Despite competing with only eight athletes, the Pickerington High School North boys track and field team made a strong showing in the Division I indoor state meet March 8 at the University of Akron.
The Panthers scored 36 points to place second behind Lakewood St. Edward (49) as 65 teams scored. Hilliard Davidson was fourth (27).
"We don't have nearly the numbers we do in the spring with only eight guys, but most of the ones who competed also did last winter," North coach Dave Spring said. "I guess it gives us a little bit of a jump on the season and it whets our appetites for the outdoor season. Hopefully, this sets the tone for that."
One North athlete who seemed to be in midseason form was Nick Gray. The junior won the 400 meters (48.7 seconds) and was runner-up in the 200 (21.75). He also was on the winning 800 relay (1:29.75) with Jaye Williams, Jayvonta Tolliver and Darius Ragland and teamed with Trey Browder, Luke Miller and Tolliver to place third in the 1,600 relay (3:23.25).
"Nick was on the podium four times and scored most of our points," Spring said. "He had an outstanding meet, as did freshman Jayvonta Tolliver. He was in both relays that placed and is just getting into high school competition, but just performed well."
Dublin Coffman's Beatrice Hannan is trying to make up for lost time from her junior year. The senior won the 200 (24.51) and placed second in the 60 (7.61).
"I'm extremely happy with my performance, especially after last year," Hannan said. "Last year, I pulled a hamstring before the indoor (state) meet, but competed anyway. I thought it was just tightness and it kept getting worse as the outdoor season went on. By regional, it was so bad that I couldn't make it back to state."
Hannan believes she made a name for herself with her performance in the indoor state meet.
"I think it's a great confidence boost, but now I also have a target on my back," she said. "I have to stay motivated because there are a lot of great runners in our district."
New Albany junior Karrington Winters won the girls 400 for the second consecutive season, finishing in 55.81. She won the Division I outdoor state title in the 400 as a freshman (53.95) and sophomore (53.59). Her winning indoor time last season was 55.38.
"We're going for back-to-back state championships for both indoor and outdoor," New Albany coach Otis Winston said. "She ran a good meet for our training. We train later than a lot of the teams and people don't think we're that good. When they see us at the state (indoor) meet, they wonder if we're the same team."
Winters also teamed with Debi Bhanja, Haley Lyles and Dena White to place fourth in the 1,600 relay (4:06.01).
"Our girls are dedicated," Winston said. "We give them stuff to do and the girls respond. I'm really excited for outdoors. We had some talented freshmen who are now juniors and seniors and it's limitless what they can do."
Gahanna was the highest finisher in Division I among area girls teams, placing fifth (26) behind champion Solon (33.5) as 59 teams scored. Pickerington Central finished seventh (21).
The Lions' Sara Richards, Ivy McKee, Cierra Hill and Samantha Shaw won the 1,600 relay (4:00.93), edging runner-up Austintown-Fitch (4:01.52). Gahanna's 800 relay of Richards, McKee, Hill and Mi'Angel Daniels finished fourth (1:43.78), and Daniels placed third in the 60 hurdles (9.18).
"(Winning the 1,600 relay) was a nice springboard (to the outdoor season)," Lions coach Roger Whittaker said. "We finished sixth (3:55.14) outdoors at state (last season). Our goal was to get under four (minutes), but we came close.
"We had a freshman (McKee) who had run in two other races and our anchor, Sam Shaw, passed the Austintown-Fitch runner with 10 meters to go. We had run against Austintown-Fitch earlier in the indoor season and we knew their personnel and what we would be able to do."
Big Walnut's Olivia Small won two events for the second year in a row, finishing first in the long jump (18 feet, 4 inches) and triple jump (37-3 1/2). Last year at indoor, she won the long jump in a meet-record 18-8 1/4 and won the long jump in 37-3.
"I like having both events, but it can be really exhausting," said Small, who won the outdoor state title in the long jump (19-8 3/4) last season. "But I don't catch a break in outdoors because I still do the high jump instead of the triple jump. I'll do the triple jump when I go to Ohio State next year."
