With scoring potential across the board, the Hilliard Darby High School boys track and field team will be looking to win the OCC-Cardinal Division title.
The league meet begins Thursday, May 11, and concludes Saturday, May 13, at Dublin Coffman.
"I know Thomas Worthington is really, really good, but I think we have a shot," coach Matt Fox said. "I think we can win a lot of events and they can win a lot of events. It'll be up to our second and third guys. Where Thomas wins an event, we can cover that by finishing second and third in that event.
"That's our goal. If we perform well, we can make it a lot closer than expected at the top."
The Panthers had eight individuals and all four relays in last week's area honor roll.
"Our (3,200-meter relay) and (1,600 relay) are in the top five in the region, so their times would indicate they're on the bubble to get to state," Fox said. "The (1,600 relay) has a best (time) of (3 minutes, 28 seconds), which actually is in the top eight in the state. Our (800 relay) is strong, too."
The Panthers have been led by seniors Andrew Black, Carter Williams and Jared Butler and freshman Malachi McGill.
Williams has been a vital, yet little-recognized key cog for the Panthers, according to Fox. He was in the area honor roll in the 400 (51.51) and 300 hurdles (41.24).
"Carter is a stud who goes unnoticed, for the most part," Fox said. "He does something different for us every week. He has run in four different opens, from the 200 to the 800, and all four relays.
"He's not just running in all of them, he's putting forth top-notch performances in every event. He is just a tremendous athlete. I think we're leaning toward running him in the 300 hurdles and maybe three relays (in the postseason)."
Black (110 hurdles, long jump) and McGill (400, 800) also were in the honor roll, as were Chris Burkhart and Dylan Litreal in the discus.
"Andrew Black was eighth in the regional in the 110 hurdles (15.72) last year and 13th in the long jump (19 feet, 8 1/4 inches), and then he was seventh in the long jump (21-10 3/4) in the (Division I indoor state meet March 4 at the University of Akron)," Fox said. "Malachi McGill is a rare freshman talent who might be able to get to state in the 800."
The boys and girls teams both will compete in the Division I, district 3 meet next week at home. The field events are Wednesday, May 17, followed by the preliminaries in the running events May 18 and the finals in the running events May 20. The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North.
The girls team, much like the boys, is balanced and can score in most events. The Panthers were represented in last week's area honor roll by 11 individuals and all four relays.
Darby has been led by senior Jillian Simpson, sophomore Stacia Rispress and freshman Emma Kowalski.
Simpson made the honor roll in the 100 (12.85), 200 (26.7) and 400 (1:00.47).
"Jillian is fantastic and will do whatever we ask her to do," coach Don Seymour said. "She trains with our middle-distance crew and is pretty flexible. She can run on any relay. We're excited for her, too, because she just signed to run at Xavier (University) last week."
Rispress made the honor roll in the high jump (5-2), 100 hurdles (16.03) and 300 hurdles (49.47), and Kowalski made it in the discus (132-0) and shot put (37-2 3/4).
"Stacia was hurt and just came back and ran a 12.7 in her first 100 meters last week, but she is very good in the hurdles and high jump," Seymour said. "Emma was a pleasant surprise and has done amazing things as a freshman. She set our school record in the discus with a 132-0 (in the Elk Relays on April 14 at Centerville) and also set our school record in the hammer with a 128-1/4 (in the Fulton Relays on April 21) at Lancaster.
"(Kowalski) is closing in on the shot-put record of 42-1/2, which is our oldest record on the books and (was) set in 2001. She has had great training partners in seniors Lauren Iosue and Shannon See."
Seymour is excited to see what his team can do in the league meet as well as in the postseason.
"Our goal is to be balanced and, when you see different names in the honor roll in all those different events, you can tell that we can score in any event," Seymour said. "I really like what the girls are doing. We're getting contributions and scoring everywhere. I think we've displayed that in the regular season."
Baseball team wins
league title outright
The baseball team swept Bradley last week, winning 7-2 on May 2 and 3-1 on May 3, to win the OCC-Cardinal championship outright.
Darby finished 11-1 in the league, two games ahead of runner-up Thomas Worthington (9-3).
The Panthers then beat St. Charles 13-0 on May 6 and Davidson 11-4 on May 8 to improve to 21-3 overall ahead of the Division I district tournament.
Seeded second of 46 teams, Darby had a first-round bye and played host to 27th-seeded Whetstone in the second round May 10.
The winner plays 14th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley or 19th-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is Wednesday, May 17, at a neutral site to be determined, with the opponent likely being sixth-seeded Pickerington Central or 10th-seeded New Albany.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 25 at Coffman.
Last season, Darby was the top seed and reached a district final before losing to seventh-seeded Olentangy 11-2 to finish 23-7.
Softball team opens
The softball team concluded the regular season by beating Thomas 11-0 on May 2 and losing to Bradley 10-1 on May 3 to finish 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Panthers were 15-7 overall entering the Division I district tournament. Seeded 14th of 45 teams, they had a first-round bye and played host to 31st-seeded Dublin Jerome in the second round May 10.
The winner plays fifth-seeded Mount Vernon or 22nd-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is May 19 or 20 at Pickerington Central.
Boys lacrosse team
to face Gahanna
The boys lacrosse team is seeded 14th of 19 teams in the Division I, Region 3 tournament and will play host to 15th-seeded Gahanna in a first-round game Saturday, May 13.
The winner plays at third-seeded Jerome in the second round Wednesday, May 17. That winner faces sixth-seeded St. Charles or 11th-seeded Thomas in a quarterfinal May 20.
The Panthers were 1-13 overall before playing Westerville Central on May 9 and will play host to DeSales in their regular-season finale Thursday, May 11. They finished 0-6 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to Bradley 11-10 in overtime on May 1.
Girls lacrosse team
preps for postseason
The girls lacrosse team will open the Division I, Region 3 tournament Monday, May 15, at home against Gahanna.
The winner plays at Thomas Worthington or Marysville in a quarterfinal May 19.
The Panthers defeated Bellbrook 14-1 on May 8 and were 9-6 overall before playing Marysville on May 9. They close the regular season Friday, May 12, at Chillicothe.
Darby finished 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal after beating Bradley 11-10 on May 2. Hailey Scott scored four goals and Cassie Jenkins and Miranda Large both scored two.