The Westland High School track and field program entered the postseason looking for its first Division I regional qualifier since 2010.
The Cougars will compete this week in the 16-team district 3 meet at Hilliard Darby. The field events are Wednesday, May 22, the running preliminaries will be held Thursday, May 23, and the running finals are Saturday, May 25.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.
"The district meet is going to be loaded again, but I like our chances for some of our kids to get to finals of the district and there's a couple kids that definitely stand a chance of moving on to regionals," coach Tim Eckard said.
Westland's last regional qualifier was 2010 graduate Courtney Francis, who finished seventh in the long jump in 16 feet, 7 3/4 inches at regional as a senior after winning the event in the district 2 meet (15-8 1/4).
Eckard believes senior distance runner Seth Farmer may have the Cougars' best chance to advance to regional this spring.
Farmer placed second in both the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 36.34 seconds) and 3,200 (9:59.84) in the 11-team Viking Invitational on May 11 at Teays Valley, as the boys team scored 50 points to finish fifth behind champion Watkins Memorial (207.5).
Also placing second in the Viking Invitational was the 400 relay of James Pack, Giann Martinez, Erick Martinez and Connor Scott (46.66). Dayon Walton placed fourth in both the 110 hurdles (16.82) and 300 hurdles (43.5).
The girls team finished ninth (15.5) in the 10-team Viking Invitational behind champion Canal Winchester (118.5).
The Cougars' top finisher was Donna Mayhew, who placed sixth in the 800 (2:40.15).
Westland competed in the OCC-Central Division meet May 16 and 18 at Thomas Worthington.
"This is definitely my favorite time of the year," Eckard said. "I like to see the hard work that the kids put in pay off, especially as we get into districts and get to move onto regionals. This is like the playoffs for a major league baseball manager."
Softball team ends season winless
The softball team finished 0-25 overall after losing to eighth-seeded Watterson 16-0 in five innings in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 14 at Ridgeview Middle School.
The next day, Mike North resigned as coach after compiling a 79-154 record in 10 seasons. The Cougars' last winning season came in 2009, when they finished 12-11 overall.
"I said goodbye to my seniors and I told the kids coming back next year to work hard," North said.
Against Watterson, Eagles pitcher Kayla Cook led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to left-center field and added a bases-loaded walk in the second inning, helping the Eagles open a 5-0 lead.
Westland managed only one hit against Cook -- a single in the second inning by senior pitcher Ashley Haulter.
"It's been a rough couple of years and coach decided to quit and let somebody else step up and be coach," Haulter said. "He was a really big help with me in pitching and he's never given up on me throughout my four years. I played first base and he's never given up and he's very dedicated to the team."
Westland lost to host Upper Arlington 9-2 on May 13 in a rescheduled OCC-Central game. The Cougars finished 0-14 in the league to place eighth behind co-champions Marysville (11-3) and Olentangy Liberty (11-3).
Thomas Worthington (9-5) was third, followed by UA (8-6), Central Crossing (6-8), Hilliard Davidson (6-8), Dublin Coffman (5-9) and Westland.
"The frustrating part is we had some talent, but we never developed," North said. "It's not like (the girls) didn't try, but we just never blended. We never molded together as a team."
Westland loses two seniors in Haulter and catcher Michaela Williams.
Expected to return are juniors Alexis Carius (OF/1B), Marina Gooch (INF/OF), Taylor Wegman (INF/OF) and Kaitlyn Willming (INF/OF), sophomores Savannah Badillo (P/3B), Hunter Hay (3B), Brianna Taylor (3B) and Aly White (C) and freshmen Kaylee Barber (SS) and Maria Hamilton (2B).
Baseball team falls in tourney opener
The baseball team lost to sixth-seeded Gahanna 13-3 in five innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 15 after having a first-round bye.
The Cougars finished 1-27 overall and 0-14 in the OCC-Central.
"Gahanna crushed the ball," coach Dave Daniels said. "They had 14 hits, four triples and three doubles. Wow. We played hard, scrapped and tied it at 3-3 in the (third) and then they went off."
Gahanna took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the bottom of the third and scored four runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to invoke the mercy rule.
Tennis team finishes eighth in league
The boys tennis team finished eighth in the final OCC-Central standings.
Westland did not score in the league tournament May 11 at Upper Arlington after going 0-7 in league matches during the regular season. The Cougars finished behind UA (81 points, 7-0), Coffman (63, 6-1), Davidson (63, 5-2), Liberty (42, 3-4), Thomas Worthington (36, 3-4) Marysville (33, 3-4) and Central Crossing (12, 1-6).
The Cougars competed in the Division I sectional tournament May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to the district tournament Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, at Davidson.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district advance to the state tournament May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.