Watkins Memorial High School track and field standout Mara White's career hasn't exactly gone as planned since she ended her sophomore season by placing sixth in the 1,600 meters at the Division I state meet in 2010.

Watkins Memorial High School track and field standout Mara White's career hasn't exactly gone as planned since she ended her sophomore season by placing sixth in the 1,600 meters at the Division I state meet in 2010.

Also a state qualifier in that event as a freshman, White struggled last spring and never did quite get on track even though she won the OCC-Capital Division title (5 minutes, 16.4 seconds) and was a district 2 runner-up (5:14.47) in the 1,600. Her season ended at regional, and doctors later discovered she had a fractured femur.

Now running pain-free as a senior, she's hoping to finish her prep career with a bang. She clocked 5:10.8 to finish second in the 1,600 on April 14 at the Bellaire Invitational, and that was central Ohio's best time up to that point.

"It's a redemption season for me," she said. "My personal-best is still 5:01, which I ran at state two years ago, but I've never been this fast in April before."

White, who was a state qualifier in cross country as a freshman, ran a personal-best 11:30 in the 3,200 earlier in the season. She also competes in the 800 and is a member of the 3,200 relay, which advanced to state in 2010 with her on the anchor leg.

"It's been real nice watching her run this year," coach Nathan Corum said. "She was injured at the end of last track season, and then she had to work through that during cross country season (last fall). I know it's been frustrating for her, but now she's seeing the benefits of her hard work.

"When she didn't win more last year we knew something was wrong; we just didn't know why she was hurting. All of our guesses were completely wrong."

The 3,200 relay finished first (10:18) at Bellaire, where the Warriors posted their fourth top-three finish in as many meets as they were runner-up (74 points) behind OCC-Capital rival Big Walnut (106.5). The Warriors, who are three-time defending league champions, won the Dick Houston Relays on April 5 at Licking Valley, took third in the season-opening Icebreaker Invitational on March 24 at home and were runners-up March 31 at the Tipp City Tippecanoe Invitational.

"Big Walnut is giving us something to look at down the road," Corum said. "We'd like to be able to close that gap before the league meet (next month)."

A healthy White only can help. She's also serving as a mentor of sorts for many of the team's underclassmen, freshman Josie Woosley included. She, White, junior Veda Durbin and freshman Natalie Buscemi ran the 3,200 relay at Bellaire, and junior Stephanie Robb likely figures in the picture as well, although she also has had soccer commitments to honor.

"Unfortunately, we have to share Stephanie," White said. "We went 9:40 at the state indoor meet (March 17 at the University of Akron) and got fourth (place), and we dropped about 25 seconds off our time in about three weeks. We're excited about what we might be able to do because that relay has always been a good one here at Watkins."

The team's underclassmen have played key roles on all four relays so far. The 400 relay has featured freshmen Summer Dowis, Monica Tumblin and McKenzie Biniker in addition to senior Taylor Amrine. The 800 relay has included freshman Maddie Berry and sophomore Atyauna Jones with Amrine and senior Ginny Cortes. The 1,600 relay has featured Cortes, Jones, Berry and Robb.

Woosley finished second (11:43.1) in the 3,200 at Bellaire. Moreover, sophomore Ricki Miles and freshman Kara Robinson are the team's top two hurdlers while sophomore Mackenzie Springer and sophomore Monica Foutty are among the top jumpers.

"We're definitely deeper this year. We graduated a big class (last spring) so I thought this would be kind of a rebuilding year," White said. "It's worked out really well, though. One girl (Robb) moved back into the (school) district and another girl (Jones) moved in. And Josie and some of the other freshmen, they've come in right away and contributed big time, too."

White currently is going through the process of entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where she is expecting to compete in both track and cross country.

"When I first started the whole process (of selecting a college) running was a big part of it, obviously," she said. "But then I stepped back and realized there's more to me than just being an athlete. So I asked myself, 'What's better than serving my country?'"

•Senior Chase Dupps has signed to play men's soccer at Division II Urbana University.