Jim Langenderfer, who has coached the Pickerington North girls track and field team since the program’s inception in 2004, recently announced his retirement.

“I have coached for a long time and enjoyed it all — the athletes here at Pickerington, coaches I worked with and the coaches we competed against,” Langenderfer said Sept. 3. “We accomplished a lot over the years (and there is) always more to do, but as high school sports have evolved it takes more time to coach and handle the administrative side.

“I feel that the (team) is in good shape to move forward. There are many strong head coach candidates very capable to take the team to greater accomplishments.”

The Panthers have advanced at least one individual or relay to the Division I state meet in each of the past 14 seasons. Among the highlights was 2015 graduate Annette Echikunwoke placing third in the discus in both 2013 and 2014.

She went on to throw at Cincinnati.

Langenderfer’s coaching career began in the late 1970s at Circleville Junior High. He came to Pickerington in 1985 and became girls head coach in 2001 before moving to North when the district split.

Langenderfer, who also is the only girls cross country coach in North history, said he plans to continue coaching that sport “for a few more seasons.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave