The Hilliard Darby High School girls track and field team displayed its depth and balance en route to winning its third consecutive league championship.
The Panthers totaled 146.5 points in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet May 10 and 12 at Dublin Coffman to hold off runner-up Thomas Worthington (141). Dublin Scioto (116) was third, followed by Delaware (93), Dublin Jerome (63.5), Worthington Kilbourne (39.5) and Bradley (31.5).
Darby won just one event on the track, as Daniella Santos finished first in the 3,200 meters (11 minutes, 36.52 seconds). Other winners were Emma Kowalski in the discus (127 feet, 10 inches) and shot put (37-1 1/2), Maliyah Ellis in the long jump (18-1 3/4) and Stacia Rispress in the high jump (5-2).
"We didn't have a lot of first places, but we had many events with two placers and a few with three placers and that made up for it," coach Don Seymour said. "It takes a team and we got a great team effort. Everyone contributed."
An example of that was the long jump, in which Naomi Walters placed second (17-4 1/2) behind Ellis and Jenna Hartwell tied for eighth (14-11). In the 100 hurdles, Gabrielle Hammonds placed fifth (15.84), Ellis was sixth (16.17) and Rispress was seventh (16.26).
"Rispress scored in four events, as did Abby Cannon and Naomi Walters," Seymour said. "Those types of efforts are special. Our goal in every meet is to get three scorers in every event, and you need to have girls who are capable of giving you multiple-scoring efforts. We've got that. I thought Abby Cannon had a terrific day.
"I think the biggest part of the meet was when Thomas was coming at us like a freight train on the track, we got a 1-2 finish from Santos and (Anita) Perie (11:57.45) in the (3,200). That gave us enough of an edge from our advantage in field events."
The 3,200 relay of Santos, Cannon, Perie and Erin Cowen was second (10:05.12). Finishing third were Santos in the 1,600 (5:16.58), Liz Silav in the shot put (33-10 3/4), Kaysi Morris in the pole vault (8-6) and the 800 relay of Hammonds, Aaliyah Brletic, Bethany Alecusan and Ellis (1:47.52).
"This was a pretty big deal for us to win the title, especially the seniors," Cannon said. "It's the third year in a row we won it and we didn't want to have it end on our watch. We have to credit our field events girls for doing a great job in this one."
The boys team finished second (128.5) in the league meet, behind Bradley (143.5) and ahead of Thomas (104.5), Jerome (98), Scioto (777.5), Kilbourne (42) and Delaware (35).
Clint Barnett won the 100 (10.98) and 200 (22.33) and ran leadoff on the winning 400 relay (43.76) ahead of Seveon Stewart, Jaeln Benjamin and Lucas Fratianne. He also anchored the second-place 800 relay (1:31.04) behind Fratianne, Todd Pilkington and Matthew Wilson.
"I recruited Clint from the hallways as a junior," coach Matthew Fox said. "I was told he was the fastest kid on the football team and I approached him and asked him if he would just give track a chance. Now, he loves it and will be competing at Xavier (University) in track.
"The best part is that he's still raw. He will continue to get better and better in college."
Dylan Litreal won the discus (156-10) and placed second (48-10 1/4) in the shot put behind teammate Michael Cornathan (51-11 1/4). Chris Burkhart was second in the discus (149-0) and Paul Dillion was third in the shot put (48-1).
Malachi McGill was runner-up in the 800 (1:55.31) behind Thomas' Arjun Jha, who set a meet record (1:55).
Placing third were the 1,600 relay of Wilson, Josh Govine, Matthew Imwalle and Josh Baldridge (3:34.19) and the 3,200 relay of McGill, Baldridge, Jason Fleishman and Sean Carney (8:12.38), while Solomon Tolliver tied for third in the high jump (5-10).
Both teams are competing in the home Division I district meet this week. The girls are in district 1, which began with running preliminaries May 15, continues with field events Thursday, May 17, and concludes with running finals Saturday, May 19. The boys are in district 2, which began with field events May 15, continued with running preliminaries May 16 and concludes with running finals May 19.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Baseball team reaches district semi
The second-seeded baseball team held off 21st-seeded St. Charles 2-1 in a Division I district semifinal May 14 at Coffman to improve to 21-7 and advance to a district final for the fourth consecutive season.
The Panthers played ninth-seeded Olentangy in a district final May 16.
The district champion will play New Albany or Pickerington Central in a regional semifinal May 24 at Coffman.
The regional final is May 25 at Coffman.
Darby defeated Central 4-3 on May 11, but has not played New Albany this season.
The Panthers opened the tournament by defeating 42nd-seeded Logan 10-0 in six innings in a second-round game May 9 at home.
Boys lacrosse team begins postseason
The seventh-seeded boys lacrosse team was 7-7 before opening the Division I, Region 3 tournament by playing at sixth-seeded Westerville Central on May 15.
