The Westerville North High School boys track and field team concluded its season by turning in its best state performance in 15 years.
Led by senior Jacob Dumford, the Warriors scored 31 points in the Division I state meet held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State to finish fourth, behind Lakewood St. Edward (62), Pickerington North (47) and Mason (39) as 62 teams scored.
"This was the strongest finish that I've had and that the school has had since (1999 graduate) Ryan Wilson won the state (in 1998), so I was pretty happy with the season," said coach Johnny Jackson, who completed his eighth season leading the program.
Wilson, who went on to compete in track at the University of Southern California and has competed professionally since 2004, won state titles in the long jump, 110-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles in 1998 to earn all 30 of North's points in the meet. The Warriors shared the team championship with Brunswick.
Dumford, who will run cross country and track at the University of Notre Dame, won the state title in the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 8.21 seconds, setting a Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium record, and teamed with senior Nick Chatel, junior Evan Larrick and sophomore Trevor Dilley to win the 3,200 relay in a program-record 7:42.47.
Also at state, Dumford placed third in the 800 (1:52.85), senior Kent Ford placed fourth in the 3,200 (9:11.07) and Chatel finished 11th in the 1,600 (4:16.9).
Ford and Chatel will run cross country and track at Miami University and Arizona State, respectively.
North, which loses nine seniors, finished third (44) in the regional meet May 29 and 31 behind champion and host Pickerington North (99) as 39 teams scored.
Dumford won regional titles in the 800 (1:52.01) and 1,600 (4:16.67) and teamed with Chatel, Larrick and Dilley to win the 3,200 relay (7:45.49).
Also at regional, Ford placed second in the 3,200 (9:21.04), Chatel finished third in the 1,600 (4:19.34) and junior Andrew Meacham was 12th in the 300 hurdles (41.73), as the top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.
The Warriors finished third (55) in the 15-team district 1 meet that concluded May 25 at Hilliard Darby, behind Pickerington North (159.5) and Pickerington Central (78).
Winning district titles were Dumford in the 1,600 (4:19.85) and the 3,200 relay of Dumford, Chatel, senior Andrew Sucharski and Dilley (7:59.79).
In the OCC-Cardinal Division meet May 16 and 18 at Hilliard Bradley, North scored 118.5 points to finish second, behind Westerville Central (138) and ahead of Westerville South (101.5), Darby (87), Dublin Jerome (75), Bradley (56), Dublin Scioto (45) and Worthington Kilbourne (37).
Winning league titles were Dumford in the 1,600 (4:23.84) and 400 (49.87), Ford in the 3,200 (9:26.73), the 3,200 relay of Ford, Larrick, Dilley and junior Nick Horton (7:58.22), Meacham in the 300 hurdles (40.3) and Chatel in the 800 (1:57.48).
"We're losing a lot of boys, but I never look at it like that because we have some young kids coming in," Jackson said. "We're getting more football players out thanks to (assistant football and track coach) Ian (Kline) and some cooperation from the head football coach (Rodger Elander)."
Moushey among Central's seniors
Among the highlights for Central was its third consecutive OCC-Cardinal title.
"Anytime you can win a conference championship and defend your title, I know the guys were really excited about that, as well as the coaching staff," coach Jason Loughman said.
The Warhawks loses five seniors, including Charlie Moushey, a University of Kentucky signee who finished second in the Division I state meet in the pole vault (15 feet, 9 inches).
Also at state, junior David Hatchett placed seventh in the 200 (22.1) and 10th in the 100 (10.77) and the 800 relay of Moushey, Hatchett, junior Eldin Anu and sophomore Joshua Beaumont finished ninth (1:29.15).
Central scored 10 points at state to tie Newark for 21st.
At regional, Moushey won the pole vault (15-0), the 800 relay of Moushey, Anu, Hatchett and Beaumont placed second (program-record 1:28.12), Hatchett placed fourth in both the 100 (10.89) and 200 (22.09).
Also competing at regional were the 400 relay of Hatchett, Anu, Moushey and junior Zach Crumpler (fifth, 43.13), senior Jayvon Council in the high jump (eighth, 6-4), junior Tommy Mansfield in the long jump (15th, 19-8 3/4) and pole vault (tied for 12th, 13-0), junior Michael Bisaha in the 110 hurdles (10th, 15.59) and sophomore A.J. Johnson in the 400 (10th, 52.84), as Central finished seventh (33).
The Warhawks placed third (88.5) in the 16-team district 3 meet, behind Granville (117) and New Albany (101.5).
Winning district titles were Moushey in the pole vault (15-6) and Hatchett in the 100 (10.84).
In the league meet, Hatchett won both the 100 (10.95) and 200 (22.08) and was part of the winning 400 relay (42.85), along with Anu, Crumpler and Moushey.
Also winning league titles were sophomore Nathan Jackowski in the discus (146-7) and Moushey in the pole vault (15-6).
"Losing Charlie is significant because he's a multi-event guy, but we have a great crop of young runners and juniors coming back," Loughman said. "We have a well-rounded group coming back with a lot of talent and a lot of experience, so we're really excited about the future of Warhawk track and field."
South loses only state qualifier
South loses 13 seniors, including its only Division I state qualifier in Richard Dahome, who finished 15th in the 110 hurdles (15.15).
Dahome, who will run track at Kent State University, battled a muscle injury in his back throughout the season but advanced to state by placing fourth (15.07) in the event at regional, as the Wildcats scored six points to tie Reynoldsburg for 26th.
Also at regional, the 800 relay of senior Myles Collier, sophomore Murphy Coan and freshmen Steiner Abayie and Daylan Haynie placed eighth (1:30.96) and junior Darryl Long finished ninth in the shot put (48-9).
Senior Noah Prentiss, who was hampered most of the season by a strained hamstring, qualified for regional in the 100 but did not compete.
South finished seventh (36.5) in the district 1 meet and third in the OCC-Cardinal meet, with Dahome winning the league title in the 110 hurdles (15.53).
"The seniors did a lot to contribute to the growth of our program," coach Jimmy Gaul said. "We're already talking about what kids might go where next year. We're looking for some big things. We have some young guys with great experience this year in the sprints."