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Spring season starts to heat up

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Warmer weather finally has arrived in central Ohio, signaling that graduation parties and vacations will be coming soon, as will summer basketball conditioning and the 2013 football season for high school athletes.

The spring sports season for prep athletes tends to get lost in the shuffle, which is a shame.

Particularly with baseball and track and field, there's usually lots of drama.

Pickerington North and Olentangy Orange are the top two seeds for the Division I district baseball tournament, but those teams had better watch out.

During the past 10 district tournaments, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have won only six titles apiece. That fact is reason enough to be intrigued, even with this being the second consecutive year the Central District will have four district champions rather than three.

In track, some of the biggest moments happen during the regional meet, which will be held May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.

Last season, it was questionable whether the Reynoldsburg girls track team would have enough depth to win its fourth consecutive state championship after advancing to state in just seven events.

The Raiders did, but only because they received some of the best performances in state history by 2012 graduates Destinee Gause and Faith Washington.

On the hot seat this year is the Pickerington North boys track team, which returns state championship-caliber individuals like Desmond Palmer but also could have enough depth to compensate if Palmer isn't at his best.

Something else to look forward to in track is the first state wheelchair finals to be held in the 100, 400 and 800 meters and the shot put during the state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.

There's no more polarizing entity in Division I boys lacrosse each year than Upper Arlington, which has won 13 state championships.

As always, the Golden Bears have a great team, but improved play from teams like Mason and Hudson and a younger-but-still-talented Dublin Jerome team won't make it easy on the Bears over the coming weeks.

The area's best girls lacrosse team also resides in UA, and the Bears are motivated after settling for their fourth consecutive Division I state runner-up finish a year ago.

UA lost to Medina 10-9 in the state final last year and lost to the Bees 7-4 on April 27, and the teams won't meet again unless both make it to the state tournament.

In boys tennis, Jerome senior Kent Seitz elected to team with his brother, Adam, in doubles for the postseason, which could open things up a bit in singles in Division I.

Gahanna senior Canyon Teague, Upper Arlington senior Stu Little and Reynoldsburg sophomore Cameron Raglin appear to be strong candidates to make it to state in singles.

In boys volleyball, Hilliard Darby was the Division I state runner-up last year and is the region's No. 1 seed.

Can the Panthers duplicate or even surpass last year's finish?

The safest bet during the postseason might be the Delaware softball team, because the top seed for the Division I district tournament has won a championship in nine of the past 10 years. After that, though, everything could be in play considering the No. 2 seed has won just four district titles in 10 years.

Don't start making your summer travel plans just yet -- there's plenty of excitement left in the spring sports season.

Jarrod Ulrey is a ThisWeek sportswriter. Follow his blog, "On the Recruiting Trail," for the latest in central Ohio high school recruiting news.

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