The Upper Arlington High School boys and girls track and field teams will compete Saturday at Thomas Worthington in the Gary Smith Invitational, an event that is near and dear to coach Dale Hartney.

The Upper Arlington High School boys and girls track and field teams will compete Saturday at Thomas Worthington in the Gary Smith Invitational, an event that is near and dear to coach Dale Hartney.

Smith, who coached the Cardinals for more than 30 years, and Hartney were longtime friends. Smith was 53 when he died in June 1998 of pancreatic cancer.

Although they were at opposing schools, Hartney and Smith never considered themselves rivals.

"We were very good friends. We did everything together," Hartney said. "He was a remarkable guy."

The invitational and the home Larkin/Crosten meet are the Bears' final tuneups for the OCC-Central Division meet May 14-16.

In relay events, the boys and girls teams have done well. The boys were second at the Bellefontaine Chieftain Relays on April 17, then were 15th at the Edwin Moses Relay at Welcome Stadium in Dayton last Friday. The girls team was second at Bellefontaine and eighth at Dayton.

"The great thing about relays is more kids get a chance to be involved," coach Dan Rohrs said. "The down side is the only involve a couple of events that you're going to run (in the postseason).

"At invitationals, you're competing in the events you're trying to get to the state meets in. It gives kids a chance to hone their skills for those events. That, to me, is more of a training ground for the district, regional and state meets."

Joe Ferguson was second in the discus with a throw of 139 feet, 10 inches at the Stingel Invitational on April 11 at Pickerington North, and teamed with Nick Berry and Greg Schooley to win the discus relay (386-3) at the Bellefontaine Relays.

Ferguson (128-2) and Schooley (111-8) were eighth (239-10) in the discus last Friday.

"When you're doing a relay, you're competing with one or two other people (from your team), and that's a lot more fun," Ferguson said. "You build off each other's performance. People always look at track as an individual sport, but relays emphasize the team aspect.

"A lot of times when you're competing at an invitational, you're going against the same teams, and you see the same guys every week. Since you're three or four hours with each other, you get to know each other pretty well. Everybody gets real comfortable with each other."

NOTEWORTHY -- Senior Matthew Davis, a hurdler who has committed to Miami University, ruptured an Achilles tendon and is not expected to compete for the remainder of the season.

Davis finished fifth (41.2) in the 300 hurdles at the regional meet last year and was part of the 1,600 relay team that placed 14th (3:22.05) at state two years ago.

"This year he was looking like he was going to have a breakout season," Hartney said. "He's such a big part of our team. I don't think you can replace him with just one person. We're going to need a lot of people to step up. People are going to be running in events they normally don't compete in."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Upper Arlington boys and girls track and field teams:

*April 14 -- Boys: Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 94-33; Girls: Defeated Kilbourne 70-58

April 17 -- Boys: Finished second (75) behind Kettering Fairmont (82) in seven-team Bellefontaine Relays; Girls: Finished second (94) behind Fairmont (101)

*April 21 -- Boys: Lost to Hilliard Darby 112.5-25; Girls: Lost to Darby 81-52.5

Last Friday -- Boys: Finished 15th (9) behind champion Mason (59) in Edwin Moses Relays; Girls: Finished eighth (32.5) behind champion Mason (71). Bethany Yunker, Allison McGee, Shelly Navarre and Olivia Menden won the 6,400 relay (22:22.8), Leah Moody, Laura Hoffman, Yunker and Menden were second in the 3,200 relay (9:58.5) and Erica Thorson and Nuala McSweeney were second in the pole vault (16-6).

*Last Tuesday -- Competed against Central Crossing

Saturday -- At Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington

*Tuesday -- At Westland

*OCC-Central meet