Ari Avant sought to take the next step in her career when she represented the Delaware Hayes High School girls track and field team in the Division I regional meet May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North.
The junior competed in the 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles at regional after placing third in both events in the 17-team district 1 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby. She finished the 100 hurdles in 15.38 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 45.81.
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advanced to the state meet Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
"I was a little bit nervous in the preliminaries (May 14), but I thought I ran pretty smooth in the finals (May 18) and was happy to make it out," Avant said. "I'm happy that we ran in the morning because it got pretty hot later."
Avant also competed at regional in both events last season, placing fifth (15.33) in the 100 hurdles and seventh (45.27) in the 300 hurdles.
"She holds the program records in both events and wasn't close to her best time in the 100, so she's got more left in there," coach Andy Graham said. "She's been lowering her times in both events throughout the season, so it wouldn't be surprising to see her do it again and qualify for state."
Avant said she doesn't think about records at this time of the season, although she understands others may use them as motivation.
"I don't know what to expect from the weather (at regional), and I'm really not running for (personal records) now," she said. "It's all about placing in the top four to advance. That's all that matters to me; running the race and just trying to move on."
Also scoring for Delaware at district were Hannah Halstead in the long jump (seventh, 16 feet, 4 1/2 inches) and Becca Young in the pole vault (eighth, 9-0), as the Pacers totaled 15 points to finish 12th behind champion Hilliard Darby (106).
The boys team was represented at regional by Orion Ward in the long jump. The sophomore advanced from the 17-team district 1 meet by placing third (21-9 3/4) on May 16.
Ward finished ninth (20-5) at regional last season and placed 13th (20-6 1/4) in the indoor state meet March 2 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.
"The sky is the limit for him the next few seasons," coach Sean Patrick said. "He just missed making it to regional in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles and also was on our (1,600 relay), but he's in the right place mentally and physically this postseason. His confidence is good and his training has been on target."
Ward placed fifth in the 300 hurdles (41.03) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (16.23) at district.
Also scoring for Delaware were Brian Schuette in the pole vault (tied for seventh, 11-0), Tyler Thompson in the long jump (eighth, 20-9 1/4) and the 3,200 relay of Blake Frisch, Brian Frisch, Max Draper and Paolo Sferrella (eighth, 8:40.03).
The Pacers finished 13th (16.5) behind champion Pickerington Central (137).
Tennis team caps season at district
Juniors Kyle Klumpp and Sam Bonofiglio of the boys tennis team saw their seasons end May 16 on the first day of Division I district tournament at Reynoldsburg.
Klumpp defeated New Albany's Logan Spiess 6-4, 6-2 in the first round in singles, but lost to Dublin Jerome's Anish Patel 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in a quarterfinal to fall one win shy of qualifying for the state tournament held May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Bonofiglio lost to Jerome's Max Fickas 6-1, 6-2 in the first round in singles.
"Both of them played mostly well against good opponents," coach Richard Hunt said. "They just couldn't find the game to win. But I expect more of the same next year when we'll be looking for them to get back to district and try to make the next round."
In a sectional May 9 and 11 at Pickerington Central, Klumpp won the title as the top seed, beating second-seeded Raleigh Conway of Granville 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Bonofiglio was seeded fourth and finished fourth, losing to Klumpp 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in a semifinal and third-seeded Owen Alderman of Worthington Kilbourne 6-3, 6-3 in the third-place match.
Also at sectional, junior Aidan Sarna went 0-1 in singles, junior Eric Puthoff and freshman Ryder Kardas went 2-1 in doubles, losing 6-3, 6-3 to Pickerington Central's Stevan Klein and Karson Stanley in a district-qualifying match, and sophomore Jacob Byerly and junior Will Fogle went 1-1 in doubles.
The Pacers finished 12-5 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place fourth behind champion Jerome (7-0).
"We're only losing one player to graduation, so I'm expecting next season to be another good one," Hunt said. "We just need to keep working and improving."
Boys lacrosse team stung by Battling Bees
The fourth-seeded boys lacrosse team lost to fifth-seeded Medina 9-5 in a Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal May 17 to finish 13-7.
Connor Prenger led the host Pacers with two goals and goalkeeper Tyler Carney had 12 saves.
Delaware advanced to the quarterfinal by beating 13th-seeded Perrysburg 12-4 in a first-round home game May 14.
Girls lacrosse team falls to Braves
The seventh-seeded girls lacrosse team lost at second-seeded Olentangy 21-10 in a Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal May 17 to finish 9-9.
Senior midfielder Piper Adkins had six goals, sophomore midfielder Bella McCloskey scored two, senior midfielder/attacker Josie Derstine and sophomore midfielder Lindsay Wolverton both scored one and sophomore goalie Gabrielle Weckerly made 12 saves.
The Pacers defeated eighth-seeded Olentangy Orange 18-13 in a first-round home game May 13.
Delaware is losing six seniors in Adkins, Derstine, Sophia Fasone (defender), Myiah Grossman (midfielder), Morgan Miller (attacker) and Libbie Price (defender).
Other expected returnees include juniors Faith Barksdale (defender) and Elissia Willis (defender), sophomore Lily Tope (defender) and freshman Adrianna Simental (defender).
Season ends for boys volleyball team
The 18th-seeded boys volleyball team lost to second-seeded Mount Vernon 25-9, 25-10, 25-12 in a Division I East Region quarterfinal May 18 to finish 4-17.
The Pacers are losing seven seniors in Juan Canellas (outside hitter), Chase Cudia (outside hitter), Bryce Dietrich (outside hitter), Mathew Hanks (middle hitter), Terin Kinsway (middle hitter), Nino Santarelli (defensive specialist) and Evan Tarnawsky (defensive specialist).
Among the expected returnees are juniors Colin Ashworth (setter), Nick Smith (middle hitter) and Brennan Tucker (middle hitter) and sophomores Michael Trippier (libero) and James Vasek (setter).
Also eligible to return are juniors Karl Edwards (outside hitter), Grant Eley (defensive specialist) and Yomar Rivera (defensive specialist), sophomore Adan Spencer (right-side hitter) and freshmen Grant Bardon (middle hitter) and Isaac Robinson (defensive specialist).