Westerville News & Public Opinion

Boys Track & Field

Central seeking another OCC title

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The Westerville Central High School boys track and field team will be aiming for its fourth consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division title.

With several athletes returning from last season, coach Jason Loughman believes his team can reach that goal.

"If we have a target on our backs that means we're doing something right and our kids have bought into our system and into the program, and they've been working hard and having success," Loughman said.

"Our seniors are excited about the season and they don't know what it's like not to win an OCC championship. We want to send them out on a high note."

Central won the Newark Invitational on April 5, scoring 104.5 points to finish ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (60.75) as 18 teams scored.

Winners were senior David Hatchett (sprints) in the 100 meters (10.87 seconds), Hatchett, senior Zach Crumpler (sprints, hurdles) and juniors Joshua Beaumont (sprints) and Cedric Frierson (sprints) in the 400 relay (44.35) and senior Josh Nixon (throws, pole vault) in the discus (137 feet, 5 inches).

Last season at state, Hatchett placed seventh in the 200 (22.1) and 10th (10.77) in the 100. Hatchett, senior Eldin Anu (sprints) and Beaumont ran on the ninth-place 800 relay (1:29.15).

At regional, Crumpler, Anu and Hatchett were part of the fifth-place 400 relay (43.13). Senior Tommy Mansfield (hurdles, jumps, pole vault) was 15th in the long jump (19-8 3/4) and tied for 12th in the pole vault (13-0), senior Michael Bisaha (hurdles) was 10th in the 110 hurdles (15.59) and junior A.J. Johnson (middle distance) was 10th in the 400 (52.84).

Loughman also expects key contributions from senior Joel Schmeizer (distance), juniors C.J. Bisaha (hurdles, jumps), Cameron George (distance), Nate Jackowski (throws) and Nathan Miller (middle distance) and sophomore Will Maynus (hurdles, high jump).

Last season, the Warhawks won the league meet with 138 points, ahead of runner-up Westerville North (118.5) and third-place Westerville South (101.5).

The Warhawks lost five athletes to graduation, including Charlie Moushey, who finished second in the pole vault (15-9) at state and now is competing at the University of Kentucky.

"It's been really fun to watch the program grow, not only in just numbers, but just in the culture that we're trying to develop and looking around the track and watching our coaching staff work with all the different groups of athletes," Loughman said.

North returns solid group

Although he lost several key athletes to graduation, North coach Johnny Jackson believes his team still has a strong nucleus.

The Warriors opened the season by finishing sixth (52) in the Wildcat Premier on April 5 behind champion and host Hilliard Davidson (117) as 16 teams scored.

Junior Tyler Dilley (middle distance) was second in the 800 (2:01.61).

"We want to do the best we can and get as deep into the conference as we can and get as many kids to regional and on to state," Jackson said. "Our goal in the (3,200 relay) is the same -- to make it to the state meet."

Last season, North scored 31 points at state to finish fourth behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (62).

Senior Evan Larrick (distance) and Dilley were members of the 3,200 relay that won a state title last season in a program-record 7:42.47.

Also back are senior Andrew Meacham, who won a district title in the 300 hurdles (40.3) and was 12th (41.73) at regional in the event, and senior Nick Horton, who was part of the first-place 3,200 relay (7:58.22) in the league meet.

Other key contributors should be seniors Bryan Owens Jr. (jumps) and Moises Vasquez (throws), juniors Jake Downs (sprints), Mason Gresh (sprints), Mark Petruzzi (sprints, high jump) and Mykel Scott (sprints), sophomores Andrew Malick (throws) and Matthew Parkhurst (distance) and freshman Abie Turay (sprints, jumps).

"We've been quite surprised," Jackson said of the team's early season performance. "We knew the (3,200 relay) would still be pretty good because we had a lot of depth last year. The guys have already stepped up. These guys are doing well."

Jacob Dumford, a 2013 graduate who is competing in track and cross country at the University of Notre Dame, was a big part of the Warriors' success last season. He won the state title in the 1,600 (4:08.21), setting a Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium record, and ran on the champion 3,200 relay.

North finished third (44) at regional behind champion Pickerington North (99) and third (55) in the district 1 meet behind champion Pickerington North (159.5).

South features deep roster

With more than 50 boys on the roster, South should have depth this spring.

"It's going to be a real interesting season for the boys," coach Jimmy Gaul said. "We have a good group of kids out and a real hard-working group of kids."

Junior Murphy Coan (sprints) and sophomores Steiner Abayie (sprints) and Daylan Haynie (sprints) ran on the eighth-place 800 relay (1:30.96) last season at regional.

Other key returnees are seniors Jackson Bandy (middle distance), Ben Gannon (middle distance), Darryl Long (throws), Curtis Mitchell (throws) and Josh Wilson (jumps) and juniors Abu Daramy (jumps, sprints), Joshua Himes (throws) and Greg Smith (distance).

"It will be exciting to see what Murphy Coan and Abu Daramy can do," Gaul said.

South defeated host Thomas Worthington 94-34 on April 1.

Gaul expects Westerville Central to again be the team to beat in the OCC-Cardinal.

"Our conference is real tough," he said. "It's hard to pick against the Warhawks. ... We're looking to get better every day."

The Wildcats lost 13 athletes to graduation, including their only state qualifier in Richard Dahome, who finished 15th in the 110 hurdles (15.15) and now is running at Kent State.

Schedules

CENTRAL

April 1 -- at Big Walnut

April 5 -- Newark Invitational

April 8 -- at Hilliard Bradley

April 12 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut

April 15 -- at Westerville South with Horizon Science

April 19 -- Mansfield Mehock Relays

April 22 -- vs. DeSales and Hilliard Darby

April 25 -- Freedom Relays at Olentangy Liberty

April 29 -- vs. Pickerington North and Worthington Christian

May 6 -- at Olentangy Orange with Franklin Heights

May 9 -- Kiwanis Invitational at Galion

May 15, 17 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Bradley

NORTH

April 5 -- Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

April 12 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North

April 15 -- Warrior Relays at home

April 23 -- Gahanna Invitational

April 25 -- Fulton Relays at Lancaster

April 29 -- vs. Hilliard Darby, Northland and Wellington

May 1-2 -- Huber Heights Wayne Invitational

May 6 -- at Westerville South

May 9 -- Mason Invitational

May 15, 17 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Bradley

SOUTH

April 1 -- at Thomas Worthington

April 3 -- Debbie Merriman-King Wildcat Relays at home

April 8 -- at Dublin Jerome with Dublin Scioto

April 11 -- Panther Invitational at Hilliard Darby

April 15 -- vs. Westerville Central and Horizon Science

April 18 -- Ashville Kiwanis Invitational at Teays Valley

April 19 -- Mansfield Mehock Relays

April 21 -- vs. Gahanna and Pickerington North

April 25 -- Wildcat Invitational at home

April 29 -- at Newark

May 2 -- Marion Harding Night Invitational

May 6 -- vs. Westerville North

May 15, 17 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Bradley

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