The Pickerington High School Central girls track and field team expected to have one of central Ohio's top sprint corps with the return of several experienced athletes.
The Tigers have lived up to those hopes so far.
Senior Shalon Conley won the 100 meters in the Wildcat Premier on April 5 at Hilliard Davidson and the Stingel Invitational on April 12 at Pickerington North with times of 12.53 seconds and 12.5, respectively.
Senior Cortisha Short added a runner-up finish in the 100 (12.52) in the Stingel, won the 200 (25.65) in the Wildcat Premier and ran with Conley and seniors Irene Skinner and Tyler Williams on the 800 relay that was first (1:42.98) in the Wildcat Premier.
The Tigers took third (98) in the 17-team Stingel behind Gahanna (134) and New Albany (105).
Senior Morgan Robinson won the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches), junior Dana Shoff was first in the pole vault (11-0) and the 1,600 relay (3:58.73) and the 3,200 relay (9:46.3) also were first.
Central was third (85) in the 16-team Wildcat Premier behind Gahanna (147) and Davidson (91). The 1,600 relay of Conley, Skinner, Williams and senior Breanna Peppers was first (4:01.59), Shoff had the best finish of any competitor in the pole-vault relay (11-0) and Williams won the 400 (59.0).
North boys win Stingel Invitational
With titles in four events, the North boys team scored 114 points to edge Watkins Memorial (111) for the title in the 15-team Stingel Invitational.
Nick Gray won the 200 (21.93) and 400 (48.72), and Darius Ragland was first in the 110 hurdles (15.3).
North had a one-point lead over Watkins Memorial entering the final event, the 1,600 relay, and took first (3:21.97) while the Warriors settled for second (3:25.09).
North added a runner-up finish in the 400 relay (43.82) and John Harris took second in the high jump (6-4).
The Panthers were runners-up (111.5) in the 16-team Wildcat Premier behind Davidson (117). Gray won the 100 (10.71) and had the meet's best finish in the long-jump relay (20-5 1/2).
Echikunwoke leading North girls squad
Led by senior Annette Echikunwoke, the North girls team was seventh (43) in the Stingel Invitational.
Echikunwoke won the shot put (42-5) and was second in the discus (100-3) to score 18 points.
The 3,200 relay took third (10:07.49), Eboni Hall placed sixth in the 200 (27.16), Charise Culver was sixth in the high jump (4-10) and the 1,600 relay also was sixth (4:19.92).
The Panthers also were seventh (68) in the Wildcat Premier.
Echikunwoke had the second-best throws in both the discus (110-1) and shot put (39-1).
Taking fourth were Hall in the 200 (26.69), Rosa Rumora in the 800 (2:27.38), the 3,200 relay (10:24.92), the 6,400 relay (24:23.13) and the distance medley (13:52.21).
Central boys fourth at Stingel
The Central boys squad won two events and finished fourth (72) in the Stingel Invitational.
Winning titles were the 800 relay (1:30.56) and Jordan Cummings in the high jump (6-6).
Cummings also added a fourth-place finish in the long jump (20-9 1/4).
The 3,200 relay was runner-up (8:51.24). Taking third were the 400 relay (44.6), Kameron Smith in the 100 (11.6) and Nathan Martin in the pole vault (12-0), and finishing fifth were the distance relay (11:28.82), Devahn Jackson in the 200 (23.54) and Josh Ray in the pole vault (10-6).
The Tigers were ninth (46.5) in the Wildcat Premier as Clayton Glasco tied for the best throw in the shot put relay (49-1).