Using its biggest home meet as a gauge, the Whetstone High School girls track and field team learned that it can challenge for the championship when it competes in the City League meet Monday, May 12, and Wednesday, May 14, at Mifflin.
Whetstone won three events and scored 72 points in the 15-team Braves Invitational on April 30 to place second, behind Watterson (76.5) and ahead of 12 City teams and DeSales.
Eastmoor Academy (70.5) finished third, with Northland (58), DeSales (50), Columbus East (47), Centennial (43), Africentric (39), Independence (20) and Marion-Franklin (19) rounding out the top 10.
"As far as competing for the city championship goes, our goal is to improve on our third-place finish last season," coach Kofi Owusu-Ansah said. "I believe we have put ourselves in position to do just that. However, everything has to come together and our sprinters and throwers will have to step up and meet the standard set by our distance girls.
"Eastmoor, Northland, and Centennial I believe are the best teams in our league. If we bring our best at the city championship, we can compete with them and possibly pull out a title."
Finishing first in the Braves Invitational were Liz Khoury in the 800 meters (2 minutes, 32.77 seconds), the 3,200 relay of Helen Davis, Corrin Moss, Julianna Hausman and Khoury (10:23.64) and the 1,600 relay of Khoury, Alissa Fair, Alasha Williams and Bianca McLemore (4:18.96).
"I think we are just hitting our stride after a rough start to the season," Owusu-Ansah said. "We competed well at the Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South (on April 25). That shows that we can be a very competitive team when we are fully loaded."
Whetstone placed sixth (77) in the seven-team Wildcat Invitational behind champion Westerville South (163).
In the Braves Invitational, the distance medley relay of Moss, Kellie Chin, Hausman and Davis placed second (14:16.24), and finishing third were the 800 sprint medley relay of Fair, Emily Morrison, Williams and McLemore (1:58.64) and Williams in the 200 (27.21).
Edwina Amagnoh placed fourth in the shot put (28 feet, 10 1/4 inches) and fifth in the discus (85-2) and Elizabeth Schwartz finished fifth in the 1,600 (6:01.89).
"Many girls were impressive," Owusu-Ansah said. "Our most outstanding performer was Liz Khoury. Alasha Williams was also very impressive and Edwina Amagnoh scored well for us in the throws. Julianna Hausman, Helen Davis, Corrin Moss, Bianca McLemore and Kellie Chin were also key contributors to our success.
"Williams, Fair, Davis and Moss have been surprise standouts so far. They all work extremely hard, so it was only a matter of time before their success showed through."
The boys team finished 11th (19) in the 15-team Braves Invitational behind champion Eastmoor (91.5). Independence (58) and Watterson (56.5) rounded out the top three.
Evan Myers had the Braves' highest finish, placing second in the 1,600 (5:03.28). The 3,200 relay of Hayden Palmer, Matt Hausman, Clayton Peacock and Alec Waitkus finished fourth (8:51.28) and the distance medley relay of Palmer, Peacock, Sam Green-Lauber and Edwin Amagnoh was fifth (12:13.77).
The Braves finished seventh (17) in the Wildcat Invitational behind champion Pickerington Central (171).
Baseball team still racking up wins
The baseball team was 14-3 overall and 9-0 in the City-North Division entering the week.
"The team is playing very well and we are happy with the way things have gone so far," coach Tim Broskie said. "We all understand that this week is going to be a very big week of baseball, with five games, including Centennial (on May 7) and finishing (league play and the regular season) at Northland (on Friday, May 9)."
If Whetstone wins the City-North, it will secure a berth in the City championship game, which will be played May 22 at a site to be determined.
Pitching is among the Braves' strengths this season.
"The pitching has been solid. Jon Jannazo is a very good pitcher who has won six games," Broskie said. "Quinten Pruneau has developed into a solid No. 2 and he has also given us quality innings. Sam Price, Nick Hall, Zach Barnum and Eric Kavinsky have pitched well when their number has been called."
Through 17 games, Jannazo was 6-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 34 2/3 innings, Pruneau was 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 innings and Price and Barnum both were 2-0.
Among the Braves' leading hitters through 17 games were Price (.456 batting average, 27 runs, 25 RBI), Chris Hutchings (.422, 23 runs, 14 RBI), Barnum (.407, 26 runs, 23 RBI), Pruneau (.404, 26 runs, 13 RBI), Matt Way (.351) and Justin Stern (.349, 14 RBI).
"We just want to stay consistent and stay hungry," Broskie said. "Our players have put (the) team first all year. We just need to continue to do that.
"Our offense has been good, although we need to do a better job of getting the two-out hit with runners in scoring position."
Softball coach not pleased with results
Even though it has an opportunity to compete for the City championship again and finish with a winning record, the softball team has not met the expectations of coach Larry Peck thus far this season.
Whetstone was 7-7 overall and 7-1 in the City-North before playing Beechcroft on May 5, but the Braves entered the week 0-6 against non-league opponents.
"I'm not pleased with our non-league record, not pleased with our inability to hold leads in games against Centennial (a 4-3 loss in eight innings April 11) and Reynoldsburg (a 10-9 loss on April 26), not pleased that we've taken way too many called third strikes and not pleased with the amount of strikeouts by our pitchers," Peck said. "Probably the biggest disappointment is that we have not been able to put our best team on the field, except for two times the whole year, due to several reasons.
"I see the potential with this team, but I'm not sure we will reach our potential. Let me say that I am pleased with the effort the girls have given, for the most part."
The Braves built a 3-0 lead against Centennial, but the Stars scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, one in the seventh and one in the eighth. The teams played their second league contest May 7.
Against Reynoldsburg, Whetstone led 5-2 through three innings and was ahead 9-5 before allowing four runs in the bottom of the sixth and one in the seventh.
"Bailey Waitkus and Gwyn Armstrong are two freshmen who are playing well and I'm happy with the development of Ryleigh Porter as a pitcher," Peck said. "I think seniors Mara Diaz and Emily Tuttle have played well, too. Both Maddie Wilming and Ryleigh Porter had little varsity pitching experience and they have both learned a great deal. Both have a lot of growth potential, great attitudes and have made good progress."