The boys 400-meter relay's Division II state performance aside, DeSales High School track and field coach Ben McGinnis said he'll remember this season as part of a bigger plan.
"If this season meant anything, it's that we're secure in the hope that we'll be strong for the next few years," McGinnis said. "We were very young. No one could have predicted that Ashli Pope and Erin Kuisti (seniors on the girls team) would be injured and their seasons would end early, or that the only guy we had back from state last year (Taz Collins) wouldn't be able to run there this year. But our younger classes showed up. I almost hate to name a few kids in particular. So many of them played important roles."
The boys team expects to return three state participants in juniors Adam Acquista and Brandon Krietemeyer, and sophomore Jacob Gilmore. They teamed with senior Sayyid Kanu to finish seventh in the 400 relay (44.06 seconds) in the state meet, which was held June 6 and 7 at Ohio State.
Acquista replaced Collins, a senior who sustained a knee injury in the regional meet held May 29 and 31 at Lexington.
Krietemeyer also competed at state in the 100, finishing 15th (11.31).
DeSales scored two points at state to tie Cincinnati Wyoming, Elyria Catholic, McArthur Vinton County, Van Wert and Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley for 61st behind champion Dayton Dunbar (47) as 76 teams scored.
"The key with Adam wasn't just how fast he runs 100 meters. It's his dependability," McGinnis said. "He'd always get the handoff. You knew nothing would be messed up with Adam around. On top of that, I truly believe he can run any event for us."
Kanu has signed to play football at Morehead State University as a defensive back.
With Collins as its leadoff runner, the 400 relay finished third (43.1) at regional, as the top four finishers in each event advanced to state. Krietemeyer also was third in the 100 (11.29), as the Stallions tied Bellville Clear Fork for 14th (18) behind champion Pemberville Eastwood (61) as 46 teams scored.
Also competing at regional were Collins in the 100 (sixth, 11.49), the 800 relay of Acquista, Collins, Gilmore and Krietemeyer (sixth, 1:31.43), Krietemeyer in the 200 (ninth, 23.34) and senior Myron Goldsmith in the shot put (ninth, 51 feet, 3 1/2 inches).
DeSales finished fifth (58) in the 15-team district 1 meet that concluded May 24 at Heath, behind champion Liberty Union (106). The 400 relay finished first (43.63) and Goldsmith placed second in the shot put (49-4 1/2).
The Stallions placed third (91) in the CCL meet May 15 and 17, behind St. Charles (188) and Watterson (123.5) and ahead of Hartley (56.5) and Ready (27).
Goldsmith won the league title in the shot put (50-11).
The girls team did not have any Division I state or regional qualifiers.
DeSales finished 15th (1.5) in the 17-team district 1 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby, behind champion Pickerington Central (126).
The Stallions' top finishers at district were junior Myisha Patrick, who finished eighth in the shot put (30-11), and sophomore Emily Collet, who was eighth in the high jump (4-10).
Collet also cleared 4-10 in the CCL meet to win her second consecutive league title, as DeSales finished fourth (90) behind Columbus School for Girls (145), Watterson (138) and Hartley (94) and ahead of Ready (22).
McGinnis is confident that the girls team has formed a core that includes Collet, Patrick and sophomores Eliza Cargin (middle distance), Andrea Coffey (distance), Cici Cua (middle distance/sprints), Jenna Melvin (middle distance) and Olivia Nortz (jumps/middle distance/sprints).
Other expected returnees include junior Katya Barrett (jumps) and sophomore Morgan Barrett (throws).
"Those distance girls are going to do great things," McGinnis said. "Most of them are versatile. That's a great tool to work with as a coach."