Imani Babatunde realizes just how important her teammates on the Columbus School for Girls track and field team are.
The junior competed in the 200 meters in the Division II state meet held June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
The lone participant for the Unicorns, she finished 11th in 25.62 seconds.
Last season, Babatunde was a member of two relays that reached the state podium.
She was on the fourth-place 800 relay (program-record 1:44.04) with 2016 graduate Isabella Pesavento, sophomore Alicia Donley and senior Ayla Kazemi and the sixth-place 400 relay (49.34) with senior Sadiyah Babatunde, Pesavento and sophomore Emily Dewolf.
"It was kind of sad being here without the rest of the team," said Imani Babatunde, Sadiyah's sister. "Some of (my teammates) came down and warmed up with me to help out, and it has shown me the value of the team. Next year I want to get back here with some relays and have other teammates here with me."
CSG did not score at state. Beachwood (35 points) won the team title as 75 teams scored.
"Imani finished about where we thought she would," said coach Jen Bunker, who completed her second season. "It was the first time Imani qualified in the 200 in Division II, so it was a learning experience."
Imani Babatunde qualified for state in the 200 by finishing fourth (25.97) in the regional meet held May 25 and 27 at Lexington. The four finishers in each regional event advanced.
The 800 relay of juniors Alyssa Estepp and Brinley Zieg, Imani Babatunde and Kazemi narrowly missed qualifying for state as it placed fifth in 1:46.33. Oak Harbor was fourth (1:45.7).
The same four runners were on the sixth-place 1,600 relay (46.89).
Also at regional, Kazemi placed seventh in the 300 hurdles (47.99), the 400 relay of Sadiyah Babatunde, senior Nia Caldwell, Dewolf and Imani Babatunde finished 10th (52.02), Dewolf was 13th in the 100 hurdles (17.36), junior Sidney Flynn finished 13th in the long jump (15 feet, 3 1/2 inches) and Sadiyah Babatunde was 14th in the shot put (34-3/4) and 16th in the discus (91-7).
The Unicorns were 22nd (14) at regional behind champion Orrville (55) as 39 teams scored.
CSG scored 71 points to finish third of 24 teams in the district meet that concluded May 20 at Westerville South, behind Caledonia River Valley (92) and Bexley (72).
The Unicorns failed to defend their CCL title, as they finished fourth (73.5) in the league meet May 8 and 10 at home behind Watterson (159), Hartley (125) and DeSales (89.5) and ahead of Ready (45).
Their only league titles came from Sadiyah Babatunde in the discus (103-0) and shot put (33-11 3/4).
Sadiyah Babatunde, Caldwell and Kazemi led a seven-member senior class.
"We will have some holes to fill from the seniors leaving," Bunker said.
"But every year we lose kids and we have kids step up for us."