The Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field team has at least one proven point scorer coming back to lead the way in nearly every event.

The Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field team has at least one proven point scorer coming back to lead the way in nearly every event.

Last year, the Wildcats won their second consecutive OCC-Central Division title, finished second in the Division I district 3 meet, placed third at regional and tied for 19th at state

But in order for the Wildcats to match that success, sixth-year coach Matt Beatty said they will need to develop more depth.

"In each event, we have that one person who is going to be very competitive on a consistent basis, but we still need to find a second strong scorer in each race, like we had last year," said Beatty, whose team opens Saturday, April 2, with the Wildcat Premier. "We had 89 girls show up to our first track meeting, so there's a lot of kids to pick from. We just need to find the right people for the right events to make us more competitive as a team."

Leading the distance and middle distance units are senior Jessica Hoover and sophomore Lauren Hoover. The older Hoover sister is a Miami University recruit.

At state last year, Jessica Hoover finished fourth in the 1,600 meters in a personal-record time of 4 minutes, 57.07 seconds and placed sixth in the 3,200 in a program-record 11:01.61. Graduate Addie Goodwin, Jessica Hoover, Lauren Hoover and graduate Heather Coonfare finished eighth in the 3,200 relay (9:26.2).

Senior Ally Nelson is the top returning sprinter, and senior Megan Gallagher is the team's strongest hurdler.

Senior Rachel Troutman and Nelson are experienced in the long jump. Senior Gabby Vorris and junior Brianna Rambandt will compete in the high jump. Senior Taylor Brown (pole vault) and junior Alex Bauer (throws) also will be key in field events.

"We have 12 seniors, and we have big freshman and sophomore classes, which should help give us some depth," Beatty said. "We'll need our seniors to be good leaders, and we need some of our younger kids to step up and be competitive, too."

The Wildcats scored 136.5 points to win the OCC-Central championship last season, finishing ahead of Hilliard Darby (117), Thomas Worthington (108), Upper Arlington (107), Dublin Coffman (99.5), Worthington Kilbourne (50), Central Crossing (29) and Westland (13).

Davidson finished second (113) behind Watkins Memorial (120.5) in the district 3 meet at Coffman and finished third (41) at the regional at Pickerington North behind champion Reynoldsburg (95) and New Albany (46).

At the state meet at Ohio State, Davidson scored nine points to tie four other teams for 19th behind champion Reynoldsburg (56).

"We want to compete for the OCC title again, but it's going to be a big challenge," Beatty said. "Thomas Worthington looks real good in the sprints and has a couple of really competitive relays. Darby had a good offseason, too, and both of those teams had some people who were competitive in the state indoor meet. We'll need a lot of people to contribute for us to compete for it again."

•The boys team is led by a deep and talented pool of sprinters, including seniors Michael Labardee, Preston Lewis and Kevin Rose, juniors Jack Kincade, Troy Richter and Jordan Weatherby, sophomore Seth Dawson and freshmen Dametrius Clark and Phillipie Motley.

The top distance and middle-distance runners are seniors Jack Shaeffer and Nathan Turney, juniors Ryan Caulley and Billy Carson, sophomore Anthony Caviolo and freshman Spencer Schlecht.

Returning to lead the hurdlers are Lewis and Kincade. Lewis and freshman DeMarcus Nelson will compete in the long jump. In pole vault will be Kincade, junior Brayden Myers and sophomore Corey Kennedy.

Sophomores Dylan Huiss (high jump) and Tyler Anthony (discus) also are expected to be strong contributors.

"When you take the group we have returning and combine it with our freshmen, we look like a sound team," 24th-year coach Jim Smith said.

Last year, the Wildcats scored 136 points in the OCC-Central meet to earn their first league title since 2005.

Coffman (133), Darby (119.5), Thomas (101), Upper Arlington (63.5), Kilbourne (62), Central Crossing (29) and Westland (15) followed.

Davidson trailed Coffman by one point heading into the final event of the meet, but 2010 graduates Austin Shafer and Kyle Miller, senior Michael Labardee and Kincade won the 1,600 relay in a meet-record 3:23.72 ahead of Thomas (3:25.09) and Coffman (3:26.41). Laberdee didn't return to the team this season.

The Wildcats finished fifth (66) in the district 2 meet behind champion Olentangy Liberty (121) before placing 20th (10) at regional behind champion Gahanna (63).

The 1,600 relay finished fifth (3:21.03) at regional to miss qualifying for state by one spot.

"If people work hard enough, we can contend for a conference title once again," Smith said. "Dublin Coffman has a great group of distance runners and will be hard to contend with. We have to have our depth score for us in every event."