The St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team hopes to go the distance this season, especially in terms of the CCL.
The Cardinals had a three-year league championship streak snapped last season. They're looking to a talented distance corps to help them begin a new CCL title run.
"Our goal is to win the CCL and we think we have a pretty good chance," said senior distance standout Kevin Hennessey, who is the Cardinals' lone returning regional qualifier. "We have been training pretty hard, and I think we're ready for it. The training has been tough, but it's been rewarding."
Hennessey, who holds the program record of 9 minutes, 17.62 seconds in the 3,200 meters, finished eighth (9:17.09) in the event during the Division I indoor state meet March 4 at the University of Akron.
Last spring, he placed fifth in the Division I regional in 9:26.4, missing a state berth by one spot. Buckeye Valley's Zach Kreft was fourth in 9:21.34.
Hennessey leads a distance group that has started strong. In the Stingel Invitational on April 8 at Pickerington North, Hennessey ran the 1,600 as part of the runner-up distance medley relay (10:50.33), joining sophomore Iain Karas (1,200), senior Jacob McCorkle (400) and sophomore Liam O'Reilly (800).
Hennessey also was fourth in the 3,200 (9:50.79).
"Distance is definitely the strength of our team right now," said second-year coach Zach Wright, whose team placed 13th (13 points) of 16 teams in the Stingel Invitational behind champion Pickerington Central (104). "We have a good blend with the experience of the seniors and some good, young distance runners."
St. Charles has 55 athletes in the program, including senior sprinters Jordan Burkey, Joe Paskell and Jimmy Slones and junior Grant Shepardson. Senior Davionn Johnson, who will play football at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, also has joined the program.
"We have a lot of kids who haven't been out (for the team) before who can help us," Wright said. "We have 55 kids, with 12 being seniors and nine juniors. We have 20 sophomores, but most of them are back from last year and they understand what we expect of them."
Juniors Anthony Aikins and Devin Kellar are the top hurdlers with Burkey leading the jumps. The throwers include seniors Danny Hopkins and Nick Watkins and juniors Nick Teague and Luke Voegele.
"We have a lot of good guys coming back who understand that they need to step things up, and we're counting on it," Wright said. "We expect them to continue to improve and be ready for the CCL and postseason (meets)."
to lead tennis team
The singles courts are expected to lead the tennis team as the doubles teams learn to mesh.
Junior Jack Dabek, senior Evan Yakubov and senior Vinh Thai are playing first, second and third singles, respectively.
"That gives us a good one-two-three punch," said second-year coach Max Quinton, whose team was 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the CCL before playing DeSales on April 11. "Our first and second doubles are raw right now, so the singles courts will have to lead us."
Dabek and Yakubov teamed up in doubles in last year's postseason and reached the Division I state tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. Sam Sullivan, a 2016 graduate, also reached state in singles, as the trio gave the Cardinals their first state participants since 2011.
Dabek and Yakubov won their opening doubles match at state, defeating Hunting Valley University School's Drew Krantz and Tyler Krantz 6-2, 6-4 before losing to eventual runners-up Noah Stern and Alex Taylor of Cincinnati Sycamore 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the second round. Sullivan lost his opening match.
Senior Quyen Thai and freshman Milan Gonela have been playing first doubles, with senior Windsor Niermeyer and junior Matt Morrison on the second court.
Senior David Suh, junior Patrick O'Neil and sophomores Conner Brainard and Ben Wolfe round out the roster.
"Our doubles teams have to step up and win a couple of matches against the tougher teams," said Quinton, whose team is seeking its sixth consecutive CCL title after sweeping all courts last season. "We will live and die by our singles."
The Cardinals lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier 5-0 on March 25 and to New Albany 3-2 on April 3. They defeated Hartley 5-0 on April 4 to open CCL play and defeated Bexley 5-0 on April 5.
On April 8, St. Charles lost to University School 5-0 and Mason 5-0.
March 25 -- vs. Cincinnati St. Xavier
April 3 -- at New Albany
*April 4 -- at Hartley
April 5 -- at Bexley
April 8 -- Hunting Valley University School and Mason at New Albany
*April 11 -- at DeSales
April 12 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
April 13 -- at Columbus Academy
April 15 -- vs. Solon
*April 18 -- vs. Ready
April 19 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
April 20 -- vs. Wellington
April 22 -- Hilliard Davidson Doubles Classic
April 24 -- at Olentangy Liberty
*April 25 -- vs. Watterson
April 26 -- at Olentangy
April 27 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
May 1 -- vs. Lancaster
May 2 -- at Upper Arlington
TRACK & FIELD
March 25 -- Icebreaker Invitational at Watkins Memorial
March 28 -- Booster Invitational at Hamilton Township
April 1 -- Wildcat Premier at Hilliard Davidson
April 4 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy
April 8 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North
April 10 -- Africentric, Circleville, Cristo Rey, Jonathan Alder, Madison Christian and Village Academy at Columbus School for Girls
April 19 -- Madison Christian, Marion-Franklin and New Hope Christian at Columbus School for Girls
April 21 -- Fulton Relays at Lancaster
March 29 -- Franklin Heights Invitational
May 2 -- Bexley, Columbus Academy and Ready at Columbus School for Girls
May 4 -- Columbus East Relays
May 8, 10 -- CCL meet at Columbus School for Girls
Below are the coming schedules for the St. Charles baseball, lacrosse and volleyball teams:
April 18 -- Home vs. Gahanna
*April 19 -- Home vs. Ready
April 19 -- At DeSales
April 18 -- Home vs. Westerville North