Whitehall-Yearling High School senior Jawuan Hammock has been able to learn from his role model during his time as a member of the boys track and field team.
Hammock has had a strong season and credits his father, Darryl, who is in his first year as head coach, a role he is sharing with Aaron Johnson.
Darryl Hammock, who previously was an assistant in the program, is a 1990 Whitehall graduate who holds the program record in the 400 meters (48.8 seconds).
"This makes me want to prove myself to my dad and it makes me want to be a stronger runner like he was in high school and in college (at Cedarville)," Jawuan Hammock said.
Hammock and his teammates are competing in the Division I, district 4 meet at Westerville South this week in hopes of reaching the regional Wednesday, May 24, and May 26 at Pickerington North. The top four finishers in each district event advance.
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
The district meet began May 16 with field events, continues Thursday, May 18, with running preliminaries and concludes Saturday, May 20, with running finals.
Hammock, who was hoping to reach regional in the high jump, won the event with an effort of 6 feet in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 9 at home.
Hammock also believes the Rams have a chance to reach the regional in the 400 relay after he teamed with Siraj Muhammad, Brandon Webber and Raymell Byrd to win the event (43.88) in the league meet May 12.
Hammock also joined Byrd, Muhammad and Christopher Ceasar on the winning 800 relay (1:31.51), and Hammock was sixth in the 200 (23.71).
Darryl Hammock's other son, Jontey, is a 2012 Whitehall graduate who also enjoyed success on the track team.
"It's been fun," he said of coaching his sons. "They've been out here running with us, running with the track team since they were little. They would come to practice with me, so they were excited about coming out for the team. Jawuan really enjoys doing it. We get to talk and when we go on vacation they run, exercise and work out."
The Rams finished third in the league meet with 100.5 points, behind Grandview (146) and Worthington Christian (145) and ahead of Bexley (96), Columbus Academy (92.5), London (46) and West Jefferson (19).
Senior Michael Kantor won the discus (137-9) and was fifth in the shot put (40-7 1/2) despite competing with a lingering right wrist injury.
"(Qualifying for regional in the discus) would be a real good thing for me personally," Kantor said.
Finishing second were Caesar in the 110 hurdles (15.27) and Hezekiah Freeman in the high jump (20-11 /1/2).
Johnson was pleased with his team's effort and was hoping the Rams could carry the momentum into the district meet.
"I'm happy with our guys," he said. "(They set) a lot of (personal records) all the way around and we came out and we competed. You can't ask for more than that. District is always a different mentality because (it could be) the last race. You have to give your all if you want to keep running."
The girls team finished sixth (46) in the league meet behind Grandview (144), Academy (136.5), Bexley (134), Worthington Christian (80) and London (66) and ahead of West Jefferson (37.5).
Finishing second were Iyana Johnson, Tyrianna Stewart, Stephanie Ellis and Janatie Alvarez in the 400 relay (53.0).
Ellis, a senior, was looking forward to her final postseason.
"Our team has been working harder," she said. "We're trying."
The Rams are competing in the Division I, district 2 meet May 16, 17 and 20 at Hilliard Darby.
battles top seed
The baseball team tested top-seeded and host Jonathan Alder before losing 4-3 in the second round of the Division II district tournament May 11.
The 20th-seeded Rams finished 5-18.
The Pioneers scored three runs in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead and added a run in the sixth. The Rams closed the scoring with a run in the seventh.
Coach Bill Welsh said Mitchell Webb pitched well in defeat.
"Hopefully it's a confidence-builder for a lot of the guys we have returning," Welsh said. "It showed that when we come in and play a good, solid game we can compete."
The Rams won at 18th-seeded Linden-McKinley 9-1 in the first round May 9.
Boys tennis team
competes at sectional
The doubles pairing of Natnael Dessa and Jey'Braun Christie led the boys tennis team in a Division I sectional tournament May 11 at Reynoldsburg, going 1-1.
The duo defeated Beechcroft's Messan Gabianou and Matthew Neal 6-2, 6-4 in the first round before losing to New Albany's Ben Yan and Alex Cash 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.
Andrew Nemes, Josh Turcios and Kenneth White lost in the first round in singles, and Kane Wenell and Kaleb Regassa lost in the first round in doubles.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
The softball team closed its season by losing at eighth-seeded Buckeye Valley 5-4 in the second round of the Division II district tournament May 11 to finish 10-16 overall.
"It was the best game we played all year," coach Brian Anderson said.
"I told the girls that I was disappointed with the loss and I know for the seniors it's so final, but this is what we asked from them all season. It was to get better as the season went on and play our best ball at tournament time, and that's what we did."
The ninth-seeded Rams defeated 16th-seeded Independence 28-0 in five innings in the first round May 9 at home. Junior Kayna Wooten (OF) hit a two-run home run in the second inning.
The Rams went 3-7 in the MSL-Ohio, tying London for fourth behind co-champions West Jefferson and Worthington Christian (both 8-2) and Bexley (7-3). They finished ahead of Grandview (1-9).
Wooten had a team-high .507 batting average with four home runs and 26 RBI.
Freshman Kayla Daugherty (OF) hit .420 with 28 runs, junior Trinity Johnson (OF) batted .391 with 27 RBI, 23 runs, 12 stolen bases and three homers and senior Rebecca Maxstead (SS) hit .358 with 26 runs.
Junior Makayla Barber (P) hit .325 with six homers and 23 RBI and was 4-6 in the circle.
Senior Elena McCann (P) went 6-10 in the circle.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Taylor Ford (1B), Autumn Rains (INF) and Amanda Stewart (INF), sophomores Brooklyn Emrich (OF), Riley Maxstead (INF) and Alyson Shoemaker (OF) and freshmen Micaela Brown (OF), Samantha Cottrell (INF), Tina Lane (1B) and Kamdon Pauley (C).
"The seniors were fun to be around," Anderson said. "They're great kids. I enjoyed working with them. I'm definitely going to miss them."