After earning a top-10 finish and having its 400-meter relay win a title at the Division I state meet two seasons ago, the Whetstone High School boys track and field team couldn't sustain that level of success last season.

After earning a top-10 finish and having its 400-meter relay win a title at the Division I state meet two seasons ago, the Whetstone High School boys track and field team couldn't sustain that level of success last season.

With more than 40 athletes, including a strong distance corps, the Braves should come closer to achieving the success of 2008 than they did a year ago.

The boys and girls teams opened last Tuesday against DeSales and Eastmoor Academy, and return to action April 10 at Big Walnut's Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays.

"We have good numbers and a lot of new faces," boys coach Joe Monda said. "I'm real pleased with the way things are going. (Football coach) Jim Worden is an assistant this year and he's got basically the whole football team out."

The top returnees are seniors Brian Adams (middle distance) and Wade Westbrook (distance) and junior Evan Schwartz (distance).

Schwartz won the City championship in the 3,200 (10 minutes, 26.15 seconds) last year and last fall became the Braves' first state cross country qualifier since 1992. Also last season, he turned in a sixth-place finish in the 3,200 (10:01.74) at the district 1 meet, as the top four advanced to regional.

At the City meet last year, Schwartz finished second (4:43.88) and Westbrook was fifth (4:48.39) in the 1,600 and Westbrook took third in the 3,200 (10:51.04).

Adams was the City runner-up in the 800 (2:03.22) and was sixth (2:01.3) at district.

Junior Jesse Volk returns and should compete in the 200 and 400. He was fifth in the 400 (53.31) in the City last year.

Last season, the Braves placed fifth (40) in the 12-team City League meet, behind champion Eastmoor Academy (99), and then took 16th (6) at district with no regional qualifiers, as Gahanna (123) was first.

"We've got a handful of new weight people, and with the numbers we have we'll be OK," Monda said. "We've got a group of kids that are really working hard and the weather's been great. This is one of the largest teams we've had."

The girls team has about 20 athletes, led by senior Michelle Woods, who was fourth in the 300 hurdles (52.05) at City last year.

Sophomore Rebecca Beech returns to lead the distance corps after placing sixth in the 3,200 (14:01.1) at City. Juniors Erin Beard and Shelby Schaefer and sophomore Emily Moffet should contribute in distance as well.

Senior Madison Mathews, who competed at the City meet in the shot put and discus, will lead the throwers.

Freshman Alexis Harrison could be the top sprinter for the Braves, who failed to make the City finals in either the 400 or 800 relays and finished seventh in the 1,600 relay (4:43.55).

Whetstone finished 10th (15) in the 12-team conference meet, behind champion Northland (147), and did not score in the district 1 meet.

"Our girls (team's) numbers aren't high, but we'll do the best with what we have," second-year coach Kofi Owusu-Ansah said. "We're looking at less than 20 girls, which makes it pretty tough overall from a team standpoint, but we're looking for some individual success."

•The boys volleyball team is hoping to pick up where it left off at the end of last season.

Before losing to Hilliard Davidson 25-8, 25-15, 25-19 in the first round of the Division I East Region tournament, the Braves won three of their final four regular-season matches, including wins over OCC programs Thomas Worthington (25-9, 26-24, 18-25, 25-21) and Westerville South (25-20, 25-14, 13-25, 20-25, 15-11).

Although the Braves have just two seniors in outside hitters Nathan Fletcher and Luke McCormac, they do have a pair of tall sophomores at middle hitter in N.D. Maston (6-foot-6) and Gabe Reece (6-7) to build the offense around.

Juniors Nathan Geiser and Habeeb Al-Ghawi are returnees expected to be the setters in a 6-2 offense. Also back are junior Andrew Bogart (outside hitter) and sophomore Daniel Geiser (middle hitter).

Junior Christian Coleman practiced with the Braves all of last season but was not eligible to play because his home school was Brookhaven. He has since enrolled at Whetstone and will play at outside hitter.

New to the team are seniors Mitch Rhodes (front row) and Tyrone Berger (outside hitter), junior Tom Kocab (back-row specialist) and sophomore Brandon Rhodes (utility).

Last season, Whetstone finished 7-13 overall and placed third in the inaugural season of the Central Ohio Volleyball League at 4-4, behind St. Charles (8-0) and Watterson (6-2) and ahead of Gahanna Christian (2-6) and Licking Heights (0-8). The Braves lost four players to graduation, including Ryan Touhy (second-team all-COVL) and Sam Thomas (honorable mention all-league).

Whetstone opened last Saturday at Dublin Scioto. They defeated Thomas Worthington 25-23, but lost to Scioto 23-25, 25-22, 22-15 and to Delaware 25-21, 25-22. Whetstone played Delaware again last Monday and lost 25-10, 25-16, 25-7. The Eagles played their league opener last Tuesday against St. Charles. The Braves play today at Licking Heights.

"Last year we finished third in the league, and if we could do that again, I'd be tickled pink," coach Errole Rembert said.

•The baseball team opened with a 19-1 win last Monday against Mifflin and also played Hilliard Darby last Tuesday and Linden-McKinley last Wednesday. The Braves play two non-league road games Tuesday against Ready and Gahanna and play host to Walnut Ridge on Wednesday in a non-league game.

•The softball team opened with a 12-2 win last Monday against Mifflin and played Linden last Wednesday. The Braves play host to Big Walnut today and then are off until they play April 10 at Reynoldsburg against Licking Heights and the host Raiders.

•The boys tennis team played its opener against Bloom-Carroll last Tuesday and played last Wednesday at Walnut Ridge. The Braves return to action April 10 when they play host to the Whetstone Invitational.