The Canal Winchester High School boys track and field team's list of records in its locker room is dominated by the past several years, but those marks already were outdated after the first meet of this season.
The Indians' winning times in the 800- and 1,600-meter relays of 1 minute, 30.84 seconds and 3:34.86, respectively, in the Hammond Relays on March 23 at Pickerington Central ranked in the top five in program history, but that's not the only reason seventh-year coach Kurtis Robinson has high expectations for the next few months.
"The school-record (800 and 1,600 relays) teams we had from 2015, at their first meet they ran a 1:32 and 3:34 and those same guys who ran at the beginning of the season also ran at the end of the season. We've already surpassed those times," Robinson said. "If we can keep people healthy, we will have a very solid year. This is probably the most competitive sprint squad that this school has ever seen, and the best part about it is it's not like we have four guys. We have eight to 10 legitimately really good sprinters and another couple who could be a part of that group."
Seniors Gibson Cornett, Christian Ryan and Nathan Simons and sophomore Korbin Martino comprised the 800 relay, and Martino -- who finished 12th in the 400 (49.67) in the Division I state meet last year and second (49.61) in the New Balance Nationals two weeks later -- was on the 1,600 relay with senior Will Butler, junior Matthias Hodge and promising freshman Dylan Randall.
In the Division I state indoor meet March 2 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Martino placed third in the 400 (49.12) and Cornett, Martin, Randall and Simons were on the 800 relay that finished fifth (1:30.94).
"We have a lot of natural speed right now," said Cornett, a Mount Union recruit. "We have a bunch of young guys who can make a difference and it's showing right now and it will show later in the season. We have all this talent sitting around, waiting to get into the spotlight."
In the Hammond Relays, Canal Winchester scored 79 points to finish third of seven teams as Lancaster won (121).
Randall finished fourth in the freshman 60 (7.15) at the New Balance Nationals in March in New York City. He expects to run some combination of the 100, 200 and 400 this season as well as on relays.
"I ran the 400 a lot last year. My goal for this season is to PR and I just did that (March 23 with a 51.8) with barely any training," Randall said. "I'm really shooting to break 50 this season. I can do something special in the 400. (In the) 200, I'm at a 23.7. I think I can go sub-23 by the end of the season. For the 100, I am shooting for around an 11.1. I converted my 60 time into a 10.9. I'd love to do that, but anything in the low 11s is what I am shooting for."
Other expected contributors include seniors Jared Bulluck (throws), William Jenkins (distance), David Jones (hurdles, sprints), Noah Pence (middle distance) and Ray Pugh (throws), juniors Elijah Bulluck (throws), Dom Davis (hurdles, sprints), Daniel Hiser (sprints, jumps), Drew Kotwis (distance), Tyler Toledo (sprints, pole vault) and Michael Wilson (throws), sophomores Ian Lewis (distance) and Michael McKeon (distance) and freshman Hayden Hull (sprints).
Coleman returns to lead girls team
Senior Ariana Coleman, who helped the 400 and 800 relays qualify for last year's Division I regional meet and owns the program record in the long jump (18-1/4), is one of several key returnees for the girls track and field team.
Senior Emma Preston (distance), juniors Taylor Davie (jumps, sprints), Anaya Edwards (sprints), Jaedyn Johnson (jumps, sprints), Cassie Kolonchuk (distance) and Tara Schirr (distance) and sophomores Bonnie Butler (distance), Erin Duckworth (distance) and Allena Klamorick (distance) also are among the top returnees for sixth-year coach Darren Avery.
The Indians began this season by finishing sixth (26) of seven teams in the Hammond Relays as defending Division I state champion Gahanna won (139).
Among the team's losses to graduation were Erica Babusci, who was the OCC-Capital Division in both the 100 and 300 hurdles each of the past two seasons and now runs at the University of Pittsburgh, and its only individual regional qualifier in senior thrower Emily Clubb.
Other expected contributors include juniors Peyton Case (jumps, sprints, pole vault), Priscilla Machin-Resto (jumps, sprints), Esthela Marquez (distance) and Mikaela Vojacek (distance), sophomores Isabella Byrd (throws) and Cameryn Huffman (throws, middle distance) and freshmen Emily Avery (distance, jumps), Ariana Jackson (jumps, sprints), MacKenzie Lehr (throws) and Lauren Snider (jumps, throws).
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
*April 5 -- At Big Walnut
April 6 -- At Dublin Scioto
*April 8 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
*April 10 -- Home vs. Groveport
April 4 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
April 8 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
*April 10 -- At Big Walnut
April 4 -- At Pickerington North
April 8 -- At Central Crossing
*April 9 -- At Big Walnut
TRACK & FIELD
April 6 -- Fairfield Union Invitational and Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North
April 9 -- At Bloom-Carroll with Hamilton Township