With his team trailing Dublin Coffman by 3.5 points heading into the final event of the OCC-Central Division meet, Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field coach Matt Beatty nervously paced near the finish line, figuring out the meet's mathematics in his head.
Beatty soon realized that Iman Batist, Lizzy Litzinger, Ashley Blake and Lauren Hoover not only had to win the 1,600-meter relay, but they had to finish at least two positions ahead of Coffman in order for the Wildcats to win the meet, which was held May 16 and 18 at Thomas Worthington.
Davidson took the lead early in the event, but Beatty's heart sank when he saw Coffman move into second place in the second leg. However, in the final 200 meters, the runners for Upper Arlington and Thomas passed the Shamrocks' anchor runner, securing the league title for the Wildcats.
Davidson won 1,600 relay in 4 minutes, 4.16 seconds, with UA (4:08.65), Thomas (4:10.38) and Coffman (4:10.91) rounding out the top four.
The Wildcats, who won their first league championship since 2010, finished with 141.5 points. Coffman (140) was second, followed by Olentangy Liberty (110), UA (97), Thomas (79.5), Central Crossing (49), Marys-ville (36) and Westland (9).
"You never want to be in a position where you need someone to help you win a meet like this, and as I was waiting for the race to end, I was about ready to throw up," Beatty said. "I didn't know we were going to win the 1,600 relay because I wasn't sure who Coffman was going to put out there. Coffman was in second until the fourth lap, but we knew that the girl from Thomas Worthington is an awesome runner and we knew that she could catch Coffman's runner, and fortunately for us, she did."
In addition to anchoring the winning 1,600 relay, Hoover won the 800 (2:16.17) and 1,600 (5:08.71) and teamed with Lilly Saniel-Banrey, Elsa Saelens and Jane Heines to place third in the 3,200 relay (9:45.03).
"I was really tired because of the heat, so I had to really focus to do this well here," Hoover said. "Winning the OCC as a team is really special."
Also finishing first were the 400 relay of Batist, Maddie Gallagher, Mackenzie Brown and Litzinger (51.23), Molly Balcer in the long jump (16 feet, 9 1/2 inches) and high jump (5-2) and Brown in the pole vault (10-0).
Placing second were Blake in both the 100 (12.73) and 200 (26.09) and Olivia Canestraro in the long jump (16-2 3/4).
"We've been the bridesmaid all year, so it's nice to finally see all of the girls' hard work rewarded," Beatty said. "The biggest surprise for us was winning the high jump and long jump.
"This was a great team effort with contributions from a lot of different people."
The Wildcats are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week at Darby. The meet began May 21, continues Thursday, May 23, and concludes Saturday, May 25.
The top four finishers advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 29, and May 31 at Pickerington North.
"Our district is really difficult with loaded teams like Pickerington North and Pickerington Central," Beatty said. "But based on how well we're competing, I think we may do well at district and regional."
Davidson boys win third straight OCC title
The Davidson boys team scored 204.5 points to easily win the OCC-Central title for the third consecutive season.
Liberty (127) placed second, followed by Thomas (75), Coffman (72.5), UA (61), Marysville (53), Westland (31) and Central Crossing (28).
"It's always special to win the OCC, because when you lose a good senior class and then lose some other kids to injuries, you don't know if it's going to happen," coach Jim Smith said. "We had three people score in the 400, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, and that helped a lot."
Phillipie Motley won the 200 (22.11) and 100 (10.96) and teamed with Dametrius Clark, Jonathan Ellis and Joe Bernard to win the 1,600 relay (3:25.22) and with Clark, Michael Kreiser and Damarcus Nelson to win the 400 relay (43.51).
Bernard also won two individual events, finishing first in the high jump (6-2) and 400 (49.74), and Tyler Anthony won the discus (151-3) ahead of runner-up and teammate Drew Brown (140-9).
"Phillipie won everything he competed in to score (40) points for us," Smith said. "Joe didn't even run track last year because he had sore knees and he had a great meet. The key was carrying the field events, which carried into the running. We went 1-2 in the discus, and that was big."
The Wildcats are competing in the Division I, district 2 meet, which began May 21, continued May 22 and concludes Saturday, May 25, at Darby.
"It would be nice to win our district, but our goal is to progress as many kids as we can to the regional and state meets," Smith said.
Darby boys place fourth in league meet
The Darby boys team finished fourth (87) in the OCC-Cardinal meet May 16 and 18 at Bradley, behind Westerville Central (138), Westerville North (118.5) and Westerville South (101.5).
Dublin Jerome (75) was fifth, followed by Bradley (56), Dublin Scioto (45) and Worthington Kilbourne (37).
Jaleel Johnson won the high jump (6-5), and placing second were Collin Rack in the 100 (11.29) and the 800 relay of Rack, Cal Kelleher, Dwayne Oates and Timothy Lines (1:31.37).
The Darby girls team finished sixth (59.5) in the OCC-Cardinal meet, behind Westerville South (123), Westerville North (121), Scioto (88.5), Westerville Central (87) and Bradley (78) and ahead of Kilbourne (53) and Jerome (53). Jordan Alexander placed second in the 300 hurdles (47.32) and Julissa Poullet finished third in the 1,600 (5:19.29) and 3,200 (11:45.77).
Both the boys and girls teams are competing in the Division I, district 3 meet, which began May 22, continues Thursday, May 23, and concludes Saturday, May 25, at Darby.
Bradley girls place fifth in league meet
Kayla Malik helped the Bradley girls team place fifth in the OCC-Cardinal meet.
Malik had the Jaguars' only first-place finish, winning the 100 (12.62). The 400 relay of Sarah Taylor, Malik, Hope Sawchuk and Sydney Rings placed second (50.7) and Sara Reitz placed second in the long jump (16-9 3/4).
The Bradley boys team finished sixth in the OCC-Cardinal meet. Matt Johnson finished second in the 200 (22.72) and 400 (50.17) and teamed with Patrick Enright, Demias Heard and Daniel Tepe to win the 800 relay (1:30.56).
Both the boys and girls teams are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week.