Having transferred to Westland High School from Piketon last summer, Seth Farmer set his sights on qualifying for the regional track and field meet in Division I after achieving the feat last season in Division II.
The sophomore reached his goal by placing second in the 3,200 meters in a personal-best 9 minutes, 48.86 seconds in the 16-team district 3 meet that concluded May 25 at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each district event advanced to the regional meet held May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North, where the top four finishers in each event qualified for the state meet Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at Ohio State.
Lancaster's Nick Weaver finished first at district in 9:43.36, with Granville's Kevin Huddle (9:50.77) and New Albany's Dennis Maloney (9:51.88) placing third and fourth, respectively.
"The competition was just as hard as I expected it to be, but I didn't expect to get second place," Farmer said. "I was just hoping to qualify."
Farmer, who was the only member of the boys or girls teams to advance to regional, is Westland's first regional qualifier since graduate Courtney Francis in the long jump in 2010.
"This makes me feel good because I can change some things around the school, change their running things," Farmer said of qualifying for regional.
Farmer qualified for the district final in the 1,600 after finishing first in the preliminaries (4:39.14) on May 23, but he decided to withdraw from the event to concentrate on the 3,200.
"I was pleased but not surprised to see Seth make it to regional," coach Tim Eckard said. "He is fun to watch run because he is such a great technician and strategist. He really knows when to sit back and let others do the work and when he needs to step up and take the lead."
Last season at Piketon in the regional meet at Athens, Farmer finished seventh in the 1,600 (4:47.67) and was a member of the 3,200 relay that placed second (8:15.05) to advance to state. The 3,200 relay finished 15th (8:28.05) at state.
"It's not like (Division I is) harder competition, but there's more competition up here (than in Division II)," Farmer said.
Also scoring for the boys team at district were Isaiah Henn in the long jump (fifth, 20 feet, 2 1/4 inches), Ryan Weber in the high jump (tied for sixth, 5-8) and the 400 relay of James Pack, Giann Martinez, Erick Martinez and Connor Scott (seventh, 45.28).
The Cougars scored 15.5 points to finish 14th behind champion Granville (117).
"Overall, I thought it was a very good district meet for us," Eckard said. "A lot of kids improved on their (personal records) while facing some of the toughest competition and weather conditions of the year. It was cold, rainy and windy for the sprint events.
"Our two top scorers were a freshman (Henn in the long jump) and a sophomore (Farmer in the 3,200), so our future looks good."
The girls team did not score in the 16-team district 3 meet, as Dublin Coffman (141) finished first.
The 800 relay of Destinee Long, Oluchi Obiagwu, Sasha Bouaroy and Odunayo Shobo had the Cougars' highest finish, placing ninth in 1:55.46.
Placing 10th were the 3,200 relay of Donna Mayhew, Haylee Brown, Kelly Draves and Coral Gross (11:17.64) and the 400 relay of Long, Obiagwu, Aleeyah Vanek and Shobo (1:00.49).
Baseball team looks to improve in 2014
Baseball coach Dave Daniels said his team never lost its fight despite finishing 1-27 overall.
"After a really frustrating season, terrible season, which we had, it becomes even more relevant that these guys concentrate and don't give up," he said. "That's the one thing I was always proud of the boys, we never quit. We were in a bad stretch, but we never gave up. We still had games where we were close and real competitive."
Seeded 41st of 41 teams in the Division I district tournament, Westland lost to sixth-seeded Gahanna 13-3 in five innings in the second round May 15 after having a first-round bye.
The Cougars went 0-14 in the OCC-Central to finish eighth, behind Thomas Worthington (11-3), Marysville (9-5), Olentangy Liberty (9-5), Coffman (8-6), Upper Arlington (8-6), Hilliard Davidson (6-8) and Central Crossing (5-9).
Westland's only win came against Fisher Catholic, 6-5 on April 6.
Korey Browning (P/SS/OF) led the team with a .320 batting average and 11 RBI and was named special mention all-league and Steven Gonzalez (P/OF) was honorable mention all-league.
Browning and Gonzalez were among the team's eight seniors.
Among those expected to return are juniors Nick Green (OF/P), Daniel McBee (INF/CF) and Zach Riley (3B) and sophomore Nolan Lee (P/INF/OF).
"Those are four good guys," Daniels said. "Those are four hard-working, non-attitude, 'I'm going to jump when you say jump, I'm going to want to run my sprints' kind of good guys. Maybe we can build off of that."