Jessica Ricks has a busy summer ahead in both of the sports in which she's excelling.
Coming off a second consecutive appearance in the Division I state girls track and field meet, the Reynoldsburg High School sophomore is planning to complete the club volleyball season, participate in summer track and begin preparing for prep volleyball in the fall.
This spring, because of how busy she was with volleyball, she didn't begin competing with the Raiders track program until late April.
On June 1 at Ohio State, she finished fifth in the first heat of the 100-meter hurdles and 10th overall (14.99 seconds) to miss advancing to the state final June 2 by one spot. It was just her fifth meet of the season.
"I'm glad where I ended up, but next year I want to medal," said Ricks, who was Reynoldsburg's only girls competitor at state.
Ricks, who is the third sibling to compete in athletics for Reynoldsburg after 2008 graduate and basketball player Chris Ricks and 2011 graduate and softball player Tiffany Ricks, ran on the 400 relay that placed sixth at state last season.
She was sixth in the regional meet as a freshman in the 100 hurdles before breaking through with a third-place finish (15.07) in the regional May 25 at Pickerington North.
"The regional was only her fourth meet (of the season)," coach Richard Ladowitz said. "To get as far as she has, everybody thinks what a great hurdler, but the potential. She happens to be good at an event that you don't get good at unless you get reps. Not too many people have hurdles laying around their garage."
Ricks was joined at regional by junior Nia Amerson, who was ninth in the discus (105 feet, 1 inch), and the 12th-place 1,600 relay (4:12.64) of senior Sherita Ingram, juniors Bre Johnson and Tayla Lee and freshman Adja Mbow. The Raiders tied for 24th (6) behind champion Gahanna (84) as 32 teams scored.
Ricks was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (15.39), Amerson was second in the discus (112-9) and the 1,600 relay was fourth (4:08.73) in the district 2 meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby. The Raiders finished seventh (31) of 16 teams behind champion Gahanna (164).
Ingram was the only senior for a team that was fifth (23) in the OCC-Ohio Division meet that concluded May 12 at Dublin Coffman, behind Gahanna (164), Lancaster (123), Pickerington Central (107) and North (97) and ahead of Grove City (7).
Others eligible to return include juniors Natalie Castello (distance), Leah Goodwin (discus, shot put) and Amiya Wright (shot put), sophomores Autumn Byers (high jump), Olivia Olverson (sprints) and Suyang Spraggins (sprints) and freshmen Naomi Collier (hurdles), Mya Graham (sprints) and Kristin Sheets (distance).
Top competitors expected back for boys
The boys track team had four athletes in the Division I state meet June 1 and all are eligible to return.
Junior Lance Gauthney was 16th in the 400 (50.19), sophomore Muhammed Fall was 11th in the 300 hurdles (39.32) and the 1,600 relay of Fall, Gauthney, junior Dionte Roddy and sophomore Doniven Jackson was 10th (3:21.84) to miss advancing to the final June 2 by .02 of a second.
"We knew going in that this was the proverbial retool or reload year," Ladowitz said. "To get as many people to the state meet in a reload year makes us happy, but we pride ourselves on our relays and our sprinters, and to only get the (1,600 relay) with no one in the 100 or 200, it hurts a little bit."
Ladowitz believes Gauthney in the 400 and the 1,600 relay have the potential to set program records next season after coming close this spring.
The only key seniors on the boys team were James Hickman (high jump, long jump) and Joe Boggs (discus, shot put). Hickman got hurt the day before the district 2 meet.
Boggs is a football commit to Ball State.
The boys scored 44 points in the league meet to finish behind Central (166), Gahanna (108), Lancaster (94) and North (76) and ahead of Grove City (33).
The Raiders then were fifth (49) in the 16-team district 2 meet behind champion Gahanna (109) as the 1,600 relay was first (3:24.42), Fall was third in the 300 hurdles (39.93) and third in the 110 hurdles (14.91), Gauthney won the 400 (49.14), sophomore Adrian Logan was fifth in the 300 hurdles (40.45) and the 800 relay of Jackson, Roddy and juniors Keyshawn Brown and Camby Goff was second (1:30.21).
Then at regional, the Raiders tied for 11th (21) behind champion Central (97) as 41 teams scored.
"Our conference is amazing," Ladowitz said. "We've got several teams in our conference that can win the state meet. We just hope to compete."
Others eligible to return include junior Brody Swisher (distance), sophomores Breyon Eddings (high jump), Wendeson King (middle distance) and Ethan Sherrick (discus) and freshmen Kyle Cannon (middle distance), Seth Davis (middle distance), Josh Ly (middle distance) and Andre Turner (sprints).