Grove City High School track and field coach Jane Taylor walked away from the 2013 season knowing how close several of her athletes were to greater achievements and hoping offseason work will help bridge that gap.
Three athletes advanced to the Division I regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.
The only member of the boys team to reach regional was sophomore Koffi Edah, who placed eighth in the 300-meter hurdles (40.91 seconds), behind regional champion and eventual state champion Desmond Palmer of Pickerington North (36.89).
Competing at regional for the girls team were sophomore Hannah Hawkins, who placed seventh in the discus (111 feet, 6 inches), and junior Megan Darst, who finished 11th in the shot put (34-10 3/4).
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.
"We'd get 20-some points out of them practically every meet," Taylor said of Edah, Hawkins and Darst. "I am very excited to see what they can do with some work in the offseason. Two of the three we took to regional were able to medal."
The girls team scored two points at regional to tie Westerville Central for 37th behind co-champions Gahanna (55) and Pickerington Central (55) as 39 teams scored. Edah scored one point for the boys team, which tied Mifflin and Teays Valley for 37th behind champion Pickerington North (99) as 39 teams scored.
It the Division I, district 2 meet that concluded May 25 at Hilliard Darby, Darst was second in the shot put (34-10 3/4), Edah was second in the 300 hurdles (personal-best 39.88), seventh in the 100 (11.74) and eighth in the 200 (23.74) and Hawkins was second in the discus (107-0) as the top four finishers in each event qualified for regional.
Junior Matt Brown narrowly missed advancing in the shot put, as he placed fifth (46-3 3/4).
The boys team scored 22 points in the 16-team district to tie Columbus East and Reynoldsburg for eighth behind champion Hilliard Davidson (140).
The girls team finished ninth (30) in the 17-team district behind champion Gahanna (141.5).
In the OCC-Ohio Division meet May 16 and 18 at Thomas Worthington, the boys team finished eighth (19) behind Pickerington North (202), Pickerington Central (99), Gahanna (98), Lancaster (70), Groveport (67), Newark (54) and Reynoldsburg (26).
Placing fourth were freshman Doug McIntire in the 3,200 (10:36.56) and the 800 relay (1:35.36). The 400 relay placed fifth (46.52) and Edah was sixth in the 300 hurdles (41.67).
The girls team finished sixth (43.5) in the league meet, behind Gahanna (177.5), Pickerington Central (141), Pickerington North (116.5), Reynoldsburg (78) and Lancaster (46.5) and ahead of Newark (35) and Groveport (21).
Senior Gabby Rodriguez placed second in the discus (102-4) and seventh in the shot put (32-8 1/4) and Darst was second in the shot put (personal-best 36-3 1/4). Hawkins placed third in the discus (101-1), junior Danielle Shipley was fifth in the pole vault (9-0) and the 3,200 relay was fifth (10:47.2).
Earlier in the season, Shipley set the program record in the pole vault by clearing a personal-best 9-6.
Among the key expected returnees for the boys team are Brown, Edah, McIntire, junior sprinters Preston Hite, Ethan Jean-Louis and Ike Pack and junior distance runner Brendan Mountain. Key athletes expected back for the girls team include Darst, Hawkins, Shipley, sophomore sprinter Carmen Dippolito and junior distance runner Nayla Morbitzer.
"This is the smallest senior class I've had," said Taylor, who completed her eighth season leading the program. "We're in one of the toughest leagues in the state, but when we come back next year, our kids will have had one more year of experience."