Also in the Division I girls meet, Pickerington Central's Irene Skinner, Cortisha Short, Tyler Williams and Shalon Conley combined to win the 800 relay (1:41.33) and Canal Winchester's Jocselyn Powell won the 60 hurdles in a meet-record 8.62, breaking her own record (8.67) that she set last year.
Finishing second in Division I was Olentangy's Nicey Bauman in the girls 60 hurdles (8.71), Thomas Worthington's Ashley Forte in the girls 800 (2:21.24) and Jalen Wells in the boys 400 (49.32), Westerville Central's David Hatchett in the boys 60 (6.92), Westerville North's Evan Larrick, Matt Parkhurst, Nick Horton and Trevor Dilley in the boys 3,200 relay (8:02.66), Davidson's Garrett Knapik in the boys 3,200 (9:26.94) and Damarcus Nelson in the boys triple jump (43-4 3/4) and Watkins Memorial's Hunter Holton in the boys high jump (6-7) and Josie Woosley in the girls 3,200 (11:07.17).
Hartley's Naja Greer placed third in the girls 200 (25.02) in Division I.
Columbus Academy finished third (20) in the Division II-III boys meet behind champion Dayton Dunbar (68).
Jack Lint led the Vikings, winning the 60 hurdles (meet-record 7.93) and placing second in the 400 (49.68).
Below are local competitors who finished among the top eight in the state indoor track and field meet March 8 at the University of Akron:
BIG WALNUT (Division I)
Boys -- Cole Stark: triple jump (seventh, 41-7 1/2); Girls -- Olivia Small: long jump (first, 18-4), triple jump (first, 37-3 1/2)
CANAL WINCHESTER (Division I)
Boys -- Jermil Powell: high jump (sixth, 6-5); Girls -- Jocselyn Powell: 60 hurdles (first, *8.62)
COLUMBUS ACADEMY (Division II/III)
Boys -- Jack Lint: 60 hurdles (first, *7.93), 400 (second, 49.68); 3,200 relay: Marshall Tuckerman, Ben Uchimura, Alex Ho and Aron Aziz (seventh, 8:24.37); Girls -- Julia Rizk: 1,600 (fifth, 5:16.01)
DELAWARE (Division I)
Girls -- Emily Richards: 400 (seventh, 58.71)
DUBLIN COFFMAN (Division I)
Boys -- 3,200 relay: Simon Alford, Zach Bons, John Graf and Tyndale Hannan (fifth, 8:04.03); Girls -- Beatrice Hannan: 60 (second, 7.61), 200 (first, 24.51)
DUBLIN JEROME (Division I)
Boys -- Mitch Leitch: 3,200 (fourth, 9:28.17); Jake Mandel: 3,200 (sixth, 9:30.05); Chase Stewart: 1,600 (seventh, 4:22.6); 3,200 relay: Nick Foley, Leitch, Mandel and Graham Stecz (fourth, 8:03.99)
DUBLIN SCIOTO (Division I)
Boys -- Kenny Mayes: 800 (seventh, 1:57.25); Girls -- Mya Hodge: 60 hurdles (sixth, 9.5)
GAHANNA (Division I)
Girls -- Mi'Angel Daniels: 60 hurdles (third, 9.18); Kelsey Sandlin: 1,600 (seventh, 5:15.67); 800 relay: Sara Richards, Ivy McKee, Cierra Hill and Daniels (fourth, 1:43.78); 1,600 relay: Richards, McKee, Hill and Samantha Shaw (first, 4:00.93); 3,200 relay: Rylee Tanner, Kelsey Sandlin, Jessica Patrick and Kearstin Turner (sixth, 9:43.34)
HARTLEY (Division II/III boys, Division I girls)
