Inconsistency has enabled New Albany High School track and field standout Alex Frye to stay grounded even though he's become one of central Ohio's top high jumpers in his first season competing in the event.

Inconsistency has enabled New Albany High School track and field standout Alex Frye to stay grounded even though he's become one of central Ohio's top high jumpers in his first season competing in the event.

"That's definitely been the toughest thing I've had to overcome," he said before posting the top height (6 feet, 2 inches) as Pickerington Central won the two-competitor high jump relay (combined 12-0) on April 18 in the Gahanna Relays. "I'm definitely not consistent right now. I've already missed my opening height (6-0) once, so I know there's still a lot I've got to learn."

Still, the junior had posted the area's best height coming out of the Dublin Coffman Classic on April 14, when he cleared 6-8 1/4 after opening his outdoor season a week earlier by finishing first (6-6) in the Stingel Invitational on April 7 at Pickerington North. Just a few weeks after trying the high jump for the first time, Frye, who was New Albany's returning hurdler, placed third (6-4) in the indoor state meet March 17 at the University of Akron behind champion Jay Jakovina (6-8) of Austintown-Fitch.

"My form was just horrible at first; I had no bend at all," Frye said with a laugh. "I was jumping 5-6, maybe 5-8. But I kept at it because I really wanted to come in this year and score more in the team points. I figured once I got my form down I'd be OK."

In the first district honor roll last week, Frye also was ranked among central Ohio's leaders in the 110-meter hurdles (seventh, 15.03 seconds) and 300 hurdles (sixth, 40.32). He placed sixth (15.92) in the 110 hurdles in last year's district 1 meet and did not qualify for the final in the 300 hurdles. He's also running with the 1,600 relay, which had recorded the area's fifth fastest time (3:27.44) coming out of the Coffman meet.

"I think the hurdles and high jump are two of the funnest events there are in high school track," Frye said.

His improvement in the hurdles and sudden success in the high jump were key factors in the boys team's strong start. The Eagles posted top-two finishes in each of their first four invitational meets, winning at both Pickerington North and Gahanna in addition to taking the team title in the Yellow Jacket Relays on April 21 at Mount Vernon. They were the runner-up (78) at Coffman behind Hilliard Davidson (82).

"The main thing I need to do now (in the high jump) is driving my knee up and bending over the bar," Frye said. "If I can get two things down a little better, who knows how far I can take this? I know I'm having a lot of fun trying."

Boys tennis team cashing in on freshmen

Despite the presence of classmate Alex Kobelt, whose older brother, Peter, played in four state finals for the Eagles and won two titles, C.J. Cash also has emerged as one of the boys tennis team's top freshmen.

Cash had compiled a 12-1 singles record before the Eagles played Delaware in an OCC-Capital Division match April 24.

Moreover, he already avenged the loss by defeating Kevin Brown of Toledo St. John's 4-6, 6-1 (10-6) in the final to win the third-singles flight April 14 in the Lakewood St. Edward Invitational. A day earlier, Cash posted a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Connor Michelich in the deciding match of New Albany's 3-2 victory at Westlake.

"Coach (Andrew Sinclair) always says pressure is a privilege," Cash said. "That was the first time I've had a high school match come down to me, but I wasn't nervous; I've played in some pressure situations before (competing in USTA events)."

Alex Kobelt, who was the second-singles flight runner-up at St. Edward and the only other New Albany player to advance to the finals, and Cash both won their matches during a 4-1 home victory over Dublin Jerome in an OTCA team match April 19. The Eagles advanced to meet Upper Arlington in a district semifinal. They eliminated the Golden Bears 3-2 in a district semifinal last season en route to placing fourth at state.
New Albany's next trip takes it to the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, the site for the ATP's Western & Southern Open, to play both Lexington and Cincinnati St. Xavier on Saturday, April 28.

"We get to play on the stadium court, the same place where (Spaniard Rafael) Nadal and all the other pros play," Sinclair said. "The Cincinnati schools play their sectional and district tournaments there, so they're used it, but it's a real exciting thing for our boys. It's a wonderful opportunity."