Led by its sprinters and middle distance corps, the Africentric Early College girls track and field team captured a share of the Division III regional championship in 2007.
There might not have been a better group of sprinters than the five who helped the Nubians come close to that finish in this year's regional meet.
Led by senior Kyrah Jones and junior Emoni Hudson, Africentric scored 45 points to place third behind Columbus School for Girls (70) and Columbus Academy (57) in the regional held May 28 and 30 at Fairfield Union.
"We got stronger throughout the season," coach Clayton Wrighter said. "We expected Emoni to get third or fourth (in the 100 meters), but Kyrah and Emoni went one-two. We expected Kyrah to do well, but she ended up getting first (in the 100) and first (in the 200). The pleasant surprise was the (800 relay). We put that together kind of late and they went further than we thought they would."
Jones won the 100 in 12.78 seconds, with Hudson taking second (12.85), and won the 200 in 25.81.
The 400 relay of Hudson, Jones and juniors Rhenana Taylor and Dajanique Franks took second (50.15) and the 800 relay of freshman Destinae Shepard, Franks, Hudson and Taylor finished third (1:48.28).
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet, which will be held Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Ohio State.
Also placing at regional but failing to advance were Hudson in the 200 (seventh, 26.86) and senior Ayrielle Stith in the discus (eighth, 112 feet, 4 inches) and shot put (10th, 33-1 1/2).
Competing at state in Division I will be Northland's 400 relay.
At regional held May 28 and 30 at Pickerington North, juniors Mariah Nevels and Armani Skipper, senior Kennedy Dulaney and junior Ariel Skipper combined to run 48.97 to place fourth in the event.
It marked the seventh consecutive race that the relay had broken its previous-best time. The relay has broken the program record in its last three races.
It's a relay that had its "ups and downs" during the regular season, according to coach Tom Fast.
"I'm so proud of them," Fast said. "Mariah got us out pretty well. Different teams have different strategies in the finals than in the semifinals and we were pretty much third after the first two legs before one of the teams crept up on (Dulaney) and I think we were in fifth when Armani got the stick. Once she hit that straightaway, that's where we made up the time."
Also at regional for Northland, Nevels finished 10th in the long jump (15-6). Nevels had cleared 16-7 1/2 in the district 3 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby, a length that would have given her fourth place if she could have duplicated it at the regional.
"Our relay started off having a good season, but we just broke our school record for the first time last week (at district)," Nevels said.
Northland scored five points at regional to tie for 31st behind champion Pickerington Central (75) as 41 teams scored.
Advancing to state in Division II was Columbus International senior Timia Easley, who won the state championship in the long jump the past two seasons in Division III. She placed fourth (16-5 3/4) at regional held May 29 and 31 at Lexington.
Easley scored five points at regional as International tied for 31st behind champion Orrville (63) as 42 teams scored.
Also in Division II, Columbus East placed 26th with nine points but did not have any state qualifiers and Beechcroft scored four points to tie for 33rd, as the Cougars' 800 relay of Ramyus Conteh, Tivia Hylton, Ahmel Roberson and Dayana Banks finished seventh (1:48.68), Banks took seventh in the 200 (26.75) and their 400 relay of Conteh, Banks, Roberson and Jamerah Reaves was 11th (52.05).
Eastmoor's Jackson wins boys regional
Although Eastmoor Academy boys coach Jason Lewis was disappointed that his team didn't have more success in the Division II district meet, he couldn't have been happier with the performance of senior Cameron Jackson.
Jackson won the 110 hurdles (14.56) in the regional at Lexington, edging Watterson's Dominic Lombardi (14.71).
"He'll be in lane (No.) 4 in one of the heats," Lewis said. "He was able to beat Lombardi."
Eastmoor finished ninth (22) at regional behind champion Pemberville Eastwood (61) as 46 teams scored.
Also advancing to state for Eastmoor was the 1,600 relay of seniors Will Anderson, Shamar Hutchinson and Todd Roddy and junior George Daniels (third, 3:20.36).
"We ran in the fastest (1,600 relay in a regional final) in the state and we got third," Lewis said. "We lost both the (400 and 800 relays) at district and they were both ranked second in the state, so we were a little disappointed, but we had some good performances (at regional)."
Also advancing to state in Division II was Linden-McKinley sophomore Jeffery Floyd, who took second in the high jump (6-6).
East tied for 22nd (11) at regional in Division II but did not have any state qualifiers. Placing fifth for the Tigers were sophomore Asa Burke in the 200 (22.87) and junior Isiah Carter in the long jump (21-3/4).
Qualifying for state in Division I was Centennial junior Chisom Ifedi, who took second in the long jump (21-8 3/4) in the regional at Pickerington North.
CCS lacrosse team makes regional final
The Columbus City Schools boys lacrosse team ended its season in a regional final of the 24-team club tournament.
CCS beat Morrow Little Miami 18-6 in a first-round game May 24 before losing to Bellbrook 26-6 on May 28 to finish 10-6. It marks the program's first winning season.
