What a difference a year has made for Luis Bolanos-Cruz.
The sophomore thrower for the Central Crossing High School boys track and field team captured a district championship and advanced to the Division I regional meet at Pickerington North in both the shot put and discus after not placing in the top 15 in either event at district as a freshman.
Bolanos-Cruz threw the discus May 24 and competes in the shot put Friday, May 26. Senior girls pole vaulter Julia Swallows also will compete on the second day of the regional meet.
The top four finishers in each event advance to state June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
"I honestly never thought I would be throwing like this," Bolanos-Cruz said. "I was expecting to be able to throw around 45 (feet) this year in the shot put and I had a goal of 55 feet for my senior year. Now I'm less that 3 (feet) away from that. That's unreal."
Bolanos-Cruz won the discus (140 feet, 7 inches) in the district 2 meet, which concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby. He also was second in the shot put (49-3 1/4), as the top four in each event qualified for regional.
Last season, Bolanos-Cruz finished 16th in the discus (113-0) and 21st in the shot put (34-3 3/4) in the district 2 meet.
"Last year at district, I didn't make the finals in either event," Bolanos-Cruz said of not having one of the top nine throws after three attempts. "Throwing the way that I have been this year has given me a lot of confidence."
Bolanos-Cruz won both the shot put (program-record 52-2) and discus (147-7) in the OCC-Central Division meet that concluded May 13 at Dublin Coffman.
"I have been watching a lot of videos of my throws and I have been working on trying to use my legs more," said Bolanos-Cruz, whose team finished 12th (19 points) of 15 teams at district behind champion Gahanna (151). "I just have to keep working and try to improve every day."
Swallows was fourth in the pole vault (11-4) in the district 2 meet.
"The big thing is to get fourth," she said before the meet. "You get fourth and advance. That's all you need this time of year."
As a sophomore, Swallows advanced to state by winning regional with an effort of 11-3. Last season, she finished fifth at regional, one spot from advancing. She cleared 11-4, tying Coffman's Megan Cameron for fourth, but Cameron won the tiebreaker by having three misses to four for Swallows.
The girls finished 14th (7) of 16 teams in district 2 behind champion Gahanna (158.5).
The baseball team was built around a group of young players and finished 11-15 overall.
Central Crossing went 5-10 in the OCC-Central to finish behind Hilliard Davidson (11-4), Marysville (10-5), Coffman (9-5) and Upper Arlington (9-5) and ahead of Westland (0-15).
In the Division I district tournament, the 31st-seeded Comets defeated 37th-seeded Logan 8-3 on May 8 at home and lost at 11th-seeded Olentangy Orange 5-1 on May 10 in the second round.
The team had three seniors in Jordan Pilkington (P/INF/OF), Anthony Robinson (P/OF) and Ryan Traversa (OF). Pilkington (honorable mention all-league) went 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 23 walks in 49 1/3 innings, and Traversa (second-team all-league) batted .313 with five RBI, 13 runs and a team-high 11 stolen bases.
"The seniors were small in numbers, but they provided the guidance and leadership needed to help the younger players," said coach Scott Todd, who completed his 15th season.
Sophomore J.J. Carr (C/P) was second-team all-district and first-team all-league. He led the Comets in batting average (.365) and RBI (17) and also scored nine runs and had nine stolen bases. He also was 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 17 walks in 29 1/3 innings.
Sophomore Dylan Davis (C/INF/OF) was honorable mention all-district and special mention all-league after batting .324 with 12 RBI, a team-high 17 runs and nine stolen bases.
Freshman Tyler Ronevich (P/INF) batted .312 with eight RBI and 12 runs and was 2-5 with a 4.54 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 16 walks in 37 innings. Junior Mo Bostard (OF) batted .310.
Freshman Matt Reed (INF) hit .306 with seven RBI, 12 runs and nine stolen bases, and junior Ben Bohne (OF/INF) batted .286 with 13 RBI and 12 runs.
"We only lose three players so the expectations will be increased for our returning players," Todd said. "There are players from the freshman and j.v. teams that will be pushing the returning players for spots in the lineup. I'm really excited about next year, but it's up to the players to play a lot this summer and get in the weight room to get stronger."
OCC title highlights
banner softball season
The softball team captured its first league title since winning back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012, but fell short of defending its Division I district title.
The second-seeded Comets finished 18-3 overall, losing to ninth-seeded Lancaster 2-0 in 12 innings May 15 in a district semifinal at Pickerington Central.
They had a first-round bye before defeating 29th-seeded Briggs 19-0 in five innings in the second round May 10 at home.
"I thought we had an overall good season," said coach Rona Dorsey, who completed her eighth season. "We had younger hitters in the lineup and most of them will be back, so we expect to improve offensively."
The Comets (9-1) won the OCC-Central ahead of Davidson (8-2), Marysville (7-3), Coffman (3-7), UA (3-7) and Westland (0-10).
The team had five seniors in Maddie Burkhart (OF; .342, 9 RBI, team-high 24 runs), Baylie Baker (P/1B), Aliyah Capocciama (OF), Cameron Henry (OF) and Kait York (1B).
Junior pitcher Emily Gant was 18-3 with one save, 287 strikeouts and 11 walks in 144 2/3 innings. She also led the Comets in batting average (.588), home runs (3), RBI (25), triples (4) and doubles (10), and scored 17 runs.
Also expected back are junior Hannah Scott (C/1B; .319, 18 RBI) and sophomores Chloe Corum (SS; .426, 10 RBI, 7 runs), Andi Rapp (2B; .333, 22 runs) and Kaylee Watson (INF/OF; .310, 7 RBI, 10 runs).
"The kids have already started talking about getting together to work toward next year," Dorsey said. "They are ready to regroup and work on improving our weak spots."