And then there were six.
The immediate area's Division III track and field contingent has been significantly trimmed over the course of the last two weekends.
However, as the OHSAA State Track and Field Championship prepares to open Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, a half-dozen area competitors are still chase the state championship and all-Ohio dream.
The Division III meet opens at 9:30 a.m. with the 4x800 meter relays. That will set the stage for the semi-final heats of the short sprints. All of the Division III field events will be contested on Friday as well, beginning at 1 and 4 p.m.
The Division III running finals begin on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
St. John Central leads the local delegation with two competitors.
Junior distance ace Fallon Doyle leads the way. She's making her way back to the 1600 meter run at the state meet after missing out on a trip as a sophomore.
Doyle, who was fifth in the state as a freshman, is entering this year's competition with her eyes firmly set on moving up the podium a few notches.
The Irish standout was edged out at the finish line by Julia Rizk of Columbus Academy by two hundredths of a second during the regional last Friday at Fairfield Union. Doyle finished the race at 5:08.38.
Those are the top two marks entering the state meet this weekend, earning the two a spot right next to each other in Lane 3 for the event, which will hear the sounding of the gun at 10:05 a.m.
Joining Doyle at the state meet will be sophomore Jessica Alvey, who is making her debut at the state level of competition.
Alvey was the bronze medalist in the long jump last week at the regional with a mark of 16-ft-7.
That mark ranks Alvey 10th out of the 16 competitors entering the event, which will begin at 1 p.m.
Alvey will be the third jumper of the competition.
River's girls will be represented by a first-time qualifier. Sophomore Abby Caldwell will make her state meet debut in the semifinals of the 300 meter low hurdles at 11:20 a.m.
Caldwell finished second in the regional last Friday with a 46.35. As it pertains to this weekend, that time ranks 13th in the field overall and seventh in her heat.
Bridgeport junior Briana Massey is the veteran of the small-school qualifiers. She's preparing for her third consecutive state meet.
However, Massey is getting ready for her state meet debut in the long jump. She'd previously qualified during her freshman and sophomore seasons in the 200 meter dash.
Massey finished fourth in the regional last Friday at 16-ft-2 to earn the bid. She's ranked 16th in the field and will be the fifth jumper in the first flight.
Shadyside's girls will be represented in the pole vault by sophomore McKayla Kinemond.
The competition, which will begin at 1 p.m. with the bar at 8-ft-6, features 10 vaulters who've cleared the 10-foot barrier and four at 11 feet or better.
Kinemond, who finished fourth in the regional, will be the fourth jumper in the competition, assuming there are no passes at the opening height. She enters with a mark of 9-ft-3, which ranks 16th overall.
The lone male from the OVAC competing in Division III this weekend is River junior Brok Cross.
One of the area's top high jumpers all season, Cross will have a chance to see where he stands in the state.
Cross, who was third at the regional, is one of three competitors entering at 6-feet. The top mark in the competition is 6-7 and then there's a log jam of jumpers between 6-feet and 6-6.
Cross will be involved in the competition, which begins a 1 p.m. with the bar resting at 5-10, early. He's scheduled to be the third jumper.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org