Boys -- Cameron Hart: high jump (fourth, 6-4), long jump (sixth, 21-4 1/2); Alonzo Saxton: 200 (sixth, 22.95); Girls -- Emily Franz: 800 (fourth, 2:21.63); Naja Greer: 200 (third, 25.02); 800 relay: Kristian Brown, Naja Greer, Deja Martin and Ky'lena Allen (sixth, 1:45.53)
HILLIARD BRADLEY (Division I)
Boys -- Eric McCabe: 3,200 (fifth, 9:28.63)
HILLIARD DAVIDSON (Division I)
Boys -- Garrett Knapik: 3,200 (second, 9:26.94); Damarcus Nelson: long jump (eighth, 21-0 3/4), triple jump (second, 43-4 3/4); Jacob Ross: high jump (fourth, 6-5), triple jump (fourth, 42-5); Girls -- Lilly Saniel-Banrey: 1,600 (third, 5:12.28)
NEW ALBANY (Division I)
Girls -- Karrington Winters: 400 (first, 55.81); 1,600 relay: Debi Bhanja, Haley Lyles, Dena White and Winters (fourth, 4:06.01)
NORTHRIDGE (Division II/III)
Girls -- Haley Menix: high jump (tied for sixth, 5-0), long jump (fourth, 16-7), triple jump (eighth, 31-1 1/2)
OLENTANGY (Division I)
Girls -- Nicey Bauman: 60 hurdles (second, 8.71), 200 (sixth, 25.6)
OLENTANGY LIBERTY (Division I)
Boys -- 3,200 relay: Brad Wiemels, Andrew Johnston, Chatham Anderson and Josh Wojciechowski (sixth, 8:06.72)
PICKERINGTON CENTRAL (Division I)
Boys -- Kameron Smith: high jump (eighth, 6-4); Girls -- Shalon Conley: 60 (fifth, 7.76), 200 (fifth, 25.3); Cortisha Short: 200 (seventh, 25.71); Irene Skinner: 400 (eighth, 59.14); 800 relay: Skinner, Short, Tyler Williams and Conley (first, 1:41.33)
PICKERINGTON NORTH (Division I)
Boys -- Nick Gray: 200 (second, 21.75), 400 (first, 48.7); John Harris: high jump (seventh, 6-4); 800 relay: Jaye Williams, Jayvonta Tolliver, Darius Ragland and Gray (first, 1:29.75); 1,600 relay: Trey Browder, Luke Miller, Tolliver and Gray (third, 3:23.25); Girls -- 3,200 relay: Rosa Rumora, Kat Lowe, Sierra Waite and Sinclair Stockard (seventh, 9:46.26)
REYNOLDSBURG (Division I)
Girls -- Leah Wallace: 1,600 (eighth, 5:16.28)
ST. CHARLES (Division I)
1,600 relay: Emmit Bryan, Quentin Francis, Justin Law and Greg Suh (sixth, 3:26.97)
THOMAS WORTHINGTON (Division I)
Boys -- Jalen Wells: 400 (second, 49.32); Girls -- Ashley Forte: 800 (second, 2:21.24); Ryanna Reid: long jump (seventh, 16-8 1/2); 3,200 relay: Ashley Forte, Ariel Rittenhouse, Holly Payne and Christina Nash (eighth, 9:48.81)
UPPER ARLINGTON (Division I)
Girls -- Anne Heuerman: 3,200 (fourth, 11:09.69)
WATKINS MEMORIAL (Division I)
Boys -- Hunter Holton: high jump (second, 6-7); Jerrod Lyon: long jump (fifth, 21-3 3/4); Girls -- Josie Woosley: 3,200 (second, 11:07.17)
WESTERVILLE CENTRAL (Division I)
Boys -- David Hatchett: 60 (second, 6.92), 200 (fifth, 22.04)
WESTERVILLE NORTH (Division I)
Boys -- 3,200 relay: Evan Larrick, Matt Parkhurst, Nick Horton and Trevor Dilley (second, 8:02.66); Girls -- Heather Sandvik: 1,600 (fourth, 5:12.99); Jocelyn Sharpe: 400 (sixth, 58.57)