After concluding a stellar gymnastics career at Westerville Central High School, senior Taylor Stills has continued to soar for another team.
Stills has turned in a record-breaking season for the girls track and field team and has her sights set on qualifying in the high jump and long jump for the Division I state meet June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.Video •Watch Westerville Central senior Taylor Stills train in the high jump.
"It would be an accomplishment," Stills said. "It would mean all the hard work that I put in over the years would pay off."
Stills has established program records in both events.
She won the long jump in the Dan Adams Classic on April 28 at Maysville with a program-record effort of 17 feet, 7 inches. Vanessa Hardin, a 2007 graduate, held the previous record of 17-4.
"It was awesome," coach Ryan Borland said. "She's been very consistent in the 16s this year, but that was the first time all year we'd seen her with that kind of speed on the runway and getting off the board as well as she did."
Stills set the high jump record of 5-4 in the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays on April 8 at Big Walnut, surpassing 2013 graduate Adrienne Agee's effort of 5-3.
Stills qualified for regional last season in both events. She finished eighth in the long jump (16-2 1/2) and ninth in the high jump (5-2).
She is expecting better results this spring.
"I came into the season thinking I would do what I did last year, but I ended up coming in stronger than I was last year, so it's worked out so far," Stills said. "I'm going to concentrate on both (jumps) and go for (state in) both. If I do my best then there's definitely a possibility with now jumping 17-7."
Stills helped Central win its Warhawk Invitational on May 5 at Otterbein as she won the high jump (4-10) and finished second in the long jump (15-7 1/4) to teammate Gianna Brooks (15-7 1/2).
Central finished first of eight teams with 239 points, ahead of second-place Marysville (151).
The boys team tied Marysville for second (112.5) of eight teams, behind champion Grove City (128).
The Warhawks will compete in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, at Olentangy Orange.
Stills and her teammates then will begin their chase for state berths when Central competes in the district 1 meet Tuesday, May 16, May 18 and May 20 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North.
Borland expects Stills to contend for state berths.
"Taylor has done some sprinting for us, but last year she just wanted to focus on the two jumps," Borland said. "She's come out looking great since the first day right out of gymnastics. The biggest thing for us is managing the two events, so we don't want to beat her up too bad."
Stills' mother, Jennifer, competed in the high jump at Glenville State College in West Virginia.
In gymnastics, Stills competed in her fourth state meet this past season, finishing 15th on floor exercise (8.925). She is the program record holder on balance beam (9.3) and floor (9.4).
Brooks, a sophomore, also competed at state in gymnastics, tying for 18th in the all-around (35.325). She tied for 13th on vault (9.225), tied for 20th on balance beam (8.8), tied for 23rd on uneven bars (8.55) and scored 8.75 on floor exercise.
Brooks competes in the pole vault and long jump.
Stills has excelled in two sports despite undergoing back surgery in June 2015 for a scoliosis curve of the spine. The surgery included placement of two metal rods.
"It hasn't been an issue, but I think if I was able to bend the way I did I'd probably have 5-6 under my belt (in the high jump)," Stills said. "It's just something I deal with."
Baseball team winds
down regular season
The baseball team prepared for the Division I district tournament by playing Westerville South on May 9 before facing 16th-seeded Zanesville in a second-round game May 10.
Central was seeded 18th. The Warhawks, who lost at Bloom-Carroll 2-1 on May 8, were 13-13 overall and 7-7 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing South.
The Central-Zanesville winner plays fourth-seeded Thomas Worthington or 29th-seeded Pickerington North in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a site to be determined.
The district final is Wednesday, May 17, at a site to be determined. Possible opponents include fifth-seeded Canal Winchester and 11th-seeded Orange.
The district champion plays in a regional semifinal May 25 at Dublin Coffman.
Softball team opens
The 13th-seeded softball team played 20th-seeded Westerville North in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 10.
The winner plays fourth-seeded Gahanna or 30th-seeded Centennial in a semifinal Monday, May 15, at a site to be determined.
The district final will be played May 19 or 20 at Pickerington Central.
The Warhawks, who lost at home to Teays Valley 10-0 in five innings May 8, were 15-7 overall before playing North and won the OCC-Buckeye at 10-0.