Watkins Memorial High School boys track and field coach Marty Dahlman has been looking for a good barometer as to how his team might perform in the postseason.
The Dick Dei Pepsi Classic on April 13 at Wheeling (W.Va.) Park may have provided some insight.
The Warriors scored 167 points to win the event, finishing ahead of runner-up Dayton Dunbar (126) as nine teams scored.
"We competed and scored in every single event and scored high in most events," Dahlman said. "We need to see our team like that, and I want to see my kids have that pressure."
Watkins Memorial returned home with eight first-place finishes, including Michael McKean in the 3,200 meters (9 minutes, 56.9 seconds), Ethan George in the 300 hurdles (40.8), the 1,600 relay of Chance Abbitt, Vinny Anderson, Connor Severino and Ethan George (3:30.13) and the 440 shuttle hurdle relay of Hunter Holton, Nick Hix, Jake Correll and George (1:00.12).
"We beat Dayton Dunbar (in the 1,600 relay), which is pretty good for us because Dunbar is a traditionally strong power," Dahlman said. "If we can beat them on the track in sprints, then we are going in the right direction."
The Warriors took first in four of the five field events, with Hunter Holton winning the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches), Jerrod Lyon winning the long jump (19-11), Bradon Oney winning the pole vault (12-6) and Nic Eader winning the discus (144-8). Eader was runner-up in the shot put (47-1) and Luke Ronay placed second in the long jump (19-1).
"We've seen some solid competition and our guys have risen to the occasion," Dahlman said. "We're going to have to go up against New Albany in (the OCC-Capital Division) meet (May 16 and 18). (New Albany has) weaknesses, but they are as solid as anybody."
The girls team also won the Dick Dei Pepsi Classic.
Watkins Memorial scored 108 points to edge runner-up Wheeling Park as nine teams scored.
Finishing first for the Warriors were the 400 shuttle hurdle relay of Riki Miles, Monica Tumblin, Shannon Barth and Kara Robinson (1:07.48) and Josie Woosley in the 3,200 (11:55.62).
Woosley placed second in the 1,600 (5:40.71) and the 400 relay of McKenzie Binker, Tumblin, Stori Davis and Kelsey Grove (53.21), the 1,600 relay of Robinson, Rachel Lawwell, Grove and Veda Durbin (4:22.05) and the 3,200 relay of Durbin, Claire Snode, Jessica Jimison and Josie Cotugno (11:07.97) each placed third.
Boys tennis team out to good start in OCC
The boys tennis team is out to a good start in the OCC-Capital championship after placing sixth in the league last spring.
Watkins Memorial, which returned three players from a year ago in seniors Dylan Clear, Max Nader and Austin Williams, was 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital after losing 3-2 to Big Walnut on April 18.
Last season, the Warriors went 3-4 in league matches and finished the league tournament with 23 points to finish behind New Albany (77, 7-0), Olentangy Orange (45, 5-2), Big Walnut (44, 6-1), Delaware (38, 4-3) and Hilliard Bradley (25, 2-5) in the overall standings and ahead of Mount Vernon (14, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (2, 0-7).
"We're very pleased that everyone has shown improvement from last year," coach Shawn Walter said. "We've won the majority of the points from singles matches and guys on junior varsity have stepped up to take over roles in our doubles matches."
Watkins Memorial opened OCC-Capital play with a 4-1 win over Delaware on April 9 and beat Mount Vernon 5-0 on April 16. It plays host to Franklin Heights in a league match Tuesday, April 23.
Clear has been playing first singles, with Williams and Nader playing second and third singles, respectively. Juniors Ryan Cash and Andy Lyons have been playing first doubles, with senior Jordan Parks and sophomore Derek Clear playing second doubles.
Walter has been pleased with the play of varsity newcomers Cash, Lyons, Parks and Derek Clear.
"Not only that, we've got four guys just below them who are battling to get in the lineup, so we're pretty deep," Walter said.
The Warriors' non-league wins have come against Columbus West (4-1 on April 4), Newark (5-0 on April 12), Bloom-Carroll (4-1 on April 15) and Groveport (4-1 on April 17).
"The one thing our team has done is improve on their serve," Walter said. "I think our three singles players are averaging two (or) three aces a match, and that's really good to see."
Sexton leads baseball team in shutout
The baseball team was 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital before playing April 19 at Big Walnut.
Watkins Memorial defeated visiting Big Walnut 4-0 on April 17 for its third consecutive victory, as pitcher Dan Sexton allowed only three hits and a walk and had eight strikeouts and shortstop Charlie Schmidt went 2-for-3 with two RBI.