With the Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field team holding a one-point lead heading into the final event of the Division I, district 4 meet, coach Matt Beatty reminded his 1,600-meter relay they they didn't have to win the race.
With the Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field team holding a one-point lead heading into the final event of the Division I, district 4 meet, coach Matt Beatty reminded Danielle Trisel, Abbey McNaughton, Carrie Stamm and Lizzy Litzinger that they didn't have to win the 1,600-meter relay.
However, they did have to beat Pickerington North's relay for the Wildcats to win the title in the 13-team meet May 21 at Hamilton Township - and that's what happened.
The 1,600 relay finished fifth in 4 minutes, 14.63 seconds, ahead of sixth-place North (4:15.16) to help Davidson win its second district championship in three years.
The Wildcats finished with 110 points to 108 for second-place North.
"It came down to the 1,600 relay as all good meets should and that has not been a go-to race for us this year, but we ran six seconds faster than we have all year to hold off Pickerington North," Beatty said.
"It was ironic because nobody really cheered when the first four teams crossed the finish line, because everyone knew that it was our two relays that were going to decide the meet. And when we crossed the finish line, it was the loudest applause of the entire meet."
North held a 100-88 lead over Davidson with two events remaining. Jessica Hoover (11:17.43) and Caroline Hildebrand (11:25.86) then finished first and second in the 3,200 to give the Wildcats a 106-105 advantage.
Hoover also won the 1,600 (5:05.84) and anchored Davidson's 3,200 relay of Lauren Hoover, Elsa Saelens and Hildebrand to a first-place finish (9:33.21).
Hildebrand finished fourth in the 1,600 (5:15.48).
"Lauren and Caroline made the sacrifice of running all of those events for our team and they really came through for us," Beatty said. "We've been slowed by illnesses and injuries this season, so it was nice to see us pull it all together when it mattered most."
The top four finishers in each district event advanced to the regional, which began on May 25 and will conclude Friday, May 27, at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each regional event advance to state June 3-4 at Ohio State.
The Davidson boys team scored 109 points to win the 15-team Division I, district 2 meet at Bradley ahead of runner-up Watkins Memorial (70), its first district championship.
"I told the kids that they had the chance to make history and they did it," coach Jim Smith said. "We qualified to the finals in every event for the first time in our history, and we got points from everywhere. Phillipie Motley scored 40 points and that's a heck of an accomplishment for a freshman."
Motley won the 100 (11.23) and 200 (22.56), anchored the first-place 400 relay (43.01) and was the lead leg of the first-place 1,600 relay (3:24.65).
"There were a lot of fast guys here, so I worked hard on my starts and pushed it," Motley said. "I got out in front (in the 100) and held them off. This was a lot of fun."
Junior Jack Kincade helped score 28 points, placing second in the 400 (49.83), running the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay, running the third leg of the second-place 3,200 relay (8:08.94) and finishing seventh in the pole vault (12 feet).
"This is huge," Kincade said. "All of my times, including my splits, were personal records. I was just shooting for some points in the pole vault. That was hard to do all those events, but I did it to help my team out and it was worth it."
•The Darby boys scored 57 points to place sixth in the Division I, district 2 meet.
Sophomore Caleb Day led Darby by winning the 110 hurdles (15.23), placing second in the 300 hurdles (39.57) and finishing fourth in the long jump (21-6 1/4).
Day said he was inspired by his father, Alex, who taught him how to run hurdles.
"This is, by far, the best year I've had in track," Day said. "My coach (Mark Tremayne) told me to lead our team in the 300 hurdles, so I did my best for my team. My dad coached me up, and I want to make it to state for him.
"He would have made it to state his senior year in the 110 hurdles, but he false-started, so I'm going to do my best to get there for him."
Darby's girls team placed fourth (77) in the Division I, district 4 meet.
•The Bradley girls scored 84 points to place third in the 12-team Division I, district 2 meet behind Pickerington Central (126) and Watkins Memorial (107).
Emily Lebsock won the 200 (26.13) to qualify for state in an individual event for the first time.
"I knew I had the potential to do well, but I wasn't really sure I would get to (the regional meet) in an open race," Lebsock said. "I feel really blessed to be able to do this because I've had sprained ankles most of my high school career, and I've finally been healthy the past few years."
Kate Johnston, Lebsock, Kayla Malik and Sydney Rings won the 400 relay (49.42), and Malik won the 100 (12.36).
"How we're doing is a nice surprise overall," Rings said. "Our time (in the 400 relay) was a nice surprise. It was one of the best times that we've run and our goal is to beat that time again at regional."
Bradley's boys team scored 99.33 points to place second of 14 squads in the Division I, district 3 meet at home, behind champion Dublin Coffman (116.5).