The numbers aren't quite there yet, but the Westerville North High School boys and girls track and field teams still have high expectations.

The numbers aren't quite there yet, but the Westerville North High School boys and girls track and field teams still have high expectations.

Fielding less than half the number of athletes of other area Division I schools, North coach Johnny Jackson believes the Warriors can compete for an OCC-Central Division title and have some success in the postseason.

Last year the boys finished 51st at the state meet, 11th at regional and fourth in the district. In the league meet, the Warriors finished third (94 points), behind Olentangy Liberty (114.33) and Marysville (103.5), and ahead of Central (91.5), South (82.83), Dublin Jerome (71.33), Olentangy (61.5) and Dublin Scioto (39).

North is led by Aarion Moody (hurdles), Brian Hanaford (distance), Jeff Hanaford (distance), Phillip Palmer (hurdles/relays), Ryan Weldon (distance) and Joey Wilkin (hurdles). Jeff Hanaford is a returning state qualifier who was fifth in the 3,200 meters.

In addition to being strong in the distance and hurdles events, Jackson thinks the Warriors will have some good sprint relays as well.

"We may also have a couple shot putters and a high jumper, and that will help us out as well because we rarely have people in the field events," Jackson said. "The new football coach (Mike Owens) has been working with us and we got a few more football players out this year."

Depth is a concern, but Jackson thinks the Warriors will compete well at the league meet. He cited Olentangy Liberty and Westerville South as two teams that appear to be the favorites right now.

"We'll be able to score more points in the big meets, but I still don't think we have the complete firepower to win the big meets yet," Jackson said. "Right now we're in a position where we can make some rumbling at the big meets."

The girls team is in a similar position as the boys, having the talent to be one of the strong teams in the league but not a large amount of depth.

Last year the girls were 24th at the regional meet and 11th at district. They were fourth (66) in the league meet, behind Central (161.5), Dublin Scioto (154.5) and Olentangy (93) and ahead of South (62), Marysville (51), Dublin Jerome (37) and Olentangy Liberty (37).

North is led by Felicia Bailey (long jump), Jordyn Brewton (sprints/relays), Sarah Koch (sprints/relays), Meghan Maurer (middle distance), Linda Sandvik (middle distance/relays), Emily Wilkin (sprints/relays) and Hope Wood (sprints relays).

A good class of freshmen also looks to figure prominently into the mix, but Jackson still is figuring out which events they'll compete in.

One area where the Warriors are thin is in the distance races, but Jackson said he is hoping to recruit more runners from the cross country team.

"With the girls, we don't have the depth to win the league meet, but we do have enough talent to win quite a few events and cause some problems for other teams," Jackson said. "We're really young and I like that. We had more people at offseason conditioning than we've ever had, and they stuck it out. We've got some good leadership as well, so I like what we've got."

At a glance

Coach: Johnny Jackson, 14th season Next meet: Saturday at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson Key athletes: Boys -- Aarion Moody, Brian Hanaford, Jeff Hanaford, Phillip Palmer, Ryan Weldon and Joey Wilkin; Girls -- Jordyn Brewton, Sara Koch, Meghan Maurer, Linda Sandvik and Emily Wilkin


April 3 at Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson April 6 at Dublin Jerome April 13 vs. Westerville Central April 16 at Hilliard Bradley Quad Meet April 20 at Dublin Scioto April 23 at Fulton Relays at Lancaster April 27 vs. Olentangy Liberty April 30 at Gahanna Relays at Gahanna May 4 at Westerville South May 8 at Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State