Coach Al Hostetler is trying to figure out where many of his athletes can best help the St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team.
The Cardinals return five regional qualifiers and, according to Hostetler, have several athletes ready to excel.
"I think it's going be a fun season," said Hostetler, whose team opened April 6 by finishing 19th (10) in the 21-team Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson behind champion Pickerington North (130). "We don't have any star athletes, but we have a lot of very good athletes and have a good, well-rounded team."
The five regional qualifiers are seniors Myles Everett, Will Herriman, John Radney and Brady Wilson and junior Ben Carlisle. They got a jump on the season by competing during the winter and reached the Division I indoor state meet March 16 at the University of Akron.
Carlisle, Wilson, Herriman and junior Elliot Narcross finished 10th in the 1,600-meter relay (3 minutes, 29.29 seconds) and Carlisle, Wilson, Herriman and Radney placed 12th in the 800 relay (1:33.26).
Last spring in the Division I regional, Herriman, Carlisle and Wilson joined 2012 graduate Stevyn Spees on the sixth-place 1,600 relay (3:20.55). Wilson, Everett, Radney and Spees finished 11th in the 800 relay (1:32.09) and Herriman was 15th in the 300 hurdles (42.04) as the Cardinals tied for 18th (13) behind champion Pickerington North (60) as 38 teams scored.
Spees, who competes at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., finished third in the 400 (48.65) at state as St. Charles tied for 33rd (6) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (48) as 70 teams scored.
"We have a new team, and I'm happy with that," said Hostetler, who is in his ninth season. "We have a lot of new athletes and I'm not sure where they fit yet."
Also returning are seniors Connor Bowman (distance), Evan Brown (sprints), Tom Krajnak (distance), Phil LaFleur (throws), Sean Prendergast (hurdles), Daniel Schmeling (throws) and Brian Vetter (distance), juniors David Heil (throws) and Justin Law (sprints) and sophomore Nick Marino (distance).
New competitors include junior Najeem Babatunde and sophomore Quentin Francis.
"Najeem is strong and I like his speed," Hostetler said of the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder. "He's new to the sport and would be a perfect decathlete."
In the 16-team district 2 meet last year, St. Charles finished eighth (29) behind champion New Albany (100.5).
In the CCL meet, the Cardinals finished second (126) behind DeSales (157) and ahead of Ready (68) and Watterson (58).
"We have a bunch of seniors, a bunch of juniors and some good sophomores coming in who are good athletes," Hostetler said. "We have a new track that is almost finished with it still needing the surface to be completed. I like the direction St. Charles track is going."
Tennis team features 'versatility and depth'
The tennis team features six returning letterwinners in seniors Jack Groeber and Trey Stranges, juniors David Kellogg, Connor Mentel and William Niermeyer and sophomore Connor Yakubov.
"We have a lot of versatility and depth," said coach Linda Myers, who is in her fifth season. "We have been deep before and it's good because it allows us to have the strategy to switch things around."
Freshman Sam Sullivan was expected to be at No. 1 singles when the Cardinals opened April 9 against Hartley, although Yakubov was competing for the spot.
Other key players are sophomore Stephen Susa and freshmen Alex Dabek, Colin O'Connor and Connor Timmons.
"(Yakubov) has been having shoulder problems and hasn't been able to serve consistently, so Sam Sullivan will start at No. 1 singles," said Myers, whose team went 8-9 in duals last season and finished 3-1 in the CCL, behind DeSales (4-0) and ahead of Watterson (2-2), Ready (1-3) and Hartley (0-4). "Our (Nos.) 3 through 8 players are pretty even. Any given day they can beat one another."
Last season, the doubles team of 2012 graduates Michael Susa and Stuart Swartz missed reaching the Division I state tournament by one match, losing to Dublin Jerome's Jared Judson and Frank Kuo 6-4, 6-0 in a district quarterfinal.
"We have players who want to compete and there are not a lot of gaps in our lineup," Myers said. "We had a rough start to the preseason because of the weather, but other than that things have been great. We have a lot of energy and a lot of eagerness and I'm excited to get things started."
Baseball team wins four of first five
The baseball team went 4-1 on its season-opening trip to ESPN-Disney spring training in Kissimmee, Fla.
"The nice thing about it is that we won, but we didn't feel like we played great baseball," coach Ray Benjamin said.
The Cardinals won their opener April 1, defeating Pittsford (N.Y.) Mendon 9-1 before losing to Mount Washington (Ky.) Bullitt East 10-3 later that day.
Against Mendon, Lucas Glover doubled and singled, Patrick Quinlan singled twice and Jonathan Ogden was the winning pitcher. Trey Willard took the loss against Bullitt East.
On April 3, St. Charles defeated Spencerport (N.Y.) 10-4 as Chris Brake had a double, two singles and three RBI. Quinlan had two singles, scored twice and drove in three, and Louie Altomare had two singles and scored once. Jared Kitzler was the winning pitcher.
Brake and Jacob Wiekert both doubled and had two RBI in a 7-4 win over Bristol (Pa.) in 10 innings April 5. Altomare and Charlie Kolp both doubled and Andrew Fenlon had two singles. Ogden pitched eight innings with seven strikeouts and one walk, but Glover got the win in relief.
Also April 5, St. Charles defeated Medford (N.J.) Shawnee 5-2 as Kolp had three singles and two RBI and Eric Heiden had three singles. Ryan Bailey had two singles and scored twice, and Willard gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings to get the win.
"Getting down (to Florida) and getting a lot of at bats will help us improve a lot," Benjamin said. "It helped that we had a veteran ballclub and that we were able to adjust to our surroundings."
Lacrosse team starts season
The lacrosse team defeated Lakewood St. Edward 10-9 in the St. Charles Invitational on April 7 and was 2-2 before playing Pickerington North on April 10.
St. Charles lost its opener to Worthington Kilbourne 12-5 on March 26 before defeating Bexley 9-5 on April 3. Ryan Cleary, David Shuster and Marcus Ward all scored two goals against the Lions, and John Browne, Nick Carter and Brian Doney scored one apiece.
In the first round of the St. Charles Invitational, the Cardinals lost to Toledo St. John's 11-7 on April 6.