By advancing to the regional in three events, Ready High School senior Jenna McAndrew kept alive her hopes of competing in her fourth consecutive state track and field meet.
It was something that seemed questionable as late as the first day of the Division II district 1 meet May 20 at Whetstone.
Because of a quadriceps injury that had kept her from running for more than a week -- and forced her to do a series of physical therapy -- McAndrew ran only the preliminary and the semifinal of the 200 meters May 20 and took the eighth-best qualifying time into the final.
Then last Saturday, she ran anchor on the 800 relay (third, 1 minute, 51.42 seconds) and the 400 relay (first, 51.72). She followed with a championship in the 200 (27.22) as Ready ended up fourth (65) of 14 teams behind champion Caledonia River Valley (119).
McAndrew was joined on both relays by sophomores Heather Manning and Katie Trigg and freshman Clare Bochy.
"It was kind of surprising, but then I thought about the fact that I've been resting my legs all week, so it kind of makes sense," McAndrew, who competed on the 1,600 relay that made it to state in 2005, the 400 and 800 relays that qualified in 2006 and in three state events last year, including the 400 relay that took eighth (51.48). "I was really nervous because I was afraid I'd hurt it even worse. I'll admit I had my doubts about our relays because we're so young but they're going to be really good."
Also advancing to regional today and Saturday at Byesville Meadowbrook were Manning in the 100 (second, 13.41), Sarah Welsh-Huggins in the 1,600 (fourth, 5:23.2), Sarah Battle in the 300 hurdles (fourth, 49.27) and long jump (third, 15 feet, 4 inches) and Emily Morris in the shot put (third, 33-10).
The boys team was eighth (35) behind champion Ridgedale (99.5) in the Division III district 1 meet which concluded last Saturday at Gahanna.
The 800 relay of Abe Chiapetta, Dana DePassio, Jesse Hill and Robert Livingston was third (1:36.65).
Livingston also was second in the 300 hurdles (42.28) and Andrew Mantell took third in the 800 (2:05.01).
The Division III regional began last Wednesday and concludes Friday at Pickerington North.
•Sophomore Khang Thai became the first player from Ready to qualify to the Division II boys tennis state tournament when he beat Luke Montgomery of Worthington Christian 6-1, 6-0 in the first round and Millersburg West Holmes' Johnny Nelson 6-2, 6-4 in a quarterfinal last Friday at Columbus Academy.
Last Saturday, he lost to Wellington's Ian Wagner 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal but finished third after Academy's Andrew Enslen defaulted.
The state tournament will be Friday and Saturday at Ohio State.
"It feels really good to be the first player from Ready to make it to state in tennis," Thai said. "The main thing for me was just maintaining being steady on the court and not getting too excited."
Thai defeated Montgomery 6-2, 6-2 the only other time he had faced him and had beaten Wagner 6-2, 6-4 in a sectional semifinal May 18 before struggling against him last Saturday.
"I beat Wagner (the last time) but he was just playing really well (last Saturday)," Thai said. "He played a perfect match against me. I've just got to focus this week because of the big crowds that will be at state. My goal is to get into the top four. Anything can happen."
•The third-seeded softball team earned a Division III district runner-up finish for the second consecutive season when it lost to second-seeded North Union 3-2 in 11 innings May 22 at Pickerington Central.
The Silver Knights took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, but the Wildcats hit solo home runs in the sixth and seventh to tie it at 2. Pitcher Katie Ardrey allowed seven hits overall, but Kalee Price added another solo home run in the 11th to win it for North Union.
Ready left eight runners on base.
"We left a small village on base," said coach Nick Joseph, whose team finished 22-6 as North Union improved to 22-3. "Short of us not winning the game, and I truly believed we had a chance, our prospects are great. I have to replace one player next year, but this year I had to replace (seven)."
Ardrey, a freshman who split time at pitcher with sophomore Erica Townley until Townley was injured in early April, went 18-4 with a 1.01 ERA, 126 strikeouts and seven shutouts.
Townley was 4-2 with a 1.71 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 innings.
The only senior was catcher Katelyn Whiteman. She was a co-captain along with junior Sarah Gabel, who hit .416 with five home runs and 34 RBI. Freshman Dani Pugh stepped into the cleanup spot in the lineup and hit .402 with 32 RBI. Juniors Caiti Waldo (.371, 5 home runs) and Sam Macioce (.316) also were offensive leaders.
Junior Emily Helber and freshman Sam Curry are the top candidates to take over at catcher.
Despite losing five players to graduation who are now competing collegiately, the Silver Knights won their fourth consecutive CCL title by going 9-1.
Ready beat River Valley 3-0 on May 15 in the second round and seventh-seeded Cardington 9-1 in a district semifinal May 20.
"There's always been a strong history in this program, and a lot of kids want to play here," Joseph said. "It's always somebody's little sister who has seen us play and wants to do that when they get in high school."
•Replacing its No. 1 starter and continuing to improve defensively will be the primary offseason focuses for the baseball team.
Juniors Joey Kulp and Cody Corrova will be the top returnees. Kulp went 4-2 with one save as the team's No. 2 starter and relief specialist and also hit .381 with three home runs, 21 RBI and 19 runs scored. Corrova made second-team all-CCL, hit .333 with 12 stolen bases and scored 14 runs.
Juniors Philippe Dumont (.420), Stevie Christman (.317) and Jamie Buzard (.305) are others who should be back to lead the offense. Sophomores Tyler Davis (2-2) and Jeremy Finchum (2-2, 2.24 ERA) and junior Sean Walker are among those who will return as pitchers.
"This year we concentrated a lot on defense and it really paid off," said coach Herb Sharfenaker, whose fifth-seeded team lost to second-seeded Fredericktown 11-9 on May 19 in a Division III district semifinal to finish 16-12 overall. "We scored in every game, so we definitely had enough offense. We only had three games where we didn't play up to our ability."
Ready loses the senior battery of pitcher Robbie Shane (5-3, 63 strikeouts, .350 average, 17 RBI) and catcher Shea Brintlinger (.427, 31 runs, 20 stolen bases). The other seniors were Adam Rood (.402, 31 RBI), Nick Mace (.413, 19 stolen bases) and David Dubiel. Brintlinger made first-team all-district and first-team all-CCL, Rood was first-team all-district and second-team all-league and Shane made honorable mention all-district and second-team all-CCL.
Ready finished 2-8 in the CCL behind champion DeSales (10-0). The Silver Knights beat West 8-7 and Briggs 9-5 on April 26 to win the home Westside Classic.
The Silver Knights defeated No. 8 Cardington 3-0 in the second round of the district tournament May 15 before falling to the second-seeded Freddies.
"Shea was our leadoff hitter and our catcher so it's going to be tough to replace him," Sharfenaker said. "We're going to have to find a good, consistent leadoff hitter. We've got a lot of starters coming back."