The Delaware Hayes High School girls track and field team has balance this season and that excites 15th-year coach Andy Graham.

"We are well balanced this season in all event areas," he said. "We have athletes in each event who will challenge to score at all meets, and we have depth in each one of those events beyond our top two athletes.

"Our team has set high standards for the season, and they hope to leave a legacy that greatly impacts Delaware Hayes track and field for the future."

Senior Torie Young and sophomore Sydney McMillin are back to lead the sprint crew and seniors Grace Fowler and Ashley Woller return to lead the distance corps.

"Torie has been a member of a regional-qualifying relay for the past three seasons," Graham said. "Torie finished fifth at the indoor state meet in the 400 (meters) and also ran on our state qualifying (1,600) relay. She is extremely dedicated this season and is showing outstanding leadership."

Seniors Leah Davis and Lauren McMillin add depth in sprints and freshman Lauren English will help in distance. Expected to lead Delaware in the middle-distance events are junior Emily Gray, sophomores Adri Melvin and MaryBeth Zimmerman and freshman Ally Gray.

Sophomore Ari Avant is the team's top hurdler and classmate Chloe Diehl also will contribute in the hurdles.

"Ari is our current school record holder in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles," Graham said. "She was eighth in the indoor state meet in the 60-meter hurdles and also ran on the state-qualifying (1,600) relay. She has an outstanding work ethic, drive to improve and positive attitude that is impactful to all of her teammates."

In field events, seniors Madeline Hayes, Chase Patton and Sarah Jennings will lead in the pole vault, while seniors Anna Wells and JennaMarie Berger and juniors Maisy Johnson and Mac Knodell will lead in the throws. In the jumps, expected to contribute are senior Neva DiPietro, junior Ashley Hall, sophomore Savanna Deibert and freshman Karli Theis.

"Madeline looks primed to break her own school record in the pole vault this season," Graham said. "She is also going to contribute in sprints and relays this season. During indoor, she was a member of our (1,600) relay (that) competed at state. She has shown outstanding leadership so far this year."

Last season, 2017 graduate Ashley Smiley scored the lone point for the Pacers in the Division I regional meet at Pickerington North by placing eighth in the long jump (16 feet, 10 1/4 inches), falling four spots shy of advancing to state.

Sydney McMillin finished 10th in the 200 (25.94 seconds), Avant was 11th in the 300 hurdles (47.33) and Smiley, Young, Sydney McMillin and 2017 graduate Brooke Glesenkamp combined to place 11th in both the 800 relay (1:45.54) and 400 relay (50.16), as the Pacers tied for 34th behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.

McCormick, Toney to lead boys track team

Seniors Blain McCormick and Todd Toney are expected to lead the boys track and field team.

"We will be strong in the relays, throws and sprints this season," second-year coach Sean Patrick said. "However, we expect big contributors, in terms of points and leadership, to come from all event areas."

McCormick was part of the Pacers' record-setting 400 relay last season, along with seniors Phillipe Mutwali and Connor Derstine and 2017 graduate Deven Ward. The four, who set the mark (43.07) during the OCC-Cardinal Division meet, were disqualified in the Division I regional meet.

"Blain has shown leadership the past three seasons for our relays and sprints," Patrick said. "This season he returns to the track, along with Connor and Phillipe, ready to build upon the success and culture that they have set over the course of their high school careers."

Also at regional last season, Ward placed fifth in the 100 (10.93) to finish one spot shy of advancing to state and was disqualified in the 200, as the Pacers finished 28th behind champion Thomas Worthington (73) as 37 teams scored.

Toney is expected to lead Delaware in the throws, with classmates Logan Sweeney and Ashtyn Rollins adding depth.

"Todd is working harder than he ever has to better his technique, outlook and aspirations to become a high quality thrower," Patrick said. "He seems motivated to perfect areas of weakness and lean on his areas of strength in both of the throws. Todd also hopes to contribute to our sprints and relays."

Juniors Max Draper and Avery Latta are expected to lead the Pacers in the distance and middle-distance events, with support from senior Nick O'Bryant and sophomore Brian Frisch.

"Max and Avery have made the decision to lead by example this season," Patrick said. "They are dedicated to strengthen the distance program, (3,200) relay, and become influential contributors in terms of points."

Freshman Orion Ward has been impressive in the hurdles and jumps thus far, according to Patrick. Senior Jason Mathus is expected to contribute in the hurdles and sophomore Laquans Banks-Christian and junior Troy Ferguson should contribute in the jumps.

Junior Brian Schuette returns in the pole vault, with classmates Jackson Patton and Andrew Young also expected to contribute in the event.

"We are well balanced this season in all event areas," Patrick said. "We have athletes in each event who will challenge to score and we have young men who believe in each other."

Boys tennis team returns four players

The boys tennis team has a nice blend of experience and youth, according to fifth-year coach Richard Hunt.

"We have four returnees and three newcomers in the lineup, although the guys with experience are also young," Hunt said. "We will need the new guys to step up and help fill the vacancies left by last year's seniors. We should be solid, but still growing."

The Pacers finished 11-6 overall last season, including 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal to place seventh behind champion Dublin Jerome (6-0).

The returnees are sophomores Sam Bonofiglio, Danny Brennan, Kyle Klumpp and Eric Puthoff.

In a Division I sectional at Reynoldsburg last season, Klumpp and Bonofiglio were paired in doubles and went 1-1, while Puthoff and Brennan both went 1-1 in singles.

None of the Pacers finished in the top four in singles or doubles to advance to district. Among the 2017 graduates was Ben Teitlebaum, who reached a sectional quarterfinal before losing his district-qualifying match.

Klumpp opened the season at first singles, with Bonofiglio at second singles and Puthoff at third singles.

"Kyle and Sam are returning starters who have grown in their fundamentals of the game," Hunt said. "The next step is to take their shot-making abilities and move to tactics and strategies."

Brennan and sophomore Will Fogle opened the season at first doubles, with senior Justin Sanclemente and freshman Jacob Byerly at second doubles.

Others vying for playing time are senior Jack Marks, junior Jacob England, sophomores Harrison Garling and Aidan Sarna and freshmen Carleton Beckham, Steven Savon and Ryan Vogt.

The Pacers opened March 26 by beating Caledonia River Valley 5-0 and began OCC-Cardinal play April 5 at home against Thomas Worthington.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS TENNIS

March 26 -- vs. Caledonia River Valley

*April 5 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

April 6 -- vs. Marion Pleasant

April 9 -- vs. Buckeye Valley

*April 10 -- vs Hilliard Bradley

*April 11 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

*April 12 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

April 16 -- vs. Marysville

*April 17 -- at Dublin Jerome

April 18 -- Hartley at Wolfe Park

April 21 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament

*April 23 -- at Dublin Scioto

April 24 -- vs. Jonathan Alder

April 25 -- at Reynoldsburg

April 26 -- vs. Big Walnut

April 27 -- at Grove City

April 30 -- at Mount Vernon

May 1 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

May 3 -- at DeSales

May 8 -- vs. Watterson

TRACK & FIELD

March 26 -- vs. Marion Harding and Oakstone Academy

April 3 -- at Olentangy Liberty

April 7 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut

April 9 -- at Hilliard Bradley

April 13 -- Chieftain Relays at Bellefontaine

April 17 -- at Marysville

April 20 -- Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South

April 23 -- vs. Buckeye Valley and Olentangy Orange

April 27 -- Olentangy Invitational

May 4 -- Delaware County Elite 8 at Olentangy Orange

May 10, 12 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Dublin Coffman

*League contest