The winner plays at fifth-seeded Davidson or 19th-seeded Newark in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 18. That winner visits top-seeded Upper Arlington, 10th-seeded Pickerington North, 13th-seeded Beavercreek or 16th-seeded Miamisburg in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22.
The regional final is May 25 at a neutral site.
Girls lacrosse team opens tournament
The 10th-seeded girls lacrosse team was 10-7 before opening the Division I, Region 3 tournament at sixth-seeded Scioto on May 15.
The winner plays at fourth-seeded Springboro or 13th-seeded Davidson in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 18. That winner plays at top-seeded UA, eighth-seeded Pickerington North, 11th-seeded Centerville or 12th-seeded Beavercreek in a regional semifinal Monday, May 21.
The regional final is May 24 at a neutral site.
Season ends for boys tennis team
No members of the boys tennis team advanced from the Division I sectional tournament May 10 and 12 at Pickerington Central.
Senior Tom Ohler was seeded fourth in singles and was seeking a return trip to district, but lost 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to St. Charles' Patrick O'Neil in a district-qualifying match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district Thursday, May 17, at Bradley and Saturday, May 19, at UA.
"I was really proud of how, after losing the first set 6-4, Tom came back to win the second set 6-1," coach Scott Nickel said. "Up 5-3 in the third, Tom had the match on his racket, but you have to give credit to O'Neil. He found a way to get the win. There were so many momentum changes during the course of the match and it was really hard-fought on both sides."
Ohler beat Marietta's Eric Delong 6-2, 6-4 in the first round and Central's Stephan Klein 6-2, 6-2 in the second before losing to O'Neill.
Senior Krishna Revur also was seeking a return trip to district. He beat Olentangy Liberty's Marclo Aguilar 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the first round before losing to Marysville's Haden Fluharty 6-3, 6-0 in the second.
Also in singles, junior Shyam Pandya lost to St. Charles' Will Prophater 6-4, 6-0 in the first round.
In doubles, junior Ebun Obisesan and sophomore Ishan Somani beat Canal Winchester's Zeke Blanchard and Devin Mullett 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round before losing to Liberty's Vishnu Bodavula and Arvind Nair 6-0, 6-0 in the second, while sophomore Noah Adams and freshman Srikrishna Kondaveeti lost to Delaware's Danny Brennan and Will Fogle 6-3, 6-3 in the first round.
The Panthers finished 6-6 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal, tying Scioto and Kilbourne for fourth behind Jerome (6-0), Thomas (5-1) and Delaware (3-3) and ahead of Bradley (1-5).
Softball team falls to Tigers in slugfest
The eighth-seeded softball team lost to 16th-seeded Pickerington Central 14-12 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 9 to finish 14-9 overall.
The host Panthers, who had a first-round bye, scored four runs in the third inning to take a 5-4 lead, but they fell behind 11-10 in the sixth and trailed 14-10 in the seventh before sophomore Lilly Garnett-Brown hit a two-run homer.
Darby had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.
"We kept battling and that's what I loved most about this team," coach Shawn Papp said. "This group of seniors has been with me since I coached them in eighth grade. Personally, it felt like a family. They were fun to be around and did a great job leading the team."
The Panthers are losing six seniors in Kaitlyn Bowman (2B), Mikayla Kesel (1B), Madi Lightfoot (OF), Bri Pizzurro (3B), Maddie Rose (1B) and Payton Senter (OF).
Bowman batted .394 with 22 runs scored and 15 RBI, Kesel batted .375 hits with 20 RBI and Pizzurro batted .345 with four home runs, 25 runs and 23 RBI.
Among the expected returnees are Garnett-Brown (INF), juniors Maddi Clark (P), Tegan Cortelletti (SS), Molly Holdren (CF) and Sydney McCreary (C), sophomore Hannah Hutchison (OF) and freshman Jordyn Anderson (P).
Cortelletti batted .607 with 38 runs, 26 RBI and 18 stolen bases, Garnett-Brown hit .333 with 18 runs and 26 RBI and Holdren batted .316 with 16 runs and 21 RBI.
In the circle, Clark went 10-4 with a 3.28 ERA.
Darby went 9-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to place third, behind Bradley and Delaware (both 10-2) and ahead of Jerome (6-6), Kilbourne (4-8), Scioto (3-9) and Thomas (0-12).
Below is the coming schedule for the Darby boys volleyball team:
May 19 -- Home vs. fourth-seeded Mount Vernon or 20th-seeded Delaware in quarterfinal of Division I East Region tournament.
Winner plays 10th-seeded Pickerington North or 11th-seeded Upper Arlington in regional semifinal May 22 at Darby. The regional final is May 25 at Westerville Central.
The Panthers are seeded first of 20 teams.