First-year coach Sean Patrick is excited about the potential of his Delaware Hayes High School boys track and field team.

"This is the first time in years that we feel like we can score across the board," said Patrick, who was an assistant the past five years under Greg White, who stepped down after seven seasons as coach. "We have always seemed to be strong in one area or another, but never had balance. I'm excited about the possibilities we have to score in all areas."

Seniors Deven Ward (sprints) and Justin Hernan (distance) are back to lead the way after being Division I regional qualifiers last season.

Ward finished sixth in the 100 meters (11.2 seconds) and seventh in the 200 (22.77) and Hernan placed sixth in the 1,600 (4:25.61). Also at regional, the 400 relay of senior Elijah Harrell, junior Blain McCormick, Ward and 2016 graduate Jacob Protheroe finished eighth (school-record 43.56), as the top four finishers in each event advanced to state.

In the 14-team district 3 meet, the 400 relay won (43.57), Hernan was runner-up in the 1,600 (4:29.56) and Ward placed third in both the 100 (11.06) and 200 (22.63). Placing fifth to finish one spot shy of qualifying for regional were the 800 relay of Harrell, Protheroe, McCormick and senior Alec Olson (1:33.66) and 2016 graduate Jalill Barnes in the long jump (20 feet, 2 1/4 inches).

"Deven is everything a coach could ask for because he leads by example, listens, is coachable, applies feedback and leads the younger kids," Patrick said. "Elijah has come a long way and is very hungry after being injured last year, and Justin qualified for the state indoor meet in the (1,600)."

Hernan finished 13th (4:31) in the 1,600 in the indoor state meet held March 4 at the University of Akron.

Harrell and Ward are expected to lead the team in the long jump this season. Joining them in sprints are senior Anthony Taglione, juniors Connor Derstine and Phillipe Mutwali and freshman Laquans Banks.

Taglione, Banks and sophomore Raul Olvera also are competing in the long jump.

Joining Hernan and Olson in distance and middle-distance events are senior Marquis Willis, sophomores Max Draper and Avery Latta and freshman Brian Frisch.

Junior Jason Mathus, a move-in from Cardington, and sophomore Quinn Sweeney are the team's top hurdlers, while first-year seniors Ryan Craun and Corbin Hollingsworth are expected to lead the Pacers in the high jump.

Competing in throws are seniors Wayne Brookover and Derrick O'Conner and juniors Ashtyn Rollins, Logan Sweeney and Todd Toney, while senior Sam Milner, junior Robbie Milner, sophomore Brian Schutte and freshman Kieshawn Mack are competing in the pole vault.

The Pacers finished fourth (60.5 points) in the 13-team Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays on April 8 behind host and champion Big Walnut (88). They placed second in the 400 relay (44.76) and sprint relay (1:41.3) and Ward was third in the long jump (19-7).

Sprinters to lead
girls track team

The girls track and field team has increased its roster to 70 athletes thanks to a big freshman class, and that pleases 12th-year coach Andy Graham.

"We've got great senior leadership and it looks like our strength will be in sprints, but I think we're really in good shape with having such a big, strong freshman class," Graham said.

Delaware lost just five athletes to graduation after competing in three events in the Division I regional meet last season.

At regional, the 400 relay of seniors Brooke Glesenkamp and Ashley Smiley, junior Torie Young and 2016 graduate Macie Wright placed eighth (49.8), Smiley finished 11th in the long jump (15-7 3/4) and junior Madeline Hayes tied for 12th in the pole vault (10-0) after setting the school record (10-6) earlier in the season.

The 400 relay placed third (school-record 49.59) in the 16-team district 3 meet, as did Smiley in the long jump (15-8 1/4) and Hayes in the pole vault (10-0).

Placing fifth at district were Glesenkamp in the high jump (4-10), the 800 relay of Young, Wright, Glesenkamp and Smiley (1:46.37), the 1,600 relay of sophomores Judy Rodgers and Emily Gray, Glesenkamp and Young (4:06.19) and the 3,200 relay of seniors Kristen Puthoff and Alicia Rittenour, junior Ashley Woller and Gray (10:33.4).

"We've got a lot of good options in sprints and sprint relays," Graham said. "We are just very deep there."

In addition to Smiley, Young, Glesenkamp and Hayes, the sprint corps includes Rodgers, juniors Leah Davis and Emma Tucky and freshmen Sydney McMillin, Ari Avant, Savanna Diebert, Adrianah Melvin and Mary Beth Zimmerman.

