New Albany High School girls track and field coach Otis Winston frequently uses the phrase "from distance to discus" to describe where he wants his teams to be strong.

New Albany High School girls track and field coach Otis Winston frequently uses the phrase "from distance to discus" to describe where he wants his teams to be strong.

In his third season, this could be the closest Winston's team comes to that remark.

New Albany returns six athletes who competed at the Division I state meet last season, and the Eagles have added move-in Taneisha Cordell, a junior who was the state champion in the 800-meter run for Reynoldsburg last year, winning in 2 minutes, 10.29 seconds.

"I'll be shocked if we don't (improve on last season)," said Winston, whose team opens April 10 at Eastmoor Academy. "I think we're covered in every area, not only on the relays, but in the field events."

The Eagles had seven athletes compete in three events at state a year ago. They scored one point to tie four other teams for 66th, behind champion Reynoldsburg (82).

New Albany returns seniors Kelly Brittan and Hannah Robertson, and juniors Taylor Cameron and Mycah Mason from a 1,600 relay that placed eight at state (4:00.16). Seniors Lauren Kelly, Haley Robertson and Hannah Robertson return from a 400 relay that finished 11th (48.89) at state. Haley Robertson also was the Eagles' lone individual state qualifier last year, finishing 14th in the long jump (16 feet, 2 inches). Hannah Robertson was a state qualifier in the high jump in 2008.

Kelly is the top returning sprinter. Winston said he's looking at several freshmen to make an impact there, including Erica Blankemeyer, Mira Galbreath, Hannah Inman and Haley McLellan.

The distance group also returns seniors Annie Bowe and Maria Troutman. Senior Emily Pittenger is the top returnee in the throws.

After winning the OCC-Capital title in 2008, New Albany finished second (144.5) last season, behind Watkins Memorial (151) and ahead of Mount Vernon (130), Big Walnut (83), Olentangy Orange (55.5), Franklin Heights (55) and Delaware (37). First-year Hilliard Bradley has joined the league.

New Albany won the district 2 championship last year with 108.5 points, edging Dublin Scioto (103).

At regional, the Eagles scored 32 points to finish sixth, behind champion Reynoldsburg (113).

"It's good to finally have a complete team," Winston said. "We not only have a league title we want to win, but we're looking at another district title. Having this kind of team is exciting."

•The boys team is leaning on a group of distance runners who led the cross country team to the state meet last fall.

Blake Taneff, a junior who was an OCC-Capital and district champion last fall in cross country, was New Albany's lone state qualifier last year, finishing 12th in the 3,200 (9:39.5).

Taneff shares the program record in the 3,200 (9:25) with Bob Burley, who had set the mark in 1975.

"We're going to be really strong in the distance and middle distance," said coach Chad Olinger, whose team opens Wednesday at Hilliard Bradley. "We're coming off a state meet appearance in cross country. It's actually kind of nice. We have 18 cross country runners that are running track."

Taneff and junior Drew Windle return to a 3,200 relay that finished 13th (8:33.22) at regional last year. Those two also helped the 3,200 relay set a program record of 8:25 last season.

Seniors Zach Galbreath and Taylor Primeau return to an 800 relay that was 10th (1:31.63) at regional.

Galbreath was also a regional qualifier in the pole vault, clearing 13-0 at the district 2 meet to finish third and advance. He also holds the program record in the long jump (22-1 1/4).

The Eagles scored six points at regional to finish 32nd, behind champion Gahanna (81). Senior Michael Burton, who was fourth at district in the 110 hurdles (15.17), is expected to return to form after suffering a knee injury in the offseason. He holds the program record in the 110 hurdles (14.9).

New Albany was fifth (48.5) at district, behind champion Hilliard Darby (111).

Also expected to contribute are juniors Alex Cook (sprints), Travon Bodrick (high jump/long jump), Sylvester Hagan (throws) and Clark Hillenbrand (throws) and sophomores Adam Bodrick (sprints) and Sebastian Matt (distance).

At a glance

•Coaches: Boys -- Chad Olinger, second season; Girls -- Otis Winston, third season

•Next meets: Boys -- Wednesday at Hilliard Bradley; Girls -- April 10 at Eastmoor Academy

•Key athletes: Boys -- Zach Galbreath, Michael Burton, Taylor Primeau, Blake Taneff and Drew Windle; Girls -- Kelly Brittan, Taylor Cameron, Taneisha Cordell, Mycah Mason, Haley Robertson and Hannah Robertson

SCHEDULE

April 6 at Hilliard Bradley (boys)

April 10 at Eastmoor Academy (girls); at Big Walnut Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays (boys)

April 13 vs. Watkins Memorial

April 17 at Dublin Coffman

April 20 at Olentangy Orange

April 22 at Penn Relays at University of Pennsylvania (girls)

April 23 at Penn Relays at University of Pennsylvania (girls); at Westerville South Invitational (boys)

April 27 vs. Franklin Heights

April 30 at Marion Harding (boys)

May 1 at Dayton Roosevelt (girls)

May 4 at Big Walnut

May 8 at Hilliard Bradley (boys)

May 13, 15 at OCC-Capital meet (Hilliard Bradley)