A year ago, when the Reynoldsburg High School girls track and field team set a goal of winning the Division I state title, coach Denny Hammond knew a lot would have to fall in place for that to happen.

A year ago, when the Reynoldsburg High School girls track and field team set a goal of winning the Division I state title, coach Denny Hammond knew a lot would have to fall in place for that to happen.

As talented as the Raiders were, they really couldn't afford injuries to their top athletes, several of whom competed on two or three relays. Although every athlete who scored a point at the state meet last season was an underclassman, there was no guarantee that they would come back stronger.

As it turned out, the Raiders stayed healthy, improved in the offseason and got plenty of help from two talented freshmen. In the end, the Raiders did more than simply win the state title. They scored 82 points at the state meet on June 5-6, more than any other team has scored at state at the Division I level. Second-place Cincinnati Withrow had 35 points.

"To do something like this, you really can't have anybody screw up," Hammond said. "We really ran perfect. Nobody faltered at all."

Hammond said that coaches from Cleveland Collinwood and Cleveland Heights Beaumont both told him they considered this Reynoldsburg team to be "the greatest girls team ever." A big reason is that the Raiders' talent was spread throughout virtually every event. Reynoldsburg scored points at state in every relay, the 200 meters, 400, 800, 300 hurdles, discus and shot put.

Senior Melissa Dodaro, who was the team's only state champion last season, defended her discus title with a throw of 146 feet, 4 inches. She also placed fifth in the shot put (40-10 3/4).

"I'm used to (the feeling of winning) from last year, but being the defending state champion, winning two times in a row is more exciting than it was last year," Dodaro said.

Freshman Destinee Gause won the 200 (24.21 seconds), sophomore Azia Walker won the 400 (54.74) and Taneisha Cordell won the 800 (2:10.79). Faith Washington was fourth in the 300 hurdles (43.38). All four times are program records.

Gause, Walker, Cordell and Washington won the 1,600 relay (state-record 3:43.83), and Gause, Walker, Washington and senior Timia Ingram won the 800 relay (state-record 1:37.02). Ingram, senior Ashley Phillips, sophomore Kacia Grant and Gause were second in the 400 relay (program-record 46.78), and Cordell, senior Melanie Marx, junior Loni Marchello and junior Dani Watson took fourth in the 3,200 relay (program-record 9:16.37).

The Raiders also won regional, district and OCC-Ohio Division titles. At the regional, which concluded May 29, Reynoldsburg scored 113 points to finish well ahead of second-place Hilliard Davidson (65) and win its second consecutive title.

At the district 3 meet, which ended May 23, Reynoldsburg piled up 157 points as Watkins Memorial (98) was second to win its fourth consecutive district title.

Reynoldsburg won its third consecutive league title May 16, scoring 177 points to finish ahead of Pickerington Central (138), Pickerington North (99), Gahanna (85), Lancaster (50), Newark (37), Groveport (35) and Grove City (31).

Reynoldsburg will lose a senior class that has been largely responsible for the team's rise to state prominence. In 2005, the year before this class arrived, the Raiders were 32nd at state. Since then, they have finished ninth, fourth, second and first.

Dodaro, Ingram and Phillips were four-time all-state performers. Dodaro won two state titles and scored a total of 46 points at the state level. Ingram missed out on individual competition this postseason because of an injury, but as a junior, she was fifth in the 200 (25.43) and sixth in the 100 (12.39). Phillips ran on either the 800 relay or 400 relay at state in each of her four seasons.

Marx reached state in the 800 as a junior and ran on the 3,200 relay at state as a junior and senior. Other key losses will be Kristen Mason (throws), Leah Sasfy (hurdles), Rachel Timblin (sprints) and Abby Timblin (sprints).

Reynoldsburg should be in good shape next season, particularly in the sprints. Walker and Cordell are two-time all-state, and Gause had three wins and one second-place finish. Washington should be the team's top hurdler, and she likely will be a factor on the sprint relays along with Grant, Gause, Walker and Cordell.

Sophomore Donyelle Brown and junior Alicia Rodgers should keep the Raiders in good shape in the throws. Watson and Marchello are expected to be the team's top distance runners after both reached the regional in the 1,600.

"We have high expectations every year, that's always the way we go into every year," Hammond said. "It will just be business as usual."