Led by returning senior Jacob Dumford, the Westerville North High School boys track and field team is eyeing a return to the Division I state meet.
Last season at state, Dumford placed second in the 800 meters (1 minute, 53.2 seconds) behind Lancaster's Brannon Kidder (1:51.09) and ran on the 3,200 relay that placed third (7:50.66).
Seniors Nick Chatel and Kent Ford also were members of the relay.
Dumford and Ford also are attempting to follow up finishes of second and fifth, respectively, in last fall's Division I state cross country meet.
"It's definitely nice to have Jacob and Kent back," coach Johnny Jackson said. "Those two really stick out. We have some big plans for both of them."
Dumford also qualified for state last year in the 1,600 but opted to skip the event to concentrate on the 800.
The Warriors scored 21 points to tie Solon for seventh behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (48) as 70 teams scored.
North opened this season April 6 by finishing seventh (41) in the 21-team Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson behind champion Pickerington North (130).
Other key returnees are seniors Brian Diep (jumps), Zach Fradette (distance), Philip Horn (distance), Kevin Schaublin (sprints), Andrew Sucharski (middle distance/sprints) and Seth Wenrich (distance) and juniors Nick Horton (distance), Andrew Meacham (sprints), Cedric Owens (jumps), Andy Struttmann (sprints/throws) and Moses Vasquez (throws).
Last season, North was third (49) at regional behind Pickerington North (60) and Dublin Coffman (52.5) as 38 teams scored.
The Warriors finished third (93) in the 16-team district 1 meet behind champion Hilliard Davidson (104).
In the OCC-Cardinal Division meet, the Warriors placed second (111) behind Westerville Central (116) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (104.5), Westerville South (94.5), Olentangy (89.5), Marysville (62.5), Dublin Jerome (55) and Dublin Scioto (27).
Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Worthington Kilbourne have replaced Liberty, Marysville and Olentangy in the league.
South looking for better health
After being slowed by injuries last season, South coach Jimmy Gaul hopes his team can return to full strength this spring.
A key injury loss last year was Noah Prentiss.
After winning the 100 (11.21) in the OCC-Cardinal meet, Prentiss missed the remainder of the season with a recurring back injury.
Prentiss, a senior, is expected to be a top sprinter this season.
Senior Myles Collier (sprints) and junior Darien Miller (sprints) were part of the 1,600 relay that won the league meet in 1:30.89.
Junior Torrodd Carter (sprints) was part of the 1,600 relay that finished 10th (1:31.62) at regional.
Also back is senior Richard Dahome (hurdles), who was 11th in the 110 hurdles (15.94) at regional.
"It's good to have numbers and we have lots of athletes in the building," Gaul said. "It's good to see our athletes come out and find ways to get better in the offseason."
Other key returnees are seniors Kyle Arens (hurdles), Jack Dunlope (distance), Grant Gwin (distance), Marshall Harrison (throws), Kevin Lam (pole vault) and Tyler Whitney (distance) and juniors Andrew Armstrong (hurdles), Curtis Mitchell (throws) and Adam Thesing (throws).
Gaul said sophomores Murphy Coan (sprints), Abu Daramy (jumps) and Greg Smith (distance) and freshman Daylan Haynie (sprints) also should contribute.
The Wildcats opened by finishing fourth (54) in the seven-team Hammond Relays on March 30 at Pickerington Central behind champion Pickerington North (119).
South was 11th (30) in the Wildcat Premier.
Last season, South was ninth (28) in the 16-team district 3 meet behind champion Pickerington North (127.5) and did not score at regional.
"We're looking to improve and become better track athletes," Gaul said.
Central counting on Moushey
Charlie Moushey returns for his senior season at Central looking to build on his success in the pole vault.
Moushey was the Warhawks' lone representative in the state meet last season, as he finished fourth (15 feet, 4 inches) behind two-time state champion Jake Blankenship of Gahanna, who set a state record (17-2).
Competing in his first state meet, Moushey accounted for the team's five points as the Warhawks finished in a nine-way tie for 39th.
Moushey broke his program record of 15-6 when he cleared 16-0 in the regional meet, where he finished second behind Blankenship (17-3/4).
Other key returnees are seniors Jayvon Council (jumps) and Craig Martin (middle distance), juniors Eldin Anu (sprints), Michael Bisaha (hurdles/sprints), Dustin Edens (distance), David Hatchett and Tommy Mansfield (hurdles/pole vault) and sophomores Josh Beaumont (sprints) and A.J. Johnson (sprints/middle distance).
Juniors Zach Crumpler (hurdles/sprints), Jared Drake (sprints) and Nick Richardson (throws) should be key contributors.
Central defeated Big Walnut 80-57 on April 2 and tied Groveport, Licking Valley and Newark for second (79) in the Newark Invitational on April 6 behind champion Independence (80) as 16 teams scored.
"Our boys team is a pretty well-rounded group this year," coach Jason Loughman said. "We have a lot of returning runners back."
Last season, Central tied Marietta for 22nd (9) at regional and finished sixth (50) in the district 3 meet.
The Warhawks also won their second consecutive OCC-Cardinal title.
"We have some work to do and a lot of young guys, but with the lettermen returning and some new faces out there, I think we're going to have a strong overall boys program," Loughman said.