Jordan Rispress decided to compete in the Penn Relays last Saturday because he was curious to see how he would stack up against some of the best high school hurdlers from around the world.

Jordan Rispress decided to compete in the Penn Relays last Saturday because he was curious to see how he would stack up against some of the best high school hurdlers from around the world.

Rispress, a senior on the Hilliard Darby High School boys track and field team, surpassed his expectations by winning the 400-meter hurdles in 51.89 seconds, ahead of Nicholas Maitland (52.06) from Jamaica and Niall Flannery (52.27) from the United Kingdom.

Rispress' time was the seventh-fastest high school division mark in the meet's 11 years.

"This is the first big out-of-state meet that I've ever done and the whole experience was crazy," Rispress said. "I was hoping to get first but I wasn't expecting it. It's a surprise that I ran so fast. That guy from the U.K. was a good two meters in front of me coming down the stretch, but I was able to come from behind to beat him. I guess I just have a strong finish."

It was the first time Rispress has competed in the 400 hurdles this year.

"Winning the Penn Relays is better than winning a state championship because there's an international field of competition," Darby coach Jon Agriesti said.

"The time that Jordan ran there would qualify him to the NCAA championships and win the Big Ten championships some years."

It's been an exciting month for Rispress, who signed with Clemson on April 8. He was offered partial scholarships by Ohio State, Cincinnati and Arkansas, but made a verbal commitment to Clemson after taking an official visit last month.

"It was between Ohio State and Cincinnati before I visited Clemson, and Clemson was better for me in every way," Rispress said.

"They offered to pay 80 percent of my tuition, which was a lot more than anyone else was offering, and their coaches and facilities are great. The weather's much nicer, too. I wore shorts during my visit in March when it was still cold up here."

Rispress is considered the favorite to win the Division I state title in the 300 hurdles after finishing second (program-record 37.45) to Miamisburg graduate Michael Willey (36.59) last season.

"Jordan is running the fastest 300 hurdle times in the state right now, and he's very much the favorite to win it," Agriesti said. "He could place at state in the 110 hurdles, too."

•Darby will play host Friday to the third-annual Darby Distance Twilight Invitational.

The meet will feature seven distance races -- the 800, 1,600, 3,200, 3,200 relay, 6,400 relay, distance medley relay and a freshman 1,600.

The Distance Twilight Invitational has a different atmosphere than a typical meet, with music played during and between the races, and an announcer doing play-by-play.

"This is a fun meet that's designed to put the spotlight on distance runners for a change," Agriesti said. "The kids enjoy hearing music during the meet and hearing the mid-race splits announced."

Schools which had entered the meet by last Sunday were Bellaire St. John Central, Darby, Davidson, Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Fairfield Christian, Lancaster, Massillon Perry, Pickerington North and Rocky River Magnificat. Agriesti said he was expecting to add more teams throughout the week.

Last year, Rocky River Magnificat's girls team won the Division I state cross country title, Bellaire St. John Central's boys team won the Division III cross country state title and Davidson's boys team finished second in the Division I state cross country meet,

"Every race is going to be very competitive and we'll see a lot of impressive times," Agriesti said. "It's been a good meet, but I'm almost certain this is going to be the last one we throw, because I'll be moving to the new building (Bradley) next year, and I don't know if anyone else will be motivated enough to put it all together again."

The Darby girls team was first (89) in the four-team Lancaster Fulton Relays last Friday ahead of runner-up Lancaster (70) for its first meet win of the season.

"We've been filling the holes that our graduates left, and I think this shows that we're heading in the right direction," coach Thom Nees said. "We ran the way we thought we'd eventually run, and our hurdle relay set a new team record, so it was a good day."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Darby and Davidson boys and girls track and field teams:


*April 21 -- Boys: Defeated Upper Arlington 112-25; Girls: Def. UA 81-52

Last Friday -- Boys: Finished third (62) in five-team Lancaster Fulton Relays behind Pickerington North (84) and Lancaster (66). Winners were Evan Falardeau and Gabe Robinson in the shot put relay (95-2 1/2), Tony Nop, Iko Bako, Richard Hammons and Nate Scales in the 400 relay (42.8), Wes Walker, Jeremy Jeffery, Jesse McGraw and Taylor Pierron in the 440 hurdles relay (1:03.4) and Sam Darling, Bako, Scales and Hammons in the 800 relay (1:29.9); Girls: Finished first (89) in four-team field ahead of runner-up Lancaster (70). Winners were Shanee' Jackson and McKenzie Gill in the long jump relay (33-3 1/2), Caitlyn Rack, Ariel Winkfield, Jackson and Taryn Ashcraft in the 400 relay (50.7), Xerina Hughey, Jordan Ebert, Jackson and Ellen Ranson in the 440 hurdles relay (1:06.4), Linley Mescher, Lauren McCabe, Nettie Benjamin and Natalie Lissy in the 3,200 relay (10:18.9), Hughey, Gill, Jackson and Rack in the 800 relay (1:47.6), and Benjamin, Hughey, Gill and Rack in the 1,600 relay (4:12.6).

*Last Tuesday -- Competed against Dublin Coffman

Friday -- At Darby Distance Twilight Invitational

*Tuesday -- At Thomas Worthington


*April 21 -- Boys: Def. Central Crossing 86-63; Girls: Def. Central Crossing 83-66

Last Friday -- Boys: Finished second (122) in seven-team Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South behind Pickerington Central (144). Winners were Brian Graham (pole vault, 13-0), Anthony Boyd (1,600, 4:37.1; 800, 2:01.1) and Yoshi Shimizu (3,200, 9:41.6); Girls: Finished first (183) in six-team field ahead of runner-up Pickerington Central (162). Finishing first were Brittany Cheese (long jump, 17-8; 200, 26.2), Bridget Onders (1,600, 5:33.4), Tori Brink (800, 2:19.2), the 3,200 relay (10:09.2), the 800 relay (1:47.5) and the 1,600 relay (4:13.4)

*Last Tuesday -- Competed against Worthington Kilbourne

Friday -- At Marion Night Invitational at Marion Harding

*Tuesday -- At Coffman

*OCC-Central meet