The Dublin Jerome High School girls track and field team had two Division I college signees in its 2016 graduating class but didn't enjoy as much team success last year as it had hoped.

Developing multiple athletes in numerous events -- particularly in the area of field events -- is something ninth-year coach Randi Beatty knows is key to helping the program progress.

A talented group of athletes in the freshman and sophomore classes should help the Celtics begin to approach that goal this spring.

Last season, Jerome placed fifth in the OCC-Cardinal Division and tied for 49th in the Division I state meet after tying for 16th at regional and finishing ninth in the 17-team district 2 meet.

"We've always had some respectable athletes, but we just don't have that depth," Beatty said. "Obviously, we want to try to change that."

The Celtics finished sixth (37) in the eight-team Panther Invitational on April 7 behind champion and host Hilliard Darby (135).

Sophomore Kenzie Bowers placed third in the 200 meters (27.18 seconds) and freshman Emily Oiler was third in the 400 (1:02.59) to lead the way individually. The 400 relay of Bowers, senior Katie Lenz, junior Alex Dean and sophomore Hayley Jacobs also placed third (52.61), as did the 3,200 relay of juniors Jessica Blake and Kat Willette, sophomore Larkin Thomas and freshman Madison Weigle (10:32.73).

Jerome has more than 80 athletes in its program, but it has only six seniors in Lenz, Rachel Ferguson (middle distance), Emily Gentry (hurdles, long jump), Olivia Lacy (sprints), Lauren Lockwood (sprints) and Kim Martens (hurdles, sprints).

Junior Paige Elder is the program record-holder in the discus.

Other key juniors include Raquel Ruck (sprints, middle distance) and Elizabeth Turley (distance).

Sophomore Emma Ryan (distance) and freshmen Lauren Scheurle (shot put, discus) and Manaka Yamauchi (sprints) also should contribute.

The Celtics lost seven athletes from a year ago to graduation, including three college recruits in Carly Davis (Miami University), Tiffany Hill (Ohio University) and Anaiyah Strickland (Tiffin). Davis placed sixth in the 3,200 (10:50.58) at state last year.

Softball coach likes
team's potential

Despite losing seven players to graduation and returning just three key players, the softball team is feeling optimistic as it approaches the midpoint of the regular season.

The biggest reason for that is an influx of young players into a program that won six games in 2015 and finished 4-17 a year ago.

Of the 24 players in the program, 13 are freshmen.

"It's pretty exciting," third-year coach Alyssa Kelley said. "I'm most excited about the potential of this team. It's just the attitude they have that they all want to compete."

Jerome defeated Darby 7-5 on April 10 to improve to 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal and was 3-3 overall before facing Hamilton Township on April 11. The Celtics opened league play with a 14-5 win over Thomas Worthington on April 5.

The top returnees are juniors Tasia Talton (CF) and Ashley Hammett (P/SS/2B) and sophomore Whitney Carg (3B).

Jerome has only three seniors in Rachel Fowler (C), Morgan Knerr (1B) and Lauren Pitzer (OF), and none of them was a key contributor last season.

Freshmen Julia Burch (LF), Allie Intihar (C), Kendall Sistili (SS) and Jenna Watts (P/2B) all are playing key roles.

Junior Carrie Cramer (1B), sophomores Lauren Belu (OF) and Anna Orben (OF) and freshman Alessandra Monte (OF) also are contributing.

Boys track team has
strength in numbers

With about 130 athletes competing, first-year boys track and field coach Kalvin McRae believes building his team will be a "process" this spring.

"It's exciting because we've got older and younger talent," said McRae, who previously coached at Heritage Middle School in Hilliard and took over in the offseason after David Stroh stepped down after two seasons. "We're starting to get more athletes in our field events and we're just trying to get better every meet."

On April 7, Jerome placed seventh (25) in the eight-team Panther Invitational behind champion and host Darby (138).

In the meet, the 3,200 relay of seniors Ryan Gartner and Shashank Sawant and freshmen Elliott Cook and Arjun Dhankani was runner-up in 8:33.24.

Seniors Chris Emerson and Benton Wilson and junior Max Darrow, all of whom were on the 800 relay that placed sixth (1:28.7) in the Division I regional meet last year, also have returned. Wilson teamed with 2016 graduates Brad Davis, Justin Chon and Doug Kayuha on the 1,600 relay that also was sixth (3:25.32) at regional.

Davis is now competing for Miami University after finishing fifth in the 3,200 (program-record 9:03.68) at state last season.

Other key seniors include Nick Gilicinski (hurdles, sprints), Brendan Grace (distance), Austin Jacobs (sprints) and Zack Kowatch (sprints).

Darrow also is competing in high jump and long jump.

Junior Kellen Posacki, who was fourth in the 3,200 (10:04.49) in the Panther Invitational, is another key distance runner.

Other top juniors include Jeremy Coad (distance), Carson DeCarlo (pole vault), Cade Kacherski (sprints), Andrew Reese (distance), Alex Sanders (distance), Alec Scheurle (shot put, discus), Koh Takamasa (long jump) and Chris Viola (middle distance).

Sophomore Alex Budde is another key contributor in the long jump.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

SOFTBALL

March 28 -- at Olentangy Orange

March 30 -- vs. Groveport

April 1 -- at Jonathan Alder

*April 3 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

April 4 -- vs. Ready

*April 5 -- at Thomas Worthington

April 8 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty (DH)

*April 10 -- at Hilliard Darby

April 11 -- at Westerville North

*April 12 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 13 -- at Delaware

*April 17 -- vs. Scioto

April 18 -- vs. West Jefferson

*April 19 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

*April 20 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

April 22 -- at New Albany

*April 26 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

*April 27 -- at Hilliard Bradley

April 28 -- at Westerville South

*May 1 -- vs. Delaware

*May 3 -- at Scioto

May 6 -- at Coffman with Scioto

TRACK & FIELD

April 1 -- Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson

April 7 -- Panther Invitational at Hilliard Darby

April 15 -- Dublin Classic at Coffman

April 18 -- at Jonathan Alder

April 21 -- Freedom Relays at Olentangy

April 25 -- at Reynoldsburg

April 28 -- Marion Harding Night Invitational

May 2 -- vs. Coffman and Upper Arlington

May 5 -- Hilliard Bradley Invitational

May 11, 13 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Coffman

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys tennis and boys volleyball teams:

BASEBALL

April 13 -- At Coffman

*April 17 -- At Hilliard Darby

*April 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

BOYS LACROSSE

*April 13 -- At Thomas Worthington

April 15 -- Home vs. Hudson Western Reserve Academy

*April 18 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 13 -- Home vs. Granville

*April 18 -- At Hilliard Bradley

BOYS TENNIS

*April 13 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 18 -- At Delaware

*April 19 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

*April 13 -- At Delaware

*League contest