Two seniors are expected to lead the way for the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys track and field team this season.
Chandler Bridges was the lone Division I regional qualifier for the Wolves last season, placing ninth in the long jump (20 feet, 11 1/2 inches), and Alex Meehan battled a shoulder injury last year, limiting his postseason success in the discus and shot put.
"We plan to lean a lot on Chandler and Alex," 11th-year coach Todd Deisher said. "It's hard to tell right now what may be developing.
"Chandler has been looking great. Plus, he has grown a couple of inches, which should help. He and Alex are our top two scorers back from last season and are great leaders for us."
Kilbourne opened March 29 in the weather-shortened Icebreaker Invitational at Watkins Memorial. The Wolves were tied with Centennial for ninth through seven events with six points behind champion Watkins Memorial (81.5) as 11 teams scored.
Sophomore Matt Kulling had the Wolves' top finish, placing seventh in the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 25.98 seconds.
Others expected to be key contributors include sophomores Ryan Baxter and Tanner Taylor in the distance events, senior Tanner Atha in the 300 hurdles and pole vault, sophomore Ryu Kaida in the pole vault and juniors Bobby Austria and Josh Aylor and first-year senior Justin Stoner in the sprints.
"We have a lot of hard-working kids, but we could use more numbers," said Deisher, who has 53 athletes on the team. "Because of our limited numbers, the kids have to stay healthy for us to be effective. We'll have to count on our seniors to lead the way."
Kilbourne, which lost to Hilliard Bradley 109-28 on April 1, finished eighth (38) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet last season behind champion Westerville Central (138). The Wolves have moved to the OCC-Capital this season with Big Walnut, Delaware, Franklin Heights, Mount Vernon, New Albany, Olentangy and Olentangy Orange.
"It will be interesting to see how (the OCC-Capital meet May 15 and 17 at Hilliard Bradley) plays out," Deisher said. "New Albany is always good, as are the Olentangy schools. We don't often compete against a lot of these teams because of the travel distance, so we'll have to see how what comes about."
Girls team looking to be 'well-rounded'
The girls team has 38 athletes, including junior Allison Guist, who competed in the Division I regional meet last year in the pole vault but did not clear the opening height.
"Allison is doing all three jumps for us and is also a good runner," seventh-year coach Chip Seely said. "We might be putting her in a couple relays before the season is through."
Senior Maggie Barrie is back after an injury-riddled junior season. She finished 12th in the 200 (25.67) in the state meet as a sophomore, but was slowed by a back injury last season.
Barrie, who has committed to Xavier University, has gotten out to a strong start by finishing second in the 100 (13.78) and teaming with junior Samantha Ingham, freshman Madyson Lauderman and senior Judith Nkrumah to place third in the 800 relay (2:01.61) in the Icebreaker Invitational. Kilbourne finished fourth (34) in the weather-shortened meet behind champion Watkins Memorial (74) as 10 teams scored.
Also in the Icebreaker Invitational, junior Emily Stoodley was runner-up in the 1,600 (6:10.33) and combined with senior Kaitlyn Napoli, senior Leanne Wegley and freshman Camille Rider to place third in the 3,200 relay (11:18.37). Freshman Ndidiamaka Anaraodo was fifth in the discus (69-3) and sophomore Alexis Stevens was seventh in the discus (68-0).
The Wolves lost to Bradley 89-49 on April 1.
"I think we are pretty well-rounded with the sprints, jumps, distance, and we have a couple of young throwers who could place in the district," Seely said. "Emily Stoodley qualified for state in cross country (last fall) after moving here from England.
Others expected to be key contributors include Ingham, senior Meagan Thompson and sophomores Yi Du, Delia Neel and Sammy Roberts in the sprints, Napoli, senior Lily Fang and sophomore Elissa Manchester in the distance events, freshman Beth Findell on relays and freshman Carolyn Haase on the pole vault and sprints.
Neel is a move-in from Central Crossing.
"Right now, we're trying to put the girls in their best events," Seely said. "We have seven throwers and two or three of them could help us out as runners. We have to figure out whether our distances girls are better at shorter or longer races, and we have a good group of pole-vaulters. We have been impressed with several kids."