Seven area girls programs and three area boys teams finished among the top 20 in the third annual OHSAA-sanctioned junior high state track and field meet May 11 at Lancaster.
It was a particularly strong day for girls athletes from Westerville.
The Westerville Heritage girls scored 28 points to finish second behind Dayton Oakwood (30) as 79 teams scored and Westerville Genoa was fourth (20).
Also in the girls competition, Gahanna West finished third (23), Gahanna South was ninth (16) and Olentangy Orange, Bexley and Grove City Pleasant View tied for 15th (11).
Eighth-grader Marissa Saunders led Heritage by capturing the title in the 200-meter hurdles (state-meet record 28.81 seconds), finishing second in the 100 (15.3) and joining eighth-graders Gia Golden, Kyleigh Roudabush and Lauryn Swanson on the first-place 400 relay (state-meet record 50.82).
For Genoa, seventh-grader Olivia Pace won the 100 (12.39) and 200 (state-meet record 25.55).
Gahanna West was led by its winning 800 relay of eighth-graders Dana Mix and YaYa Stafford and seventh-graders Goldie Attah-Gyamfi and Nikaya Manning (1:48.36) and its second-place 400 relay of Mix, Stafford, Manning and eighth-grader Amryne Chilton (51.77).
For Gahanna South, the 1,600 relay of eighth-graders Nia Alexander, Haile Alston, Maya Rubin and Ava Tominack finished first (4:12.49) and Alexander placed third in the 400 (59.81).
Leading Bexley was Syndie Smith, who was runner-up in the shot put (41 feet, 11 inches).
Also finishing third were Worthingway’s 800 relay of eighth-graders Chaneya Garner and Zoe Limbach and seventh-graders Jordan Brown and Piper Lowe (1:50.55), Pickerington Ridgeview’s 1,600 relay of eighth-graders Amber Carter, Ashley Carter, Aria Cook and Mekhiah Ellis (4:14.36) and Pleasant View eighth-grader Kiera Bonds in the 200 (26.44).
In the boys competition, Ridgeview finished sixth (22) behind champion Austintown (42) as 69 teams scored. Gahanna South was 11th (13), Canal Winchester tied for 15th (11) and Big Walnut tied for 21st (10).
The only area athlete to capture a title was Big Walnut eighth-grader Grant Coulson, who won the long jump (20-6).
Ridgeview eighth-grader Troy Lane was runner-up in the 100 (11.2) and 200 (23.52) and ran on the third-place 400 relay with eighth-graders Isaiah Jackson, Samuel Mba and Jaice McGuire (46.18).
Seventh-grader Karson Martino led Canal Winchester with a runner-up finish in the 110 hurdles (15.76), and eighth-grader A.J. Eggleston of Gahanna South was runner-up in the 800 (2:04.32).
Also placing third were Upper Arlington Hastings eighth-grader Luke Branch-Rockey in the 400 (52.45) and Orange eighth-grader Andrew Reynolds in the high jump (5-9), as Hastings and Orange tied for 30th (6).