Girls Track & Field: Distance runners to propel Hilliard Davidson Wildcats

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Hilliard City Schools

Led by a talented group of distance runners, Hilliard Davidson girls track and field coach Matt Beatty foresees a promising season for his team. 

“We’re just happy to be out here,” Beatty said. “Not having a season last year hurt big time. We’re really excited that the seniors stuck it out. We have (little) experience. It’s been 22 months since anyone ran track. ... I can’t wait to get going.” 

The distance runners include senior Lindsay Stull, who has committed to Penn State. As a sophomore, she led the Wildcats in the Division I state meet by placing third in the 1,600 meters (program-record 4 minutes, 49.05 seconds) and 13th in the 3,200 (11:17.6). She also ran on the seventh-place 3,200 relay (9:05.88). 

“Lindsay is probably the one person who has the most experience,” Beatty said. 

Other key distance runners are seniors Justine Smith and Vivian Smith and sophomores Caitlyn Jones and Dillon Sweetman. Smith has committed to Dayton. 

Senior Emma Conrad is a top athlete in the 100 hurdles, and junior Talaya Sanford is a sprinter and part of the sprint relays. 

Junior Khadija Seck will compete in the hurdles, 400 and high jump. 

Davidson is competing in the OCC-Central Division with Bradley, Dublin Coffman, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange and Upper Arlington. 

“It will be interesting to see how we come around,” said Beatty, who is in his 15th season. “We know how good the Olentangys are. You always have Coffman in there as well.” 

INSIDE THE WILDCATS 

Coach: Matt Beatty, 15th season 

Next meet: April 17 at Dublin Coffman Joe Lenge Classic 

Key athletes: Emma Conrad, Caitlyn Jones, Talaya Sanford, Khadija Seck, Justine Smith, Vivian Smith, Lindsay Stull and Dillon Sweetman

Hammonds to lead

inexperienced Panthers

Senior hurdler and sprinter Gabrielle Hammonds has the most experience on a young Darby squad.

Hammonds finished seventh in the 60 hurdles (9.32) in the Division I state indoor meet March 5 and 6 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.

“We probably have 14 with previous experience in high school meets,” said coach Don Seymour, who is in his 11th season. “We have 10 seniors, four juniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores.

“Last year, we probably would have had one of the best teams in my 39 years of coaching in terms of proven talent, but (the season) was canceled. Now we’re really young and have a lot to learn.”

Juniors Grace Pitt and Sydney Porter also will lead the sprint corps, with senior Krystal Singh and junior Olivia Cannon leading the distance runners and junior Mia Wyngarden setting the pace in middle distance.

Senior Jenna Hartwell will compete in the long jump, senior Liz Silva is the top thrower and senior Madison Brokaw will lead the way in the pole vault.

“We have some underclassmen who could rise to the top because we are so young,” Seymour said. “They are young, but they are very talented. We have a little bit to prove.

“We’re really looking forward to the season and seeing how well the young girls perform. I have a great coaching staff helping me from the seventh grade up, and they really get a lot out of the girls.”

INSIDE THE PANTHERS

Coach: Don Seymour, 11th season

Next meet: April 16 at Centerville Elk Relays

Key athletes: Madison Brokaw, Olivia Cannon, Gabrielle Hammonds, Jenna Hartwell, Grace Pitt, Sydney Porter, Liz Silva, Krystal Singh and Mia Wyngarden

—Scott Hennen

Sprinting corps

to pace Jaguars

Bradley has a group of five veteran sprinters leading the way this season.

Seniors Brittany Amador and Ella Richardson and juniors Ashley Long and Gracelyn Peebles were members of the 1,600 relay that finished ninth (4:08.64) in the Division I regional two seasons ago.

Senior Alice McAnespie also is expected to help lead the Jaguars in sprinting and in the high jump.

“The four sprinters from our 1,600 relay are back, and we also have Alice McAnespie sprinting for us,” said coach Thom Nees, who is in his 11th season. “We have those girls and a lot of younger ones who could help us this year.”

Senior Amber Figueroa leads the distance runners, and junior Jaelyn Hopson will join McAnespie in the high jump. Peebles also competes in the long jump.

“We have a lot of distance runners, but they are mostly all young,” Nees said. “Amber is a senior and will help us, but the rest are freshmen and sophomores.”

Junior Emma Brooks and sophomore Autumn Bernava are throwers, and sophomore Leigha Dennison competes in the pole vault.

“We only have five throwers this year,” Nees said. “We really don’t have the overall depth that we have had in the past.

“We’re just happy to be back and have a season this year. We only have five seniors, and it’s good to be able to get the younger kids out and get them some experience.”

INSIDE THE JAGUARS

Coach: Thom Nees, 11th season 

Next meet: April 17 at Dublin Coffman Joe Lenge Classic

Key athletes: Brittany Amador, Autumn Bernava, Leigha Dennison, Amber Figueroa, Jaelyn Hopson, Ashley Long, Alice McAnespie, Gracelyn Peebles and Ella Richardson

—Scott Hennen

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