Justin Rush has taken over as coach of the Westerville Central High School boys track and field team after having spent the past three seasons as an assistant specializing in sprints and hurdles. Central boys to be deep in sprints

Justin Rush has taken over as coach of the Westerville Central High School boys track and field team after having spent the past three seasons as an assistant specializing in sprints and hurdles.

Rush takes over for Jason Loughman, who remains with the team as distance coach.

"Jason's still on the staff and he plays a pivotal role for us," said Rush, whose team opens Saturday, April 2, at the Newark Invitational. "You know, we're not all that much different from last year. I just handle more of the administrative duties now."

Last season, the Warhawks had one Division I state qualifier in Channing Doermann. Slowed by a sore hamstring, he finished 10th in the 200 meters in 22.36 seconds. A two-time state qualifier, he has returned for his junior season.

Central did not score at state after tying Dublin Scioto, Hilliard Darby and Zanesville for 16th (11 points) at regional behind champion Gahanna (63). The Warriors tied Olentangy for fourth (59) of 15 teams in the district 1 meet at Dublin Coffman, behind champion Gahanna (120).

In the OCC-Cardinal Division meet, Central placed second (111.5) behind Olentangy Liberty (142), and ahead of Westerville North (104), Olentangy (91), Marysville (78), Westerville South (54.5), Dublin Scioto (41) and Dublin Jerome (38).

In addition to Doermann, among those expected to be key contributors this season are seniors Spencer Allen (sprints/hurdles), Dominique Cook (sprints), Miles Fisher (sprints/hurdles), Alex Kennedy (discus/shot put), Dillon Seckman (sprints/long jump) and Dan Steigerwald (distance), juniors Josh Edens (distance), Davon Reed (sprints/high jump) and Brandon Shirey (distance), sophomore Charlie Moushey (pole vault) and freshmen Michael Bishop (hurdles) and Tommy Mansfield (hurdles).

"We're going to score a lot of points in the distance events and, as usual, we have a lot of depth in the sprints and it's a strong suit again," Rush said. "I'm also excited about our throwing events. We've got some new guys there and they're looking great in practice so far."

•Second-year girls coach Ryan Borland stopped short of saying 2011 is a rebuilding year for his team, but he acknowledges the overall inexperience of his athletes is a big challenge to overcome.

"The first thing we did was integrate them as quickly as we could with our returning athletes," said Borland, whose team opens Saturday, April 2, at the Newark Invitational. "They're going to have to work hard to find their part where they can help us, but we remind them it's supposed to be fun and a learning process."

The Warhawks' only state qualifier last season was 2010 graduate Amara Whaley, who placed fourth in the pole vault (11 feet, 4 inches) to earn five points, allowing Central to tie Canal Winchester, Marion Harding, Perrysburg, Stow-Munroe Falls, Toledo Bowsher, Toledo Notre Dame Academy and Twinsburg for 41st behind champion Reynoldsburg (56).

The Warhawks finished 15th (15) at regional behind champion Reynoldsburg (95) after placing fifth (62) of 13 teams in the district 1 meet behind champion Gahanna (132). Whaley won a regional title in the pole vault in 11-3.

In the OCC-Cardinal meet last year, Central placed second (118.5) behind Scioto (158), and ahead of Olentangy (79), South (71), Liberty (68.5), North (66), Marysville (60) and Jerome (41).

Among those expected to be key contributors this season are seniors Charde' Gaiter (discus/shot put), Jordan Hoffman (sprints), Kristen Norris (high jump/long jump/hurdles), Sara O'Brien (distance), Taylor Reneau (sprints) and Cherie Thacker (sprints) and juniors Daijane Littlejohn (high jump), Tarela Osuobeni (high jump) and Dominique Tirado (hurdles).

"I think the throws will be a good area for us, and I think by the end of the year our sprint corps will be a solid group as well," Borland said. "We are very young, so the main thing is we're trying to improve every day as much as we can."