Heath High School sophomore Shaunisha Winter is feeling more comfortable during the elimination track and field meets.

Heath High School sophomore Shaunisha Winter is feeling more comfortable during the elimination track and field meets.

For starters, qualifying for the state gymnastics meet last winter has helped Winter, one of the anchors for a girls team which repeated as MSL-Ohio Division champion in track and field May 17 at Granville. She captured an individual district title in the 300-meter hurdles last spring and added a second in the high jump during the Division II district 1 meet last Wednesday at Columbus Whetstone.

"I know how to calm myself down a little better now. I'm able to focus a little more," she said after clearing 4 feet, 10 inches at Whetstone, also advancing to last Saturday's finals in the hurdles and with the 400 and 800 relays. "Experience is always a good thing. It helps you."

The Bulldogs have fared well at the district meet in recent years despite considerable youth, and strong performances last Wednesday had them setting their sights on a first team title. Lizzie Clippinger, a freshman, won the shot put (36-4 12) as junior Paige Kelley placed second (34-81/2). Kelley won the discus (118-0) and classmate Cassie Norman also advanced to the regional at Byesville Meadowbrook by placing fourth in the pole vault (8-4).

"Our field-event people really stepped up," coach Jeff Sheets said. "Honestly, we're about a dozen points up from where I thought we'd be."

The Bulldogs won four of the five field events during the MSL-Ohio meet, enabling them to outscore runner-up Granville 149.5-133.5. Kelley won the shot put (33-10 14) and discus (116-11), Winter the high jump (5-0) and Norman the pole vault (8-0).

"It was a tremendous effort, especially with that great distance group Granville has," Sheet said.

Winter's personal-best in the high jump is 5-5 and she's hoping to break that mark before the end of the season, which should put her in contention for a state title if she survives the regional. Licking Valley graduate Heather Sole won state the past two years with heights of 5-5 and 5-7.

"Just moving on, that's the big thing right now," Winter said. "I've got to keep moving up, too."

ELSEWHERE -- Three other area athletes captured individual district championships in the field events, including Licking Valley's Morgan Overbey in the district 1 long jump (16-4) and Johnstown's Michelle Furlan in the district 2 discus (115-1) at Whetstone. Watkins Memorial's Rebecca Ollish won the Division I district 3 pole vault (9-6) at Dublin Coffman.

Local competitors took the top three spots in the district 1 high jump at Whetstone, with Lakewood's Lindsay Monsco placing second (4-8) and Licking Valley's Brianna Harsh third (4-8). They took three of the top four spots in the district 3 pole vault at Coffman, with Watkins Memorial's Michelle Robbins finishing third (9-0) and Newark's Jordan Long fourth (9-0).

REGIONAL SCHEDULE -- The Division III boys and girls regional meets are Tuesday and Saturday in Dayton and Wednesday and Friday at Pickerington North, Tiffin and Navarre. The Division I regionals are Wednesday and Friday at Youngstown, Hilliard Davidson, Amherst and Dayton. The Division II regionals are Thursday and Saturday at Ravenna, Lexington, Byesville and Dayton.