When Richard Ladowitz took over as coach of the Reynoldsburg High School track and field program in 2013, the boys and girls teams combined for about 70 athletes.

The program now has grown to nearly double that number, and the boys team is looking deeper in several areas than at any time under Ladowitz.

The runner-up finish the boys earned in the Division I state indoor meet March 2 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva is proof, though, that there is more than just quantity in the program.

"Our numbers are huge," Ladowitz said. "The pay-to-play fee (of $175) has been holding steady, but our numbers have doubled. The bottom line is that I inherited a really good program and we've been fortunate.

"We have some depth. Our good has always been state-quality good, but we've never had a stock full of good, and this year with our numbers comes a lot more depth than we've seen."

The boys opened by scoring 150 points to capture the championship in the eight-team Icebreaker Invitational on March 30 at Watkins Memorial, as they won six events.

On April 6, the Raiders were fourth (81) in the 16-team Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North behind champion Pickerington Central (112).

Senior Lance Gauthney and junior Muhammad Fall return to lead the Raiders after advancing to the Division I state meet last spring in individual events.

Gauthney was 16th in the 400 meters (50.19 seconds) last season and was the state indoor runner-up (49.11).

He also was seventh in the 200 (22.2) at the indoor meet.

Fall was 11th at state last spring in the 300 hurdles (39.32) and was runner-up in the 60 hurdles (8.05) at the indoor meet.

Along with senior Dionte Roddy and juniors Adrian Logan and Doniven Jackson, Gauthney also ran on the 1,600 relay that won the state indoor title in 3:24.72. Last spring, the 1,600 relay of Gauthney, Roddy, Jackson and Fall was 10th (3:21.84) at state.

Another key sprinter is senior Keyshawn Brown, who joined Jackson, Logan and Roddy on the 800 relay that placed fourth (1:30.64) at the state indoor meet.

Junior Kenttwon Brown and sophomore Kyle Cannon are other returning sprinters.

Other options in the sprints are senior Camby Goff, juniors Courtland Bullard and MarcAnthony Gray and sophomore Omari Jones.

Sophomore Josh Ly is competing in the 300 hurdles and long jump.

Sophomore Andre Turner could be the team's top long jumper, junior Shon Strickland is competing in the long jump and high jump, junior Breyon Eddings is competing in the high jump and freshman Milan Patterson is in the long jump.

Senior Andy Young, juniors Yobiel Fishation, Wendesen King and Isaiah Poetzl and sophomore Seth Davis lead the distance corps.

New to the team is senior Jeremiah Burton, who placed 13th at state in the shot put (53 feet, 1/2 inch) last season while attending Westerville North. He is an Ohio University signee in football.

"So far it's been going really smooth," Gauthney said.

"Everything's coming into place like we thought it would, but there's still a lot of work to do. In indoor we got state runner-up with only six people, so if we get more people (to state) and everybody does their part, we can win a state title."

Girls track team also looks stronger

The girls track team also left the Icebreaker Invitational with the title, scoring 147 points to top an eight-team field as it won five events.

Reynoldsburg tied Dublin Scioto for seventh (36) in the 16-team Stingel Invitational behind champion Olentangy Orange (135).

Leading the way is junior Jessica Ricks, who placed 10th in the 100 hurdles (14.99) last spring at state and ran on the 400 relay that placed sixth in 2017.

Seniors Bre Johnson and Tayla Lee and sophomore Adja Mbow return after running on the 1,600 relay that placed 12th (4:12.64) at regional.

Johnson also is competing in the long jump, while Lee is focusing on middle distance.

Sophomore Mya Graham and freshman Jamiona Ross are others looking to contribute in the sprints.

Senior Nia Grant won the 200 (27.13) at the Icebreaker Invitational but might only be eligible for the season's first half. After competing for the Raiders in her first two seasons, she transferred to Pickerington North last spring before re-enrolling at Reynoldsburg for her final prep year.

Junior Olivia Olverson, sophomore Naomi Collier and freshman Nya Collier are competing in hurdles and sprints.

Senior Natalie Castello and sophomore Kristin Sheets lead a distance corps that also includes freshmen Sydney Hurt, Alyse Powell and Abby Robinson.

Junior Autumn Byers should be the top high jumper and senior Leah Goodwin leads the throwers.

Senior Nia Amerson, who was ninth in the discus (105-1) at last year's regional, hasn't been cleared to compete this spring because of a health issue.

"We're going to be much, much improved," Ladowitz said.

"We're young with a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but we're balanced with hurdlers and sprinters."'

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg baseball, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:

BASEBALL

*April 12 -- Home vs. Grove City

April 13 -- At Central Crossing (DH)

*April 15 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

*April 17 -- At Pickerington Central

SOFTBALL

*April 11 -- At Grove City

April 13 -- Home vs. Whitehall (DH)

*April 15 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

April 16 -- At Centennial

*April 17 -- At Pickerington North

BOYS TENNIS

*April 11 -- At Grove City

April 12 -- Home vs. Village Academy

April 13 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Classic

April 15 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*April 16 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

April 17 -- Hartley at Wolfe Park

TRACK & FIELD

April 13 -- Canton GlenOak Invitational

April 17 -- At Canal Winchester

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

*April 11 -- Home vs. Gahanna

April 13 -- Olentangy Orange Tournament

*April 16 -- At New Albany

*League contest