it to state. Hopefully, we'll do the things necessary to get there."

The boys team finished sixth (20) in last year's OCC-Central Division meet behind Hilliard Davidson (170.5), Coffman (158.5), Thomas Worthington (129.5), Hilliard Darby (96.5) and Upper Arlington (49) and ahead of Kilbourne (19) and Westland (13). The girls team finished seventh (26) behind Coffman (164.5), Davidson (131), UA (100), Darby (88), Thomas (84.5) and Kilbourne (55) and ahead of Westland (10).

The girls team has two top scorers to replace after Sarah Hunter, who set a school record (47.65) in the 300 hurdles in last year's district 4 meet, and Samantha Downing, who was the league runner-up in the shot put (31-2), graduated last spring. The Comets finished 10th (16) at district behind champion Davidson (110).

The top returnees include senior Kendal Witherup (high jump, hurdles) and sophomore Kara Barber (sprints), both of whom ran with the regional-qualifying 400 relay (15th, 52.36). Hunter and fellow graduate Ayana Colvin also were on that relay, and Barber ran a leg with the 800 relay that placed sixth (1:48) at district.

Freshman Maggie Swallows, who Boggs said threw 85-0 in the discus in middle school, is one of the newcomers to watch.

"We have so many new girls I'm still trying to learn about everybody," Boggs said. "(Our teams have) doubled in size this year and we're up to about 62 (girls and boys) now, but about half of them are in their first year.

"I've been out pressuring kids in the hallways at school, trying to spread the word whenever I can. I keep telling everyone, 'Bring a friend to practice.'"