Jordan Rugg has shown his versatility with the Worthington Christian High School baseball team the last three seasons by spending time at three positions.
Combining that with having a different mental approach has helped the senior outfielder succeed at a new level this spring.
After playing right field in a part-time role as a sophomore, Rugg made what he believes was a difficult adjustment to left field and became a starter last season.
Now the Warriors' starting center fielder, Rugg has become one of the top hitters for a team that's one of the area's best in Division IV.
Worthington Christian was second in last week's area coaches poll behind Newark Catholic.
"Jordan Rugg has always been a good player, but this year he's been phenomenal in the outfield and at the plate," said assistant coach Michael Kraynak, a 2006 Worthington Christian graduate who is filling in while his brother, coach Tim Kraynak, recovers from a health issue. "Not only has he played well but he's been a great leader for us. His jump from last year to this year has been outstanding."
Worthington Christian was 11-5 before playing Columbus East on April 30.
Through 11 games, Rugg was the team's third-leading hitter at .379 with seven RBI and seven stolen bases.
Seniors Frankie Myers (OF/P) and Clayton Siders (SS/P) were batting .452 and .421, respectively. Myers led with 11 RBI and Siders had nine, and Myers had scored a team-best 18 runs.
"We're hitting better and have shown more of the drive that we need than last year," Rugg said. "I definitely spent a lot more time with my hitting, which is definitely what I struggle with the most. I spent all summer and fall ball trying to come in with the right mentality, just with the way I come up to the plate with more confidence and knowing what my team needs to do. I'm always trying to put the ball in play."
Myers has led the pitching staff by going 2-1 with a 0.89 ERA and 16 strikeouts through 11 games. Junior pitcher Casey Hamrick was 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 12 strikeouts.
Worthington Christian's other seniors are Caleb Penney (P/3B) and Caleb Foreman (OF).
"(The seniors) are all kind of different," Rugg said. "Some of us are more verbal and some lead by example. I'm more of a lead-by-example guy, but I can be vocal. I just do what I do out there."
Boys tennis team developing youth
Junior first-singles player Joel Montgomery has followed his run to the Division II state tournament last season by starting 7-1 before the boys tennis team's match April 30 against Caledonia River Valley.
Coach Alex Schmidt also has been pleased with the improvement of the other players in his lineup.
"We're starting to develop a lot of young players," Schmidt said. "It's been a very interesting season but definitely very good."
Montgomery's only loss before April 30 came April 19 when he fell to Reynoldsburg's Cameron Raglin 6-4, 6-2 as his team lost 5-0. Raglin was a Division I state qualifier last season.
"Cameron's a real good player and (Montgomery) was just putting way too much pressure on himself," Schmidt said. "He's smart enough to know that you can learn from your losses."
Senior Luke Howard was 5-3 at second singles before April 30 after playing first doubles last season. Senior Ryan Billman, who has been playing doubles, also has been a key player.
Freshman Jeremiah Ong has been at third singles.
"We've got three sophomores and one freshman in our lineup, so we're kind of going through growing pains with our young guys stepping up," Schmidt said. "They're still trying to find their identity. I think we can attribute a lot of our growth to our seniors developing as leaders. They're getting there."
Track teams building depth
The boys track and field team is led by three runners who competed in the Division III state meet last season in juniors Mark Parsell and Matt Watterson and sophomore J.J. Phillips.
The Warriors have found some complementary pieces to its middle-distance corps as well.
Junior Josh Hayes and freshmen Noah Mallory and Joe Long have performed well during the regular season, according to coach Loren Hughes.
Another positive has been that junior Chris Osborn, who competes in the 100 meters and 200, has been healthy after battling shin sprints during past seasons.
"We're looking good," Hughes said. "We feel really good going forward. The boys are a lot more balanced this year. We've got 23 boys, so the depth is there. We've got all of the field events covered and are really working with our hurdlers to get their technique down.
"Chris Osborn has had chronic shin splints but this year has been able to work through it. Joe Long ran the (3,200 on April 20) and had nearly a 50-second (personal-best time). He's run 11:02, and last year I don't think Matt Watterson was under 11 minutes until the week before district."
The girls team also has developed around sophomore Natalee Cole, who has been the top performer in the 100 and 200.
Freshman Christina Hemmingsen has emerged, according to Hughes, in the long jump, high jump and hurdles.
Softball team gets first win
The softball team beat Northland 26-4 on April 27 for its first victory.
The Warriors, who also lost to Madison Christian 14-1 on April 27, got seven runs in the first inning and 13 in the fourth against the Vikings.
Sophomore Kathryn Ryan and senior Alyssa Belkofer each pitched against Northland, with Ryan earning the victory.
Worthington Christian was 1-7 before playing Independence on April 30.