Although she won a Division I state title in the 300-meter hurdles and owns several program records, Mabinty Kebe isn't totally satisfied with her track and field career at Westerville Central.
The senior was hoping to close her prep career with another strong season this spring. Instead, Kebe and her teammates never got the chance to compete, as spring sports were canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"It's been really tough because I had so many things I had set out for this season," Kebe said. "There were a lot of things that I planned. ... I was expecting a lot of competition this year. I just wanted to come out on top and show I can be the best if I set my mind to it. I was expecting that second (state) title this year, so that was tough."
Kebe won the 300 hurdles in 42.9 seconds last spring, edging Dublin Scioto's Folake Olujide-Ajibade (43.05) at the finish line. She established a program record of 42.84 while winning the regional title.
Kebe earned the girls team's first Division I state championship. The 400 relay won Central's first state title in its first season in 2004, when the Warhawks competed in Division III.
Kebe also set a program record in the 100 hurdles (14.79) while finishing 10th at state, and she ran on the eighth-place 400 relay (48.57). Kebe, senior Kayla Jones and juniors Chi-Chi Guyo and Moriah Johnson were hoping to atone for a 17th-place finish in the 1,600 relay (4:02:49).
"We wanted to redeem ourselves from our (1,600 relay) last year because we could have been one of the top schools, but we had some things go wrong with the baton," Kebe said. "I expected this year to go well so we could make a statement for ourselves and show that we're better than what happened."
Coach Ryan Borland believes Kebe would have achieved more goals this spring.
"We were really excited for both hurdle events," he said. "We had set a goal to see if we could challenge the state record in the 300. That was something that I believe she had a shot at, and she was committed to trying to do that. It's a super impressive record. It was not going to be an easy thing, but that was something that was on the radar for this year."
Groveport's Tiffany Flomo set the record of 40.79 in 2000.
With several key athletes returning, Borland expected his team to compete for district, regional and state titles.
"We were set to have a great season this year as a team, but it wasn't meant to be," he said. "With the pieces that we had, we felt at the regional and state meet we would have a chance to contend to win both of those. We had a good mix of things that were going to place really well at that kind of meet, but we'll never know."
Kebe also competed in indoor track, finishing fourth at state March 7 in the 60 hurdles (program-record 9.0) despite limited training because of her commitment in basketball. Kebe, Johnson, Jones and junior Skylar Themelaras finished third in the 800 relay (program-record 1:43.07), and Kebe also helped set the program record in the indoor 1,600 relay (4:03.02).
Kebe was the top player last winter on the girls basketball team, which finished 4-19. A guard, she led the Warhawks in scoring (12.0 points), rebounds (7.4), assists (2.0) and steals (2.0) and was named second-team all-OCC-Buckeye Division.
Kebe will continue her track career at Ohio State.
"I like the chemistry that they have there," she said. "I like their team and how the coaches push all their athletes to be great in the classroom and on the track."