Folake Olujide-Ajibade of the Dublin Scioto High School girls track and field team is headed to the Division I state meet for the second consecutive season.
The junior won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.43 seconds in the regional meet that concluded May 24 at Pickerington North and placed second in the 300 hurdles (43.35).
The top four finishers in each regional event automatically qualified for state Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State. In addition, two at-large berths were awarded in each event based on time, height or distance statewide.
Last year at state, Olujide-Ajibade placed eighth in the 100 hurdles (14.69).
"I'm really excited because it will be my first time doing two events (at state)," she said. "I'm nervous and anxious and also really happy at the same time, so I'm really looking forward to it."
Olujide-Ajibade was edged by Westerville Central's Mabinty Kebe in the 300 hurdles for the second week in a row. Kebe won the regional title in 42.84 after finishing first in the district 1 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby in 42.97, ahead of runner-up Olujide-Ajibade (45.48).
Olujide-Ajibade finished first (14.41) in the 100 hurdles at district and Kebe was second (15.02). Kebe placed third (14.79) in the event at regional.
"She's an amazing runner," Olujide-Ajibade said of Kebe. "It's been really close at the end. I'm excited to run (this) week against her again."
Also at regional, Olujide-Ajibade teamed with junior Taysia Cordova, sophomore Meg Tysen and her twin sister, Foluke Olujide-Ajibade, to place sixth in the 400 relay (49.06) and earn an at-large state berth, and Foluke Olujide-Ajibade finished 10th in the 100 (12.91).
Scioto scored 21 points to finished 11th behind champion Gahanna (89) as 38 teams scored.
Senior Max Eveland scored at regional for the boys team by tying for eighth in the pole vault (13 feet).
"I'm happy," Eveland said. "I really wanted to jump 14 feet this year, but it is how it is. I came in here feeling pretty good. The crosswind didn't help, it never does, but that didn't affect my jumps too much. It was an off day. I improved a lot from freshman year to this year. I had a lot of accomplishments. It was great, but it's a sad day."
Also competing at regional were sophomore Xavier Lopes in the high jump (tied for ninth, 6-0) and junior Logan Rich in the 300 hurdles (12th, 40.75).
The Irish scored half of a point to finished 42nd behind champion Pickerington Central (101) as 42 teams scored.
Girls lacrosse team enjoys stellar season
The girls lacrosse team had a record-setting season under third-year coach Sarah Zink.
The Irish finished 14-4 overall to set the program record for wins, reached a Division I, Region 3 semifinal for the first time and went 5-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to finish third behind champion Jerome (7-0).
"The tide is shifting for our program and the girls are seeing it," said Zink, whose team finished 12-4 last season after going 19-32 in the previous three seasons combined. "They've come a long way. The (nine) seniors took the challenge and they worked hard."
Fifth-seeded Scioto opened the postseason with a 14-9 win over fourth-seeded Coffman on May 17 before losing to second-seeded Jerome 11-6 on May 20.
"It was heartbreaking," Zink said of the loss to the Celtics. "Our girls have worked very hard this season. I pushed them to their limit and they accepted the challenge. They worked even harder than ever. This group is special. They bonded really quickly and they pushed each other every moment of the way."
Sophomore Ashleigh Rothe (midfielder) led the Irish with 80 goals and 34 assists. Sophomore Avery Schwab (attacker) had 65 goals and 34 assists, senior Jessie Hartman (midfielder) had 38 goals and 21 assists, senior Allie Vogel (midfielder) had 30 goals and senior Kiersten Jennings (attacker) had 27 goals and eight assists.
Rothe was named first-team all-state and all-region and second-team all-league, sophomore Karleigh Rothe (defender) was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-region, Hartman was second-team all-region and honorable mention all-league and Schwab was second-team all-league.
Hartman, Vogel and Ashleigh Rothe all surpassed 100 career goals this season.
Others eligible to return are juniors Madison Berry (attacker), Sydney Nadal (attacker), Darlene Fadlalmawla (defender), Keira Hubschman (defender) and Melika Saffari (defender), sophomore Sarang Lee (midfielder/attacker) and freshmen Holland Bell (midfielder/attacker), Angie Klailee (midfielder/attacker), Gabriela Roa Sandoval (goalkeeper), Cameron Robinson (midfielder/attacker) and Tiffany Trinh (midfielder/attacker).
Boys lacrosse team shows progress
The boys lacrosse team finished 7-11 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Cardinal under second-year coach Nick Gallagher.
"We grew and the program grew," Gallagher said. "We went from a three-win team that was struggling to find an identity (last season) to a seven-win team that had some really good, positive things going for it. We're excited about this year, and the kids played hard. We had great senior leadership."
Junior Pete Hrelec (midfielder) had 64 goals and 12 assists and was first-team all-region and second-team all-league.
"He had an unbelievable season," Gallagher said. "He's going to be a special guy for us next season."
Jeremy Chapman (defender), who was one of 10 seniors, and junior Aidan Ekis (defender) were second-team all-league and sophomore Nick Gould (defender) was honorable mention all-league.
Senior Miguel Soto (attacker) had 14 goals and 20 assists.
Others eligible to return are juniors Josh Chun (attacker), Matt Gast (midfielder), Alex Mar (goalie), Nathan Smith (midfielder), Christian Vo (midfielder) and Harrison Yocum (defender) and sophomores Tyler Chase (midfielder), Vaughn Francis (midfielder), Aidan Meehan (defender), Garrett Mielke (midfielder), Bennett Obenour (attacker), Jackson Raabe (midfielder), Koel Shaw (midfielder) and Zach Waizmann (attacker).
"We're in a culture change and we sunk our teeth into it," Gallagher said. "I was happy with the group overall. We had our ups and downs, but I really feel our group is progressing and I don't think we do that without the group of seniors we had."
Boys volleyball coach saw improvement
The boys volleyball team finished 7-13 overall and 6-8 in the OCC-Cardinal, placing fifth behind champion Hilliard Darby (14-0).
"We probably landed appropriately in the league," said coach Doug Arden, whose team finished 4-15 last season. "There were a couple of times where the teams were simply better. I think our guys were a great group. We built from last year a little bit and took a little step forward. There's more steps to take."
One of five seniors, Cameron Gastaldo (libero) had 105 assists and 44 aces and was second-team all-region and all-league.
Junior Riley Passias (outside hitter) had a team-high 193 kills and was second-team all-region and honorable mention all-league. Junior Jonathan Heasley (setter) had a team-high 121 assists and junior Dedar Mergaye (outside hitter) led the team in aces (61), was second in kills (140) and was honorable mention all-region.
Others eligible to return are juniors Shaker Aljafari (middle hitter), Angel Campa (middle hitter), Joseph Matter (right-side hitter) and Gabriel Wilson (middle hitter).
"It's the same bittersweet every year," Arden said. "It's tough to have the whole thing come to an end."