There were ups and downs – but also an event championship – for the Hartley High School girls track and field team in the Division I regional meet at Pickerington North.
The 400-meter relay of seniors London Ladd, Gana Lopez and Taneyza Robinson and junior Amaiah Jones had the third-fastest time in the preliminary May 24 but edged Gahanna two days later for the championship in 47.62 seconds.
The relay will compete in a semifinal of the state meet at about 6:05 p.m. Friday, June 2, at Ohio State. The top two finishers in each of the two heats and the next five fastest times advance to the final at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3.
“We had the third-fastest time coming into the final, but we just wanted to break 48 seconds and make it out of the regional,” Jones said. “We were in first for the most part and it came down to our third leg (Ladd) and fourth leg (Lopez). It was between us, Gahanna, Reynoldsburg and Pickerington Central, and Gana got them at the end.”
Hartley edged Gahanna (47.65) by .03, while Pickerington Central (47.97) and Reynoldsburg (48.16) also advanced.
Earlier on May 26, Lopez finished eighth in the 100 (12.53) after taking fifth at state last season. She qualified for the regional in the 200 as well but did not compete in the preliminary May 24.
“When I got the baton (in the 400 relay) the only thing I thought was to leave it all on the track,” Lopez said. “It’s been a hard season for all of us and we’ve been working hard so it means a lot to us to have accomplished what we did today. We just trusted God and executed very well today.”
The 800 relay of Lopez, Robinson and seniors Katie Page and Kacey Ragland entered the regional with the second-best time but got disqualified during the preliminary after having a bad exchange.
The 400 relay of Jones, Ladd, Lopez and Robinson finished third at state a year ago in 47.61.
“I feel like (qualifying in the 400 relay) proves our dedication,” Jones said. “I’m the only junior on it and I wanted it bad for our seniors. Most people only think about Gahanna and Pickerington Central and weren’t really thinking about us, so we wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
Also at regional, senior Maggie Farrell was sixth in the long jump (17 feet, 3 inches).
Hartley tied Westerville South for 17th (14) behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.
Boys track season
ends at regional
The boys track team didn’t have any athletes advance to the Division II state meet.
The Hawks didn’t score in the regional May 25 and 27 at Lexington.
Sophomore Patrick Scurlock finished 10th in the 110 hurdles (16.13) and ran on the ninth-place 1,600 relay (3:29.76) with senior Gabriel Levert and sophomores Ben Dankow and Chase Rawlins.
Girls lacrosse coach
excited for future
With a large group of juniors who gained experienced this season eligible to return, girls lacrosse coach Molly Gilbert believes her program’s future is bright.
The Hawks lose six players to graduation after going 7-10-1 overall.
“(I’m) so excited about our group coming back,” Gilbert said. “We have 10 juniors who are all strong, experienced and eager for their senior year. Most, if not all, are participating in summer lacrosse or other sports this summer and fall so I’m confident they will come back strong and ready.”
The Hawks tied Columbus School for Girls for fifth (3-4) in the Central Independent League behind DeSales (7-0), Columbus Academy (5-2), Watterson (4-3) and Bexley (4-3) and ahead of Granville (2-5) and Wellington (0-7). They also went 1-2 in the CCL to place third behind DeSales (3-0) and Watterson (2-1) and ahead of CSG (0-3).
The biggest loss to graduation will be Page, a midfielder and two-sport spring athlete who had 45 goals and made first-team all-CCL a year after she scored 40 goals. She has committed to St. Francis.
Among those eligible to return is junior midfielder Maria Evans, who was the team’s leader in goals with 47.
Junior defender Hannah Murphy was first-team all-CCL, and juniors Luci Kanowsky (attacker) and Hannah McFeeters (midfielder) and sophomore Sienna Caridi (defender/midfielder) were second-team all-CCL.
Others who should return include juniors Taylour Golden (defender), Jordan Kaylor (defender), Abigail Bergman (midfielder) and Anna Nash (attacker).
“Overall I think we had a great season given our tough competition,” Gilbert said. “We had about half returners and half new starters, so it was exciting to see the new connections all over the field and have our new players step up to the level of competition set by the returners. We have a tough, athletic group, which made it really fun to watch them try new things together. They really clicked at the end.”
to coach Stallions
DeSales needed only look across town – and to a CCL rival – to find its new boys basketball coach.
Pat Murphy, the current athletics director at Hartley who formerly played and coached boys basketball at Ready, has been hired to replace Joe Bills, DeSales athletics director Tom Neubert announced May 24.
Murphy, a 1992 Ready graduate, has been Hartley’s AD since 2013. That transition into administration came after coaching stints at Briggs (2001-02), Ready (2002-06) and Lebanon (2006-11).
“The last few years, I’ve really missed coaching and I’ve been transparent with my boss that if a good job ever came open, I’d look into it,” said Murphy, who has a career record of 99-119.
“I talked with Mr. Neubert and (DeSales principal Dan) Garrick and it seemed like a great fit. I am looking forward to being back on the sideline again.”
At DeSales, Murphy will teach English and work in the school’s Institutional Advancement office.
Bills resigned in May after going 58-41 overall and 15-17 in the CCL in four seasons with the Stallions. Bills is taking a teaching position at Upper Arlington.
Last season, DeSales went 18-7 overall and 5-3 in the CCL, losing to Eastmoor Academy 54-51 in overtime in a Division II district semifinal.