The Whitehall-Yearling High School boys track and field team is looking to a veteran and a first-year participant for continued contributions in the postseason.
Senior J.T. Wellman and junior Keon Freeman led the Rams in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 8 and 11 at London, as each won an event.
Wellman, who is in his fourth year with the program, finished first in the 400 meters in a personal-best 51.39 seconds. Freeman, who is in his first season, captured the title in the shot put with an effort of 43 feet, 2 inches.
The Rams are competing this week in the Division I, district 2 meet at Hilliard Darby.
"I'm definitely proud of those two," coach Aaron Johnson said of Wellman and Freeman.
"This is Keon's first year on the team, so for him to close out the conference like that is outstanding for him and it's really going to help him as he pushes forward to district. J.T. is a four-year, veteran guy. There's nothing better and more poetic for him to go out on top in the 400. I'm absolutely happy for them."
Kaylyn Anderson was second in the 300 hurdles (42.61) and high jump (6-0).
The district meet began May 15 with field events, continued May 16 with running event preliminaries and concludes Saturday, May 19, with running finals.
Johnson believes his sprint relays have a chance to perform well at district. Wellman, Joachim Bailey, Christian Gordon and Raashad Strickland finished second in the 400 relay (44.33) in the league meet.
"We definitely have some strength in our relays," Johnson said. "They might surprise some people. These guys are still getting faster. They're still surprising us; they're still surprising themselves, so I think everyone else might be surprised."
The Rams finished fourth in the league meet with 63 points, behind Worthington Christian (130), London (121) and Columbus Academy (101) and ahead of Grandview (57) and Bexley (48).
"Our team had the best meet of our lives," said Wellman, who will compete in track at Bluffton. "There were a lot of (personal records). We did great. ... We need to work even harder and harder and harder at district."
The top four finishers in each district event advance to regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
"Keon and J.T. definitely have a shot (of advancing to regional)," Johnson said. "J.T. is really starting to peak, so there's no telling what he can do. He's getting faster."
The girls team was led in the league meet by the second-place 400 relay (52.37) of Janatie Alvarez, Deja King, Ryyair Smith and Tyrianna Stewart.
Whitehall finished sixth (22) behind Bexley (128), Academy (121), Grandview (116), Worthington Christian (68) and London (61).
The girls also are competing in the district 2 meet.
"I'd like to see the girls hit their season-best performances (at district)," coach Stephanie Wilcox said.
Softball team loses in second round
The softball team saw its season end May 10 with a 15-1, five-inning loss at ninth-seeded Buckeye Valley in the second round of the Division II district tournament.
The Rams finished 13-8 overall.
"I wish it would have ended better, especially for the (seven) seniors," coach Brian Anderson said.
"This has happened a couple times during the year. We had some rough spots on defense, especially in one inning (to) put us in an early hole and it was just too big to dig out of. We're trying to make sure the girls don't let that ruin what they accomplished this season just based on one game."
The 12th-seeded Rams defeated 20th-seeded Marion-Franklin 18-5 in five innings in the first round May 8 at home.
Whitehall earned its first league title since 2000, as it tied London for first in the MSL-Ohio at 7-1.
The Rams and Red Raiders split their games, with London winning 12-0 in five innings April 10 and Whitehall winning 10-3 on April 11.
Rounding out the standings were Bexley (3-5), Grandview (2-6) and Worthington Christian (1-7).
The Rams shared the OCC-Capital title with Delaware in 2000.
Senior Trinity Johnson (CF) led Whitehall in batting average (.507), triples (6), home runs (6), RBI (32) and runs (38).
Senior Madison Stiffler (C) batted .486 with 12 doubles, two home runs and 21 RBI, and senior Makayla Barber (P) hit .410 with seven doubles, one home run and 27 RBI. In the circle, Barber was 6-2 with a 5.53 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 43 innings while battling a right shoulder injury for most of the season.
Sophomore Kaila Daugherty (OF/P) batted .364 with five doubles, two triples and 23 runs, and was 5-5 in the circle.
Senior Kayna Wooten (OF) hit .362 with six doubles, one home run and 23 RBI, senior Amanda Stewart (3B/P) batted .352 with five doubles and 16 RBI and was 2-1 in the circle and freshman Mackenzie Schmittauer (utility) hit .311 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and 22 runs.
Other players eligible to return are junior Ally Shoemaker (OF), sophomores Sammie Cottrell (2B) and Kamdon Pauley (C) and freshman Kylie Brown (C/OF).
"The senior class isn't just totally about softball," Anderson said. "It's just the kind of kids they are, the kind of students they are and how close-knit they are. They've been all together since a very young age. They've been through some tough times."
Young tennis team concludes season
First-year boys tennis coach Anthony Paletta was pleased with his team's season, which included all three singles players winning first-round matches in a Division I sectional May 10 at Hilliard Bradley.
Senior Kenny White, sophomore Nemedi Geda and freshman Raymond Zhen each went 1-1 at sectional.
In doubles, the teams of junior Seth Coleman and sophomore Jacob Clark and sophomore Kaleb Regassa and freshman Adonay Esifanos both went 0-1.
"These guys were amazing (May 10)," Paletta said. "They really rose to the occasion. They worked hard. We won all of our singles matches in the first round. It's the toughest I've seen them play all season."
The Rams finished 1-9 overall and went 0-6 in the MSL-Ohio to finish seventh behind Wellington (6-0), Academy (5-1), Bexley (4-2), Worthington Christian (3-3), Grandview (2-4) and London (1-5).
White and Zhen were named honorable mention all-league.
Whitehall defeated Groveport 3-2 on May 1.
Other players eligible to return are junior Chris Hogan and sophomores Fraij Adams, Tobias Guzek, Samuel Hagos and Haben Woldemelak.
"We have one senior and everyone else is coming back," Paletta said. "Next year we'll be ready to do really well."
Baseball team drops first-round game
The 48th-seeded baseball team lost at 24th-seeded Westerville Central 11-1 in six innings in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 7.
The Rams finished 1-18.