Placing nerves aside, Kate Francisco and Josh Woods were the first two athletes from the Marysville High School boys and girls track and field teams to qualify for the Division I state meet Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.

Placing nerves aside, Kate Francisco and Josh Woods were the first two athletes from the Marysville High School boys and girls track and field teams to qualify for the Division I state meet Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.

At the first day of the regional last Wednesday at Pickerington North, Francisco finished second in the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 5 inches, just behind Pickerington Central's Abena Acheampong (5-6). Woods was third in the long jump with a best of 22-5 behind Big Walnut's Eugene Cannaday (23-2 3/4) and Wapakoneta's Jason Bartlett (22-6 1/2).

"Kate was so calm and ready to compete," coach J.R. Cooper said. "She had her best day of the year by far.

"With Josh, the pressure didn't seem to effect him much. That's one of his best traits."

The top four in each event at the regional advanced to state.

Woods competed at state last year and finished eighth with a jump of 21-1. Cleveland Glenville's Tyshaun Peoples was first (23-1).

"Almost all of Josh's jumps (last Wednesday) were in the 22-foot range," Cooper said. "He's very consistent. I'm pleased to see that. His best this year was 22-10 1/2. I wouldn't be surprised if he could go farther than that at state. He'll be calm because he's been there before. He has a chance to do well."

In regional preliminaries last Wednesday, Woods was ninth in the 200 meters (22.3) seconds and joined Andrew Diehl, Bryan Barrett and Hayes Chrispin on the ninth-place 1,600 relay (3:25.85). The top eight advanced to the finals last Friday.

Francisco is making her first appearance at state. Last season, she finished 10th at the regional by clearing 5-2. Her jump last Wednesday is a program record.

"She was really nervous and real jittery at regional last year," Cooper said. "She learned from that experience.

"I think there is room for her to do better at state. She's been going after that 5-5 all season. Now that she is over 5-5 that was a big mental block for her. I think she can go higher than that."

At the district 1 meet, which concluded May 23 at Dublin Coffman, the boys team was 10th (34) behind champion Gahanna (123) and the girls team was ninth (31) behind champion New Albany (108.5).

Woods won the long jump (21-9) and was third in the 200 (22.32) and Diehl finished second in the high jump (6-0).

Francisco finished second in the high jump (5-4), Emily Sattler was second in the 800 (2:20.4) and Brooke Brown was third in the 1,600 (5:21.03).

"We've definitely grown as a team on both sides," Cooper said. "The kids are starting to see which direction we're trying to take the program. We want to become consistent and compete with the better teams in the OCC and central Ohio. This year the kids worked very hard to get themselves up to that high level."