A week after making a strong showing in the Division I state meet, the Westerville North High School boys track and field team excelled at the national level.
The Warriors had nine runners compete in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor held June 14-16 at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C. The event was open to athletes who met qualifying times during the season.
Leading the way for North were seniors Nick Chatel, Jacob Dumford and Andrew Sucharski and junior Evan Larrick, who combined to win the distance medley relay in 10 minutes, 7.13 seconds.
Chatel opened the event by competing in the 1,200 meters (3:08), followed by Sucharski in the 400 (51.0), Larrick in the 800 (1:57) and Dumford in the 1,600 (4:08). The event consisted of 11 relays.
The Warriors were fourth when Dumford, who will run cross country and track at the Notre Dame, took the baton from Larrick.
"I feel really thankful and blessed to be a part of this relay, but to be honest, I'm a bit surprised we ended up as national champs," Dumford said. "The credit really goes to my teammates. All three ran great legs and put me in position with the leaders when I got the baton, and thankfully I was able to grab the lead with 500 meters to go and hang on for the win.
"I've enjoyed some great individual successes, but it's even more enjoyable to end my high school running career at the top of a national podium with my teammates."
North's previous national title came in 2011 when Dumford, Ryan Weldon, Jeff Hannaford and Brian Hannaford combined to win the 6,400 relay (17:38.17). Last year at Nationals, Dumford placed fifth in the 800 (1:51.15).
"We were pretty excited because all the (distance medley relay) teams were pretty even and everyone had a good guy on their team or a couple good guys," said Chatel, who will run cross country and track at Arizona State. "It was pretty much anyone's day. It was whoever would have had a perfect day could have ended up winning that race, and it ended up being our day that day and everything went right for us."
Also at Nationals, the 3,200 relay of sophomore Trevor Dilley, Larrick, Chatel and Dumford placed fourth (7:42.81) of 17 teams, senior Kent Ford finished 12th of 47 runners in the 5,000 (14:54.98) and the 6,400 relay of seniors Seth Wenrich, Nick Horton, Phil Horn and Ford finished 23rd (18:24.15) of 26 teams.
Ford will run cross country and track at Miami University.
"This is great for the program," said North assistant track and cross country coach Tom Brumlik, who accompanied the Warriors to North Carolina. "You couldn't have asked for a better state meet. I thought they'd be a little bit content and a little overconfident, but once we got back in the training the next week, you could tell that they wanted to race again and they were just as hungry."
In the state meet held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State, the Warriors scored 31 points to finish fourth, behind Lakewood St. Edward (62), Pickerington North (47) and Mason (39) as 62 teams scored.
Dumford won the state title in the 1,600 in 4:08.21, setting a Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium record, and teamed with Chatel, Larrick and Dilley to win the 3,200 relay in a program-record 7:42.47. Also scoring at state, Dumford placed third in the 800 (1:52.85) and Ford placed fourth in the 3,200 (9:11.07).