Last season, the Northland High School boys track and field team's 1,600-meter relay overcame a key injury at the Division I regional to finish fifth at the state meet.

Last season, the Northland High School boys track and field team's 1,600-meter relay overcame a key injury at the Division I regional to finish fifth at the state meet.

It's the Vikings' 400 relay that seems poised for a big finish at state this time.

If that ends up being the case, the athlete who got left out of the celebration last year - senior A.J. Johnson, who went down with a hamstring injury during the preliminaries of the 1,600 relay - should end up being a major part of the success.

The 400 relay of seniors Jude Adjei-Barimah, Ray Ballard and Johnson and sophomore William Barnes captured the district 2 title last Saturday.

The regional began last Wednesday and concludes Friday at Pickerington North.

"I'm wonderfully happy with what I saw from them," coach Mary Ellen Binns said.

Adjei-Barimah has led off the relay, followed by Ballard and Barnes with Johnson as the anchor leg for most of the season.

At the City meet May 12, the relay had the best preliminary time but ended up third in the final in 43.49 behind Brookhaven (43.2) and Beechcroft (43.34).

Last Saturday, Northland won district 2 in 43.11, ahead of runner-up Beechcroft (43.44), while Brookhaven won district 3 in 43.52 to set up a rematch of the City sprinters.

Barnes believes the chemistry of the Vikings' foursome has helped it find success.

"We love the competition and we strive to get better and better," he said. "I'm only a sophomore, so it's intimidating (running with three seniors), but it's made me run hard. I've had to run against them and that's made me better. We're aiming for state."

The boys finished seventh (29) in the 15-team district 2 meet, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (121).

Ballard took third in the 100 and Latrel Berry had a surprise third-place finish in the high jump to also advance. Missing qualifying by one spot was Adjei-Barimah in the 110 hurdles (15.07) and long jump (20-2).

The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional.

Berry was sixth at the City meet when he went 5-8 in the high jump but cleared 6-0 to qualify for regional.

The girls finished ninth (25) in the 13-team district 1 meet, behind champion Gahanna (132), as it advanced in all four field events.

Andrea Madison took first in the discus and third in the shot put and Ebony Mundy and Tatiana Chapple added fourth-place finishes in the long jump and high jump, respectively.

Mundy went 16 feet, 3 inches in the long jump, but considering her personal-best is 17-7, she was optimistic about her chances for improvement heading into the regional.

"I feel like there's more that can come out of me as long as my ankle holds up," Mundy said, referring to the right ankle sprain that has bothered her for about a month.

Chapple cleared 5-0 in a jump-off against Dublin Coffman's Clarissa Jones to earn the final regional berth after being among six athletes to go 4-10.

"I wasn't surprised I made it," Chapple said. "It was my goal. I was just surprised I couldn't get 5-0 sooner than I did. It'll probably take a 5-2 or a 5-3 (to advance to state)."

The girls also made it to the finals of the 400 relay and 800 relay and Lena Collins advanced to the final of the 200. The Vikings were forced to scratch in each event, however, because of a disciplinary decision.

"It was unfortunate that we couldn't run the other events because the (400 relay and 800 relay) would have made it to the regional and Lena would have probably won the 200, but we're trying to teach these kids and hopefully it'll be a life lesson," coach Tom Fast said. "Hopefully, it'll pay dividends in the future."

The boys tennis team finished fourth at 8-3 in the 12-team City League, behind Centennial (11-0), West (10-1) and Briggs (9-2).

The Vikings lose only one senior in Marc Moody, who played doubles this season.

Sophomore Alejandro Nunez and juniors Daniel Smith and Austin Miller all should return after comprising the top three singles spots. Smith won one sectional singles match.

Junior Eric Crabtree and freshmen Michael Allen and Viet Nguyen were among the key doubles players.

"Centennial was the only team that really beat us handily and we didn't have Nunez for that match," said coach Allen Jarrett, whose team lost to the Stars 5-0 on March 29. "Our guys made sacrifices for the team."

At a glance

Below are the regional qualifiers for the Northland boys and girls track and field teams with district event, place and time/distance/height:

BOYS - Ray Ballard: 100 (third, 11.48). Latrel Berry: high jump (fourth, 6-0). 400 relay: Jude Adjei-Barimah, Ballard, William Barnes, A.J. Johnson (first, 43.11). GIRLS - Tatiana Chapple: high jump (fourth, 4-10). Andrea Madison: discus (first, 123-0), shot put (third, 35-4 1/2). Ebony Mundy: long jump (fourth, 16-3).