In the Freedom Relays on April 21, Courtney Simmons worked with her sister, Brittney, on the Olentangy High School girls track and field team's sprint medley.

In the Freedom Relays on April 21, Courtney Simmons worked with her sister, Brittney, on the Olentangy High School girls track and field team's sprint medley.

At the home Olentangy Invitational on Friday, April 29, Courtney, a sophomore, and Brittney, a senior, will be just as supportive, even if they end up competing against each other.

"We always do warm-ups together," Courtney Simmons said. "We just push each other and support each other."

Olentangy will play host to Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange as well as Delaware, Dublin Jerome, Groveport and Hilliard Bradley. Pickerington North and Watterson will be sending only their girls teams to the meet.

Last year, Orange won the Olentangy Invitational girls title with 143.2 points to finish ahead of Olentangy (136.6), Liberty (116), Watterson (66.6), Pickerington North (39), Liberty's B team (15.6), Orange B (11) and Olentangy B (1). In the boys meet, Big Walnut scored 141 points to finish ahead of Liberty (133), Olentangy (109), Orange (85.5), Liberty B (39.5), Watterson (12), Orange B (8) and Olentangy B (7).

Brittney Simmons was the star of last year's Olentangy Invitational, winning the 100-meter hurdles (16.5 seconds), the 300 hurdles (49.1) and the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches).

Courtney Simmons said the Braves take a lot of pride in their performances at the meet.

"It's really a big thing for us to host something like that," she said. "In an invitational, there's a lot more people that you can compete with and achieve faster times. I like pushing myself."

The Braves girls placed fifth (48) in the Freedom Relays at Liberty, behind Big Walnut (77), Bradley (74), Hilliard Davidson (54) and Orange (52.4) and ahead of Jerome (46), Westerville Central (41.5) and Liberty (41).

In the boys meet, the Braves placed fourth (64) behind Davidson (94), Central (76) and Big Walnut (73) and ahead of Liberty (51), Bradley (42), Orange (31) and Jerome (3).

Claude Mbemba, Alex Shetler and Brandon Owens placed first in the discus relay with a combined total of 416-5, while Mbemba, Shetler and Bryan Young were first in the shot put relay (131-8). Joshua Perry, Ramal Iverson and Anthony Outley were first in the long jump relay (60-2 3/4).

The girls team also had three first-place finishes with Elizabeth Bice, Whitney Bice and Gab Smith winning the pole vault relay (29-0), Adaora Anunike, Tutu Bongay and McKenna Martin taking the shot put relay (94-1 1/4) and Brittney Simmons, Ganiru Anunike and Nicey Bauman winning the high jump relay (15-0).

Olentangy boys coach Brad Komenda said there's a different strategy in preparing for the Olentangy Invitational than the Freedom Relays.

"You have to have a lot of things go right for you to win an invitational. Getting two people placing in the top six (in events) is huge," Komenda said.

•Liberty boys coach Ryan Snivley said the relay meet format tests his team's depth more than an invitational.

The Patriots boys had one first-place finish in the Freedom Relays with David Bartone, Chris Uhle and Joey Uhle placing first in the pole vault (42-4 3/4). Sonia Pham, Alena Southlick, Stephanie Watson and Jackie Hayes won the shuttle hurdles (1:08.9) for the girls team's only first-place finish.

"With a relay event, there's a lot more pressure. Everyone is depending on each other," said Liberty's Spencer Lee, who placed second in the high jump relay with Dan Rhinehart and Luke Kraft. They cleared a combined 16-0 to finish behind Big Walnut (17-8).

•Orange's Garrett Swisher will compete in the Olentangy Invitational after a solid performance in the Freedom Relays.

Swisher, Larry Rode, Deyshon Hill and Ross Watkins earned the boys team's lone first-place finish by winning the 1,600 relay (3:32.3), while the girls team's Katelyn Daniels, Shannon Coriell and Erin Ebersbach won the discus with a combined distance of 278-3.

The 1,600-relay finish marked a vast improvement from the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays on April 9 at Big Walnut, where the Pioneers finished eighth (3:51.64) against several of the same schools.

Swisher said he's looking forward to seeing the runners from Olentangy and Liberty at the Olentangy Invitational and the Delaware Elite meet on May 5 at Liberty.

"We definitely enjoy the local competition," Swisher said. "We all push each other since we keep competing with each other. Our times get faster."

"I told the kids if you come out and compete, the times will take care of themselves," boys coach Nate Huffman said. "They have been doing that. I have been proud of them."