Puthoff, Rittenour, Woller and Gray should lead the distance and middle-distance events, with Zimmerman, freshman Katie Smith and sophomore Sam Brusco adding support.

Avant, Rodgers, junior Sarah Jennings and freshman Chloe Diehl are expected to lead the team in the hurdles.

In field events, juniors Anna Wells and JennaMarie Berger and sophomores Maisy Johnson and McKenzie Knodell are competing in the throws, Smiley, Smith and senior Savannah Carter are competing in the long jump and Glesenkamp, Hayes, Smith, Jennings and junior Victoria Crist-Stottlemire are competing in the high jump.

Hayes is the team's top pole vaulter, with Carter, Jennings, junior Chase Patton and freshman Caitlin Carter also competing in the event.

"We've got good talent and, as the season progresses, we will be determining our best lineups in order to be our most productive in the bigger meets," Graham said.

The Pacers finished third (80) in the 13-team Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays behind Westerville Central (110) and host Big Walnut (89). They won the 800 relay (1:48.88) and placed second in the 400 relay (50.92) and 1,600 relay (4:24.37). Also placing second were Hayes in the pole vault (10-0) and Smiley in the long jump (16-1 1/4), while Glesenkamp was third in the high jump (4-10).

Boys volleyball team
off to better start

The boys volleyball team has already won more matches this season than it did last year.

The Pacers, who returned four players, were 3-4 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Dublin Jerome on April 13. They finished 1-15 overall last season, including 0-10 in the OCC-Capital.

"We're still in development mode as a program, but the (OCC-Cardinal) has very experienced programs who are incredibly strong traditionally," second-year coach Don Burroughs said. "We've started off pretty well, but we're just reaching the meat of the league schedule, so it's going to get a lot more difficult."

The returnees are seniors Jacob Queen and Cameron Rathburn and juniors Gabe Haferman and Joe Strubler.

"Jacob and Gabe are our setters and hitters and everybody else will play full rotations," Burroughs said. "We don't have any real specialists.

"Jacob has been setting for a long time and he picked up a strong hitting game this year. It adds a different aspect to his game. Joe has developed a jump serve and that has proven very beneficial."

Newcomers are senior Colten McCabe, juniors Max Van Dyne and A.J. Vasek, sophomore Brennen Tucker and freshman Colin Ashworth.

"Max has made tremendous strides in his skill development in the offseason," Burroughs said. "A.J. is in his first year in the sport as a junior and has been a valuable asset in every phase of the game.

"Colten is a first-year player as a senior who will play soccer next year at Bluffton (University), and Brennen is a kid who came to open gyms and is improving at an incredible pace."

The Pacers won their first two matches against Northland, beating the Vikings 25-11, 25-21, 15-25, 22-25, 15-10 on March 24 and 25-11, 23-25, 25-13, 19-25, 15-12 on March 27.

Delaware began league play March 30 by losing to Hilliard Darby 25-6, 25-9, 25-11. The Pacers then lost to Dublin Scioto 25-7, 25-14, 25-15 on April 4, beat Thomas Worthington 25-15, 21-25, 25-16, 24-26, 15-13 on April 6, lost to Hilliard Bradley 25-12, 25-18, 25-7 on April 10 and lost to Worthington Kilbourne 25-15, 25-13, 25-15 on April 11 in league play.

Jacob Hackathorn, one of five players from a year ago lost to graduation, is a volunteer assistant under Burroughs, while Mariah Swisher is the new assistant coach who also guides the junior varsity.

"I believe one of the pillars to building a successful program is when alumni return to get involved," Burroughs said. "I think Jacob helps with the team chemistry since he played with these guys last year."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

More schedules

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

BASEBALL

*April 17 -- At Hilliard Bradley

*April 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 21 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

April 22 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley (DH)

SOFTBALL

April 18 -- At Grandview

*April 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

*April 20 -- At Dublin Scioto

April 22 -- At Marysville with Ready

BOYS LACROSSE

*April 19 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

April 21 -- Home vs. McMurray (Pa.) Peters Township

GIRLS LACROSSE

*April 18 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

April 21 -- At Wellington

BOYS TENNIS

*April 17 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*April 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

April 19 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township

April 22 -- At Reynoldsburg

*League contest