Some extra practice has done wonders for Erica Thorson and Nuala McSweeney of the Upper Arlington High School girls track and field team.

Some extra practice has done wonders for Erica Thorson and Nuala McSweeney of the Upper Arlington High School girls track and field team.

Because they had to have supervision, before this season they were limited to about 30 minutes of practice time each day in the pole vault. But with the addition of Scott Hudepohl to coach the vaulters, they now can get in up to four hours of work each day. At the Division I district 3 meet which concluded last Saturday at Dublin Coffman, that extra work paid off.

Thorson cleared 9 feet, 6 inches to win and McSweeney cleared 9-0 to take third. The top four in each event advanced to the regional, which began last Wednesday and will conclude Friday at Pickerington North. The top four there will advance to state June 5-6 at Ohio State.

At district, the girls team finished fourth (80 points) behind champion Reynoldsburg (157) and the boys team was 10th (32) behind champion Big Walnut (107).

"Everything clicked on that day," Thorson said. "I think last year I cleared 9-0 once, and that wasn't at the district meet. This year I'm consistently making that height.

"Having Hudepohl as a coach has definitely helped. In the past, we had to cram, like, 10 jumps into a half hour, and by the end you were hurrying through them and you got real sloppy on your form. Having a jump coach, we're not only able to jump more but we're also able to concentrate on our form."

Also at district, Olivia Menden was second (5 minutes, 17.77 seconds) to Watkins Memorial's Mara White (5:17.57) in the 1,600 and joined Bethany Yunker, Sarah Hobbs and Leah Moody on the second-place 3,200 relay (9:39.35). Allison Magee was second (12:21.85) in the 3,200.

UA advanced to the regional in two other events and had fifth-place finishers in three events -- Calina Hilyard in the 400 (1:00.83), Moody in the 800 (2:19.64) and Amanda Ulen, Alexis Koon, Maria Pyle and Danielle Fast in the 400 relay (51.25).

"We had some great races, but we also had some disappointments as well," said coach Dan Rohrs, who works with the sprinters. "Now is the time when we really hone in on our training."

•For the boys team, Blake Annen was third (11.26) in the 100 as Beechcroft's Austin Carter (11.18) won.

Annen, a Cincinnati football recruit, is running track at the suggestion of the Bearcats coaches. He said he had no idea what he was in for.

"I feel really good about making the regional since this is my first year of running track," he said. "The hardest thing to get used to was all the conditioning you have to do for track. You have to do conditioning for football, but with track you're doing a lot more intricate training. You have to do things exactly the same way each time."

William Jones tied Dublin Coffman's Brandon Kowalski for third (5-10) in the high jump, Brendan Long was third in the 1,600 (4:25.71) and joined Mason Gauch, Connor McCrystal and Spencer Gardner on the fourth-place 3,200 relay (8:07.74).

At a glance

Below are the regional qualifiers for the Upper Arlington boys and girls track and field teams with district event, place and time/distance/height:

Boys -- Blake Annen: 100 (third, 11.26); William Jones: high jump (tied for third, 5-10); Brendan Long: 1,600 (third, 4:25.71); 3,200 relay: Long, Mason Gauch, Connor McCrystal, Spencer Gardner (fourth, 8:07.74); Girls -- Allison Magee: 3,200 (second, 12:21.85); Nuala McSweeney: pole vault (third, 9-0); Olivia Menden: 1,600 (second, 5:17.77); Gretchen Myers: high jump (fourth, 5-0); Erica Thorson: pole vault (first, 9-6); 3,200 relay: Menden, Bethany Yunker, Sarah Hobbs, Leah Moody (second, 9:39.35); 1,600 relay: Moody, Abigail Ginn, Corrine Wulf, Calina Hilyard (third, 4:03.15)