"We got a lot of new players that had played before and they helped bring our level up," coach Robert Corby said.
CCS had six players who attend Columbus City Schools. However, because it is central Ohio's only club team, it also drew five players from Grove City, four from Hartley and two from Watterson.
Seniors Geion Cousar (Independence), Jacob Henderson (Reynoldsburg) and Isaac Keeno (Columbus Downtown) and junior Yassine Djafi (Linden) were captains.
Grove City sophomore Ryan Williamson and Whetstone freshman Miles Poff also were key players in their first seasons with the program.
Other seniors were Watterson's Reel Chaudhri and Brendan Ryan, Brookhaven's Jaevon Gillispie, Grove City's Colin Nicholson and Olentangy Orange's Brandon Ritter.
"We do (have some return-ees), but again, we might lose some players because Grove City might be getting a team next year," Corby said. "There were a lot more club teams in the area last year, but they all went to (varsity status) because (the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association) is trying to do away with the club model."
Local baseball teams finish strong
The Northland, Brookhaven and Beechcroft baseball teams all had positive finishes to their seasons.
Northland lost to Westerville North 11-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 12 but closed with wins over Brookhaven (3-1 on May 20) and East (13-3 on May 21). The Vikings finished 13-5 overall and third (10-4) in the City-North Division behind Whetstone (14-0) and Centennial (11-3).
Northland loses three senior starters in Justin Hill (1B), Clay Siens (C) and Dante Smith (OF) as well as backup utility player Nathan Harris.
Juniors A.J. Seum (P/INF) and Gary Miller (P/SS/3B) were among the top players. Freshman Tyler Stewart stepped into a key role as a pitcher.
"Things were up and down this spring because of the weather and we've made a few more errors than we have in the past," said Dean Washington, who completed his 29th season as coach. "We're pleased but we're not happy. We have seven or eight who will play (this) summer and that's always going to help."
Brookhaven finished 12-13 overall and fourth (9-5) in the league in its final season.
The Bearcats won their first postseason game since 2001 when they beat Columbus South 15-3 on May 13 at home and lost to Bloom-Carroll 10-0 in a second-round Division II district tournament game May 16.
Then on May 19, junior pitcher Brian Brockman struck out nine and gave up no hits as the Bearcats beat Beechcroft 13-2 in five innings.
The final game in program history was the loss to Northland the next day.
For the game against South, Brookhaven had the number 63 mowed into the grass as a remembrance to the school being opened in 1963. The school also had 1963-2014 painted on the grass.
"We basically accomplished all of our goals this year," coach Joe Krabill said. "This was my fifth year, and I think we've improved every year I've been here."
The seniors were Ne'Tronne Backus (1B), Keandre Powell (OF) and Robert Walker (OF).
Brockman led a junior class that also included Giovaughnni Bonner (2B/P), Trevette Knight (P/2B/3B), Steven Pelletier (INF), Charles Peppers (3B) and Fortese Smith (P/OF).
Beechcroft lost to Licking Valley 16-1 on May 13 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.
On May 20, the Cougars beat East 11-8 in the completion of a game from April 4 and then earned a sweep of the Tigers with a 13-9 win. Beechcroft finished 4-16 overall and 4-10 in the league. It loses seniors Jordan Nalls (P/INF) and Nashon Owens (3B).
Softball teams conclude seasons
The Beechcroft, Brookhaven and Northland softball teams all won seven games.
The Cougars went 7-6 overall and 7-5 in the City-North to finish third behind Centennial (14-0) and Whetstone (12-2).
The Vikings went 7-11 overall and 7-6 in the league to place fourth and the Bearcats followed at 7-9 overall and 5-6 in the league during their final season.
Northland, which lost to Reynoldsburg 15-4 in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 13, loses seniors Bradishia Foster (INF/OF), Kiana Hayes (2B) and Madelyn Smith (C). Juniors Carli Codner-Pinto, Joelle Freeman and Johely Martin, sophomore NaTaysia Edmonds and freshman Skyler Babcock should be among the key returnees.
"It was a great group of young ladies," coach Dan Zedeker said.
Brookhaven, which lost to Hartley 20-0 on May 15 in the second round of the Division II district tournament, had six seniors in Angel Byrne, Elects Collins, Lorraine Danglade, Taylor Hoover, Essence Jones and D'Ache Rankin.
Coach Chuck Andrick was the Bearcats' coach the last 10 seasons and is expected to be a part of the Beechcroft football coaching staff.
Beechcroft, which lost to Centennial 12-10 on May 12 in the first round of the Division II district tournament, loses six seniors in Starlah Germany, Stephanie Ibarra, Elizabeth Ramos, Mary Stewart, Janea Walburg and Alyssa Wright.
Mandy Cox, who completed her third season as coach but is expecting her third child in September, isn't planning to return.
"Our last game was our tournament game (and we) lost 12-10 to Centennial," Cox said. "(It was the) perfect way to end the season. My girls played hard and didn't give up."