When Brittany Cheese had to miss two weekend meets because of a hamstring injury, Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field coach Matt Beatty called upon Tori Brink to pick up the slack as both a leader and scorer.

When Brittany Cheese had to miss two weekend meets because of a hamstring injury, Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field coach Matt Beatty called upon Tori Brink to pick up the slack as both a leader and scorer.

Brink, a junior, exceeded Beatty's expectations by consistently leading her teammates at practices and in meets.

"Tori has been forced into a bigger leadership role with Brittany getting hurt, and she's done a great job of meeting that challenge," Beatty said. "Tori has continued to work hard in practice and lead by example, and she's been running with a extra sense of purpose in the big meets and scoring more points than usual, too. Tori has always been a great athlete, and this year she's become a great leader as well."

In the Dublin Coffman Classic on April 19, Brink won the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 10.72 seconds and the 3,200 in 11:33.16. She also anchored the 3,200 relay to a first-place finish in 9:57.34.

In the Panther Invitational on April 12, she won the 1,600 (5:16.9) and was second in the 800 (2:29.65) behind Darby's Erika Alpeter (2:28.51). She also anchored the 1,600 relay to a third-place finish (4:25.26) behind Reynoldsburg (4:12.82) and Darby (4:20.25).

Last Friday in the Darby Distance Twilight Invitational, Brink anchored the distance medley relay to a first-place finish (13:17.88) and led the 3,200 relay to a second-place finish (9:53.61) behind Rocky River Magnificat (9:45.94). Brink was third in the 800 (2:23.53), which followed the distance medley.

"When we lost Cheese we lost our best hurdler and field events person and one of our better sprinters, and that shifted more responsibility on my shoulders, so I've been trying to do well to help my team out," Brink said. "We've got a lot of other good athletes on our team, too, so I'm just trying to help lead in any way I can."

Following her brothers, twins Josh and Zachary, Brink joined a running club when she was 10. She was inspired by the success of her brothers, who were a part of Davidson's boys cross country program when the Wildcats won the Division I state title in 2002.

By the time she graduated from Weaver Middle School, Brink had the girls cross country program's third-fastest two-mile course time (12:10).

Brink emerged as Davidson's top distance runner as a freshman, and the next season she won the 1,600 in the Division I district 1 meet in personal-best 5:10.3. But after Brink placed fourth at regional (5:16.44), she went on to finish last (5:17.41) of 15 competitors at state.

"I was really upset to end my season on such a bad note, but I didn't dwell on it," Brink said. "I used it as a learning experience and to motivate myself to get better. I'd love to take a day off from running and lay around the house, but I don't want to fall behind the competition. When I feel like taking it easy, I think of what happened at state last year, and it makes me want to work harder.

"I want to do better at state this year so that I blow people away and they don't remember how I ran there last year."

Brink, who typically runs 35 miles per week, took some time off during the winter to compete in swimming. After letting her body rest and heal, she entered this season feeling better than ever.

"I think it was good for Tori to swim instead of running all of those miles during the winter because her body is well-rested now," Beatty said. "She's extremely motivated to make it back to state, and it looks like she's on the right track to get there. I couldn't be happier with the way she's started the season."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Darby and Davidson track and field teams:

DARBY

*April 15 -- Boys: Lost to Gahanna 88-39; Girls: Lost to Gahanna 113-24

Last Friday -- Boys: Finished fifth (15) in 19-team Darby Distance Twilight Invitational behind champion Strongsville (34). Joe Jackson won the 5,000 (15:37.0); Girls: Finished second (41) in 12-team Darby Distance Twilight Invitational behind Rocky River Magnificat (42). Finishing second were Erika Alpeter in the 800 (2:20.58) and 1,600 (5:19.25) and Noori Butt, Amanda Custer, Sajadah Musettie and Taylor Baldridge in the 6,400 relay (26:59.13).

Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished first (110) in 11-team Piqua Invitational ahead of runner-up Bellefontaine (94). Winners were Stephen Wells, Wes Walker, Jean-Paul Poullet and Jordan Rispress in the 1,600 relay (3:31.32) and Rispress in the 300 hurdles (39.44) and 110 hurdles (15.02); Girls: Finished first (128) in 14-team Piqua Invitational ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (81). Winners were Shanee' Jackson in the long jump (17-11 1/2), Tesia Dhiraprasiddhi, Jackson, Ariel Winkfield and Taryn Ashcraft in the 400 relay (49.96), Xerina Hughey, Jessie Church, Mackenzie Gill and Shea Castle in the 800 relay (1:50.3), Hughey in the 100 hurdles (15.07) and Kayla Johnson in the discus (117-8).

*Last Tuesday -- Competed against Westland

Friday -- At Roosevelt Invitational at Dayton Welcome Stadium

*Tuesday -- At Groveport

*OCC-Ohio dual

DAVIDSON

*April 15 -- Boys: Defeated Dublin Coffman 79-76; Girls: Def. Coffman 108-65

Last Friday -- Boys: Tied Worthington Kilbourne for second (22) in Darby Distance Twilight Invitational. Finishing second were Anthony Boyd in the 1,600 (4:21.59) and Yoshi Shimizu in the 5,000 (15:45.11). Tied Delaware for last (48) in the eight-team Wildcat Invitational behind Pickerington Central (131.5). Justin Cox won the pole vault (13-0); Girls: Finished fifth (26) in Darby Distance Twilight Invitational. The distance medley relay (13:17.88) was first and Bridget Onders, Carly Catlett, Heather Coonfare and Tori Brink were second in the 3,200 relay (9:53.61). Finished fourth (84) in seven-team Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South behind Pickerington Central (177).

*Last Tuesday -- Competed against Westerville North

Friday -- At Marion Relays

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Grove City

*OCC-Buckeye dual