Many of the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls track and field team's top athletes still will have time remaining at the prep level after the program completes what it hopes is a long and successful postseason.
Two seniors who have epitomized the work ethic that the Lions believe has made their program one of the state's best in recent years are Benja Duff and Ivy McKee.
Duff recently took a trip to California as part of DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America and involves marketing and business.
Also perhaps the area's best all-around hurdler and a key member of sprint relays for the Lions, Duff has been intent on staying focused.
"I have a workout to do while I'm here," Duff said while on her trip. "I can't stop. Things have been going great. Our team has really come together."
Both Duff and McKee figure to play prominent roles as Gahanna looks to add to its run of four consecutive OCC-Ohio Division titles when it competes in the league meet Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, at Olentangy Orange.
The Lions then compete in the Division I, district 2 meet, which holds field events Tuesday, May 16, running preliminaries Wednesday, May 17, and running finals May 20 at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North.
Duff has the area's best time in the 100-meter hurdles (14.44 seconds) and the third best in the 300 hurdles (45.43).
She's been offered scholarships by a group of schools that includes Northern Kentucky.
McKee, who is a Ball State commit, is 15th in the area in the 100 (12.52) and 10th in the 200 (25.39).
At state last season, Duff was seventh in the 100 hurdles (14.69) and 14th in the 300 hurdles (45.71). She also ran with McKee, 2016 graduate Makayla Scott and senior Journi Reese on the 400 relay that false-started in the preliminary.
McKee also ran with Reese, Scott and junior Amariah Thomas on the 800 relay that took third (1:39.06).
Both are options for the 400 and 800 relays, and each could see time on the 1,600 relay as well.
In the area honor roll, Gahanna is first in the 400 relay (48.04), 1,600 relay (3:55.16) and 3,200 relay (9:25.39) and second in the 800 relay (1:40.3).
Others who have run on the 1,600 relay include Thomas and sophomores Madison Martinez and Shynae Deas, while freshman Alexis Thigpen and Thomas are among those who have been on the 800 relay. Thomas and freshman Shaina Rutledge have run on the 400 relay.
"I've always been pretty good in the 200," McKee said. "I wasn't hitting my peak yet, but this year I've really started lifting and my 200 time has dropped a lot.
"I just feel like a lot of our girls are focused and we have some young ones who are really stepping up to the plate. I feel like we're knocking down time each week so when we get to states when it really counts, we're going to be on top."
Boys track team preps
for OCC, postseason
While the sprint corps might be the biggest source of depth on the boys track team, coach Shawn Johnston also has been impressed with the improvement his field performers have shown.
Senior Colton Bosaw is fourth in the area honor roll in the pole vault (13 feet, 6 inches), senior Brendon Cox is fourth in the shot put (53-9 3/4) and seventh in the discus (146-2) and senior Zachariah Holderby has gone 20-10 to be among the area's better long jumpers.
The Lions also have developed depth in the 110 hurdles with senior Dontae Deas (14.65) and sophomore Kelly Wilson (14.7) leading the way. Deas also is third in the 300 hurdles (39.28).
In distance, senior Solomon Costa has led the way.
"Brendon Cox is one of the top throwers in the area and (we're hoping) he keeps progressing," Johnston said. "Colton Bosaw is on the verge of knocking down 14-0. Solomon Costa has been turning it on in the two-mile. Kelly Wilson has been smoking it in the hurdles."
The Lions compete in the OCC-Ohio meet Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, at Orange.
Like the girls team, the boys then will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet.
The seventh-seeded baseball team began the Division I district tournament May 10 at home against 38th-seeded Groveport in a second-round game.
The winner plays 15th-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 17th-seeded St. Charles in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 16, at a site to be announced.
The district final is May 18 at a site to be announced.
Gahanna, which was 13-6 overall before its postseason opener, has won six district titles in nine seasons, including last year.
