Lori Robinson returns as coach of the Marysville High School girls track and field team hoping the Monarchs will be competitive in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Lori Robinson returns as coach of the Marysville High School girls track and field team hoping the Monarchs will be competitive in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Robinson, who is in her eighth season leading the program, missed last year after giving birth to a son, Baylor Graham Robinson, on Feb. 21, 2011.

"We want to go into conference as competitive as possible," Robinson said. "We are testing some girls right now and asking them to broaden their horizons. Some have been in a comfort zone for several years. We want them to keep an open mind and be receptive to new races and events. Building confidence is an important piece of this puzzle. Track and field is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental."

J.B. Ritchie, who coached the team last season, returns as an assistant coach.

Marysville opened March 24 by finishing seventh (40 points) in the seven-team Hammond Relays at Pickerington Central, behind the champion and host Tigers (84).

The visiting Monarchs defeated North Union 83-54 on March 27.

Double winners for Marysville were senior Brooke Brown in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 37 seconds) and 3,200 (11:57), senior Jenny Sperry in the shot put (34 feet, 3 inches) and discus (96-6), sophomore Hannah Burns in the high jump (4-8) and pole vault (8-0) and sophomore Camelia Kiss in the 100 hurdles (18.88) and 300 hurdles (52.9).

Brown was part of the 3,200 relay that qualified for the Division I regional meet last season at Pickerington North. Brown, junior Ashley Zani and sophomores Maddy Hoy and Lindsay Longbrake finished 14th (10:14.64) at regional.

Robinson said her distance runners are a strength of the team, and she also expects the Monarchs to be strong in the discus and shot put led by Sperry and junior Jessica Wickline.

Sperry finished ninth in the shot put (34-3) at regional and fourth (33-8) in the district 2 meet at Hilliard Bradley.

"I am also confident we will also be very competitive in the long sprints by the end of the season," Robinson said.

Last season, the Monarchs finished eighth (48.33) in the OCC-Cardinal meet at Pickerington North behind Dublin Scioto (150), Olentangy (116), Westerville North (78), Westerville South (75.33), Olentangy Liberty (73), Westerville Central (65.33) and Dublin Jerome (56).

Marysville finished 10th (25) at district behind champion Pickerington Central (126) and 37th (2) at regional behind champion Reynoldsburg (88).

•The boys track and field team opened the season by finishing seventh (23) in the Hammond Relays behind champion Pickerington North (110) and defeating North Union 84-53.

Against North Union, Joel Dye set a program record in the pole vault, winning with an effort of 13-1 1/2 to surpass the previous mark of 13-0 set by Ryan Wasko in 2001.

"I felt great," Dye said. "I was in a lot of running events as well as pole vault and I was warmed up and in the zone. Things felt right. One of the big things was the wind was at my back and you don't get that a whole lot. It made me extra comfortable. Things clicked. I didn't expect to jump it this soon in the season, but I'm definitely grateful that I did and I got it over with, and now I can just focus on just getting higher at 13-6 and maybe even 14 by the end of the year."

Senior Derek Fleury won the shot put (43-8) and discus (112-5).

Seniors Luke Blumenschein and Jon Weinlein also should be top performers in the discus and shot put, according to third-year coach Jim Gannon.

Gannon also is expecting solid seasons from junior distance runners Josh Brady and Clay Cochran and sprinters Mike Xie (senior), Chris Lyons (sophomore) and Jesse Ramirez (freshman).

"We have some kids coming along and now they have to get better as the season goes along," Gannon said. "That's always a big part of it. I think we're going to have some areas where we're going to have some success. Now it's just a matter of hard work and improving on what we've started the season off with."

Last season, Marysville was fifth (72.35) in the league meet behind Westerville Central (126.5), Olentangy (104.5), Liberty (102) and Westerville North (90) and ahead of Westerville South (66.25), Scioto (49.5) and Jerome (44).

Marysville was eighth (44) in the district 2 meet behind champion Hilliard Davidson (109) and 12th (25) at regional behind co-champions Thomas Worthington and Westerville North (37).

•The boys tennis team continues to look for improvement.

"Our goals this year involve building our program and, more specifically, cutting down on unforced errors," third-year coach Brian Ash said. "I told our guys that I want them to be able to come away from more matches feeling like they haven't beat themselves. Unforced errors are how most high school tennis matches are won or lost -╩who makes fewer mistakes.╩I'm hoping we can make that happen."

Marysville opened the season by losing three of its first four matches, falling to Delaware 5-0 on March 26, Olentangy 4-1 on March 28 and Liberty 5-0 on March 29, and defeating Kenton 4-1 on March 27.

Against Kenton, winners were junior James Johnstone at second singles (6-1, 6-4), senior Wictor Rundqvist at third singles (6-2, 6-1), seniors Connor Devine and Mitch Woodruff at first doubles (6-1, 6-3) and sophomores Hunter Cox and Kyle Pratt at second doubles (6-0, 6-2).

Rundqvist is an exchange student from Sweden.

Junior Jacob Beil is expected to play first singles early in the season.

Other players looking to contribute are senior Bryan Lang-lois (doubles), juniors Erik Klaus (singles) and Jamie Tutak (singles/doubles) and sophomore Steven Britt (singles).

"Our lineup will be ever-changing and evolving due to the fact that I'll have multiple guys missing at different parts of the season for one school trip or another," Ash said.╩

Woodruff is the only player with significant varsity experience.

"We have a lot of first-year players, but it seems like we are starting to improve with each match we play and we have great team spirit," Woodruff said.

Last season, Marysville finished 3-12 overall and 1-6 with 16 points in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Westerville North for sixth (16, 3-4) behind Jerome (77, 7-0), Liberty (51, 61), Westerville Central (39, 4-3), Scioto (38, 5-2) and Westerville South (19, 2-5) and ahead of Olentangy (12, 0-7).

Marysville's league win was 4-1 over Olentangy.