Jerrod Lyon capped his career with the Watkins Memorial High School boys track and field team on a high note.
The senior ran the third leg of the 1,600-meter relay that placed fourth in 3 minutes, 19.75 seconds in the Division I state meet held June 6 and 7 at Ohio State. Sophomore Desmond Melson led off the relay, freshman Gerald Brewer ran the second leg and junior Chance Abbitt ran the anchor leg.
Lyon maneuvered the Warriors from near the back of the nine-team field to the middle and Abbitt nearly caught the final runner for third-place Sylvania Southview (3:19.66), Jernard Pinckney, while holding off challenges from the anchor runners for fifth-place Mentor (3:19.81) and sixth-place Mason (3:20.15).
"That's my job -- to chase down what's in front of me and get us in position for Chance to bring us home," Lyon said. "It was a phenomenal race and you can hear the crowd when someone makes a big move. It's exciting and it was a great way to finish my career."
"We're the upperclassmen in this race and we knew we had to do it," Abbitt said. "It was so close. I thought I could get to third and went for it. I think everyone ran well. This is just a great feeling."
The Warriors did not score in any other event and tied six teams for 41st with five points behind champion Cleveland Glenville (40) as 71 teams scored.
Also at state, the 400 relay of junior Tyler Culpepper, sophomore Evan Caniff, senior Hunter Holton and senior Donovan Garrison finished 13th (43.1) and the 800 relay of Abbitt, Caniff, Lyon and Garrison finished 14th (1:29.32).
The state meet culminated a season in which the Warriors won the LCL title and a second consecutive district championship.
In the LCL meet May 15 and 17, Watkins Memorial scored 189 points to finish ahead of Granville (112), Licking Heights (79), Heath (77.5), Newark Catholic (52.5), Lakewood (51.5), Utica (41.5), Licking Valley (38), Northridge (12) and Johnstown (7).
Holton won two individual league titles, finishing first in both the 110 hurdles (15.51) and high jump (6 feet, 6 inches). Also winning league titles were Garrison in the 100 (11.14), Brewer in the 300 hurdles (40.05), sophomore Andrew Jordan in the 3,200 (9:55.42), the 400 relay (43.81), the 1,600 relay (3:23.1) and the 3,200 relay (8:08.9).
The Warriors won the 17-team district 2 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby even though they won only one event -- the 1,600 relay (3:20.97). Their depth helped them score 108 points to finish ahead of runner-up Lancaster (93.5).
Watkins Memorial finished seventh (31.5) in the regional meet held May 28 and 30, behind champion and host Pickerington North (74) as 37 teams scored.
The 800 relay was runner-up (1:28.17), the 400 relay placed third (42.68) and the 1,600 relay finished fourth (3:19.79).
Also scoring at regional were Jordan in the 3,200 (sixth, program-record 9:21.24), Brewer in the 300 hurdles (sixth, 39.37), Lyon in the long jump (sixth, 20-7 1/2), senior Jordan Rice in the 1,600 (seventh, 4:23.79) Holton in the 110 hurdles (eighth, 15.37) and senior Jarod Worcester in the pole vault (eighth, 13-0).
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.
The Warriors lose 18 seniors, including Garrison, Holton, Lyons, Rice and Worcester.
Expected key returnees include Abbitt, Brewer, Caniff, Culpepper, Jordan, Melson and junior Garrett Robinson.
"It was a wonderful season," coach Marty Dahlman said. "We were league champions and repeated as district champions and qualified a ton of competitors to regional. We had (personal records) and season-bests throughout the postseason. Who could ask for more?
"Plus, I think we have a lot of young talent returning and our depth was good, so I'm looking forward to another great year next year."
Woosley places 4th at state in 1,600
Josie Woosley of the girls track and field team was more relaxed in her third trip to the Division I state meet.
The junior finished fourth in the 1,600 (4:59.38) after finishing 11th in the 1,600 (5:14.9) last season and 12th in the 800 (2:18.1) in 2012.
"This is my third time at state and it's the first time I reached the podium, and it's exhilarating," Woosley said. "I think I ran a smarter race this time.
"Plus, I was more relaxed and was able to enjoy it. People have told me in the past that I should try to enjoy the experience, so I actually did look into the crowd heading into the final 100 meters and I was smiling."
Woosley was the only state qualifier for Watkins Memorial, which scored five points to tie three teams for 39th behind champion Solon (47) as 77 teams scored.
Woosley advanced to state by placing third in the 1,600 (5:01.57) at regional. She also had qualified for regional in the 3,200, but did not compete in the event, opting to concentrate on the 1,600.
Watkins Memorial scored 15 points at regional to finish 13th behind Pickerington Central (75) as 41 teams scored.
The 400 relay of juniors McKenzie Biniker and Monica Tumblin and sophomores Rachel Lawwell and Kelsey Grove placed fifth (program-record 49.09), just .12 of a second behind the final state qualifier, Northland (48.97).
Biniker also came up short in the 200, finishing fifth (25.44) as Pickerington Central's Cortisha Short placed fourth (25.26).
Also competing at regional were freshman Samantha Hyme in the 800 (eighth, 2:20.31), sophomore Sammi Miller in the pole vault (tied for ninth, 10-6) and the 800 relay of Biniker, junior Kara Robinson, Grove and Lawwell (disqualified).
Watkins Memorial finished third (63) in the 17-team district 2 meet behind Gahanna (150) and Thomas Worthington (91).
Woosley won the 1,600 (4:58.09) and placed second in the 3,200 (11:18.25). The 400 relay (49.76) and the 800 relay (program-record 1:43.58) both finished second. Hyme placed fourth in the 800 (2:18.84), Biniker finished fourth in the 200 (25.74) and Miller placed fourth in the pole vault (10-4).
Watkins Memorial scored 180 points in the LCL meet to finish first, ahead of Granville (164.5), Licking Heights (82.5), Heath (63.5), Newark Catholic (56.25), Licking Valley (42), Johnstown (23.25), Northridge (21), Utica (19) and Lakewood (8).
Winning league titles were Woosley in the 3,200 (11:13.27), Miller in the pole vault (10-7), Biniker in the 200 (26.22), freshman Lindsey Finnegan in the high jump (5-2), the 400 relay (51.17) and the 800 relay (1:45.73).
The Warriors lose five seniors but expect to return several key athletes, including Biniker, Finnegan, Grove, Hyme, Lawwell, Miller, Robinson, Tumblin and Woosley.
"We've got most of our scoring returning and these girls got some great experience this year," coach Nathan Corum said. "We had a very good season overall and, if we can improve in some areas such as throws and jumps, we should have an even better year next year."