City League Roundup: Northland Vikings girls track team working toward strong finish
Returning to competition this spring has been just as much of a mental positive as it has been a physical one for junior Andrasia Wilson of the Northland girls track and field team.
Wilson placed in three events in the City League meet as a freshman in 2019, including a runner-up finish in the high jump, and was expecting to take strides forward last spring.
She stayed in shape when the 2020 season initially was delayed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but she found staying focused on conditioning more difficult after the season was canceled.
“(Competing) keeps me focused,” Wilson said. “Once our season ended last year, (my focus) was a little bit off. Track keeps me going. In the beginning I did exercise and then I kind of stopped when we found out we weren’t ever coming back that season.”
Wilson and the Vikings headed into the City meet May 11 and 13 at Africentric having won four consecutive titles from 2016-19.
She was expected to compete in the 100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and high jump in the postseason, which began with Division I, district 1 competition May 18 at Hilliard Darby. The meet continues May 20 and concludes May 22, with the top four in each event advancing to the regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.
Wilson entered the City meet particularly excited about her growth in the 300 hurdles. She ran a personal-best 49.38 seconds to finish fourth May 1 in the Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington.
Junior Nahdia Alcorn has joined Wilson as one of the team’s top competitors this spring.
Alcorn, who ran on both the 400 and 800 relays that qualified for the regional in 2019, has cleared 5 feet, 1 inch in the high jump.
Heading into the City meet, her best times were 12.5 in the 100, 26.19 in the 200 and 1:00.32 in the 400.
“It’s been challenging but really good,” Alcorn said. “Just having a team coming all back and getting back in shape and having a rhythm of getting back into the season, I feel like we’re having a good season. I was still able to stay in shape (in the offseason) because I do basketball and cross country, so I’ve been able to come back on the track season strong.”
Coach Tom Fast also has been pleased with the performance of junior Kylah Carter. Her best event is the discus, but she also competes on sprint relays and in the shot put.
On April 24 in the 76ers Invitational at Independence, Carter threw 86-10 1/2 in the discus to finish second.
“My (best) throw is 110, so I’m trying to beat my record this year,” Carter said. “It’s been going great actually. We missed the whole season last year due to COVID, so it’s fun to come out here and do what we do.”
The boys team also is competing in the Division I, district 1 meet.
Senior sprinters Dion Lewis and Shemar Watson and senior thrower Victor Jeter have been leading the Vikings. In the Gary Smith Invitational, Jeter finished fourth in the shot put (43-9 1/2).
Cougars track teams
taking leap forward
The Beechcroft girls track team is competing in the Division I, district 2 meet May 18, 19 and 22 at Darby, with the boys team competing in district 1.
Senior Amara Allen has been leading the girls squad after entering the season as its most experienced competitor.
Allen, who ran on the 800 relay that finished third in the 2019 Division II state meet, helped the Cougars place third (59) in the 12-team Tigers Invitational on May 7 at East behind Hamilton Township (150.5) and Wellington (80). She won the 200 (27.93) and was second in the 100 (13.33).
Senior Natalia Delgado (middle distance) and juniors Awa Sahi (sprints) and Sydney Stewart (sprints, middle distance) have been among the other standouts, according to coach Mike Moncrief.
Sahi recently began competing in the hurdles events as well.
“My girls have worked so hard this year,” Moncrief said. “It’s meant a lot. Amara Allen has been on fire. She’s scored in every meet we’ve been in. She’s competed and leads by example. I’ve got some girls that are versatile.”
The boys squad scored 10 points at East to finish 15th of 17 teams behind champion Independence (123), but sophomore Jesufewa Adediran won the 400 (52.76).
Sophomore hurdler Jayden Douglas is another competitor who has impressed coach Duane Gosa, but he’s been battling an injury.
“We’re in the middle of the pack,” Gosa said. “We’re one athlete away from being better than where we’re at and I can’t put everybody where I want.”
Stars track teams
start to hit stride
The Centennial boys track team is competing in the Division II, district 2 meet, which concludes May 22 at Westerville North, with the girls in Division I, district 2.
The top four in each Division II district event advance to the regional May 27 and 29 at Lexington.
Boys coach Bobby Witcher has been pleased with the growth of junior Daishaun Gossett, who was runner-up in the 110 hurdles (15.64) in the Tiger Invitational as the Stars were 10th (24).
Gossett also runs on the 400 relay with seniors Aaron Bendoff, Ronald Darling and Tyreek Gunnell.
Senior Sammy Cruz-Rivera is another option in the 400 relay and competes on the 1,600 relay with seniors Justin Bridges and Terrik Enoch and sophomore Malachi Kinds-Woodruff.
Senior Colin Murphy is the Stars’ top middle-distance runner, with freshman Elliot Keohler leading the distance corps and junior Khmari Loveless working as the top thrower.
“We’re hitting a few strides and a couple kids are standing out,” Witcher said. “Daishaun Gossett has been consistent in the 110 hurdles. (Our 400 relay) is our baby.”
According to girls coach Timia Easley, seniors Kay Brown (shot put, discus) and Sophia Ferry (sprints), sophomores Leila Mzibri (sprints, middle distance) and Iyanna Sanders (sprints) and freshmen Audrey Strayer (high jump, long jump) and Alayiah Taylor (sprints) have led the way.
“We’re just rolling with the punches,” Easley said. “I’m excited to see what they can do (in the postseason). Everything is starting to come together.”