Fifth-year Worthington Kilbourne High School girls track and field coach Chip Seely likes what he saw from his team in its opening meet.
The Wolves scored 72 points in the 15-team Icebreaker Invitational on March 24 at Watkins Memorial to finish fourth behind champion Hilliard Darby (114.5). That was one place higher and 20 points better than last season.
“I told the girls (on March 23) that one of our team goals was to do better in each meet than we did last year,” Seely said. “We scored 52 points last year (at Watkins Memorial) and finished fifth. This year we were fourth and scored 20 more points, so I was really pleased.”
Junior Taylor Hill won the 400 meters in 1 minute, 0.10 seconds. The 1,600 relay of Hill, junior Allison Hooley, sophomore Maggie Barrie and sophomore Meagan Thompson (4:12.4) and Barrie in the 200 (25.9) placed second, and the 800 relay of Hill, Hooley, Barrie and senior Erica Rodriguez (1:49.7), the 3,200 relay of juniors Jenna Boue and Katy Dyer, sophomore Kaitlyn Napoli and Thompson (10:36.5) and Rodriguez in the pole vault (8 feet, 6 inches) all finished third.
Placing fourth were the shuttle-hurdle relay of Hooley, junior Paige Martinski and sophomores Sally Locher and Laurel Tisdale (1:19.04), Martinski in the pole vault (8-6) and junior Hannah Loveday in the discus (88-7 1/2), and finishing fifth were Boue in the 1,600 (5:48.6) and Hooley in the 300 hurdles (52.0).
“I don’t expect great results from everyone, just a great effort, and we got that,” said Seely, whose team competes Tuesday, April 3, at home against Olentangy Liberty. “Everyone was focused and ran really well.”
Others on the team include seniors Rachel Berg, Breonna Brown, Susannah Harris, Jennifer Keller and Joan LeMaster and junior Yvonne Staton.
“We only have 24 girls on the team and we only took 17 to Watkins (Memorial) and we still finished better (than last year),” Seely said. “Almost all of our really good athletes came back. The strength of our team is our sprinters, and I feel confident in our ability to score points in the distance events.”
Rodriguez, Hill and Loveday competed last season in the Division I regional meet at Pickerington North. Hill finished sixth in the 400 (1:00.13), while Loveday was 12th in the discus (99-7) and Rodriguez was 16th in the long jump (15-3) and tied for 11th in the pole vault (9-6).
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet at Ohio State.
Kilbourne scored three points at regional to tie Beechcroft, Brookhaven and Lancaster for 33rd behind champion Reynoldsburg (88) as 40 teams scored.
The Wolves finished sixth (61) in the 11-team district 3 meet behind champion Dublin Scioto (139).
In the OCC-Central Division meet, the Wolves scored 55 points to finish sixth, behind Dublin Coffman (164.5), Hilliard Davidson (131), Upper Arlington (100), Darby (88) and Thomas Worthington (84.5) and ahead of Central Crossing (26) and Westland (10).
Boys coach excited about team’s first performance
The boys team finished 10th (31.33) in the 16-team Icebreaker Invitational behind champion Logan (154.5).
“I wasn’t really happy with the place we ended up, but then I started looking at events that we didn’t enter and the other ones that we did had new kids in them,” ninth-year coach Todd Deisher said. “Taking that into consideration, I was really excited about our performances.”
Senior Jeremie Nsumbu placed second in the long jump (21-1/2), missing his previous-best by one inch. He joined sophomores Chandler Bridges, Marlo Byrd and Seth Hill on the 400 relay, which finished third (45.5).
Senior Aaron Sass also was third in the pole vault (11-0), and the 3,200 relay of seniors Zach Navabi and Brad Polivka and juniors Mitchell Guist and Ian Young finished fifth (8:54.1).
“I feel like they really wanted to compete,” Deisher said. “I feel like there is a lot more camaraderie with this group. They have been pushing each other to get better.”
Others are the team include seniors Zach Bloom, Patrick Chesnut, Ryan Garcia, Derrick Huang, Max Oyer, Wasim Soomro, Thomas Spangler, Scott Weiss and Frederick Zhang and juniors Nick Anderson, Craig Bahnsen, Jimmy Barbin, Jason Defourny, Robert Del Tedesco, Garren Erlenbusch, Kevin Liu, Jude McCullough, Tyler McQuade, Vlad Olifirenko, Garret Pauly, Stewart Seely and Austin Taylor.
“I like the fact that we have a great mix of seniors as well as a sophomore class with some really nice talent,” Deisher said. “I’m continuing to see that blossom, and that’s pretty exciting.”
Nsumbu was the Wolves’ lone regional qualifier last season. He did not advance to state after finishing 14th in the long jump (20-1 1/4).
The Wolves did not score at regional. Thomas Worthington and Westerville North were co-champions with 37 points apiece as 39 teams scored.
Kilbourne finished 11th (15) in the 14-team district 3 meet behind champion Coffman (116.5) and scored 19 points in the OCC-Central meet to finish seventh, behind Davidson (170.5), Coffman (158.5), Thomas (129.5), Darby (96.5), UA (49) and Central Crossing (20) and ahead of Westland (13).