Alex Polinsky got his first taste of the Division I state track and field meet, but he would have liked more.
On June 6 at Ohio State, the St. Charles Preparatory School senior competed in the 400-meter relay with seniors Justin Law and Najeem Babatunde and junior Casey Culhane. They finished 11th in the preliminaries in 42.88 seconds, as the top two in each heat and the next five best times advanced to the final June 7. Troy secured the ninth and final qualifying spot with a 42.73.
"This is my first time at state and we wanted to get on the podium," Polinsky said. "I thought we would be ready (for the atmosphere), I felt good about it, but there are a lot of good people here."
The Cardinals did not score at state. Cleveland Glenville won (40 points) with Pickerington North second (34) as 71 teams scored.
"This group on the relay has come a long way," 10th-year coach Al Hostetler said. "Three of the four are seniors and they run 11.7 or 11.8 (in the 100), so for them to finish like they have been is great."
The 400 relay finished second (season-best 42.6) behind Westerville Central (42.47) in the regional meet May 28 and 30 at Pickerington North after it won the district 2 title (43.2) on May 24 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each district event advanced to regional, and the top four in each regional event advanced to state.
The Cardinals tied for 22nd (10) at regional behind champion Pickerington North (74) as 37 teams scored. St. Charles was eighth (40) in district 2 behind champion Watkins Memorial (108) as 17 teams scored.
Junior Emmit Bryan finished seventh in the 400 (49.51) at regional after finishing third (48.82) at district.
The 1,600 relay of Bryan, Law, sophomore Greg Suh and junior Quentin Francis was ninth (3:24.92) at regional after finishing fourth (3:23.39) at district.
Senior David Heil finished 14th in the discus (124 feet, 5 inches) at regional after finishing fourth (138-2) at district.
"We had (14) seniors and five or six who were major contributors," Hostetler said. "It will be tough to see them go because they were great leaders."
The Cardinals won their second consecutive CCL title in the league meet May 15 and 17 at DeSales. It was their fifth title in six years and ninth in 13 seasons.
St. Charles scored 188 points to finish ahead of Watterson (123.5), DeSales (91), Hartley (56.5) and Ready (27).
The Cardinals finished first and second in four events -- the 200 (Bryan, 22.1; Babatunde, 23.8), 400 (Bryan, 51.1; Law, 52.7), 800 (Francis, 2:04.1; senior Anthony Schneider, 2:04.6) and 3,200 (freshman Kevin Hennessey, 10:03.1; junior Brendan Harty, 10:03.8).
"We should have a good group coming back," Hostetler said.
"Facing elite competition (at regional and state) will help to make them better. It pushes them to get better."
Shuffling lineup pays off for lacrosse team
The lacrosse team finished 12-7 overall after losing at fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty 7-1 on May 24 in the first round of the Division I Central Region tournament.
The eighth-seeded Cardinals defeated visiting 13th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 11-4 on May 22 in a play-in game.
"We had so many players contribute to play on the field, it took us a while to figure out just where each player best fit," second-year coach Mark Berndt said. "By the end of the season, our team played really well together on both ends of the field. Each player understood his role within the team and embraced his individual challenge. We seemed to have a different player step up and make a big play each game."
Senior defender Kevin Caldwell was second-team all-region. Senior attacker Ryan Cleary (27 goals, 24 assists) and senior face-off specialist Brian Doney were honorable mention all-region.
Senior attacker John Browne added 19 goals and eight assists.
"This was a great senior class because all eight of them contributed significantly on the field and they provided strong leadership to our younger players," Berndt said. "Our program took a solid step forward, and our seniors were a big reason why."
Junior goalkeeper Nic Carducci was second-team all-region with 133 saves and a 59.0 save percentage. Junior goalie Jack Cleary had 38 saves and a 59.0 save percentage.
Top scorers expected to return are junior midfielder Nick Carter (24 goals, 4 assists), freshman midfielder Alex Shuster (12 goals, 5 assists) and freshman attacker Mitch Spaulding (30 goals, 7 assists).
Also expected to return are juniors William Buster (defender), Andrew DiNapoli (defender), Matthew Drought (midfielder), Eddie Glace (midfielder), Aaron Kebe (midfielder), Brandon King (defender), Andy Moore (defender), Ryan Panzera (midfielder), Zachary Parker (attacker), Liam Sullivan (midfielder) and Spencer Ward (midfielder) and sophomore Lukas Johnson (attacker).
"We will have a very deep group of 14 seniors next year who all gained varsity experience this year," Berndt said. "Additionally, our j.v. team went 13-3, and I expect many of those players to push, not just for varsity roster spots, but for significant playing time."