Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field coach Matt Beatty believes his team has a reasonable shot at defending its OCC-Central Division title.
In order to return home from the league meet Thursday, May 15, and Saturday, May 17, at Thomas Worthington with the championship, the Wildcats need their top athletes to excel and their supporting cast to chip in points.
Among the top athletes are Molly Balcer (high jump/long jump), Mackenzie Brown (pole vault), sprinters Iman Batiste and Ashley Blake and distance and middle distance runners Jane Haines, Jane Onders and Lilly Saniel-Banrey.
"Our heavy hitters will need to score well for us again, but we'll need to score in all of the events to challenge for the league meet title," Beatty said. "We've been a little inconsistent in some areas this year, so we'll need to put it all together on the same day to do well."
Davidson scored 141.5 points in the OCC-Central meet last year to edge Dublin Coffman (140) for the title. The Wildcats trailed Shamrocks by 3.5 points heading into the final event, but Batiste, Blake and 2013 graduates Lizzy Litzinger and Lauren Hoover won the 1,600-meter relay (4 minutes, 4.16 seconds) to secure the title. Coffman finished fourth (4:10.91) in the event.
"Who is favored to win our meet isn't as clear-cut as it used to be," Beatty said. "As always, Dublin Coffman is a threat because they have some heavy hitters and their depth is real good.
"But Thomas Worthington and Olentangy Liberty also have really strong teams and Marysville has a lot of strong individuals, so it looks to be wide open."
Davidson scored 114 points in a tri-meet May 6 to finish well ahead of Darby (42) and Bradley (16).
Angel Garbrandt won the discus (101 feet, 5 inches) and shot put (35-3), Balcer won the high jump (5-2) and long jump (16-5) and Blake won both the 100 (1:03.18) and 200 (26.63).
The Wildcats also made a good showing in the Huber Heights Wayne Invitational on May 1 and 2, placing sixth (42) of 39 teams as Mason (90.6) won.
Balcer won the high jump (5-4) and placed fifth in the long jump (16-8). Onders finished second in the 3,200 (program-record 10:55.96) and the distance medley relay of Saniel-Banrey, Batiste, Blake and Onders finished second (12:26.25).
The Davidson boys team is aiming for its fifth consecutive league title.
Last season, the Wildcats scored 204.5 points in the OCC-Central meet to finish well ahead of Liberty (127). Phillipie Motley helped score 40 points, winning both the 200 (22.11) and 100 (10.96), teaming with Dametrius Clark, 2013 graduate Jonathan Ellis and Joe Bernard to win the 1,600 relay (3:25.22) and combining with Clark, 2013 graduate Michael Kreiser and Damarcus Nelson to win the 400 relay (43.51).
The Wildcats scored 113.5 points in a tri-meet May 7 to finish ahead of Darby (37) and Bradley (24.5).
Drew Brown won the shot put (50-7) and discus (137-0), Motley won the 200 (23.9) and 100 (11.43) and Nelson won both the 300 hurdles (41.18) and long jump (20-7).
Davidson finished fifth (57) in the Huber Heights Wayne Invitational behind champion Pickerington North (82).
Motley finished second in the 100 (10.89). Finishing third were Nelson in the triple jump (43-5), the 1,600 relay of Bernard, Nelson, Clark and Motley (3:23.28), Garrett Knapik in the 3,200 (9:28.66) and Jacob Ross in the high jump (6-2).
Bradley girls expect strong finish in OCC
The Bradley girls team expects to challenge for the title when it plays host to the OCC-Cardinal meet Thursday, May 15, and Saturday, May 17.
Last year, the Jaguars finished fifth (78) behind champion Westerville South (123) as Darby (59.5) came in sixth.
"We'd like to finish in the top two of the OCC-Cardinal meet and I think we have the ability to do that well," coach Thom Nees said. "Canal Winchester, Dublin Scioto and Dublin Jerome all have real good teams, so it's going to be a tough meet. We have good long jumpers and high jumpers, so we should score well in the field events. We're pretty balanced in the distance races and sprints, too."
The Jaguars played host to the Bradley Invitational on May 10, but the meet was halted after only five events because of bad weather.
The 3,200 relay of Tes Corea, Ciera Allen, Jenna Fodor and Emily Wright finished third (10:05.7).
"It was disappointing that our meet was canceled, but our girls ran a great 3,200 relay and came close to breaking our team record in that race," Nees said.
The Jaguars finished second (112) in the 14-team All-Star Invitational May 2 and 3 at Hamilton Township, behind Columbus School for Girls (116).
Finishing first were Ariel Brown in the 100 (13.05) and 200 (27.15) and Sarah Taylor in the 100 hurdles (16.88). Corea finished second in the 1,600 (5:21.96) and third in the 800 (2:30.02).
"We have a solid team this year and I'm very pleased with how we're running," Nees said. "If we ran a few of our girls in an extra event we probably could have won (the All-Star Invitational), but we're more interested in keeping our kids healthy for the more important meets at the end of the season."
The boys team finished sixth (56) in the OCC-Cardinal meet last year behind champion Westerville Central (138) as Darby finished fourth (87).
In the Bradley Invitational, the 3,200 relay of Ben Goebel, John Tejada, Zach Leahy and Luke Rehbeck finished third (8:31.68).
The Jaguars finished second (99) in the 17-team All-Star Invitational behind Gahanna (115).
Finishing first were Trey Anderson in both the 100 (11.36) and 200 (22.87) and the 1,600 relay of Matt Johnson, Aaron Scales, Goebel and Demias Heard (3:29.08).
Panthers ready for OCC-Cardinal meet
The Darby boys and girls teams are looking to improve on last year's finishes in the OCC-Cardinal meet.
In the Bradley Invitational, Josh Humbert won the shot put (51-5 1/2) and Isiah Thomas finished third in the long jump (20-8) to lead the boys team.
The Panthers finished sixth (64) in the 13-team Gary Smith Memorial on May 3 at Thomas Worthington, behind champion Watkins Memorial (144).
Humbert won both the shot put (52-2 1/2) and discus (162-2) and the 400 relay of Alex Jones, Cal Kelleher, Tim Lines and Collin Rack finished first (43.38). Chase Hampton was second in the 800 (1:58.33).
The girls team finished seventh (56.75) in the 10-team Fulton Relays on April 25 at Lancaster, behind champion Upper Arlington (99).
The high jump relay of Janel Kuebler (4-8) and Kiera Toliver (4-6) placed second. Finishing third were the discus relay of Lauren Iosue (91-7) and Lynsey Day (90-10), the long jump relay of Grace Keller (15-0 1/4) and Alaysia Smith (15-0 1/4) and the 400 shuttle hurdle relay of Toliver, Lindsey Bennardo, Tia McLaughlin and Cheyanne Botello (1:10.48).