The depth the Pickerington High School North girls track and field program has been building the past few seasons paid off in a new way last season when it scored points at the state meet in sprint events for the first time.

The depth the Pickerington High School North girls track and field program has been building the past few seasons paid off in a new way last season when it scored points at the state meet in sprint events for the first time.

With senior Emily Shevelow and juniors Bria Booker and Zena Kolliesuah representing one of the best returning sprint trios in central Ohio among a balanced roster of about 90, the Panthers believe there are plenty of reasons for excitement this spring.

The Panthers placed second (72) in the seven-team Hammond Relays last Saturday behind host Pickerington Central (86).

"They've all got great attitudes," coach Jim Langenderfer said. "They're pleasant, hard-working and impressive. We have a lot more sophomores this year who came out as freshmen, plus we've got some good freshmen and some older dependable ones that are good athletes, too."

Providing depth in the sprints should be junior Ashley Rozmarin and sophomore Kierra Igwebuike. Senior Alexis Evans and juniors Julianne Ballog and Lindsay White are the top hurdlers.

Freshman Kristen Eisenhauer, who was the No. 1 runner for the cross country team last fall, joins a distance corps that also includes senior Katie Klopp, juniors Kim Black and Morgan Grodesky, sophomore Sarah Flaherty and freshman Fayth Greegor.

Ballog also should be North's top pole-vaulter. Others expected to compete in field events are junior Emily Loudermilk (shot put/discus) and sophomores Neah Gray (shot put/discus), Jenny Jue (high jump) and Jasmine Simmons (shot put/discus).

Additional newcomers include sophomore Abby Castle (hurdles/distance/pole vault) and freshmen Marie Hall (high jump) and Kendal Lane (middle distance/hurdles/pole vault).

Last year, North was third (99) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind Reynoldsburg (177) and Central (138), and finished fifth (72) in Division I district 2 behind champion Hilliard Davidson (120).

Kolliesuah was fourth at state in the 100 meters (12.34 seconds) and joined Booker, Shevelow and 2009 graduate Shiara Robinson on the 800 relay which placed fourth (1:41.38), as North finished 18th with 10 points behind champion Reynoldsburg (82).

Robinson also competed at state in the 200 (11th, 25.2).

Kolliesuah won the 100 (12.51) and ran on three relays in the league meet. The 400 relay (49.79) won. At district, she won the 100 (12.39) and joined Rozmarin, Shevelow and graduate Rachel Snedegar to win the 1,600 relay (3:59.79).

She joined Booker, Igwebuike and Robinson on the second-place (49.23) 400 relay and Booker, Robinson and Shevelow in the second-place (1:43.55) 800 relay.

At regional, Kolliesuah won the 100 (12.24), Robinson was second in the 200 (25.16) and the 800 relay was second (1:42.97). North was third (38) at regional behind Reynoldsburg (113) and Davidson (65).

"I know all of the coaches in the OCC are competitive, but we're all friends," Langenderfer said. "I think we (have a balanced team)."

•The boys team returns a pair of state-caliber athletes in senior Daniel Garleb and junior Michael Ballentine.

Garleb was fourth in the state cross country meet last fall and took second in the 1,600 in a program-record 4:17.72 at the indoor state meet March 20 at the University of Akron. He ran on the 3,200 relay that was third (8:20.71) in the league meet last year and could be joined on the relay by a group that includes seniors Greg Black, Brian Green, Nick Hissrich, Rocky Riddle and Abukar Shegow and juniors John Parsons and Justin Simmons.

Ballentine went 6 feet, 7 inches to win the high jump in the league meet and was third (6-5) in district 2 as the Panthers scored 93 points to place second behind Hilliard Darby (111).

Ballentine jumped 6-7 at regional to place second as North finished 10th (20) behind champion Gahanna (81). He then placed 11th (6-4) at state.

Also expected to compete in the high jump is junior Devon Lomax. Lomax and sophomore Demantis Okafor could be the top athletes in the long jump.

North opened last Saturday by placing second (87) in the seven-team Hammond Relays behind Lancaster (94).

"(Ballentine and Garleb) are high up on our list of returnees," coach Dave Spring said. "Michael had a nice indoor season and Daniel had a great cross country season."

The boys are inexperienced in sprint events, where senior Dane Willis, junior Tony Traylor and sophomore Brice Cordova should lead the way. Senior Chad Benson and freshman Desmond Palmer are the top hurdlers.

Others expected to compete in field events are senior John Bauchmoyer (pole vault), junior Eli Corder (pole vault) and sophomores Pat Elflein (shot put) and Kyle Mushill (discus).

North was third (125.5) in the OCC-Ohio behind Reynoldsburg (144) and Gahanna (134.5). Garleb won the 3,200 (9:48.02) and graduate Nathan Shumway won the discus (154-6). Jon Tims anchored the 1,600 relay that was first (3:24.36). Tims was a junior but graduated early.

Also in the district 2 meet, Hissrich won the 3,200 (9:39.4) and Garleb took second in the 1,600 (4:20.49) and fourth in the 3,200 (9:50.64) and ran on the winning 3,200 relay (8:11.59) with Riddle, Tims and graduate Pat Lee.

"Our team goals, as always, are to do well in the OCC and district," Spring said. "We've got a good group of freshman and sophomore sprinters who are going to fill roles and then some."

At a glance

•Coaches: Boys -- Jim Langenderfer, seventh season; Girls -- Dave Spring, third season

•Next meet: Saturday at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

•Key athletes: Boys -- Michael Ballentine, Greg Black, Daniel Garleb, Brian Green, Nick Hissrich and Rocky Riddle; Girls -- Julianne Ballog, Bria Booker, Kristen Eisenhauer, Kierra Igwebuike, Zena Kolliesuah and Emily Shevelow

SCHEDULE

March 27 at Hammond Relays at Pickerington Central

April 3 at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

April 6 vs. Groveport

April 10 Stingel Invitational

April 13 at Pickerington Central

April 17 at Vandalia Butler

April 20 at Reynoldsburg

April 23 at Lancaster Fulton Relays

April 27 vs. Gahanna

April 30 at Gahanna Invitational

May 4 vs. Lancaster

May 7 at Larkin/Crosten Invitational at UA

May 13, 15 at OCC-Ohio meet at Reynoldsburg