Of the eight representatives the Hartley High School boys track and field team had at the Division II state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State, all but two are eligible to return.
That made the fact that the Hawks reached the podium in three events that much more encouraging to athletes such as junior Miles Fleming, who along with sophomore Cameron Thomas is a two-time state qualifier.
Hartley scored 11 points to tie for 17th behind champion Shelby (57) as 76 teams scored.
"We're young with fast guys," Fleming said. "We'll be a good team coming around next year. We'll be pretty set for years to come. We had an amazing run this year."
Placing fifth were the 800-meter relay of Thomas, Fleming, junior Angelo Evans and freshman Trey Saunders (1 minute, 30.29 seconds) and senior Patrick Scurlock in the 110 hurdles (14.98).
Fleming added a sixth-place finish in the 100 (11.14).
Saunders called the season a "long journey," one that included the Hawks winning a second consecutive district championship when they scored 140 points at the district 2 meet that concluded May 18 at Westerville North.
"It's more than just the chemistry we have as a team," Evans said. "We always push each other in practice and try to see who has the best times and always try to (set a personal-best time) every time we run."
Scurlock had just the eighth-best qualifying time during his preliminary heat at state but ran .02 of a second faster during the final.
"I hit hurdle five but recovered quickly and finished strong," Scurlock said. "That's all you need to do sometimes. I wasn't really worried about anything. It's my last race, senior year and I just had to finish it out. I'm very happy with how it went."
Also competing at state were the 400 relay of senior T.J. Johnson, Fleming, freshman Richard Kenny and Saunders (ninth, 43.48), Thomas in the 200 (10th, 22.87) and the 1,600 relay of junior Juston Steward, Johnson, junior Daniel Walker and Scurlock (14th, 3:27.75).
The Hawks scored 46 points and placed second in the regional meet that concluded May 25 at Lexington behind Shelby (77) as 44 teams scored.
Fleming, Evans, Saunders and Thomas finished first in the 400 relay (42.62) and 800 relay (1:29.09), Fleming placed second in the 100 (10.81), Scurlock was third in the 110 hurdles (15.04), Thomas finished third in the 200 (22.19) and the 1,600 relay of Johnson, Scurlock, Steward and Walker was fourth (3:25.92).
Also competing at regional were Saunders in the 300 hurdles (eighth, 43.12), senior Troy Fowler in the high jump (ninth, 6-0), Scurlock in the 300 hurdles (10th, 41.16) and Steward in the 400 (16th, 53.89).
Others eligible to return include juniors Dion Drake (shot put), Alex Michael (discus) and Chase Orndoff (distance), sophomore Reese Barker (long jump) and freshmen Richard Kenny (sprints) and Daniel Tooson (shot put).
"It was a very good season," Scurlock said. "I'm very excited to see what the team does next year. We had a very young team."
Smith, girls 400 relay end season at state
The girls track and field team was represented at the Division II state meet by junior Bailey Smith in the 100 hurdles and the 400 relay of Smith, junior Alexis Wade, sophomore England Ladd and freshman Kayla Walker.
Smith placed 11th in the 100 hurdles (15.72) and the 400 relay finished 14th (50.32) as the Hawks failed to score.
"Coming off the first hurdle, I lost my balance a little bit, so I struggled trying to get my balance back when I was in between hurdles," Smith said. "I think I finished pretty well. This was only my second year hurdling, so the fact that I'm even competing with people that are big in the state is big."
Smith finished second in the 100 hurdles (15.09) and helped the 400 relay finish fourth (49.57) at regional as Hartley tied for 15th (18) behind champion Creston Norwayne (65) as 39 teams scored.
Also competing at regional were Walker in the 100 (sixth, 12.79), junior Abby Rhodes in the long jump (eighth, 16-3/4), freshman Jaiden Stratton in the 200 (eighth, 26.33), Wade in the 100 (ninth, 13.05), sophomore Emily Moore in the 300 hurdles (10th, 48.39) and 100 hurdles (12th, 17.08), senior Kayla Williams in the 800 (11th, 2:29.82), the 800 relay of Smith, Stratton, Rhodes and freshman Alana Colvin (10th, 1:49.72) and the 1,600 relay of senior Cara Luallen, Rhodes, sophomore Megan Luallen and Moore (12th, 4:19.08).
Others eligible to return include juniors Hope Matfield (discus, shot put) and Laurynn Renee Caldwell (sprints), sophomores Pailyn Groene (middle distance), Ellie Kitsmiller (distance, high jump) and Anna Woods (distance) and freshmen Mia Martin-Fuller (high jump) and Payton Moore (discus, shot put).
Seniors set tone for baseball team
The last four seasons, the baseball team surpassed 20 wins twice, earned at least a share of three CCL championships and followed a Division II district title last season with a district runner-up finish this spring.
According to coach Chris Sawyer, seniors Philip Cole (OF), Jacob Culbertson (P/OF/1B), Thomas Mayhan (SS/P), Adam McVicker (OF/1B/P), Josh Moore (INF/P) and Diego Pena (OF) were instrumental in the team's success.
"We were disappointed with the loss in the district championship game, but we can't lose site of the successful season we had," Sawyer said. "This senior class was outstanding. Their record speaks for itself. ... That's just the tip of the iceberg. The leadership they showed, the effort they played with and the hard work they put in truly showed their character. I couldn't be more proud."
Hartley was the No. 1 seed for the district tournament and lost to fifth-seeded Licking Valley 5-0 in a district final May 22 to finish 21-6 overall. The Hawks went 6-2 in the CCL to share the league title with DeSales and Watterson.
Cole batted .518 with eight home runs, 40 RBI and 19 stolen bases, Mayhan hit .354 with 18 RBI and Pena batted .364 with 27 runs scored. McVicker batted .459 with two home runs, 26 RBI and 31 runs and pitched in seven games and Culbertson was the team's No. 1 pitcher, going 12-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 71 innings.
Juniors James Farrell (3B/2B/P), Kylan Kortokrax (3B/1B/P), Matt McElligott (C/utility/P), Patrick Page (1B/OF) and Mason Sawyer (C/OF) and sophomores David Menches (P) and Jake Skelly (1B/OF/P) should be the top returnees.
McElligott went 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 innings, Kortokrax was 3-2 in 34 2/3 innings and Menches had two wins and a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings.
Farrell hit .385 with 17 RBI, Sawyer batted .422 with seven home runs and 41 RBI and Skelly hit .333 with four home runs.
Others eligible to return include juniors Connor Macioce (INF/P) and Griffin McCauley (1B/OF/P).
"The expectations will not change," coach Sawyer said. "We want to win our league, we want to make it very hard to win at our place and we expect to be playing our best at the end of the season. We have a lot coming back, but we lose a lot of experience. We lose our middle infield and three seniors in the outfield."