According to Westerville South High School track and field coach Jimmy Gaul, rigorous offseason training will be the key to unlocking the potential of the boys and girls teams this spring.

Video •Watch an interview with Westerville South senior pole vaulter Cassidy Wilson.

"We have a good core group of kids that have been working hard since we got back to school in January and others who have joined from the winter sports," said Gaul, who shares coaching duties with his father, Jim. "We have a lot of young, energetic kids that want to get better. They come out and have fun every day and work hard."

The boys team is looking to build on a solid 2016 season in which it qualified six athletes for the Division I state meet. Three have returned in senior Dominique Long (sprints) and juniors Jaelen Gill (sprints) and Malik Powell (sprints).

Long will play football at Michigan State and Gill, who also plays on the baseball team, recently committed to play football at Ohio State.

Long joined 2016 graduates Kameron Calloway, Daylan Haynie and Mason Hunter in finishing sixth at state in the 800-meter relay in a program-record 1 minute, 27.72 seconds. Long also was eighth in the 400 (49.25), and Gill, Powell, Calloway and Haynie were 11th in the 400 relay (43.04).

"Dom is a great human being, he's a great student, he's a great leader in the building," Jimmy Gaul said. "He's the kind of humble young man that everybody in the school gravitates towards, and to have someone with his charisma and his character traits to go along with his unbelievable athletic ability and his talent on the track, the kids are excited to be friends with Dom and be on the team with Dom."

Others looking to contribute are seniors Ty Chapman (400, 800), Forlefac Fontem (hurdles), Matt McAlister (distance), Giovanni Rossantelli (distance) and Terrell Washington (sprints), juniors Al Ayoola (sprints), Anthony Parham (throws), George Patil (hurdles, high jump), Carson Pfeiffer (vault) and Malachi Rispress (distance), sophomores Bankole Abimbola (sprints), Brandon Herriott (throws) and Cole Koehler (distance) and freshmen Ibukunoluwa Alfred (hurdles) and Michael Mansaray (sprints).

"Everyone is very encouraging and very supportive of everyone," Fontem said. "Our coaches are very supportive of us."

On April 7, Long won the 100 (11.0) and 200 (22.45) in the Panther Invitational as the Wildcats finished fifth (59 points) of eight teams behind champion and host Darby (138).

Last season, South finished second (108.5) in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet behind Darby (117).

South now is competing in the OCC-Buckeye with Westerville Central, Westerville North, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange.

Girls track team
returns solid group

The girls track team has returned a solid core led by senior Brielle Collier, who competes in the hurdles and long jump.

In the Panther Invitational, Collier won the 100 hurdles (15.19) and 300 hurdles (47.71) and teamed with seniors Deja Mason (sprints) and Marteana Newton (sprints) and junior Kayla Silva (sprints) to win the 800 relay (1:49.6).

South finished fourth (50) of eight teams behind champion Darby (135).

Others looking to contribute are seniors Gabby Couch (sprints), Kaitlyn Gaunt (distance), Alexis McClure (sprints) and Cassidy Wilson (pole vault), juniors Isabelle Coan (pole vault) and Callie McDonald (high jump, discus) and sophomores Ellie Bouton (distance), Deja Edwards (sprints), Peyton Guice (jumps, hurdles) and Maria Hays (sprints).

Last season, the Wildcats took third (98) in the OCC-Cardinal meet behind Darby (157.5) and Central (137.5).

A key loss to graduation was Chasatea' Brown, who was a four-time state qualifier and is a multiple program record holder. She placed fourth in the 300 hurdles (program-record 43.25) and fifth in the long jump (17 feet, 9 1/4 inches) last season at state.

Brown, who is competing at Bowling Green, also holds program records in the triple jump (35-7 1/2), 200 (24.25) and heptathlon (4,098 points) and was part of the 1,600 relay that set a program record of 3:55.38 in her sophomore year.

Couch and 2016 graduates Paichence Carter and Tara Thompson also were on that relay.

"The goals are always the same," Jimmy Gaul said. "We want to get better every day."

Boys volleyball team
hopes to contend

After going 10-2 in the OCC-Cardinal last season to share the title with North and Dublin Scioto, the boys volleyball team hopes to contend in the OCC-Buckeye this spring.

The Wildcats are 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the league entering their match Thursday, April 13, at North.

South opened league play with wins over Olentangy 25-17, 25-18, 25-22 on April 4 and Liberty 25-16, 25-6, 25-15 on April 6.

Seniors Deion Woodson (outside hitter) and Roman Szwabinsky (setter) were named first-team all-region and all-league last season.

Seniors Oliver Miller (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and Luke Carpenter (middle hitter) were second-team all-league, and senior Colin Blaser (libero) was special mention all-league.

Miller also was honorable mention all-region.

Other players are seniors Mason Cobler (right-side hitter), Trent Harris (right-side hitter) and Joel Slaughter (middle hitter) and juniors Roberto Cardona (defensive specialist), Josh Coffey (right-side hitter/outside hitter) and Max Perry (middle hitter/outside hitter).

South finished 19-6 overall last season and reached a Division I East Region final.

"The seniors have been working really hard for the last three years to be better than the year before," third-year coach Vicki Phillips said. "Their freshmen year they went 0-17 and it just slowly progressed. It's them wanting to win and get after it and working hard in the offseason to accomplish their goals."

Phillips shared OCC-Cardinal Coach of the Year honors last year with Scioto's Wayne Tsai.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

TRACK & FIELD

March 25 -- Hammond Relays at Pickerington Central

April 4 -- Debbie Merriman-King Wildcat Relays at home

April 7 -- Panther Invitational at Hilliard Darby

April 11 -- vs. Whitehall

April 14 -- Blue Devil Invitational at Washington Court House

April 15 -- Mehock Relays at Mansfield Senior

April 18 -- vs. Gahanna and Pickerington Central

April 21 -- Wildcat Invitational at home

April 25 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

April 28 -- Marion Harding Night Relays

May 2 -- vs. Westerville North

May 5 -- Mason Invitational

May 11, 13 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Olentangy Orange

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

March 25 -- at St. Charles with Cincinnati Elder

*April 4 -- at Olentangy

*April 6 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*April 13 -- at Westerville North

*April 18 -- vs. Westerville Central

*April 20 -- vs. Olentangy

April 22 -- at Hilliard Darby with Cincinnati Moeller

*April 25 -- at Olentangy Liberty

April 26 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

April 29 -- Centerville Elite Tournament

*May 4 -- at Westerville Central

May 6 -- vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius

*May 10 -- vs. Westerville North

May 17 -- OCC Challenge at Hilliard Darby

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the South baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball and boys tennis teams:

BASEBALL

April 15 -- Home vs. Connellsville (Pa.) (DH)

*April 17 -- At Westerville North

*April 19 -- Home vs. North

BOYS LACROSSE

April 15 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 18 -- At Big Walnut

April 19 -- Home vs. Johnstown

GIRLS LACROSSE

*April 13 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty

*April 17 -- Home vs. Big Walnut

SOFTBALL

*April 13 -- Home vs. Liberty

*April 17 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange

*April 19 -- At North

BOYS TENNIS

*April 13 -- Home vs. Orange

*League contest