Hartley Roundup: Hawks girls track and field team confident with move to Division I

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Senior Nick Chovan will play second singles for the Hartley boys tennis team, which returns to action April 20 as host to St. Charles.

After spending the last two seasons as the Hartley girls cross country coach, Jim McKay is excited about what he might be able to bring to the girls track and field program this spring. 

McKay, who previously coached with the New World Track Club in Columbus, competed collegiately for the University of Washington and coached cross country at a high school in Seattle before relocating to central Ohio about two decades ago. 

“I’ve been the head cross country coach (at Hartley) for two years and last year I was an assistant coach (for girls track), but the season only lasted three weeks,” McKay said. “This is kind of new in a lot of ways, but it’s actually been going really well. We have a lot of talent.” 

Junior Makailah Walker is back to lead the sprint corps after competing on the 400-meter relay that finished 14th (50.32) at the Division II state meet in 2019. 

Senior Emily Moore was a regional qualifier in 2019 in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and joined senior Megan Luallen on the 1,600 relay at the regional, and junior Alana Colvin ran on the 800 relay at the regional. 

Junior Zaria Robinson and sophomore Alex Etienne should be other strong sprinters, with depth coming from junior Mia Martin-Fuller, sophomores Joi Brown and Jasmyn Crockett and freshmen Alana Andrew and Jada Shade.

Crockett and Martin-Fuller also will compete in hurdles events, and Brown will long jump. 

Seniors Ellie Kitsmiller and Pailyn Groene, junior Rebecca Tepper and freshman Piper Minnich were key runners along with Luallen on the cross country team and should lead the way in the middle-distance and distance events. 

Junior Payton Moore is the top shot put and discus thrower. 

“We’re probably going to be the smallest Division I school in the entire state, but we’re still going to hold our own,” McKay said. “It’s really hard to say in a lot of ways because there was no season last year, so we don’t have times and we don’t know exactly what we have. But so far from what we’ve seen, we should be competitive.” 

GIRLS TRACK & FIELD 

•Coach: Jim McKay, first season 

•Next meet: April 21 at Gahanna Relays 

•Key athletes: Alana Colvin, Pailyn Groene, Ellie Kitsmiller, Megan Luallen, Piper Minnich, Emily Moore, Zaria Robinson, Rebecca Tepper and Makailah Walker 

Boys track team  

excited for season 

Of the nine competitors the boys track and field team had at the 2019 Division II state meet, three have returned. 

The most experienced among that group is senior Cameron Thomas, a two-time state qualifier who ran on the 800 relay that was fifth (1:30.29) at state in 2019 along with junior returnee Trey Saunders. Thomas also qualified for state in the 200 (10th, 22.87), and Saunders is one of the top hurdlers. 

The other returning state qualifier is junior Richard Kenny, who ran on the 400 relay that was ninth (43.48). 

There were about 10 competitors this winter during the indoor season under coach Reggie Osborne, who is in his eighth season. He previously also coached the girls track team. 

“It’s been great to just have kids to coach,” Osborne said. “I’ve been at this for a long, long time and have been trying to get the (boys and girls programs) to be split. The other part is with (COVID-19), the team had grown to a size that we’d have had to have two practices, so it made more sense to add some coaches.” 

Senior Kason Sunderland, who ran on the 1,600 relay in 2018 along with Thomas that placed third at state, should be another key sprinter. 

Others expected to contribute include seniors Reese Barker (high jump, long jump, hurdles), Eayuel Gebrtsadik (middle distance), Sam LeMay (shot put, discus) and Shawn Saunders (high jump, long jump), juniors Cherod Bowens (sprints) and Daniel Tooson (shot put, discus) and freshman Xavier Martin-Fuller (sprints).

“It’s a good group that’s returning,” Osborne said. “We’re looking at the end of the season, taking it slow and hopefully a couple of them will be able to make it to the state level.” 

BOYS TRACK & FIELD 

•Coach: Reggie Osborne, eighth season 

•Next meet: April 21 at Gahanna Relays 

•Key athletes: Reese Barker, Eayuel Gebrtsadik, Richard Kenny, Sam LeMay, Shawn Saunders, Trey Saunders, Kason Sunderland, Cameron Thomas and Daniel Tooson 

Tennis team hopes to 

be more competitive 

With a larger roster, including four seniors with previous varsity experience, the boys tennis team hopes to be more competitive than in 2019.

The Hawks went 2-13 overall and finished 0-4 in the CCL that season. 

“It’s been a lot of fun,” third-year coach Daniel Chun said. “I have 13 players this year, which is probably higher numbers than I’ve had in years past which has been nice. 

“I think we’ll be more competitive than we’ve been in years past, especially with as many kids that have played in the past. We’ve had a lot of seniors in the past that haven’t played before.” 

Senior John Hooker, who won one match at the Division II sectional in 2019, is at first singles. 

Senior Nick Chovan is playing second singles after teaming with 2019 graduate Morgan Safford at the 2019 sectional, while sophomore Peter Reinker is at third singles and seniors Braden Blanchard and Dominic Rees are at first doubles.  

Seniors Ben Gegorski and John Sands and freshman Terry Wilkens all should see time at second doubles, with junior Ryan Clark expected to see action at both singles and doubles. 

Others looking to compete in varsity matches include seniors Nic Stanssen and Zach Swinney and juniors Elias Bakari and Zach Blackmon. 

“We have, for the first time in a long time, two four-year members of the team in Nick Chovan and John Hooker and two three-year members in Dominic Rees and Nic Stanssen,” Chun said. “Peter Reinker has looked good at No. 3 singles, and we have a freshman in Terry Wilkens that has come on strong, too.” 

BOYS TENNIS 

•Coach: Daniel Chun, third season 

•Next match: April 20 vs. St. Charles 

•Key athletes: Braden Blanchard, Nick Chovan, John Hooker, Dominic Rees and Peter Reinker 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek