Again this season, Eastmoor Academy is a safe place to start when determining where the City League's best sprint corps will reside.
The defending Division II state champion girls track and field team might have central Ohio's best athlete in junior Cheyanne Carter. She earned 20 points individually and ran on the state-champion 800-meter relay a year ago as the Warriors scored 58 points to win the third title in program history.
The boys team has won three consecutive City championships and returns most of its key athletes.
"Nobody on (the boys) team has ever lost a City championship," boys coach Jason Lewis said. "We believe we've got the firepower to win district and our goal is to try to prepare for (defending state champion Akron) St. Vincent-St. Mary and (Dayton) Dunbar."
On April 5 in the 13-team Eastmoor Invitational, Carter won the 100 (15.44 seconds), 200 (26.59) and long jump (16 feet, 2 1/4 inches) and ran on the first-place 800 relay (1:51.1) with senior Dajah Anderson and juniors Sakinah Robinson and Gianni Ross. The girls scored 90 points to place second behind Grove City (127).
The boys were first (155) that day and won seven events, including senior Cameron Jackson in the 110 hurdles (14.76) and junior Elijah Barber in the 300 hurdles (40.99).
Other key athletes for the boys include seniors Will Anderson (middle distance), Shamar Hutchinson (hurdles), Martine Perez (sprints), Todd Roddy (sprints), Jarrelle Toller (sprints, long jump) and Nigel Woodard-Hinton (sprints) and juniors Malik Cavin (sprints) and George Daniels (middle distance, long jump).
The Independence boys team, which scored 130.5 points to finish second to Eastmoor (132) in the league meet a year ago, is led by senior sprinters DeAntae Townsend and Eriq Shaw.
Also looking to contribute are seniors Anthony Bange (sprints) and Marquise Gillyard (middle distance) and junior Antonyo Lavender (sprints).
Sophomore Ronnie Kuipers could be a key sprinter.
"We're looking for another good season," coach Maurice Douglas said. "We've moved back to Division I this year, so we'll do what we can and see what we can do."
CCS lacrosse team 'getting better'
Among the 18 players out for the Columbus City Schools boys lacrosse team are six returnees, including senior captains Isaac Keeno (defender) and Jacob Henderson (defender), who attend Columbus Downtown and Reynoldsburg, respectively.
Keeno and Henderson share captain duties with Linden-McKinley junior Yassine Djafi (goalkeeper).
CCS opened with a 10-6 win over Clinton County on March 29 and also beat Clinton County 12-6 on April 12. The Terrapins, who also lost to Marysville 15-2 on April 1, played Jonathan Alder on April 14 and Westerville South on April 16. Their game April 5 against Butler County was postponed.
"We're getting better," third-year coach Robert Corby said. "We should win a lot of games this year. I think our skill level has increased. Really they just have to practice as a team, and that depends on them coming to practice and working hard."
CCS is among five teams from central Ohio -- the others are Buckeye Valley, Jonathan Alder, Johnstown and Licking Valley -- competing in the 25-team Club Division.
In addition to Columbus and Reynoldsburg, CCS has players from Grove City, Hartley, Watterson and Whitehall.
Also back from last season are Hartley junior Jake Bommer (attacker), Independence senior Geion Cousar (midfielder) and Hartley sophomores Niels Grunden (midfielder) and Jack Tilson (midfielder).
Grove City sophomores Cody McKenzie (midfielder) and Ryan Williamson (attacker), Grove City freshman Vinny Craft (midfielder) and Whitehall freshman Camden Hoffman (attacker) also are key players.
"There are only (25) club teams in Ohio and Marysville, Delaware and Big Walnut all went varsity, so we are the only central Columbus team," Corby said. "These players actually came to us. Our area is Columbus City Schools, but players outside are eligible to play for us."
Cougars, Bearcats begin tennis seasons
The Beechcroft boys tennis team has a new look after losing senior Jason Rojas, who played first singles last season but is not back with the squad.
Taking over his spot is junior Daniel Bishoff, with senior John Stone at second singles and junior Mario Lopez playing third singles.
Sophomores Branden Matney and Damian Echols are playing first doubles and junior Ibrahim Sesay and sophomore Elijah Mix are at second doubles.
Beechcroft, which went 8-5 overall and 8-4 in the City to finish fourth last year, opened with a 5-0 win over Linden on March 31.
The Cougars beat Briggs 5-0 on April 8 and Whitehall 4-1 on April 10 and lost to Whetstone 5-0 on April 9 to fall to 1-1 in the City-North. Beechcroft returns to league action Monday, April 23, at Brookhaven.
"We've had a few unexpected changes in our roster this year," fifth-year coach Daphne Hess said. "With that being said I'm confident that we are deep enough to be very competitive within the City League."
In the City coaches tournament a year ago, Rojas in singles and the doubles team of Stone and Matney made it to semifinals.
While Northland isn't fielding a team this spring, Brookhaven has two returning players for its final season in senior Emmanuel Osafo and junior Bikash Upreti.
Junior Mike Oettinger is new to the team after playing second singles for Briggs last year.
Also playing are seniors Dhaka Khatiwada and Dina Tiwari, juniors Anjan Biswa and Sudhir Sharma and sophomores Emmanuel Nuako and Benod Sinchuri.
"We just want to have fun," said fifth-year coach Malik McWhorter, whose team was 2-4 overall and in the league last year. "Everyone's going to alternate and get a chance to play."