A season after its 800-meter relay won a Division I state title, the Thomas Worthington High School boys track and field team seems to have continued its relay success.

A season after its 800-meter relay won a Division I state title, the Thomas Worthington High School boys track and field team seems to have continued its relay success.

The 1,600 relay of seniors Armand Austin, Nana Kyeremeh and Andrew Maetzold and sophomore Jalen Wells won the Division I indoor state title on March 17 at the University of Akron in 3 minutes, 20.45 seconds. At the time of the meet, the relay's time was the sixth fastest in the nation in 2012 and was more than five seconds faster than the time of runner-up Cleveland Heights (3:25.81).

"We had Ryan McFarland graduate last year and Jalen Wells has done a great job stepping into his position," said 16th-year coach Andy Cox, whose team opens the outdoor season Saturday, March 31, at home against Lancaster and Upper Arlington. "They continue to put up good times."

The 800 relay qualified for the New Balance National Indoor Championships held March 9-12 in New York City. The Cardinals almost didn't make the trip because Cox was told that the trek would be too far for school transportation, but he said Stanley Steamer stepped up and paid for airfare to the event and ground transportation in New York.

"We would have had to come up with $300 each in extra expenses with pretty short notice, but the people at Stanley Steamer helped because they said it was an experience the kids shouldn't miss," Cox said. "It was an amazing experience to run on a banked track in downtown Manhattan with some of the best runners in the country."

Kyeremeh, Austin, senior Kevin Girgis and Maetzold finished 20th (1:32.67) of 42 teams in the 800 relay.

Last year in the state meet at Ohio State, Kyeremeh, Austin, Girgis and Maetzold won in a program-record 1:27.42 and the 1,600 relay was fourth in 3:18.48, as the Cardinals scored 18 points to tie Cleveland Heights for seventh behind champion Cincinnati LaSalle (36) as 78 teams scored.

Austin also placed sixth at state in the 400 (48.86).

"The success of the relays has brought more kids out and we have recruited more young men, so we have about 75 athletes right now," Cox said. "We have 16 seniors and we want to focus on the relays and getting them started and then we will break it down to see what to do individually."

The other seniors include Michael Allison, Pat Boudreau, Jimmie Brown, Albert Darling, Ibrahim Fall, Oscar Lisa, John Miller, George Mordoh, Alex Rentz, Jay Smallwood, Andrew Wallace and Adam Withers.

"Senior Adam Withers is probably our strongest distance runner, so we'll be putting a lot of weight on his shoulders, and junior Alex Randolph will be one of our top throwers and junior Sam Nash should be our top pole-vaulter," Cox said. "Jalen Wells will also run in the 300 hurdles as well as the 400, in which he placed sixth (50.09) at the indoor state meet."

Also in the indoor state meet, Austin finished 11th in the 400 (51.6), sophomore Mike Wood finished 14th in the high jump (6 feet) and sophomore Jason Baty was 16th in the triple jump (39-1).

"Jason Baty is a new sophomore who placed indoors in the triple jump, which is an event the state is trying to get added to the state (outdoor) meet for next season," Cox said. "He will also run the 100 and 200 for us and could be a help to us on relays."

Last year, the Cardinals won their first regional title since 1996 by scoring 37 points to tie Westerville North for first at Pickerington North. New Albany and Olentangy Liberty tied for third with 33 points as 39 teams scored.

Thomas won the 16-team district 1 meet at Hilliard Bradley, scoring 87 points to finish ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (78.5).

In the OCC-Central meet, the Cardinals finished third (129.5), behind Hilliard Davidson (170.5) and Dublin Coffman (158.5) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (96.5), UA (49), Central Crossing (20), Worthington Kilbourne (19) and Westland (13).

Girls team looking for underclassmen to step up

The girls team also found success in the indoor state meet.

The 1,600 relay of senior Kendall Kwiatkowsi, senior Emily Nordquist, junior Annie McFarland and sophomore Ashley Forte finished 10th (4:08.4) and the 3,200 relay of senior Megan Neff, junior Cheyenne Buckingham, McFarland and Forte was 16th (10:08.12).

In individual events, Nordquist was 13th in the 400 (1:00.86), Buckingham was 13th in the 3,200 (11:54.51) and sophomore Allison Huedepohl was ninth in the triple jump (30-11 3/4).

"Our team works so hard and (the athletes) do a lot together and are really close to one another," second-year coach Evie Scholl said. "It's like one big family and they like doing well for each other. They are in the weight room at 6 a.m. every day and are a great group to work with."

Others on the team include senior Tara Murphy and juniors Cesia Espinoza, Alexa Friedlander, Casey Keegan, Abby McWilliams, Brooke Nagorski, Karen Ren and Maddy Smith.

"We have a couple of really strong juniors and seniors, but we really are a young team," Scholl said. "Hopefully we can have some of those young girls step up. We have some good young talent in the 100 hurdles and some who are working to get better in the (400) and (800) relays. The 800 and the (1,600 relays) are something we will need to focus on."

Junior Frannie Frazier was the team's only outdoor state qualifier last spring, but was disqualified in the 100 hurdles because of a false start. She did not return to the team so she could concentrate on basketball.

The Cardinals did not score at state last spring, as Reynoldsburg won the title with 47 points and 70 team scored.

At regional, Thomas scored 7.5 points to finish 27th behind champion Reynoldsburg (88) as 40 teams scored. The Cardinals finished fifth (62) in the 13-team district 2 meet at Bradley, behind champion Pickerington Central (126).

In the OCC-Central meet last year, the Cardinals finished fifth (84.5), behind Coffman (164.5), Davidson (131), UA (100) and Darby (88) and ahead of Kilbourne (55), Central Crossing (26) and Westland (10).