For the second consecutive season, the Pickerington High School North boys track and field team left a district meet with a runner-up trophy.

For the second consecutive season, the Pickerington High School North boys track and field team left a district meet with a runner-up trophy.

This time, however, there was much less room separating the Panthers from the winning team. That might be considered a subtle step forward by some, but it was enough to leave North feeling encouraged.

North sent seven individuals and two relays to the Division I regional, which began last Wednesday and will conclude Friday at home. The top four in each event will compete at state June 5-6 at Ohio State.

In the district 2 meet which concluded last Saturday at Dublin Coffman, North was second (93 points) to Hilliard Darby (111).

"The difference between this year and last year is that last year we scrapped for a runner-up finish," coach Dave Spring said. "This year we settled for runner-up. We're making progress."

Jon Tims won the 400 meters in 49.19 seconds, the fourth-best time among the 12 regional qualifiers from the three districts.

Junior Nick Hissrich won the 3,200 in 9:39.4, a personal-best by 11 seconds. It was his first victory at the high-school level.

"With a lap and a half left, my coach told me I have to go," he said. "It was a good surprise today."

Daniel Garleb advanced in the 1,600 and 3,200 and helped the 3,200 relay capture a district title (8:11.59). The Panthers have the eighth-best time among the regional qualifiers in that relay, with Reynoldsburg (7:58.89) leading the way.

The return of sophomore Bria Booker has lifted the girls team, which finished fifth (72) in the 15-team district 2 meet behind champion Hilliard Davidson (120). Booker missed five weeks after injuring a knee on a hurdle and has been getting back into form the last two weeks.

She qualified to regional in the long jump (fourth, 16 feet, 0 1/2 inches) and also ran on the 400 and 800 relays which advanced. Booker also likely will run at the regional on the 1,600 relay, which captured the title in 3:59.79 last Saturday.

"I'm not 100 percent yet, but it's getting there," Booker said. "The long jump is hard but I did qualify. That's the event that I'm not feeling 100 percent in."

The Panthers' other district titles were earned by Zena Kolliesuah in the 100 and Shiara Robinson in the 200. Kolliesuah's time of 12.39 was the best among regional qualifiers. Kolliesuah also runs on the all three qualifying relays and Robinson runs on the 400 and 800 relays.

•When Central sophomore Jalisa Jarrett got the baton as the last leg of the girls 1,600 relay in the district 1 final last Saturday, she had significant ground to make up.

She then ran a split of 56.0, enough to help the Tigers finish in 3:58.5 and edge New Albany (3:58.76) for the title.

It was that kind of day for Jarrett, who also captured championships in the 200 (25.3) and 400 (57.27), setting personal-bests in both.

Jarrett and Jasmine Greene, who also ran on the 1,600 relay after winning the 300 hurdles (46.4), led the Tigers to a third-place finish (93) in the 14-team district 1 meet behind New Albany (108.5) and Dublin Scioto (103).

"I like the 400 better, but the 200 might be the stronger race for me," Jarrett said. "I think (we did) great as a team. I'm just so excited for the regional."

Of the 12 regional qualifiers in the 300 hurdles, Greene has the fifth-best time.

"I felt like I kept accelerating on every hurdle which is good because I usually stutter over one of them," Greene said. "It feels good because last year I didn't even make it out of district."

Also capturing individual titles for the girls team were Christina Gagliardo in the pole vault (10-6) and Abena Boamah-Acheampong in the high jump (5-4). Gagliardo had the second-best finish among the regional qualifiers in the pole vault and Boamah-Acheampong was one of only two among the regional qualifiers to clear 5-4. The other was Marysville's Kate Francisco, who also was in district 1.

The boys team, competing in district 2, finished third (67.5). Josh Stevens won the long jump (21-4 1/2) and the 800 relay was first (1:29.65).

It was a day of mixed finishes for Ron Burgess, who was a state qualifier a year ago in the 400. After running on the 800 relay, he ended up eighth (51.86) in the 400 and failed to advance to the regional.

The 800 relay's time was the fourth-best of the regional qualifiers, and Stevens' finish in the long jump also is the fourth-best.

At a glance

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

CENTRAL

Boys -- Evan Betts: 110 hurdles (second, 14.85), 300 hurdles (third, 40.08); Grant Hammond: pole vault (fourth, 13-0); Josh Stevens: long jump (first, 21-4 1/2); Kristopher Strange: long jump (fourth, 20-5); Joe Taranto: 800 (second, 1:58.45); 800 relay: Ron Burgess, Tyler W. Hammond, Malcolm Pannell, Strange (first, 1:29.65)

Girls -- Abena Boamah-Acheampong: 100 hurdles (fourth, 16.52), high jump (first, 5-4); Christina Gagliardo: pole vault (first, 10-6); Jasmine Greene: 300 hurdles (first, 46.4); Jalisa Jarrett: 200 (first, 25.3), 400 (first, 57.27); 1,600 relay: Tionne Goodson, Greene, Jarrett, Kaitlin Peters (first, 3:58.5); 3,200 relay: Kaitlyn Meyer, Peters, Jordon Robinson, Santele Smith (fourth, 9:51.87)

NORTH

Boys -- Michael Ballentine: high jump (third, 6-5); Jairus Campbell: discus (fourth, 145-08); Daniel Garleb: 1,600 (second, 4:20.49), 3,200 (fourth, 9:50.64); Nick Hissrich: 3,200 (first, 9:39.4); Nathan Shumway: discus (third, 160-0); Jon Tims: 400 (first, 49.19); Justin Young: long jump (second, 20-8 1/4); 1,600 relay: Brian Green, Ryan Hunt, Pat Lee, Tims (first, 3:22.06); 3,200 relay: Garleb, Lee, Rocky Riddle, Tims (first, 8:11.59)

Girls -- Julianne Ballog: pole vault (third, 9-6); Bria Booker: long jump (fourth, 16-1/2); Zena Kolliesuah: 100 (first, 12.39); Shiara Robinson: 100 (third, 12.52), 200 (first, 25.37); 400 relay: Booker, Kierra Igwebuike, Kolliesuah, Robinson (second, 49.23); 800 relay: Booker, Kolliesuah, Robinson, Emily Shevelow (second, 1:43.55); 1,600 relay: Kolliesuah, Ashley Rozmarin, Shevelow, Rachel Snedegar (first, 3:59.79)