The Brookhaven High School boys track and field team had the bounce-back season it was looking for last year.

The Brookhaven High School boys track and field team had the bounce-back season it was looking for last year.

After last having a placer at the Division I state meet in 2006 and coming off a 2008 season in which they lacked any state qualifiers, the Bearcats qualified in four events.

Senior DeShawn Alston is back to lead what his team hopes is a continued resurgence.

Last season, Alston advanced to state in both the 100 meters and the 400, and ran on the state-qualifying 800 relay. He signed with Notre Dame College in South Euclid during the offseason.

In addition to Alston, four other state qualifiers -- seniors Michael Sellers and Ryland Ward, junior Donivan Lipsey and sophomore Jonzelle Meek -- have returned.

The Bearcats will compete Saturday at the Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson.

"Potential is a scary word, but I tell these guys that it's not what you do at the beginning of the season, it's what you do at the end," coach Steve Ayers said. "Track is an individual sport and everybody's got their own individual events which contribute to what you do as a team.

"It's not as intense as wrestling, but we'll push them to perform their best."

Alston finished fifth at state in the 400 (48.23 seconds) last season to give the Bearcats four state points. They tied for 51st with five other teams behind champion Gahanna (48). Alston also advanced to state in the 100, but elected to scratch from the event because his preliminary race would have come about 15 minutes before the semifinal heat of the 800 relay. At the regional meet, Alston was fourth in the 100 (11.05), third in the 400 (48.26) and helped the 800 relay take first (1:28.17).

At state, the 800 relay of Alston, Sellers, Meek and 2009 graduate Andrew Herrell finished fifth in the first heat (1:28.86) and failed to reach the final.

The 400 relay of Lipsey, Meek, Sellers and Ward was eighth in the second heat (43.38) at state to fail to advance to the final after finishing second (42.89) at the regional.

Alston is expected to compete in the 200, 400 and possibly the 800 as well as relays. Sophomore Tajuan Green also should contribute in sprinting events.

Senior Louis Ford will run middle distance and senior Derrick Bryant should compete in hurdles events.

Ward also will do the long jump and junior Arrington Preacher will compete in the high jump.

Others looking to contribute include senior Isaiah Ealy, junior Nigel Preacher and freshmen Marquise Austin and Ke'Ore Turner.

Herrell was among a senior trio last season along with distance-runners Adul Sesay and Channing Garner.

The Bearcats finished third (91) at the City League meet behind Eastmoor (99) and Beechcroft (96), as Alston (400), Sellers (200) and Ward (long jump) won titles.

Brookhaven tied Watkins Memorial for fourth (57) behind champion Big Walnut (107) at the district 3 meet and fifth (32) at the regional behind champion Gahanna (81).

"We've got about 25 or 30 guys out, so we've got some numbers this year," Ayers said. "They've all got real good attitudes. The main thing is getting them in shape."

•After Hali Robinson took over as coach last season, the girls track and field team made significant progress in terms of numbers. He coached the Bearcats from 1979-2006 and returned to the program after a two-year absence.

Back to lead the way will be junior Travecia Franklin, who helped the 3,200 relay finish seventh (11:26.36) at the district 3 meet last year. Also scoring but failing to advance to the regional was junior Madison Morris, who is back after finishing eighth (14 feet, 5 1/2 inches) in the long jump at district.

Also returning after competing on the 3,200 relay last year is sophomore Makayla Cooper.

Senior Jourdan Stanhope (shot put/discus) and juniors Marah Morris (shot put) and Karla Gravely (shot put) are others from the City-champion basketball team along with Franklin who are looking to contribute.

Expected to comprise the sprint corps are sophomores Alexis Bell, Jeremyah Ivery, Rajha James, Tashae King and Dajah Richardson and freshman Melissa Clark. Sophomore Teareah Wallace should run middle distance.

The Bearcats open Saturday at the Wildcat Premier at Davidson.

"I'm going to focus a lot on the sprinters because I think they can be real successful," Robinson said. "We're going to have a lot of fun, and they're going to benefit from Travecia being such a great leader."

Last season, Brookhaven scored 10 points to finish 11th of 12 teams which scored at the City meet behind champion Northland (147). The 3,200 relay was third (10:44.41), and also placing were Madison Morris in the long jump (fifth, 14-9) and 2009 graduate Datona Ball in the shot put (fifth, 32-2 3/4).

The Bearcats scored three points to finish 12th in district 3 behind champion Reynoldsburg (157).

•The softball team opened last Tuesday against Northland and played Columbus East last Wednesday.

The Bearcats play host to Wellington today and to Columbus West for a doubleheader Tuesday.

After finishing with a 3-12 record last season that included a 3-11 finish in the City League-North Division, Brookhaven has seven key returnees.

The Bearcats will have a new No. 1 pitcher with junior Tierra Smith out for the season after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in volleyball.

Junior Ashley Brockman, who saw some action in the circle last year, should see the most action at pitcher. Sophomore Chelsea Matthews also could see time in the circle but likely will spend most of her time at shortstop.

Senior Desarae Brooks is back for her fourth season with the program and will start in center field and bat leadoff. Senior Jasmine McCullough played first base last season but likely will be at third base.

Others expected to start in the infield are senior Kim Hemphill (2B), junior Ryeisha Hopkins (1B) and freshman Katie Stoots (C). Freshman Kylie Matthews should start in left field, while several players could see action in right field, including freshman Sidney Brice.

Brookhaven had just two seniors last season in Curisha Drafton and Earleana Brown, but with 25 players out, had a junior varsity team for the first time in several years.

The Bearcats were no-hit in an 18-0 loss to Westerville North in the first round of the Division I tournament. Their wins came over Columbus East (8-2 and 17-2) and Mifflin (9-5), and neither Drafton nor Brown were available for the win over the Punchers.

"It's going to be a matter of whether we can throw strikes consistently," coach Chuck Andrick said. "Hopefully we can compete in the league this year. If we can be .500 or better, it would be a decent season for us, especially since I only have three seniors."

•The baseball team opened against Northland last Tuesday and faced East last Wednesday.

The Bearcats play host to Wellington today and to West in a doubleheader Tuesday.

•The boys tennis team opened last Wednesday at Mifflin.