The Watkins Memorial High School boys track and field team won its second consecutive Division I district championship.
The Warriors won just one event in the 17-team district 2 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby, but their depth enabled them to score 108 points to top runner-up Lancaster (93.5) for the team title. Olentangy Liberty (69) was third.
"We value a balanced team where we make a difference in every event," coach Marty Dahlman said. "We scored in just about every event. We pretty much did what we've been doing. Our kids expect to run their best at the league, district and beyond, so they met their own expectations and goals."
The 1,600-meter relay of Chance Abbitt, Jerrod Lyon, Desmond Melson and Gerald Brewer won in a program-record 3 minutes, 20.97 seconds.
The top four finishers in each district event qualified for regional, which was held May 28 and 30 at Pickerington North. The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state, which will be held Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Ohio State.
"I was impressed with Chance Abbitt, who ran a top-10 time in the state in the 400 (48.9) and did not qualify for the regional because he finished fifth," Dahlman said. "He came back and ran a solid anchor leg in the first-place (1,600 relay)."
All four relays qualified for regional. The 400 relay of Solomon Broomfield, Evan Caniff, Hunter Holton and Donovan Garrison (43.38) and the 800 relay of Garrison, Broomfield, Caniff and Lyon (1:30.41) both placed third, and the 3,200 relay of Andrew Jordan, Abbitt, Jordan Rice and Austin Dowis finished fourth (8:06.84).
Placing second were Brewer in the 300 hurdles (39.59), Garrison in the 200 (22.15) and Jordan in the 3,200 (program-record 9:31.26).
"Gerrick Brewer is a freshman who ran sub-40 (sec-onds) in the 300 hurdles, then came back with a (personal-record) split in the school-record (1,600 relay)," Dahl-man said. "Andrew Jordan ran a gutty 3,200 to set a school record. Donovan Garrison came back from a terrible 100 to qualify with the (800 and 400 relays) and finish second in the 200."
Also qualifying for regional were Holton in the high jump (third, 6 feet, 4 inches) and 110 hurdles (third, 15.31), Jarod Worcester in the pole vault (third, 14-0), Jake Correll in the 110 hurdles (fourth, 15.34), Lyon in the long jump (fourth, 21-4 1/2) and Rice in the 1,600 (fourth, 4:26.28).
"We had so many PRs, and not just from the (regional) qualifiers," Dahlman said. "It was a great day for Watkins track. We won our third district championship and second in Division I. We won a Division II district title in 1998."
Competing in finals on the first day of regional, Lyon finished sixth in the long jump (20-7 1/2), Worcester tied for eighth in the pole vault (13-0) and the 3,200 relay finished 11th (8:17.65).
Girls team places third in district
Jamie Woosley led the girls team to a third-place finish in the 18-team district 2 meet.
The junior won the 1,600 (4:58.09) and placed second in the 3,200 (11:18.25) behind Upper Arlington's Ann Heuerman (11:11.09), as Watkins Memorial scored 63 points to finish behind Gahanna (150) and Thomas Worthington (91).
"Woosley ran great," coach Nathan Corum said. "She had a plan for the 1,600 and she executed it great and set a school record. The 3,200 was tough, but the girl that beat her (Heuerman) was fresh."
Also advancing to regional were the 400 relay of McKenzie Biniker, Monica Tumblin, Rachel Lawwell and Kelsey Grove (second, program-record 49.76), the 800 relay of Biniker, Kara Robinson, Grove and Lawwell (second, program-record 1:43.58), Samantha Hyme in the 800 (fourth, 2:18.84), Biniker in the 200 (fourth, 25.74) and Sammi Miller in the pole vault (fourth, 10-4).
"Hyme had a fantastic 800 run," Corum said. "She went out to try to qualify and did by running her best time by five seconds. Biniker has been running great all year and she had her best run when she needed it. Sammi had a good day and vaulted really well. The 400 and 800 relays continue to get faster."
Finishing fifth were the 3,200 relay of Raechal Shoenberger, Hyme, Josie Cotugno and Woosley (9:50.96) and Kara Robinson in the 100 hurdles (15.46). Robinson was edged for the final regional berth by Westerville South's Brielle Collier (15.45).
"I was happy with almost everything," Corum said. "The two teams that beat us are both really good and we were solid all the way around. We were close to getting a few more out, with the 3,200 relay and Kara (Robinson) in the 100 hurdles both placing fifth. I was sad for Kara because she ran her best race of the season and just missed."