Paige Kelley of the Heath High School girls track and field team posted her best effort so far this season in the discus during the opener.

Paige Kelley of the Heath High School girls track and field team posted her best effort so far this season in the discus during the opener.

Kelley, a senior, won with a throw of 119 feet, 8 inches at the Icebreaker Invitational at Watkins Memorial on March 28. She has yet to equal that or her personal-best of 121-1, which was set early last season, but she isn't afraid she's regressing.

"My distances are down a little since Watkins, but that's kind of like last year was, too," she said. "I'm not sure why that is, really. I guess when I'm coming out of indoor season I'm just really excited about finally getting outside. I feel like I'm ready here real soon to bust another one out like that, though."

Kelley was strong enough late last season to qualify for the Division II state meet and she nearly reached the podium, finishing ninth (120-3). She won district (118-0) and was second at the regional (117-10).

"Getting to state was a great experience. My goal is to make it back there and do better," Kelley said. "I'm feeling really good physically so I'm confident that's something I can accomplish."

Kelley's distance is good enough to rank third in the area honor roll behind Reynoldsburg's Melissa Dodaro (143-10) and Gahanna's Emily Sheets (121-9), both of whom compete for Division I schools.

Kelley also is working on the shot put, an event she won the past two years as the Bulldogs captured MSL-Ohio Division titles. Her season-best (36-7 1/2) came at another early meet, the Dick Houston Relays on April 9 at Licking Valley.

"The thing I like about my shot put is that I'm being really consistent," she said. "And I think I actually broke my personal-best (36-8) at Valley because they marked it from the front of the toeboard instead of the back."

Kelley won the discus (115-8) at the home Hank Smith Invitational on April 18 as the Bulldogs (96 points) fended off runner-up Watkins Memorial (91) to earn their second team title of the season. Heath also won the Granville Invitational on April 11, and it was third at Watkins Memorial before posting second-place showings at the Newark Invitational on April 4 and then Licking Valley.

"We're scoring in the right events and riding (the success of) a dozen or so girls pretty hard," coach Jeff Sheets said. "We're not quite as deep as we thought we'd be so every point really matters."

The Bulldogs, who sent 12 athletes to the Mohican Elite Meet in Loudonville last Saturday as the rest of the team competed at the Kallner Invitational at Hamilton Township, will be participating in the Milt Will Relays on Friday at Canal Winchester. They'll get their first look at Caledonia River Valley, which edged Heath 119-114 to capture the district team championship a year ago.

"There's always a lot of quality teams there. It's a fun meet," coach Sheets said. "That gives us a Saturday off, too, and that's something we could really use at this point in the season. That might refresh us maybe a little."

ELSEWHERE -- Heath's Shaunisha Winter was tied for first in the high jump (5-4) in the area honor roll, and Watkins Memorial's Taylor Rush was third (5-2). Newark's Jordan Long was fourth in the pole vault (10-0).

Granville's Anna Lamb was fifth in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 28.1 seconds) and Watkins Memorial's Mara White was seventh in the 3,200 (11:52.9). The Warriors (9:55.1) and Blue Aces (10:04.2) were ranked second and fifth in the 3,200 relay.

KEEPING TABS -- The most recent seedings for the Licking County Honor Roll Meet are available online at The event will be May 6 at Heath.