A new home venue and a strong indoor performance may help buoy the St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team in the outdoor season.
The Cardinals, who have a new track facility, feature a 1,600-meter relay of junior Emmit Bryan, junior Quentin Francis, senior Justin Law and sophomore Greg Suh that finished sixth (3 minutes, 26.97 seconds) in the Division I state indoor meet March 8 at the University of Akron.
"We're really excited about the season with the new track and our ability to have a home meet," 10th-year coach Al Hostetler said. "Plus, we had a great indoor season and our (1,600 relay) is running three seconds faster than it was at this time last year. We're really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the outdoor season."
The Cardinals, who have a home meet Wednesday, April 16, against Bexley and Licking Heights, used Columbus School for Girls' facilities in the past.
St. Charles had a weight room and outdoor track complex completed last summer. The facility also includes a 20-meter indoor track for training during bad weather. Hostetler said the new facility will have the biggest impact on his athletes in field events.
"We now have access to space where (field-event athletes) can work out on their own, so hopefully they will get better and better," said Hostetler, whose team opened April 5 by finishing seventh (50) in the 16-team Wildcat Premier behind champion and host Hilliard Davidson (117). "I feel good at where we are at. The kids will come in and learn how to specialize in their events because in the past we didn't have a place (on campus) to work on jumping or throwing."
The Cardinals return one Division I state qualifier in Bryan, who finished 13th in the 400 (50.68).
Bryan ran a personal-best 49.51 to place third in the 400 in the regional meet, as the top four finishers in each event advanced to state.
Other returning regional qualifiers are seniors Ben Carlisle and Elliot Narcross and junior Nick Marino. Carlisle and Narcross joined Bryan and 2013 graduate Will Herriman to finish 11th in the 1,600 relay (3:29.81) and Marino joined Herriman and 2013 graduates Connor Bowman and Tom Krajnak to finish seventh in the 3,200 relay (8:10.94).
Hostetler said the top sprinters will include Francis, Law, Suh, senior Najeem Babatunde, sophomore Casey Culhane and first-year senior John Quinn. Senior George Simms and junior Josh Graham are the top throwers.
Seniors Andrew Brown and Alex Polinskova are the top hurdlers, while Marino and juniors Brendan Harty and Nathan Herriman lead the distance corps. Sophomore Joseph Shepardson is expected to lead in the high jump and long jump.
"We have a balance in terms of (grade levels) and in the sprints, distance and field events," Hostetler said. "We have talent at all levels and they are competing and pushing each other. I'm excited about the progress we are making."
Volleyball team has mix of youth, vets
The volleyball team returns two seniors and an all-region performer from a team that finished 11-6 overall.
Junior Will Eichel, who was honorable mention all-region last season as an outside hitter, has moved to setter and senior Kevin Summers, who was an opposite hitter, now plays libero. Senior Jonathan Zins returns at outside hitter.
"We are led by our two seniors and have strong classes of juniors and sophomores who should make more strides throughout the season," said first-year coach Ned Gruber, whose team was 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the CCL after losing to DeSales 15-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-17, 15-4 on April 4. "One of our strengths is our mix of players. We have added some athletes who do not have much experience playing the sport. If you combine those players with our core group that has been playing offseason volleyball for several years, we have diversity, which brings more competition to practice."
Rounding out the roster are juniors Andrew Fernandez (outside hitter), Max Fernandez (outside hitter), Simon Fernandez (setter/defensive specialist), Abram Haghnazari (outside hitter), Joe Huey (middle hitter), Henry Sarko (middle hitter) and Marc Sullivan (outside hitter), sophomores Drew Bidstrup (setter), Justin Doney (opposite hitter), Michael Lanese (outside hitter) and Michael West (libero) and freshman Nicholas Musynski (opposite hitter).
"We are always working on passing, and it's not good enough yet to accomplish the goals we have set as a team," said Gruber, a 2009 St. Charles graduate. "We need to understand the importance of the serve-pass battle, which determines the outcome of each match."
Tennis team perfect through two matches
The tennis team was 2-0 and had won all 10 courts entering its first-round match of the OTCA state team tournament April 8 against Columbus West.
The Cardinals opened with a 5-0 win over Ready on April 1 in a CCL match. Winning at singles were Evan Yakubov (first), Sam Sullivan (second) and Vinh Thai (third), while Connor Yakubov and Will Niermeyer won at first doubles and David Kellogg and Conner Mentel won at second doubles.
On April 2, St. Charles won 5-0 over Westerville North as Evan Yakubov, Sullivan and Connor Yakubov won in singles. The doubles teams of Thai and Mentel and Kellogg and Alex Dabek also won.
Baseball team drops opener to UA
The baseball team was 3-1 before opening CCL play April 7 against Watterson.
The Cardinals opened April 1 with a 7-3 loss to Upper Arlington. Matt Cooke tripled, singled and scored a run. Jacob Weikert had two singles and Andrew Fenlon drove in two runs with a single and a walk.
St. Charles defeated Reynoldsburg 12-2 in five innings April 4. The Cardinals beat Teays Valley 2-1 and Pickerington Central 3-2 on April 5.
Lacrosse team wins three of first five
The lacrosse team was 3-2 before playing Westerville North on April 8.
The Cardinals lost to Olentangy Liberty 9-4 in their opener March 26 and defeated Dublin Scioto 10-4 on March 28. They lost to Worthington Kilbourne 13-3 on March 29.
On April 2, Mitch Spaulding had five goals and Lukas Johnson scored three as St. Charles defeated Wellington 13-0. John Browne scored twice and Jack Cleary had two saves.
St. Charles then defeated Thomas Worthington 7-6 in overtime April 5.