After Koffi Edah of the Grove City High School boys track and field team did not advance beyond the preliminaries in the 300-meter hurdles in the Division I state meet June 6 at Ohio State, he asked coach Jane Taylor if she planned to attend the second day of competition June 7.
"Not now," Taylor said, smiling the entire time as Edah chuckled.
Coming off a season in which Grove City captured three individual district championships, Taylor is confident she'll have more to watch at state next year.
Juniors Carmen D'Ippolito (100) and Edah (300 hurdles) and freshman Gina Conti (high jump) won championships in the district 2 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby, giving the Greyhounds their best postseason performance since Dan Potokar won 100 and 200 district and regional titles in 2005.
Potokar, who was Grove City's first regional track champion, later played football at Ohio State.
"Seeing (three district winners) was phenomenal," Taylor said. "When you figure how much they have improved from year to year and their work ethic, the sky is the limit. We are hoping we can get a few more guys out (of district) on the guys' side (next year). The girls side is pretty solid."
Edah was the only Greyhounds athlete to advance to state and placed 16th in the 300 hurdles (40.36 seconds) as the top two in each of two preliminary heats and the next five fastest competitors made the final. Grove City did not score, and Cleveland Glenville (40) won the team championship as 71 teams scored.
Edah was third in a personal-best 38.98 in the regional meet that concluded May 30 at Pickerington North as the top four finishers in each event advanced to state. Edah won district with a time of 39.51.
Also at regional, Conti was sixth in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and 12th in the 400 (1:01.78) and D'Ippolito was sixth in the 200 (25.51) and 10th in the 100 (12.66). Senior Matt Brown was fifth in the shot put (52-6 1/2), falling three inches of advancing to state.
"It was awesome," D'Ippolito said of competing at regional. "I thought the (100) would be my thing this year, and I didn't qualify (for the final) and I was upset, then I snapped back in the (200) just like I did at district. I qualified, I am a junior and I can't be happier. In the 100, five of the eight girls (in the regional final) are seniors, and it was the same thing in the 200. I have something to look forward to."
The boys tied for 22nd (10) at regional behind champion North (74) as 37 teams scored. The girls tied for 28th (6) behind champion Pickerington Central (75) as 41 teams scored.
Edah's district title and Brown's fourth-place finish in the shot put (49-5) earned the Greyhounds 18 points and a 13th-place finish behind champion Watkins Memorial (108) as 17 teams scored.
Conti was first in the high jump (5-5) and third in the 400 (59.82) and D'Ippolito was first in the 100 (12.56) and third in the 200 (25.73), helping the girls to 36 points and ninth place behind champion Gahanna (150) as 15 teams scored.
In the OCC-Ohio meet that concluded May 17 at Thomas Worthington, fifth-place finishes by Edah in the 300 hurdles (40.69) and Brown in the shot put (47-0) led the boys to 28 points and an eighth-place finish behind North (171), Lancaster (154), Gahanna (80), Central (79), Groveport (69), Newark (43) and Reynoldsburg (34).
Edah and Taylor rued the postseason absence of junior Nate Boll, a first-year track athlete who also plays football and became one of the team's top sprinters. Boll was injured just before the league meet.
"We had a lot of people like me and Nate Boll that people could look to as leaders," Edah said. "We had very solid upperclassmen to lead everybody."
Also in the league meet, Conti was second in the high jump (5-0) and fifth in the 400 (59.44) and D'Ippolito was second in the 200 (26.13) and fourth in the 100 (12.81) to lead the girls to 56 points and fifth place, behind Gahanna (203), Central (141), North (92) and Lancaster (59) and ahead of Newark (48), Reynoldsburg (38) and Groveport (25).
Senior Megan Darst was third in the shot put (35-3 1/4) and fifth in the discus (98-10), one spot ahead of junior teammate Hannah Hawkins (98-0).
During the regular season, the girls won the Eastmoor Academy Invitational on April 5, the Best of the South-West on April 17 at Central Crossing and the Anthony Wilson Invitational on May 3 at Central Crossing.
Taylor also is optimistic about the program's distance unit, which includes sophomores Doug McIntire and Micaila Mountain and freshman Sydney Smith.
"The girls did great. Almost everybody is back for the girls side," Taylor said.
"We're losing Matt Brown on the guys side and Matt Geroski (in the pole vault). Other than that, a lot of them are juniors and sophomores. We'll be strong again."