The numbers are up for the Westerville South High School boys and girls track and field teams, but depth still might be a concern for the Wildcats.

The numbers are up for the Westerville South High School boys and girls track and field teams, but depth still might be a concern for the Wildcats.

The girls team is aiming to win an OCC-Cardinal Division title, and not even the loss of some key athletes from last year's team will deter the Wildcats.

Last year South was 28th at the Division I regional meet and seventh at district. At the league meet the Wildcats finished fifth (62) behind Westerville Central (161.5), Dublin Scioto (154.5), Olentangy (93) and Westerville North (66) and ahead of Marysville (51), Dublin Jerome (37) and Olentangy Liberty (37).

"We always start out with the goal to win the league," coach Jim Gaul said. "We also want to be realistic. I don't know if we'll have the depth to win the league, but you never know. We just need to be able to cover our weaknesses with our strengths."

South is again led by its sprinters and sprint relays. Included in that group are Edna Akora (sprints/relays), Nikia Buckingham (sprints/relays), Leah Coleman (sprints/relays), Leah Harris (sprints/relays), Abby McDonald (sprints/relays), Brooke Robbins (relays) and Tori Sumner (relays). Robbins also will be the team's top high jumper and Sumner will compete in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Jennifer Gonzalez will be the top pole vaulter.

The distance events never have been a strength for South, but Gaul said the Wildcats have a nice corps to build around. The key distance runners are Elizabeth Markle, Hannah Markle, Nicole Weyer and Claire Saunders.

"We do need to improve in the distance events," Gaul said. "It's not that we don't have the talent, we just don't have the numbers right now."

Another area South seeks improvement in is the throwing events. Gaul is encouraged by what he's seen, but scoring points in the shot put and discus won't be easy for South.

With 76 girls on the roster there is a shortage of athletes for the girls, but a lot are new to the team or new to the sport, thus confirming Gaul's concerns about depth.

"The kids have picked up where they left off from last year, and that's a positive thing," Gaul said. "We told them it'll take a year or so to learn so we do have some areas we need to get better in."

•With a lot of returning athletes from last year, the boys team looks to be strong in a lot of areas. However, coach Jimmy Gaul said the Wildcats won't discuss expectations or goals until after the Wildcat Invitational on April 23.

"Last year we came out of the gate and looked like world-beaters. Then with injuries and whatnot we fell apart," Jimmy Gaul said. "So it's what can we each do to improve, and we'll sit down later and assess what we have."

Last season, South competed at the state meet but didn't score. It was 36th at regional and 12th at district. The Wildcats were fifth (82.83) at the OCC-Cardinal meet, behind Olentangy Liberty (114.33), Marysville (103.5), Westerville North (94) and Westerville Central (91.5) and ahead of Dublin Jerome (71.33), Olentangy (61.5) and Dublin Scioto (39).

Leading South are Amir Askari (distance), Ryan Barber (sprints/relays), Nick Conley (distance), Troy Elizondo (distance), Tevin Favor (high jump/long jump), Adam Kendrick (distance), Hasso Opitz (distance), Sam Schumann (hurdles), Jack Tomlinson (sprints/relays) and Drake Wakefield (sprints/relays). Schumann returns this season after missing all of last year with an injury.

Barber, Tomlinson and Wakefield will be strong in the sprint events, but Gaul said South needs to find more depth in the sprints and sprint relays, traditionally an area of strength for the Wildcats.

"I was impressed with the work ethic in the winter," Jimmy Gaul said. "We're putting in the work right now and it's exciting to start putting the guys in the right spots and figure out what we have."