In preparation for the rapidly approaching postseason, the Thomas Worthington High School boys and girls track teams attend some top-caliber events.

In preparation for the rapidly approaching postseason, the Thomas Worthington High School boys and girls track teams attend some top-caliber events.

This weekend, the Cardinals won't even have to leave home when they compete Saturday as the host team in the Gary Smith Invitational. Smith was a long-time cross country and track coach at Worthington and Thomas Worthington high schools who died of pancreatic cancer in 1998.

"It's really important to have a meet like this at home and it should be a really great meet," girls coach Nancy Beattie said.

"We have teams coming down from Cleveland and have some very good local teams as well."

The 15-team girls event will include the host Cardinals as well as Beechcroft, Chillicothe, Cleveland St. Joseph Academy, Dublin Coffman, Dublin Scioto, Grove City Christian, Hilliard Bradley, Kilbourne, Mansfield Senior, Northland, defending-champion Solon and Upper Arlington.

"We have some pretty good teams coming to the meet again this year," boys coach Andy Cox said. "We have good teams coming down from the Cleveland area as always like (Cleveland) St. Ignatius, (Cuyahoga Falls) Walsh Jesuit and Solon.

Thomas will be the host team for the 16-team boys field which includes Beechcroft, Bradley, Brookhaven, Coffman, Grove City Christian, Kilbourne, Mansfield, Northland, St. Ignatius, Scioto, defending-champion Solon, UA, Walsh Jesuit, Watkins Memorial and Whetstone.

Last season, the Cardinals finished fifth with 59 points in 16-team boys field behind champion Solon (143). The girls team was runner-up (98) in the 12-team event behind Solon (106). Kilbourne did not compete in the event last season.

The Cardinals prepared for the Gary Smith by attending the two-day Ranger Relays last Friday and Saturday at Eastlake North.

"That meet is great because you have Friday preliminaries and Saturday finals just like at the state meet," said Cox, whose team finished fourth (65) out of 16 teams last weekend behind champion Solon (129). "The kids learn how to recover from competing on Friday and what kind of food they need to eat and just being away from home. It's really a big advantage to go up there and be able to be invited to such a high-powered meet."

The Thomas girls were fifth (74) out of 16 teams in the Ranger Relays behind champion Solon (104).

Claire Graupmann won the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 20.55 seconds at the Range Relays and Rachel Erb (9 feet, 6 inches) and Katie Fox (9-0) combined to win the pole vault relay. Chaioma Umunnibuki was fourth at 5-0, just two inches away from the top spot, and Cheyenne Buckingham was fourth (12:02.92) in the 3,200.

"We're improving every week," Beattie said. "We seem to be getting progressively better as a team, which is what we're hoping for."

Cox said his team also continues its improvement. He is especially happy with the performance of the 1,600 relay of Madison Murphy, Alaji Bah, Armand Austin and Nana Kyeremeh that finished second (3:26.72) at the Ranger Relays.

"For them to finish second in a meet like that is great," Cox said.

"The competition there was outstanding and they were able to have a performance like that after coming in other events throughout the day. It was great."

Max Friedlander won the 3,200 (9:44.28) and was a member of the third-place 6,400 relay with Murphy, Dan McGeary and Dylan Metz in 18:42.23. Murphy also won the 800 (2:01.93).

The pole vault relay of Josh Perger (13-0) and Tyler Graham (12-6) combined for second and the 3,200 relay of Murphy, Ray Crook, Metz and Friedlander was second in 8:19.97.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Kilbourne and Thomas track and field teams:

KILBOURNE

*April 20 - Boys: Defeated Westland 95-29; Girls: Def. Westland 83-45

Last Friday - Boys: Finished sixth (38) of eight teams in the Fulton Relays at Lancaster behind co-champions Hilliard Darby and Lancaster, both with 81; Girls: Finished fifth (49) of seven teams in the Fulton Relays behind champions Dublin Scioto (117)

*Last Tuesday - Competed against Hilliard Davidson

Saturday - At Thomas for Gary Smith Invitational

*Tuesday - Home vs. Central Crossing

*May 13 and 15 - At Hilliard Bradley for OCC-Central Meet

THOMAS

*April 20 - Boys: Lost to Coffman 84-44.5; Girls: Def. Coffman 74.5-60.5

Last Friday-Saturday - Boys: Finished fourth (65) of 16 teams in the Ranger Relays at Eastlake North behind champion Solon (129); Girls: Finished fifth (74) of 16 teams in the Ranger Relays behind champion Solon (104)

*Last Tuesday - Competed against Westland

Saturday - Home Gary Smith Invitational

*Tuesday- At Darby

May 6 - At Westerville South for Freshman-Sophomore Relays

*May 13 and 15 - At Bradley for OCC-Central Meet

*OCC-Central meet