Girls Track & Field: Sprinters to pace versatile Olentangy Braves

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Junior Abby Schroff is expected to pace Orange in the 1,600 and 3,200. “I think we’re going to be pretty well-balanced in scoring points across the board,” coach Adam Walters said.

Olentangy girls track and field coach Jen Sosa anticipated running out several different lineups at the Braves’ early meets, mostly because she has a handful of athletes who can rotate between events.

“We have a couple sprinters who are strong all around, so it is a little difficult to figure out where everybody is going to fit best,” said Sosa, who is in her fourth season. “We’ll play around with the lineup. We have some individuals who are very, very strong and can move around. That versatility will be important and we’ll have some trial and error for sure. I’m excited to see what we can do. We have a lot of motivated girls.”

The sprint group is led largely by underclassmen, including sophomores Sydney Burrs, Allysa Hardin, Amelia Smith and Rachel Stocker and freshman Avery Settles. Several of them also will compete in the hurdles and in field events such as the long jump.

Seniors Maggie Duffy and Cara Wilson and junior Grace Holt pace the distance runners, a group that also includes freshman Samantha Happel. Wilson was the girls cross country team’s only Division I regional qualifier last fall.

Senior Kelsey Schuliger returns in the long jump and will be joined by juniors Rachel Chen and Maddie Franzel. Juniors Caroline Coggins and Adriana Sweeney should pace the throwers.

“I see a lot of potential in several different areas,” Sosa said.

Olentangy’s only state qualifier from 2019, Lex Brookshire, now competes at Indianapolis. She was eighth at state in the 3,200 as a senior.

INSIDE THE BRAVES

Coach: Jen Sosa, fourth season

Next meet: April 16 at Granville Invitational

Key athletes: Maggie Duffy, Grace Holt, Kelsey Schuliger, Amelia Smith and Cara Wilson

Pioneers expect

balanced effort

Orange may be young, but it should have the balanced scoring needed for success.

Eighth-year coach Adam Walters is excited to watch his team perform after the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s easy to introduce culture when it’s only the freshmen, but now it’s half of the team since the sophomores didn’t have a season last year,” Walters said. “So many of the kids have never done a home meet and don’t know what to expect. It’s ground zero, and I’m looking forward to seeing growth as a whole.”

One strength for Orange is the pole vault, with senior Sara Borton placing third in the Division I state indoor meet March 5 and 6 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva by clearing 12 feet. Junior Taylor Hill placed fourth, also going 12-0.

Junior Ava Musgrove will lead the sprint corps after finishing eighth in the 60 meters (7.94 seconds) at the state indoor meet. Seniors Celeste Conley and Kylie Hanson, junior Abby Faulkner and sophomore Teresa Christian also will be top sprinters.

Junior Abby Schroff (1,600, 3,200) and freshman Mairin O’Brien (400, 800) will lead the way in distance and middle-distance races.

Senior Noel Frye will be competing in the long jump and throws, and Christian also is a long-jumper.

“I think we’re going to be pretty well-balanced in scoring points across the board,” Walters said. “The girls relays should be pretty good.”

INSIDE THE PIONEERS

Coach: Adam Walters, eighth season

Next meet: April 16 at New Albany for Friday Night Eagle Invitational

Key athletes: Sara Borton, Teresa Christian, Celeste Conley, Abby Faulkner, Noel Frye, Kylie Hanson, Taylor Hill, Ava Musgrove, Mairin O’Brien and Abby Schroff

—Scott Hennen

Patriots strong on 

numbers, experience 

With 22 seniors and more than 100 athletes participating, Liberty attempted to get creative in its preparation for this spring after last season was canceled. 

“Losing last year was just wild, so the ability to get out there has been really special,” 10th-year coach James Dingus said. “Our numbers haven’t really gone down even during the pandemic, so that obviously adds a different dynamic with the sheer number of athletes at practice. We’re keeping the distance runners with distance, throwers with throwers, but sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers are all the same athlete.” 

Returning after competing at the Division I regional in 2019 are seniors Audrey Piero (3,200 relay), Sydney Reed (400 relay), Nicole Tonetti (400 relay) and Taylor Weiss (high jump) and junior Sarah Gilbert (3,200). Tonetti competed at state as a freshman on the 800 relay. 

Senior Charlotte Hummell made it to a district final in the 300 hurdles in 2019. 

Senior Sophie Culver joins Weiss in the high jump, with senior Halle Deericks and junior Ava Howski expected to be the top pole vaulters. Seniors Alex Pyun, Michaela Strunch and Elle Turice and junior McKenna Cook are competing in the shot put and discus. 

Senior Divya Patel should be another top sprinter, with seniors Emma Black and Caitlin Splain and juniors Alexa Hill, Morgan Mahan and Sami Sincek also in sprints. 

Juniors Cara Weaver and Ellie White should be other top hurdlers, with junior Coral Pierson in sprints and hurdles. Senior Sindhu Sharma joins Tonetti in the long jump. 

Among those joining Piero in distance include seniors Haley Kruest and Elizabeth Okonak. 

“In the years past, I’ve always said we’re young, but this year we’re old,” Dingus said. “It’s a really strong group.” 

INSIDE THE PATRIOTS 

Coach: James Dingus, 10th season 

Next meet: April 20 vs. Orange 

Key athletes: Sophie Culver, Halle Deericks, Sarah Gilbert, Charlotte Hummell, Divya Patel, Audrey Piero, Sydney Reed, Nicole Tonetti and Taylor Weiss 

—Jarrod Ulrey

Bears looking

for improvement

Berlin hopes strong chemistry will allow an inexperienced group to grow into seasoned athletes by the time the Division I postseason arrives.

“I have never had a team click so easily as this one,” second-year coach Anthony Beggrow said. “They have been super-positive and supportive from day one. They are truly one team. They love each other, and it’s one community.”

Senior Abby Brennan is back after an injury-riddled 2019 season. She ran the 200 in 1:00.66 to place seventh in the Division I state indoor meet this winter.

Also returning in the sprints are seniors Mia Mulig and Skylar Stevenson. Junior Ada Freeman, sophomore Ava Vaught and freshman Brenna Mowrey will lead the distance and middle-distance corps.

Berlin also is strong in the pole vault, as junior Maggie Conrad cleared 10-6 during the indoor season.

Stevenson will be in the long jump, with the high-jump competition being a work in progress.

Freeman and sophomore Olivia Riedel will be in the throws.

“We want to keep developing and continue to get better,” Beggrow said. “If they develop together, good things are going to happen. We want to continue with the culture that we have started to build.”

INSIDE THE BEARS

Coach: Anthony Beggrow, second season 

Next meet: April 16 at Granville Invitational

Key athletes: Abby Brennan, Maggie Conrad, Ada Freeman, Mia Mulig, Olivia Reidel, Skylar Stevenson and Ava Vaught

—Scott Hennen

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