The Marysville High School boys track and field team opened the Division I regional meet by securing a berth at state.
At regional May 29 at Pickerington North, the 3,200-meter relay of Clay Cochran, Jordan Bollmann, Josh Brady and Nick Williams finished third in a season-best 8 minutes, 3.25 seconds.
The regional concluded May 31. Williams competed in the 800 that day.
The top four finishers in each event qualified for state, which will be held Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at Ohio State.
Michael Coffey and Josh McPheron are alternates on the 3,200 relay.
"As the head coach, I am truly a 50-50 split," J.B. Ritchie said. "Fifty percent is overjoyed and 50 percent of me thought (the state meet) was within this group's reach. Now the trick is to refocus and shoot for the podium at Jesse Owens Stadium (later this) week."
The Monarchs were sixth when Williams, the anchor, took the baton. The junior made up ground on his second lap to earn the state berth for the relay.
"I stayed behind on my first lap and then started to catch people on the backstretch," Williams said. "The coaches were telling me to push it. I was able to do that at the end."
Westerville North's Evan Larrick, Trevor Dilley, Jacob Dumford and Nick Horton won the race in 7:45.49.
Williams is looking forward to competing in his first state meet.
"It's going to be great to be able to see what we can do against the best in the state," he said.
Freshman Hunter Harding finished 14th in the discus (119 feet, 5 inches) at regional.
In the 15-team district 1 meet May 22, 23 and 25 at Hilliard Darby, the boys tied Olentangy for eighth (32 points) behind champion Pickerington North (159.5).
Cochran, Coffey, Brady and Williams were fourth in the 3,200 relay (8:06.16), Harding was fourth in the discus (132-4) and Williams was fourth in the 800 (1:56.13).
The girls finished 16th (6.5) in district 1 behind champion Hilliard Davidson (90).
Finishing sixth were Jessica Wickline in the discus (95-1) and Monica Miller in the shot put (34-8).
Softball team 'peaked midseason'
The softball team finished 21-7 overall after losing to sixth-seeded and eventual district champion Gahanna 9-2 in a Division I district semifinal May 21 at Pickerington North.
After a first-round bye, third-seeded Marysville defeated 25th-seeded Briggs 10-0 in five innings in the second round May 16 at home.
The Monarchs went 11-3 in the OCC-Central Division to share the league title with Olentangy Liberty.
Marysville had a one-game lead with two league contests remaining, but lost at home to Liberty 3-1 on May 7 and at Davidson 2-1 on May 8.
Liberty lost at home to Thomas Worthington 3-0 on May 8 to force the tie.
Marysville and Liberty finished ahead of Thomas (9-5), Upper Arlington (8-6), Central Crossing (6-8), Davidson (6-8), Dublin Coffman (5-9) and Westland (0-14).
"The season goes fast and the goal is to peak and hold that peak play throughout the tournament," coach Jennifer Segner-Maxwell said. "We peaked midseason and carried that for much of the season, which resulted in us winning the league. Unfortunately, we did not carry that momentum at the end of our regular season and into the tournament.
"I believe this team had the talent, but we lost momentum. I was pleased this season."
Third baseman Kyleah Brey, who was one of five seniors on the team, shared the Player of the Year award in the league with Liberty's Kristen Adkins after hitting .405 with a team-high 25 RBI.
Brey also had seven doubles and three home runs and was first-team all-district.
Senior center fielder Taylor Hicks was first-team all-league after hitting .414 with five doubles and a triple.
"This was a great senior class," Segner-Maxwell said. "They kept the drama that can happen on any team to a minimum. They worked hard and demanded excellence from the underclassmen."
Junior pitcher Cori Long was second-team all-league after going 15-4 with a 1.94 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 20 walks in 123 1/3 innings. She was 8-1 in league play with a 1.02 ERA.
Junior first baseman Maria Reed was second-team all-league after hitting .380 with 22 RBI, five doubles, three home runs and one triple.
Sophomore left fielder Riley Nelson was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district after hitting .415 with eight doubles, four triples and two home runs.
Freshman shortstop Madi Shelley was honorable mention all-league after hitting .355 with six doubles and a triple.
Junior catcher/utility player Amanda King and sophomore right fielder Tess Cox led the team in doubles with 10 apiece.
Sophomore pitcher Erin Unterbrink was 6-3 with a 1.87 ERA, 28 strikeouts and six walks in 61 2/3 innings.
Other players who can return next season are sophomores Hunter Lobdell (2B) and Allanah Larriuz (utility player).