The Whitehall-Yearling High School track and field teams hope to capitalize in the postseason on the competition they faced May 11 in the Hilliard Bradley Invitational.
The boys finished 10th (32 points) in the 16-team meet behind champion Columbus Academy (92) and the girls were 15th (8) behind champion Millersburg West Holmes (103) in a 15-team field.
"This helps us get ready for the postseason," coach Zach Wright said. "This was good competition for us. We took it easy on the distance guys. We only ran them in one race, trying to get them ready for (this) week."
The Rams opened the postseason by participating in the MSL-Ohio Division meet at Heath, which began May 14 and concludes Friday, May 17.
Whitehall then competes in the 13-team Division II, district 2 meet Tuesday, May 21, Wednesday, May 22 and May 25 at Westerville South. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 30 and June 1 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
Last season at district, the boys were seventh (49) behind champion DeSales (110) and the girls were 11th (23) behind champion Columbus School for Girls (129).
"We try to tell them the season doesn't start until the middle of May," Wright said. "We get to the middle of May and that's where we want to be our best. The first half of the season is just for training purposes, technique work and stuff like that. The middle of May is where it all counts. Nothing matters before that."
At Bradley, Mohamed Toure was second for the boys team in the 400 meters (51.26 seconds) and Abiel Kiflu was third in the 800 (1:58.86).
"There were a lot of (Division I) schools (at the meet)," Kiflu said. "This is probably one of my biggest races and it pushed all my times, so at district I'll be ready because it's all (Division II) schools and I've raced them before."
Chanse James-McDuffie, Paulus Thomas, Khilil Tolbert and Isaiah Turner were third in the 400 relay (46.34) and Jaleel Morgan, Tolbert, Toure and Turner were fifth in the 800 relay (1:34.33).
Toure was sixth (23.76) and Tolbert was seventh (23.81) in the 200, and Nahom Hailu was sixth in the 3,200 (10:17.4).
The Rams competed most of the meet without senior Ifa Abduljelil, who injured his left hamstring early in the 110 hurdles final.
Abduljelil, who was second (15.04) in the preliminary behind New Albany's Alex Frye (14.81), was expecting to miss the league meet but was hoping to return for district.
"It started out this year and I thought it was just soreness, but it turned out to get a little more serious," he said. "I thought it would be fine because I ran in the prelims and I was great, so I didn't think it was serious. I just stretched out, jogged and did my little routines and since this was the finals, I went all out and on the first hurdle I put my trail leg through too fast and just messed up on there."
Last year, Abduljelil missed most of the regular season with a right hamstring injury. He returned for the postseason and qualified for state in the 110 hurdles before being disqualified in the final because of a false start.
Senior Marissa Ware led the girls at Bradley. She was fifth in the 300 hurdles (50.99), sixth in the 100 hurdles (17.22) and joined Madeleine Camara, Kayla Williams and Tasia Scott on the eighth-place 400 relay (55.07).
Last season, Ware was the girls team's only regional qualifier, and she placed 12th in the 100 hurdles (17.82).
"I want to get as far as I did last year, but a little bit better," she said. "I went to regional and I want to go further. I am going to try to get to state. I just have to keep working and pushing. That's all I can do right now."
Baseball team wins regular-season finale
The baseball team closed the regular season by defeating Madison Plains 2-1 in eight innings May 11.
Cody Koons pitched the final three innings to get the win and scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth on a double by shortstop Cameron Barker.
Entering the postseason, Barker led the team in batting average (.470), hits (31) and RBI (15).
Logan Webb had a 3.06 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 34 walks in 50 1/3 innings.
"We were happy to get a win going into the tournament and the players continue to work hard through some adversity and compete," coach Bill Welsh said.
The 20th-seeded Rams opened the Division II district tournament against ninth-seeded Sparta Highland on May 14. The winner plays 11th-seeded DeSales or 19th-seeded Brookhaven in the second round Thursday, May 16, at the home of the highest seed.
The second-round winner plays fifth-seeded Big Walnut, 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley or 23rd-seeded Mifflin in a semifinal Monday, May 20, at Hamilton Township.
The district final is Wednesday, May 22, at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
The Rams finished the regular season 3-20 overall and eighth in the MSL-Ohio at 1-13.
Softball team defeats West Jefferson
The softball team closed the regular season by defeating host West Jefferson 5-0 on May 8.
Brooklyn Rayburn (2B/SS) homered in the fifth inning and Madison Pharo was the winning pitcher, allowing five hits and striking out three in a complete-game effort.
The Rams finished the regular season 6-17 overall and 1-11 in the MSL-Ohio.
"I truly believe we are a much better team than our record indicates," coach Brian Anderson said. "Our league was a meat grinder. Lakewood, Licking Valley and Granville were the two, three and four seeds in our Division II district and Heath is the two seed in Division III. Also, I was proud of our 3-3 record against Division I schools out of the OCC."
The 16th-seeded Rams opened the district tournament at 14th-seeded London on May 13, and the winner played 10th-seeded Utica or 18th-seeded Buckeye Valley on May 15.
The second-round winner will play Licking Valley, 19th-seeded Highland or 20th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in a semifinal Monday, May 20, at Pickerington Central. The district final is May 25 at Central.
Through 23 games, Danielle Farnlacher (P) was hitting .420, Rayburn was at .388 and Delina Farnlacher (C) was at .382.
Rayburn had 21 RBI, Danielle Farnlacher had 14, Melanie Gilmer (1B/P) and Summer Rains (OF) each had 12 and Nicole Barber (3B/OF) had 10.
Boys tennis team earns first win
The boys tennis team earned its first win by defeating Hartley 4-1 on May 9 at home.
Winners were Seth Grassel 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) at first singles and Jiawen Zhen 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 at second singles.
The Rams won third singles and second doubles by forfeit.
Whitehall competes in a Division II sectional tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Columbus Academy. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 24 and 25 at Academy.
"Everyone continues to put in good efforts each match despite the losses," coach Ben White said.