Pickerington Times-Sun

Track & Field

Central girls building depth for postseason


With slightly lower overall numbers than past years, the Pickerington High School Central girls track and field team will spend the regular season focusing on building depth so it can contend for OCC-Ohio Division and other postseason championships.

There aren't any doubts throughout the program that the Tigers have enough talent to battle for individual titles in various events once they get to the season's biggest meets.

After earning a runner-up finish in the league and sharing a Division I regional championship with Gahanna (55 points) a year ago, Central returns six individuals who competed in the state meet last spring.

In addition, the 800-meter relay of seniors Shalon Conley, Cortisha Short, Irene Skinner and Tyler Williams is coming off a championship (1 minute, 41.33 seconds) in the indoor state meet March 8 at the University of Akron.

"I know the kids are excited," coach Robb Hammond said. "We can do a lot of great things this year. What we've got to focus on is getting depth for the conference meet. Our conference is tough when you consider Gahanna and with Pickerington North, Newark and Grove City all in there."

Central opened March 31 as host to the Hammond Relays.

Another key athlete should be junior Edwina Barnett, who does sprints and hurdles.

Conley, Skinner and Williams were joined by Jada Williams, who was a junior but graduated early, on the 800 relay that took third (1:40.5) in last year's state meet.

Conley, Skinner, Short and Jada Williams also ran on the 400 relay that was fifth (47.98) at state, and Tyler Williams took 14th in the 400 (1:01.17) at state.

Another returnee with state experience is senior Morgan Richardson, who joined Conley, Jada Williams and Tyler Williams on the 16th-place 1,600 relay (4:05.61).

Other key runners should include seniors Stephanie Gase and Elizabeth Weed, who are expected to compete on the 3,200 relay as well as in distance events, senior Brionna Peppers (sprints) and sophomore Nayari Herron (sprints).

Junior Dana Shoff is the other returning state competitor after placing fourth (11 feet, 9 inches) in the pole vault.

Junior Morgan Robinson is expected to compete in the high jump and long jump, and senior Kylie Caudill should contribute in the high jump.

The Tigers also were runners-up (78) in the 17-team district 1 meet a year ago behind Hilliard Davidson (90).

Boys to be strong in distance, field events

As has been the case throughout much of coach Jason Roach's tenure, the boys team is expecting to have many of its top scorers in field events.

Roach, who led the program from 2004-08 and is in the fourth season of his second tenure, believes middle distance and distance also should be areas of strength.

The Tigers are coming off a runner-up finish in the league and added a second-place finish (77.5) in the 15-team district 1 meet behind Pickerington North (159.5) a year ago.

Of the nine events Central competed in when it placed ninth (30.5) at regional behind champion Pickerington North (99), four were in the field.

"I think we're going to be good in the field events," Roach said. "Distance is going to pick up the slack."

Central opened March 31 as host to the Hammond Relays.

Seniors Nathan Martin and Kameron Smith, who were regional qualifiers in the pole vault and high jump, respectively, are the top returnees.

Smith also is expected to compete in the long jump with senior Jordan Cummings and sophomore Devahn Jackson.

Sophomore Josh Ray will provide depth at pole vault.

Juniors Clayton Glasco and Stanley Parker and sophomores Andrew Cockerham and James Yarbrough will compete in the shot put and discus.

Jackson also is expected to lead a sprint corps that should include senior Tyler Martin, junior Chazz Holley and sophomore Noah Burke.

Junior Jonathon Fee and sophomore Steven Bauers should run middle distance.

Senior Terry Peppers is new to track but has been a key runner in cross country the last two seasons. Peppers, junior Sean Phillips and freshman Jack Jaynes should be the top distance runners.

Among 2013 graduates, Nathan Kosnich, Alex Nichols and Brandon Ray are competing for the University of Rio Grande and Gemel Trent is running at Lake Erie College.

Nichols was 13th at state in the shot put (51-1 1/4) last season. He also advanced to state in the discus but fouled on all three of his attempts.

Kosnich (110 hurdles) and Trent (400) were regional qualifiers.