"I definitely think we're peaking at the right time and we're going to be at our best in the (postseason)," said senior infielder Josh Oddi, who has committed to Ohio Dominican.
On May 3, the Lions lost to Lancaster 4-2 to fall to 8-6 in the OCC-Ohio. Cael Baker hit a solo home run in the first, but the Golden Gales scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings.
Gahanna was scheduled to close its league schedule May 5 against Pickerington Central, but the game was postponed. Since the game will have no bearing on the final league standings, it's uncertain whether it will be made up.
Softball team opens
On May 10, the fourth-seeded softball team played host to 30th-seeded Centennial in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
The winner plays 13th-seeded Westerville Central or 20th-seeded Westerville North in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a site to be announced.
The district final is May 19 or May 20 at Pickerington Central.
Gahanna was 16-4 overall heading into the postseason.
With a 12-11 loss to Pickerington Central on May 3, the Lions finished second (7-3) in the OCC-Ohio behind the Tigers (10-0). Aly Harrell, Lauren Woodward and Lauren Ringhiser all hit two-run home runs and Addie Kittel hit a solo homer, but the Tigers scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
Girls lacrosse team
After losing three of four from April 25 through May 5, the girls lacrosse team was 9-6 overall before playing Big Walnut on May 9.
The Lions close the regular season Thursday, May 11, at home against Westerville North.
On May 5 in a 20-3 loss to Dublin Jerome, senior midfielder Emily Sloan had two goals and freshman midfielder Julia Foresi scored the other.
Gahanna is seeded eighth for the Division I, Region 3 tournament and opens Monday, May 15, at seventh-seeded Hilliard Darby. The winner plays second-seeded Thomas Worthington or 14th-seeded Marysville on May 19 in a second-round game.
With a 13-1 loss April 27 at Upper Arlington, Gahanna finished 3-3 in the OCC-Central.
Volleyball team hits
stride for postseason
Before playing Olentangy on May 9, the boys volleyball team had won five of seven matches and was 11-12 overall.
On May 5 in the Spike for Tykes tournament at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Lions lost to Westerville South 25-16 and Middletown Fenwick 25-15 in pool play and then fell to Dublin Coffman 26-24, 20-25, 25-21 before beating Reynoldsburg 25-6, 25-15 and Worthington Kilbourne 25-18, 21-25, 25-21.
With a 25-16, 25-21, 25-22 loss May 4 at Hilliard Davidson, Gahanna finished 6-4 in the OCC-Central as the Wildcats won the title at 10-0.
Boys lacrosse team
preps for tourney
The boys lacrosse team is seeded 15th for the Division I, Region 3 tournament and opens Saturday, May 13, at 14th-seeded Darby.
The winner plays Wednesday, May 17, at third-seeded Jerome in a second-round game, with the winner to play sixth-seeded St. Charles or 11th-seeded Thomas on May 20 in a quarterfinal.
Before playing Bradley on May 9, the Lions were 4-10 overall. They beat Newark 16-0 on May 2 to finish 2-5 in the OCC-Central.
In a 13-7 loss to Wooster on April 29, junior attacker Thomas Prociuk scored four goals and junior goalkeeper David Leibas made 16 saves
Tennis team heads
The boys tennis team opens the postseason Thursday, May 11, with a Division I sectional at Davidson.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at sectional, which concludes Saturday, May 13, advance to the district tournament May 18 at Davidson and May 20 at Upper Arlington.
In singles, junior Colin Jordan is the second seed and will open against Marysville's Alexander Seiltz or Mifflin's Thomas Artrip.
Also in singles, junior Oliver Cope opens against Dublin Scioto's Shivam Patel and junior Daniel Shtein opens against Davidson's Jack Kamnikar.
Senior Jake Selker and freshman Kyle Fout are seeded third in doubles and have a first-round bye. Juniors Connor Barnette and Josh Miller open against Scioto's Jasmohan Bawa and Dylan Mathess.