Members of the Westerville Central High School boys track and field team held up three fingers as they posed for a celebratory photo after the OCC-Cardinal Division meet May 18 at Hilliard Bradley.
The fingers represented the number of consecutive league titles the Warhawks have won.
Central scored 138 points in the two-day OCC-Cardinal meet, which began May 16, to finish ahead of Westerville North (118.5), Westerville South (101.5), Hilliard Darby (87), Dublin Jerome (75), Bradley (56), Dublin Scioto (45) and Worthington Kilbourne (37).
"This means the world to us because this is all we talk about throughout the whole track season," senior sprinter David Hatchett said. "OCCs, OCCs, we want to get it every year. We don't want to lose OCCs."
Hatchett led the way for the Warhawks, winning the 100 meters (10.95 seconds) and 200 (22.08) and teaming with Eldin Anu, Zach Crumpler and Charlie Moushey to win the 400 relay (42.85).
Central won two other events, with Nathan Jackowski finishing first in the discus (146 feet, 7 inches) and Moushey placing first in the pole vault (15-6).
Other top performances included Josh Nixon placing second in the discus (140-7) and Tommy Mansfield finishing second in both the 110 hurdles (15.79) and 300 hurdles (41.0).
"We just have a corps of really hard workers and some great athletes, and this year it's just been all about effort and attitude," coach Jason Loughman said. "(Last) weekend, it was one of those expect-the-unexpected (moments). Things that we maybe were counting on for points, we had a few slip ups. But things that maybe we weren't counting on really stepped up and overachieved in some of our events."
The Central girls team finished fourth (87) in the OCC-Cardinal meet, behind South (123), North (121) and Scioto (88.5) and ahead of Bradley (78), Darby (59.5), Kilbourne (53) and Jerome (53).
The Warhawks won only one event, with Jessie Swisher finishing first in the pole vault (9-3). Placing second were Kenna Pollard in the 100 hurdles (15.64), Morghan Hyatt in the 400 (59.11) and Alex Kuhns in the discus (98-8).
The Central girls will also compete in the district 3 at Darby.
Both the boys and girls teams are competing in the Division I, district 3 meet this week at Darby. The meet began May 22, continues Thursday, May 23, and concludes Saturday, May 25.
The top four finishers in each district event advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 29, and May 31 at Pickerington North.
"I think we're more than ready for district," Hatchett said of the boys team. "(The league meet) is pretty much like pre-district. We wanted (the league title) bad enough. When we see how badly we want it, we can get it."
South girls edge North for OCC title
The South girls team won its first league title since winning back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999.
The Wildcats and North were tied for first with 113 points entering the final event, the 1,600 relay. South won the event in a meet- and program-record 3:58.68 to finish two points ahead of the Warriors for the OCC-Cardinal title.
Tara Thompson anchored the 1,600 relay, which also included Chasatea Brown, Paichence Carter and Desiree' Clark.
"We were just focused on winning," Thompson said. "We knew that we had kids coming on that were close to us. We just focused on winning the whole league. We have a really good squad and we're only going to get better. We're young."
Also finishing first for the Wildcats were Brown in the 300 hurdles (46.08) and long jump (17-3 1/4), Phoebe Nkansah-Wiafe in the shot put (35-10), Mary Grace Sylvester in the discus (103-0) and the 800 relay of Thompson, Carter, Brown and Amaria Estes (1:43.55).
"This is huge for the program," South girls coach Jim Gaul said. "It will get more kids back out (for the team) because we've been struggling getting kids out the last couple of years because of that participation fee ($240 per athlete) is so high."
The South boys team won one event in the OCC-Cardinal meet.
Richard Dahome finished first in the 110 hurdles (15.53). Placing second were the 400 relay of Darien Miller, Noah Prentiss, Daylan Haynie and Torrodd Carter (43.41) and Darryl Long in the shot put (48-10).
Dahome (back) and Miller (hamstring) have missed much of the season because of injuries and Prentiss (hamstring) made his season debut in the league meet.
"It was great that Noah was able to get back and run in the league championship meet his senior year and anchor our (400 relay)," boys coach Jimmy Gaul said. "Same for Darien. (It is) great to get him back in the mix. The boys did about everything they could. It was a Westerville sweep on the guys side. It was a great day for our city."
The South boys and girls teams are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week at Darby. The meet began May 21, continues Thursday, May 23, and concludes Saturday, May 25.
"It's kind of our philosophy that this is the time of the season to peak and your hard workouts come on race day," Jimmy Gaul said. "It's been tradition here the last few years to just keep improving and improving as the stakes get higher and higher and the competition gets better and better. I think they're ready for it."
Dumford, Sandvik lead North in OCC meet
Jacob Dumford led the way for the North boys team in the OCC-Cardinal meet, winning the 1,600 (4:23.84) and 400 (49.87).
Also placing first were Kent Ford in the 3,200 (9:26.73), Andrew Meacham in the 300 hurdles (40.3), Nick Chatel in the 800 (1:57.48) and the 3,200 relay of Ford, Evan Larrick, Trevor Dilley and Nick Horton (7:58.22).
"It was a good day for Westerville and it was a good day for us," coach Johnny Jackson said. "The boys did as well as we could expect, so it was a good finish."
The North girls team was led by Heather Sandvik, who won the 3,200 (11:36.37) and 1,600 (5:09.35) and teamed with Haley Sandvik, Heidi Engelhardt and Jocelyn Sharpe to win the 3,200 relay (9:33.98).
Haley Sandvik placed second in the 1,600 (5:15.32).
"The girls scored in pretty much every event we were in other than the 100 and 200," Jackson said. "I was happy with it. It was a good day."
Both the boys and girls teams are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week.
"This is good prepping, a good confidence-builder," Heather Sandvik said of the league meet. "There's going to be some faster milers, two-milers (at district), so that will push us for faster times."
"I love this time of year," Jackson said. "The team gets a little bit smaller. We start seeing them peak right around now. We're always healthy, we always stay pretty healthy. This is my favorite time."