Holly Nation doesn't think she'd be the Olentangy High School girls track and field team's top high jumper if it weren't for her sprinting, nor does she think she'd be a good sprinter without her jumping background.

"They're sort of related in that you must be explosive in both," Nation said. "You have to start fast in sprinting and be strong enough to get over the bar (as a high jumper).

"I've always considered myself more of a power jumper than a finesse jumper. I like where I am right now."

Nation's best high jump so far this year is her personal best of 5 feet, 4 inches, and her best times on the track this season are 27.04 seconds in the 200 meters and 1:00.19 in the 400. She also has competed in the 100 and various sprint relays.

Nation has been a healthy constant for the Braves, who enter the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, at Orange hoping various injuries and illnesses are behind them.

Lex Brookshire, whom coach Jennifer Sosa projected would be Olentangy's top distance runner, recently returned from a torn left hamstring. Sprinter Alex Cardi missed several meets because of injury and academic commitments.

"Holly has been consistent and healthy," Sosa said. "She did a great job of conditioning over the summer and you can see that paying off right now."

In an all-too-familiar occurrence, Brookshire was injured April 3, one day before Olentangy opened its season with a dual meet at Buckeye Valley. The sophomore missed her entire eighth-grade season with a broken left ankle, and as a freshman fractured her left shin and tore a hamstring in the same leg.

"I've been injured a lot and I am ready to get a lot faster," said Brookshire, who ran 5:37.87 to win the 1,600 in a tri-meet May 2 at Liberty and credited Meghan Boggess and Melina Endsley for leading the distance unit in her absence. "Our district is really tough, and I just want to get out of that (to regional) and see where it goes from there. If I can get around a 5:10, I should be in good shape."

Sosa anticipates a competitive league meet after both Olentangy's boys and girls teams finished second in the OCC-Capital last year behind Orange, which also was realigned into the OCC- Buckeye.

"Holly is in a good spot in the long jump and the 400," Sosa said. "We've had a few girls get banged up in the last few weeks and just coming back around, so it'll be interesting to see how they do."

Boys coach Brad Komenda considers Orange the favorite to repeat, and hopes his team will be in the mix led by pole vaulter Kyle Brookshire and distance runners Zach Balthaser and Anthony Sasso. According to Komenda, Brookshire -- who has vaulted 14-7 this year -- is overcoming a recent hip injury.

"As long as we stay healthy with our top guys, we can make some noise in the conference and the district," Komenda said. "(Balthaser and Sasso) are the catalysts keeping us going on the track. As long as they keep working hard and perform like they can, they very well could get to the state meet."

Olentangy then will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet at Hilliard Darby. Field events will be held Tuesday, May 16, followed by preliminaries for the running events Wednesday, May 17, and running finals May 20.

The top four finishers in each event will advance to the regional meet May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North.

Baseball team wins
another league title

With its third consecutive league championship in hand, the baseball team turned its attention this week to winning its second Division I district title in a row.

Olentangy clinched the OCC-Buckeye with a 4-2 win over Orange on May 3. The Braves were no-hit through four innings but scored twice in the seventh to defeat the Pioneers for the 10th consecutive time.

Olentangy, which won the OCC-Capital in 2015 and 2016, was 18-3 overall and 12-2 in the OCC-Buckeye entering the week. The Braves were scheduled to wrap up league play May 5 against Liberty, but the game was postponed because of bad weather.

No makeup date was immediately available.

Seeded third in the 46-team district tournament, Olentangy took a first-round bye and played host to 32nd-seeded Delaware in the second round May 10.

The winner will play ninth-seeded Mount Vernon or 22nd-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 16, at a neutral site to be determined. The semifinal winner will advance to a district final May 18.

Softball team awaits
tourney opener

After falling short of the OCC-Buckeye championship, the softball team got a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament and played host to 18th-seeded Delaware in a second-round game May 10.

Olentangy, which was seeded 17th of 45 teams, was 13-9 after losing to Marysville 16-2 in five innings May 8.

The Braves were 6-3 in the OCC-Buckeye before finishing league play against Orange. The game was postponed twice because of bad weather, first on May 1 and again on May 5. A makeup date was not immediately available.

The second-round winner will play third-seeded Teays Valley or 34th-seeded Kilbourne in a district semifinal Monday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined. That winner will advance to a district final May 19 or 20 at Pickerington Central.

Of those teams, the Braves defeated South by 7-0 scores twice in league play, on April 12 and 24.

Coach Alan Tharp hopes if Olentangy gets ahead early in games, the Braves will continue to build their lead and not relax.

"We've been fortunate to get ahead early, but we've given up too many runs late. A few times we'd be up six runs, then it'd be a two-run game in the last inning," Tharp said.

"We can score first and if they are chasing you, it's a different game. You can take risks. You can run the bases more, bunt and make them play defense. That's our philosophy, to make them chase us."

Brdicka leads tennis
team into sectional

Stu Brdicka of the boys tennis team earned the top seed in singles in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 11, and Saturday, May 13, at Upper Arlington.

Brdicka will seek his first sectional championship as a singles player and second overall. As a freshman two years ago, Brdicka and 2015 graduate Kevin Miller won a doubles title at Pickerington Central en route to a state berth.

Alex Konstan and Ayush Sunkad also will play singles at sectional. The Braves' doubles teams will be comprised of Abbas Doctor and Nishant Medicharla and Pradhit Gosula and Alex Ulry.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament May 18 at Hilliard Davidson and May 20 at Upper Arlington.

Olentangy was 14-2 before playing Dublin Scioto on May 9.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave