The Thomas Worthington High School boys track and field team has reason to believe this can be a strong season.

"Last year, 90 percent of our points were scored by sophomores and juniors and that should translate into a lot of success this year," fourth-year coach Bill Darling said. "We surprised ourselves by finishing second in the indoor state championships in March. We scored in the sprints, middle distance, distance, throws and jumps. It was just a great performance all around by the young men. We are very excited about the season."

The Cardinals scored 33 points in the Division I indoor state meet March 4 at the University of Akron to finish behind Pickerington Central (43).

Thomas was represented in the Division I outdoor state meet last season by junior Arjun Jha in the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 relay of seniors Ty Banks and Andrew Morgan, Jha and senior Joshua Allen.

The 3,200 relay finished ninth (7 minutes, 50.56 seconds), one spot shy from earning all-state honors, and Jha finished 10th in the 1,600 with a personal-record 4:17.16.

"Distance continues to be a strength," Darling said. "We were able to capture the indoor state championship in the (3,200 relay) and (Jha and Payne) scored in the 3,200. We are going to need a great season from our middle distance and distance crew to be able to accomplish our team goals."

At regional last year, Jha placed third in the 1,600 (4:18.66) and the 3,200 relay placed third (7:51.97), as the top four finishers advanced to state.

Also at regional, Morgan placed seventh in the 1,600 (4:26), junior Khalil Jones finished eighth in the long jump (20 feet, 9 inches) and 12th in the 300 hurdles (40.95), senior Cade Richeson finished ninth in the discus (147-9) and senior Zander Wigney was ninth in the 400 (50.37).

"We have a lot of experience and leadership this year," Darling said. "We took a large team to regionals and we hope to be able to do that again this year -- and hopefully a step beyond.

"Cade Richeson gives a strong presence in the throws and that really helps complete our team. Khalil Jones also should continue to be a strong point scorer for us."

Expected to lead in sprints are Wigney, Jones, senior Kainnan Ramsey and junior DeKarey Williams.

"Kainnan is a soccer player who came out for track for the first time and immediately blossomed into one of the state's best," Darling said. "He finished (third) in the 200 in the indoor state meet, which is remarkable given his lack of experience. We are very excited about his potential as a sprinter."

Jones and junior Antwan Howell should be the team's top hurdlers and senior Antoine Cole is expected to lead in the pole vault.

Thomas finished second (97) in the 15-team Newark Invitational on April 1 behind Olentangy Orange (123) and placed third (80) in the Stingel Invitational on April 8 at Pickerington North behind Pickerington Central (104) and Orange (82.5).

Jha won the 3,200 (9:26.54) at Newark and won the 1,600 (4:22.36) at North. Richeson won the discus (168-7) and placed second in the shot put (53-11 1/4) at North, and Banks won the 800 (2:01.4) at Newark.

Girls track team hopes
to build on indoor

With much of last year's scoring back and buoyed by a strong indoor season, the girls track and field team is expecting a successful season.

Last season in the Division I state meet, sophomores Gia Napoleon and Allyicia Diggs-Hall, junior Jazzlynn Gaiters and senior Christina Nash finished fifth in the 1,600 relay (program-record 3:51.84) and Napoleon placed sixth in the 800 (2:12.8).

"The indoor season was a great success," fifth-year coach Andy Cox said. "The (3,200 relay) finished fourth in the indoor state championships and Gia Napoleon won the 800. The (1,600 relay) of Napoleon, Nash, (sophomore Cassidy) Shaver and Diggs-Hall finished eighth and (sophomore) Sarah Charley finished third in the long jump.

"We are hoping to build upon the success of the indoor season with the addition of some veterans and new track and field athletes."

At regional last season, the 1,600 relay placed second (4:53.05), Napoleon was second in the 800 (2:13.71), the 3,200 relay of Nash, junior Haddie Lawler, senior Hannah Moulton and Napoleon finished eighth (9:34.58), junior Lauren Hitt finished 14th in the discus (98-4) and Charley was 14th in the long jump (15-2).

Sophomore Bre Beatty is expected to join Gaiters and Diggs-Hall as the team's top sprinters. Napoleon and Shaver will lead the distance corps, with Nash and Moulton leading in middle distance. Beatty should lead the team in hurdles, with Hitt and junior Moreina Moore leading in throws.

Charley and senior Kiara Coleman, who has returned after missing most of last season with a torn ACL, are the team's leaders in jumps.

Junior Alix Steele and senior Lizzy Cockerham will compete in the pole vault.

"The team is young, with many quality athletes in the lower grades," Cox said. "We will continue to gain experience and build for the future."

Thomas was runner-up (104) in the 13-team Newark Invitational behind Orange (166) and placed fifth (53) in the 15-team Stingel Invitational behind champion Pickerington Central (109).

In the Stingel Invitational, Napoleon won the 800 (2:12.2), the 1,600 relay finished first (4:08.25) and Nash was second in the 1,600 (5:23.17). Winning at Newark were Gaiters in the 400 (59.47), Napoleon in the 800 (2:18.98) and Moulton in the 3,200 (11:54.79).

Boys volleyball team
faces learning season

The boys volleyball team did not return any letterwinners from last season, when it finished 7-18 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

"This is the least experienced varsity team I have ever coached," 14th-year coach Scott Ebright said. "There are no returning varsity players. (Junior) Nathan Fullerton has the most experience as he set for an injured starter in a few matches last year.

"Not only are the players learning and refining the skills to play the game, but many are learning how to play volleyball. But this is possibly one of the most athletic groups of boys I have coached. We will get better as the season progresses."

After going 1-2 in a home quad match March 25, the Cardinals lost their next seven matches to fall to 1-9 overall. Thomas is 0-4 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Aroh Alugubelly (middle hitter) is the lone senior on the roster. Also on the team are juniors Daniel DeRodes (middle hitter), Robbie Grimes (opposite hitter/middle hitter), Oliver Mahnke (outside hitter) and Matt Shockley (libero) and sophomore Noah Tennant (opposite hitter/outside hitter).

"Hopefully, our lack of experience will be balanced by our athleticism," Ebright said. "Shockley is doing a great job of running the back-row defense and Fullerton is setting pretty well considering he has just one year of playing.

"I think our middle blockers, Alugubelly, DeRodes and Grimes, will lead our offense until our outside hitters, Manke and Tennant, come along."

On March 25, Thomas lost to Trenton Edgewood 25-19, 26-24 and Brecksville-Broadview Heights 25-14, 25-19 before beating Northland 25-20, 25-16.

The Cardinals then lost league matches to Hilliard Darby (25-2, 25-2, 25-12 on March 28) and Hilliard Bradley (25-12, 25-13, 25-20 on March 30).

In the Tiger Kickoff Classic on April 1 at Pickerington Central, Thomas fell to Whetstone (25-23, 21-25, 25-12), Central (25-15, 25-10) and Kilbourne (25-6, 25-14). The Cardinals then lost to league foes Dublin Jerome (25-15, 25-8, 25-17 on April 4) and Delaware (25-15, 21-25, 25-16, 24-26, 15-13 on April 6).

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

TRACK & FIELD

March 28 -- at Central Crossing

April 1 -- Newark Invitational

April 8 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North

April 15 -- Dublin Classic at Dublin Coffman

April 17 -- vs. Grandview

April 22 -- Comet Relays at Amherst Steele

April 25 -- at Westerville South

April 29 -- Gary Smith Invitational at home

May 2 -- vs. Kilbourne

May 11, 13 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Dublin Coffman

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

March 25 -- vs. Trenton Edgewood, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Northland

*March 28 -- at Hilliard Darby

*March 30 -- at Hilliard Bradley

April 1 -- Tiger Kickoff Classic at Pickerington Central

*April 4 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

*April 6 -- at Delaware

*April 18 -- vs. Kilbourne

*April 20 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

April 21 -- at Briggs

*April 24 -- at Dublin Jerome

*April 25 -- vs. Delaware

April 27 -- at Whetstone

*May 2 -- at Dublin Scioto

*May 4 -- at Hilliard Darby

*May 9 -- at Kilbourne

*May 11 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

May 13 -- vs. Middletown, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Licking Heights

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas baseball, softball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and boys tennis teams:

BASEBALL

April 14 -- At Maryville (Tenn.)

April 15 -- At Seymour (Tenn.)

April 18 -- At Big Walnut

BOYS LACROSSE

*April 13 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

*April 18 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 17 -- At Columbus Academy

SOFTBALL

*April 13 -- At Hilliard Darby

*April 17 -- Home vs. Kilbourne

April 18 -- Home vs. Newark

*April 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

BOYS TENNIS

*April 13 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto

April 17 -- At Columbus Academy

*April 18 -- At Hilliard Darby

April 19 -- At Gahanna

*League contest