The season came to an end for the Delaware Hayes High School track and field programs in the Division I regional meet that concluded May 24 at Pickerington North.
The girls team was represented by junior Ari Avant and sophomore Orion Ward represented the boys team.
Avant placed sixth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.06 seconds) and eighth in the 300 hurdles (1:05.01). She fell in the final for the 300 hurdles after running a 45.89 in her preliminary heat.
The top four finishers in each regional event automatically qualified for the state meet held May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State. In addition, two at-large berths were awarded in each event based on time, height or distance statewide.
Loveland's Miya Brines earned the second at-large state berth in the 100 hurdles (14.98).
Avant scored four points at regional as Delaware tied Eastmoor Academy, New Albany and Zanesville for 29th behind champion Gahanna (89) as 38 teams scored.
Last year at regional, Avant placed fifth in the 100 hurdles (15.33) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (45.27).
"Without a doubt, I expect Ari to get back to regionals in both events again next year and hopefully take that next step," girls coach Andy Graham said. "Overall, I think we have a lot of young athletes who will step up next year if they continue to put in the work."
Avant advanced to regional by placing third in both the 100 hurdles (15.38) and 300 hurdles (45.81) in the 17-team district 1 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby.
Also placing in the top eight were freshman Hannah Halstead in the long jump (seventh, 16 feet, 4 1/2 inches) and sophomore Becca Young in the pole vault (eighth, 9-0).
Other expected returnees include junior Mary Beth Zimmerman, sophomores Lauren English, Ally Gray, Mckenzie Hayes, Kelsie Keeder and Rena Ouyang and freshman Taylor Brown.
Ward placed 10th at regional in the long jump (21 feet). He had 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.
Ward advanced to regional by placing third (21-9 3/4) at district. Also as district, he finished fifth in the 300 hurdles (41.03) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (16.23).
"Orion is going to get better and better and, with this work ethic, I believe he can make it to regional in several events next season and maybe to state in a few of them," boys coach Sean Patrick said. "I really like where he is right now and I think our entire team made huge strides forward as a program."
Also placing in the top eight at district were senior Brian Schuette in the pole vault (tied for seventh, 11-0), sophomore Tyler Thompson in the long jump (eighth, 20-9 1/4) and the 3,200 relay of freshman Blake Frisch, junior Brian Frisch, senior Max Draper and freshman Paolo Sferrella (eighth, 8:40.03).
Other expected returnees include juniors Nabil Abdussalaam, Derrick Brooks, Laquans Christian-Banks, Aaron Koehler, Keishawn Mack and Jackson Patton and sophomore Logan Hummell.
"We are in the position as a program to be extremely competitive next season," Patrick said. "If we do all the little things well, stay healthy and maintain the right mindset, this group could have an exciting season."
Boys lacrosse team faced tough schedule
Tasked with playing a challenging schedule, the boys lacrosse team finished 13-7 overall.
"We had a good season against tough competition," coach John Lyon said. "We finished 13th in the state rankings and we lost to No. 1 (-ranked) Dublin Coffman, No. 4 Dublin Jerome, No. 7 (Worthington) Kilbourne, No. 10 Olentangy Liberty and No. 12 Medina. Our other losses were to Hartland, Michigan, which went unbeaten in the regular season, and to a good Watterson team.
"The difference between us and those strong teams was fundamentals. That's where we need to improve during the offseason. The returnees need to spend 10 to 15 minutes throwing and catching and 10 to 15 minutes shooting at least twice a week. If they just put their sticks into the corner and not get them out until next February, we won't gain any ground on those better teams."
The Pacers went 5-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place third behind Jerome (7-0) and Kilbourne (6-1). Seeded fourth in the Division I, Region 1 tournament, they defeated 13th-seeded Perrysburg 12-4 in the first round May 14 before losing to fifth-seeded Medina 9-5 in a quarterfinal May 17.
Delaware is losing eight seniors, including Michael Gladden (defender), Sam Lagando (midfielder), Andrew Lyon (attacker), Connor Prenger (midfielder), Nate Wagner (midfielder) and Xavier Yates (defender).
Expected returnees include juniors Tyler Carney (goalkeeper), Brystin Coldiron (attacker), Tyler David (defen-der) and Luke Jackson (midfielder) and sophomores Colby Cooper (defender), Blake Eiland (midfielder), Ty Gillman (midfielder), Clay Knight (long-stick midfielder), Hunter Piroska (attacker) and Ryan Smudz (midfielder).
Eiland was named first-team all-region and all-league as a faceoff specialist. Lagando was second-team all-region and all-league, Piroska was second-team all-league and Carney was honorable mention all-league.
"We have a lot returning, but a lot of work to do to reach that next level," Lyon said.
Baseball team to have call for arms
The baseball team will be looking for top-line pitching next season as its top two pitchers were seniors.
The Pacers, who finished 11-14 overall after losing to third-seeded Olentangy Orange 8-2 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 15, must replace Zach Price and Ryan Murphy, who threw the bulk of the innings this season.
Price finished 4-2 with one save, a 1.85 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings and Murphy was 1-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 37 1/3 innings. They were part of a five-member senior class.
Price, who batted .307 with 10 doubles, two home runs, 17 runs scored and 16 RBI, was named first-team all-league as the Pacers went 5-9 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Among the top pitching prospects are juniors Jacob Molina (2-3, 3.08 ERA in 25 innings) and Cory Richardson (2-0, 0.00 ERA in 11 innings) and Grant Singleton (1-1, 4.52 ERA in 17 innings).
Richardson, who also batted .400 with 11 RBI in 15 games, missed much of the season with an injury. Juniors Jacob Hunsaker and Clay Taylor also saw action on the mound.
"I thought our guys grew as the season went on," coach Ryan Montgomery said. "I saw tremendous progress and I think we have set ourselves up to have a lot of success next year. The beginning of the year was a lot of learning with a lot of new faces getting their first varsity action, but I think the guys settled in and calmed down.
"I think we had to learn how to wins games. We lost six or seven games in the last two innings when we had the lead."
Other expected returnees include juniors Ethan Hazelton (OF) and Alex Kelly (C), sophomores Nick Wildman (C/DH) and Drew Williams (OF) and freshman Brennan Helcher (SS).
Hazelton batted .370 and scored 18 runs and Wildman hit .342, followed by Kelly (.338), Taylor (.282, 10 runs, 10 RBI) and Molina (.264, 16 runs, 10 RBI).
Hazelton was second-team all-league and Kelly was honorable mention all-league.