With a strong nucleus expected back next season, the future looks bright for the Westerville Central High School girls track and field team.
A mixture of underclassmen and seniors led the Warhawks during the postseason, capped by five athletes competing in the Division I state meet June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
"It's the best way to the end the season," coach Ryan Borland said of having athletes reach the podium at state.
Senior Emma Dyer and juniors Chloe Ey, McKenna Fry and Sydney Kapral opened the meet by finishing fourth in the 3,200-meter relay in 9 minutes, 4.85 seconds. They shaved six seconds off the previous program-record time of 9:10.83 set last season when Ey, Fry, Kapral and 2016 graduate Morghan Hyatt placed third at state.
"The record we just set last year at the state meet was a really good time, so to beat that by six seconds is pretty amazing," Borland said.
Dyer, who was in her first season in the sport, helped the relay lead for part of the race.
"We're really happy," Dyer said. "We were hoping for a little bit better result, but we crushed our school record and at the end of the day all we wanted to do was do our best and we did that."
Competing in her first state meet, senior Taylor Stills finished fourth in the long jump in a program-record 18 feet, 1 inch.
"I expected to be fighting for that eighth (and final) spot (on the podium), but I just went out with a bang," Stills said.
Fry was ninth in the 1,600 (5:01.73), and Kapral was 10th in the 800 (2:15.97).
The Warhawks finished in a five-way tie for 23rd (10 points) behind champion Cincinnati Withrow (58) as 62 teams scored.
Central also was represented in the seated division. Sophomore Lyssa Zepfel was second in the 400 (1:31.29) and 800 (3:07.81) and fourth in the 100 (23.55), and junior Leah Schulze was third in the 100 (23.22) and fifth in the 400 (1:42.46).
Seated results do not count toward the team standings.
Stills earned the state berth by finishing third (17-3 3/4) in the regional meet May 26 at Pickerington North. Also at regional, Kapral set a program-record of 2:14.82 in the 800 while finishing fourth and Fry finished fourth in the 1,600 in a program-record 5:00.58.
Central finished seventh (30) behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.
The Warhawks finished second (86) of 16 teams behind Dublin Coffman (94) in the district 1 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby. Dyer, Ey, Fry and Kapral won the 3,200 relay (9:20.66), Fry won the 1,600 (5:00.99) and Kapral (2:17:05) and Ey (2:17.19) finished first and second, respectively, in the 800. Stills was second in the long jump (17-10).
Central finished second (132.33) in the OCC-Buckeye Division held meet May 11 and 13 behind champion and host Olentangy Orange (155.66) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (96), Westerville South (59), Westerville North (40) and Olentangy (40).
Stills established a league record in winning the long jump (17-2 3/4). Hilliard Davidson's Brittney Cheese set the previous high mark of 17-1 1/2 in 2007.
Stills also won the high jump (5-2) and holds the program record (5-4) in the event.
Senior Abigail Steele won the shot put (37-2), Dyer, Ey, Fry and Kapral won the 3,200 relay (9:21.41) and juniors Princella Ackon, Savannah Hall and Delaney Reed and sophomore Kendall Allen won the 400 relay (49.19).
"This has been a very good senior class," Borland said. "We've been very successful with these girls. All of our top field events athletes unfortunately were seniors, so that's going to be tough to replace next year. It's never fun to say goodbye, especially when they're a good group like this year."
Boys team's season
ends at regional
The boys track team did not have a state qualifier, as it finished 16th (12) at regional behind champion Thomas Worthington (73) as 37 teams scored. Juniors Luke Finnegan, Ashton Gilkey, Bryson Gilmore and Nathan Schroeder were fifth in the 800 relay (1:28.09), and Finnegan, Gilkey, Gilmore and sophomore Tyrone Johnson were fifth in the 400 relay (42.22).
Finnegan also was sixth in the 200 (22.35), and senior David Madison, sophomore Dymon Gainey, Finnegan and Schroeder were eighth in the 1,600 relay (3:24.34).
In the district 1 meet, Finnegan, Gilkey, Gilmore and Schroeder won the 800 relay (1:29.03), and Finnegan, Gilkey, Gilmore and Johnson finished first in the 400 relay (42.66).
Central tied for seventh (40) of 15 teams in the district 1 meet behind champion Orange (124) and finished fifth (42) in the league meet behind Orange (187), South (117), Olentangy (84) and Liberty (69) and ahead of North (20).
Girls lacrosse team
Girls lacrosse coach Fred Stratmann was pleased with his team's season.
The Warhawks finished 7-11 overall. Seeded ninth for the Division I, Region 1 tournament, they lost at seventh-seeded Perrysburg 13-6 in the first round May 15.
"The team exceeded expectations," Stratmann said. "We lost six seniors to graduation (in 2016) and another nine players who decided not to return. That kept us from having a junior varsity team and forced us to play a number of freshmen and new lacrosse players on varsity."
Midfielder Kristina Ellis led a four-player senior class with 44 goals and eight assists and was named second-team all-region.
Sophomore midfielder Sophie Misiuk had 31 goals and nine assists, junior attacker Bella Fantine had 29 goals and nine assists and sophomore attacker Kennedy Jacobsen had 12 goals and eight assists.
Junior defender Erin Potts was named second-team all-league. Freshman goalkeeper Rachel Kidd had 119 saves.
"The team struggled with consistency at times, which was our biggest problem," Stratmann said. "We would play very strong games against teams like Granville, Wooster and (Liberty Township) Lakota East, and follow them up with bad nights. Sometimes we'd play a weak first half then a strong second half. Other times we'd be strong in the first half and fall apart in the second."
Other players eligible to return are juniors Nicole Teeples (attacker) and Julia Walker (defender), sophomores Lila Case (defender/goalie), Ashley Crabtree (defender), Laney Fasanelli (attacker), Melissa Levendoski (attacker), Leah Sharifi (attacker) and Sienna Szymanski (midfielder/attacker) and freshmen Corrine DuBose (defender), Kalee McCoy (midfielder) and Lucy West (defender).
Central went 3-4 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish fifth behind New Albany (7-0), Liberty (6-1), Olentangy (5-2) and Orange (4-3) and ahead of North (2-5), Big Walnut (1-6) and South (0-7).
Boys tennis team
The boys tennis team finished 5-9 overall and went 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish fifth behind Orange (5-0), Olentangy (4-1), Liberty (3-2) and North (2-3) and ahead of South (0-5).
Central's season ended in a Division I sectional May 13 at Davidson.
The doubles teams of seniors Jensen Ciehanski and Mitchell McClain and seniors Conor Davis and Max Ramsey went 1-1. In singles, senior Josh Tarr and sophomore Corey Blankenship each went 1-1 and freshman Krish Nair was 0-1.