Kurt Barnhart of the Thomas Worthington High School boys track and field team was determined not to let his senior season end the same way his junior season did -- at the Division I boys track and field district meet.

Kurt Barnhart of the Thomas Worthington High School boys track and field team was determined not to let his senior season end the same way his junior season did -- at the Division I boys track and field district meet.

The Pittsburgh recruit placed second in the discus with a throw of 154 feet, 3 inches at the district 1 meet that concluded last Saturday at Dublin Coffman. The top four in each event advanced to the regional meet, which began last Wednesday and concludes Friday at Hilliard Davidson.

"It was a big motivating factor because I didn't want my last high school meet to be the district meet," Barnhart said.

Barnhart had been a regional qualifier in the discus in 2006.

"He had the ability last year, but he fouled off all three throws," said boys coach Andy Cox, whose team finished 59 points at district to place fourth in a 17-team field behind champion Gahanna (142.5). "I think he was nervous. This year he was a lot more mature, a lot more focused. That's great to see because he was really hard on himself after what happened last year."

The top four at the regional will qualify to state June 6-7 at Ohio State.

"I think this is my year to go," Barnhart said.

Jarrett Cowgill, a senior who had not run the 1,600 before this season, qualified to the regional by placing second in 4 minutes, 23.69 seconds.

"I don't know whether coach Cox is really smart by putting him in the (1,600) this late in the game or if he is really dumb for waiting until (Cowgill's) senior year to do it, but he has been outstanding," Cox said.

According to Cox, the fact that Andre Austin qualified for regional in the 110 hurdles (fourth, 15.22) speaks to his perseverance. Austin, a junior, suffered a broken leg last fall. He was a regional qualifier in the 110 and 300 hurdles last year.

"For him just to have the ability to compete this year really says a lot about him and how hard he's worked," Cox said.

"Back in October or November, he was saying that he would be ready for spring track and I was like, 'OK, Andre, we'll be waiting for you.' But the doctor was (less optimistic). So it's great to see him do well."

•The girls team saw its streak of consecutive district championships end at four as the Cardinals scored 72.5 points in the district 1 meet to place third of 15 teams behind Pickerington Central (128.5) and Hilliard Darby (122), with Westerville Central (72) placing fourth.

"When I walked into the seeding meeting and saw that we were seeded third, I thought to myself, 'Doesn't anybody look at the newspapers?'" coach Nancy Beattie said. "You have to look at it philosophically and say, 'We're not going for the win here. We're trying to move on so that someday we'll be able to compete (for the title) again. That's a couple years down the road.'

"For a young team, I think they did very well. I was very pleased with them."

According to Beattie, the top performer at district for the Cardinals was Aricka Rhodes, a senior and Cincinnati recruit. She won the 400 (58.52), was third in the 200 (25.5), joined Amber Williams, Danielle Henderson and Claire Graupmann on the winning 800 relay (1:45.19) and joined Christine Barren, Graupmann and Williams on the third-place 1,600 relay (4:01.15).

"Our team is pretty much built around Aricka," Beattie said. "She's been the centerpiece of our team this year. She has been doing really well, but to be honest, she had a down day (last Saturday). To have a down day but still help get all of those people (on the 800 and 1,600 relays) through (to regional) is amazing."

Beattie also was impressed with Barren given that the senior and Michigan signee has been slowed this season by a myriad of injuries. Barren also was third in the 800 (2:22.7) and joined Kelsey McAlpine, Libby Lewis and Gretta Mwiruki on the third-place 3,200 relay (9:56.71).

"I'm thrilled for Christine," Beattie said. "Her times are coming down. She's worked very hard this year to try to come back from those injuries and it's paying off for her, so that's pleasant to see.

"(The pain) went from her hamstring to her ankle, to her hip and to her back. It was just one thing leading to another. And for someone who has not been injured before, that was really tough for her, not just physically but mentally. She's done a remarkable job."

At a glance

0529woBelow are the regional qualifiers for the Thomas boys and girls track and field teams with district event, place and time/distance/height:

BOYS -- Kurt Barnhart: discus (second, 154-03); Jarrett Cowgill: 1,600 (second, 4:23.69); 3,200 relay: Cowgill, Madison Murphy, Dylan Metz, Kyler Cowgill (third, 8:10.55); Andre Austin: 110 hurdles (fourth, 15.22); Michael Stanley: 400 (fourth, 50.46); Isaac Szana: 3,200 (fourth, 9:50.89); 1,600 relay: Kyler Cowgill, Jarrett Cowgill, Andrew Dunn and Stanley (fourth, 3:26.4)

GIRLS -- Aricka Rhodes: 400 (first, 58.52), 200 (third, 25.5); 800 relay: Amber Williams, Danielle Henderson, Claire Graupmann, Rhodes (first, 1:45.19); Allie Wood: pole vault (second, 10-6); Christine Barren: 800 (third, 2:22.7); 1,600 relay: Rhodes, Barren, Graupmann, Williams (third, 4:01.15); 3,200 relay: Kelsey McAlpine, Barren, Libby Lewis, Gretta Mwiruki (third, 9:56.71); McAlpine: 1,600 (fourth, 5:18.6)