When the lights come on at Bexley High School's Carlton Smith Field this week, the boys and girls track and field teams will get a taste of what they will be up against in the MSL-Ohio Division meet next month.

When the lights come on at Bexley High School's Carlton Smith Field this week, the boys and girls track and field teams will get a taste of what they will be up against in the MSL-Ohio Division meet next month.

Four league opponents -- Columbus Academy, Grandview, Whitehall and Worthington Christian -- are scheduled to compete Friday, April 15, in the 10-team Russ Owen Bexley Relays.

"It's going to be interesting to see how the other teams (in our league) look," said girls coach Jamie Hayes, who is in her fifth season. "I would love to see us win (the MSL-Ohio title) this year. It's always been a goal of ours."

A year ago, the girls placed second (119 points) behind Grandview (138) and ahead of third-place Worthington Christian (117).

The girls team entered the season with plenty of experience among its distance runners and a large group of sprinters.

Sophomore Molly Fagin won a Division II district title in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 26.03 seconds) last season. Also, she and juniors Abbie Sapp and Veronica Mendivil were members of the 3,200 relay that took ninth (10:04.51) at regional after producing a second-place finish (10:08.51) at district.

Also back is junior Julia Cohn, who was injured last season. She will compete in the 3,200 and 3,200 relay.

Others expected to be among the team's top distance performers are junior Kayla Steinke (middle-distance events) and freshmen Claire Flora and Tess Baker.

The large contingent of sprinters is led by seniors Tyler Mansfield and Charnae Williams and junior Lindsay Berndt, who is primarily a relay competitor. Sophomore Maggie Butler, a transfer from Columbus Academy, also is in the mix.

Sophomore Libby Brown, who finished seventh in the 300 hurdles (52.71) at district, and freshman Katlin Tidwell are expected to lead Bexley in the hurdles.

"We've got a great group of freshmen this year, and a lot of them are sprinters," Hayes said. "We are deep there, so it's a nice problem to have."

There are plenty of new faces in the field events, including sophomore twins Sharon and Sonia Brickey, who are showing promise in the discus and shot put, according to Hayes.

Sophomores and freshmen dominated last year's roster, but three 2015 graduates helped lead the Lions to a third-place finish at district. One of them, Spencer Halliday, reached the state meet and finished ninth in the 800 (2:18.81) following a second-place finish (2:17.79) at regional.

Mary Tugend and Sarah Mauk also were lost to graduation. Tugend ended her prep career at regional with seventh-place finishes in the long jump (15 feet, 10 1/2 inches) and 100 hurdles (16.08), and Mauk was seventh in the discus (96-3) at district.

The boys team also has plenty of experience in distance events with the return of junior Peter Hayden and sophomore Alexander Hirsch. They joined 2015 graduates Ben Krajnak and Jimmy De La Cruz on the 3,200 relay that took sixth (8:03.74) at regional while bettering its district championship time (8:20.62).

Hirsch also was seventh in the 800 (1:58.55) at regional after winning a district title (1:59.51), and Hayden was seventh in the 1,600 (4:32.01) at regional.

However, both Hirsch and Hayden are nursing injuries, according to fifth-year coach Shane Roberts, who is guiding a young roster.

"With only 12 seniors on a roster of 45, we're looking far younger than older," Roberts said. "Like last year, we're teaching the running form and basics. But that's the nature of track and field, and that's what makes it fun."

Among the freshmen expected to contribute is Grant Halliday, who is competing in the 800. Roberts also expects sophomores Ben Allen and Bradley Binsky to contribute in distance events.

"The injuries have been a blessing in some ways because some of these sophomores and freshmen have come out and surprised us," Roberts said.

The sprinters and hurdlers are led by seniors Jack Allen, Robert Myers, Miles Penn and Corbin Thompson, a four-year runner who suffered a knee injury last season.

"(Thompson) is getting back to where he can be," Roberts said. "He's a great leader, and he's getting better in every race. With the way he works, he has a great opportunity to get back to where he was."

Senior Jonah Stuber is the leading the way in the hurdles.

While senior Youssef Abou Hashish decided not to return after finishing seventh in the discus (144-9) at regional, junior Wade Randle is back after throwing the shot put 42-10 1/4 to place 16th.

Juniors Parker Getz and Jon Clark also are competing in the throwing events.

"We're gearing up for the league and beyond, so we understand the (Russ Owen Bexley Relays) are a big thing," Roberts said. "We want to win it."

Last season, Bexley finished third (111) in the MSL-Ohio behind Whitehall (126) and Grandview (125).

Baseball team's bats come to life

A 21-1 victory over Whitehall on April 6 marked a turning point for the baseball team's offense, according to coach Andrew Orlins.

"The first three or four games we were hitting the ball hard, but we were hitting it right at people," said Orlins, whose team was 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on April 11.

"The bats have really woken up, and that's a big thing."

Through six games, Ryan Callahan was hitting .667, followed by Tommy Bruning (.500), Ryan Callahan (.444), Alex Shapiro (.389) and Kyle Benson (.389).

With the 2-0 start in the league, the Lions had won 27 consecutive MSL-Ohio contests entering the week.

They last lost 11-0 to Academy on April 8, 2014.

Softball team out to slow start

An injury to junior starting pitcher Lauren Woodford has kept her out of the lineup for the softball team, which was 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the MSL-Ohio entering the week.

Bexley allowed a combined 27 runs in its league losses to Whitehall (10-9 on April 7) and Madison Plains (17-4 on April 4) last week.

Schedules

TRACK & FIELD

April 1 -- Red Raider Relays at London

April 5 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll and Whitehall

April 13 -- Hornet Invitational at Licking Heights

April 15 -- Russ Owen Bexley Relays

April 19 -- at Westerville Central

April 23 -- Elmo Kallner Invitational at Hamilton Township

April 26 -- at Columbus School for Girls

April 27 -- Braves Invitational at Whetstone

April 29 -- Milt Will Relays at Canal Winchester

May 3 -- vs. Ohio School for the Deaf and Columbus International

May 6 -- Circleville Invitational

May 10-13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Whitehall

Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball and boys tennis teams:

BASEBALL

April 14 -- At Hartley

*April 15 -- At Grandview

*April 18 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy

*April 20 -- Home vs. Madison Plains. The Lions defeated the Golden Eagles 5-2 on April 4.

BOYS LACROSSE

April 15 -- At Marysville

April 20 -- Home vs. Watterson

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 14 -- At Hilliard Davidson

*April 19 -- At Hartley

SOFTBALL

April 14 -- Home vs. Wellington

*April 15 -- At Grandview

April 19 -- Home vs. Fairfield Christian

*April 20 -- At Madison Plains. The Lions lost to the Golden Eagles 17-4 on April 4.

BOYS TENNIS

*April 14 -- At Worthington Christian

April 20 -- Home vs. Olentangy

*League contest