Watkins Memorial High School boys track and field coach Marty Dahlman has plenty of 2011 graduates to replace, and a pair of seniors who were Division I regional qualifiers are not with the team, either.

Watkins Memorial High School boys track and field coach Marty Dahlman has plenty of 2011 graduates to replace, and a pair of seniors who were Division I regional qualifiers are not with the team, either.

But that still hasn't tamed Dahlman's enthusiasm for his 30th season with the Warriors.

"I'll be OK. I don't think I have any more gray hair than I had before," he said with a laugh. "We've got a typical Watkins team. We can run. We can jump. We can throw."

The Warriors opened March 24 by totaling 127 points to finish second behind Logan (154.5) in the 16-team home Icebreaker Invitational.

The highlights included sophomore Hunter Holton's victories in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) and triple jump (38-3). Senior Erich Vlaar won the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 32.5 seconds) while classmate Taylor Williams was second in the 3,200 (10:11.5), and both of them return from last year's regional-qualifying 3,200 relay (13th, 8:21.22). Junior Ethan George won the 300 high hurdles (40.9) in the Icebreaker and was a regional qualifier (seventh, 41.64) last spring.

The junior class, which includes Connor Severino and Brenden Kemp, will be key in the sprint events, and senior Le'Trel Taylor also returns. Taylor and Kemp were part of the 800 relay that advanced to last year's state meet, although it did not post a time, and set the school record (1:29.13) during the regional preliminaries. Kemp also was on the regional-qualifying 400 relay (seventh, 43.56) that set the school record (43.07) during the preliminaries. Taylor advanced to regional in the 400 (10th, 51.04).

The 400 relay also was comprised of graduates Connor Sensabaugh, Devonte Marable and Joey Rich, all of whom were major contributors as the Warriors won a fourth consecutive OCC-Capital Division title. They totaled 156 points in the league meet to finish ahead of New Albany (155), Big Walnut (103), Hilliard Bradley (82), Olentangy Orange (60), Franklin Heights (41), Mount Vernon (36) and Delaware (27).

Seniors Justin Dowis and Jordan Elizondo are not back after advancing to regional in the 800 and 1,600, respectively.

The Warriors, who also lost graduate Cameron Johnson, a regional qualifier in the pole vault, were second (107) behind Pickerington Central (126) in last year's district 2 meet and tied for 21st (14) at regional behind co-champions Thomas Worthington and Westerville North (37 each). Rich advanced to the regional in the long jump and Sensabaugh qualified in the 400, and Marable and Sensabaugh also were on the 800 relay.

The Warriors, who totaled 111 points to defeat Jonathan Alder (38) and Teays Valley (25) in a tri-meet March 27, also return senior Mitchell Novotni (pole vault), juniors Jacob Sanders (throws), Nic Eader (throws), Vinny Anderson (sprints, relays), Mike McKean (distance events) and Charlie Mollenkopf (jumps) and sophomore Brandon Oney (pole vault).

Holton placed sixth in the high jump (6-4) in the state indoor meet March 17 at the University of Akron.

"We lose Joey Rich, but we pick up Hunter Holton," said Dahlman, whose team will join the girls for a home meet with Bradley on Tuesday, April 3, before competing in the Dick Houston Relays on Thursday, April 5, at Licking Valley. "We'll find ways to replace the points we graduated. Our throwers are better, and we didn't lose any hurdlers. We have a lot of the sprint group back, too."

•The girls team has plenty of points to replace as well. Last year's graduates included Kayla Brown, who set the school record in the high jump (5-4) while placing ninth at state, and Morgan Reichert, an Ohio University signee who advanced to state in the 1,600. Also graduating were regional participants Rachel Arnott (pole vault), Mallory Warrington (shot put) and Logan Visnick (shot put, discus), who won the district 2 title in the discus (111-3).

Reichert won district titles in the 1,600 (5:14.54) and 3,200 (11:40.51), and she set the school record in the 3,200 (11:29.01) as the Warriors (152.5) captured their third consecutive OCC-Capital championship, finishing ahead of Big Walnut (119), New Albany (86), Bradley (85), Mount Vernon (64), Franklin Heights (63.5), Orange (59) and Delaware (27) in the league meet.

Still, fourth-year coach Nathan Corum likes his distance group. Senior Mara White returns to lead the Warriors, who placed fourth (9:40.42) in the 3,200 relay in the state indoor meet, and classmate Kara Sparks appears to be healthy after injuries limited her production a year ago. White placed fifth in the state indoor meet in the 800 (2:21.23).

White won the 1,600 (5:19.7) in the Icebreaker Invitational as the Warriors finished third (87) behind Hilliard Darby (114.5) and Gahanna (94.5). Junior Veda Durbin was second in the 3,200 (12:34.2). The 3,200 relay also prevailed (10:27.5), as did senior Taylor Amrine in the pole vault (9-6) and freshman Josie Woosley in the 800 (2:28.4). Senior Alison Gillilan, who placed eighth in the state indoor meet in the weight throw (44-1), took third in the discus (97-4) and was fourth in the shot put (33-5) in the opening meet.

"Alison's been stuck behind a couple of pretty good throwers in the past, but now she's getting a chance to show what she can do and so will some others," said Corum, whose team totaled 95 points to defeat the Pioneers (65.5) and Vikings (15.5) on March 27. "We'll still hold our own in the distance events, and I think we're looking solid in most areas, really."

Amrine was a regional qualifier last spring in the pole vault (fifth, 10-0), and junior Ginny Cortes and sophomore Ricki Miles also return after taking part in the relays. A big group of freshmen includes Maddie Berry (sprints) and Kara Robinson (hurdles), and junior Stephanie Robb (sprints, middle distance) is back after attending a different school last year. Another sophomore to watch is Atyauna Jones, who placed fifth in the 400 (1:03) in the opening meet.

"Given what we lost (to graduation), we're still trying to figure out where all the parts fit," said Corum, whose team was the district runner-up (70) behind Hilliard Davidson (109) last spring and finished 10th (20.5) at the regional won by Reynoldsburg (88). "Jumps and hurdles are where we really lost a lot, so we've got some work to do before the (OCC-Capital) meet, which should be more wide open this year."