Khalil Jones, Arjun Jha and Andrew Morgan led the Thomas Worthington High School boys track and field team to a Division I district championship.
Competing in the 15-team district 4 meet that concluded May 20 at Westerville South, the Cardinals won six events en route to scoring 136 points to easily beat runner-up Canal Winchester (100.5).
"We usually don't put any emphasis on winning championships after the OCC meets, but this is a special feeling," coach Bill Darling said. "I've done some research back to the early 2000s and haven't found out yet when the last time this program won a district championship.
"I guess it means we have kids in the right positions to succeed and that they went out and did their best. It's a great honor."
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional meet, which began May 24 and concludes Friday, May 26, at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four in each event advance to the state meet June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
Jones won the 300-meter hurdles in 39.81 seconds and the long jump in 22 feet, 8 1/4 inches. Jha won the 1,600 (4:09.49) and Morgan won the 800 (1:58.37), and both were on the winning 3,200 relay (7:59.57) with Ty Banks and Joshua Allen.
"Khalil was our leading scorer as a freshman and sophomore, but has really blossomed into something special as a junior, to the point we think we will see him on the state podium," Darling said. "He's that good. Plus, he's our most versatile athlete.
"Arjun is another junior who is just amazing. He is incredibly talented and one of the top-ranked cross country athletes in the nation. He just continues to go about his work and continues to improve. It's been incredible to watch his development."
Also winning a district title was Andrew Payne in the 3,200 (9:25.85).
Finishing second were Allen in the 800 (1:59.84), Kainan Ramsey in the 100 (11.11) and 200 (22.09), Cade Richeson in the discus (166-0) and shot put (55-9), Antoine Cole in the pole vault (12-6) and the 1,600 relay of Zander Wigney, Theory Schroder, Jha and Banks (3:23.71).
Placing third was Jones in the 110 hurdles (15.34).
The girls team won two events in the district 2 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby, as Gia Napoleon finished first in the 800 (2:08.6) and Jazzlynn Gaiters was first in the 400 (56.26).
Napoleon broke her school record in the 800 and is closing in on the all-time Division I state record, which is 2:07.04 by Geneva's Brittany Aveni.
Napoleon also was on the second-place 3,200 relay (9:29.54) with Christina Nash, Hannah Moulton and Cassidy Shaver and was on the runner-up 1,600 relay (3:56.46) with Gaiters, Sarah Charley and Allyicia Diggs-Hall.
Placing third were Charley in the long jump (17-2 1/2) and Breanne Beatty in the 100 hurdles (15.67), and finishing fourth were Lauren Hitt in the discus (112-9), Diggs-Hall in the 400 (59.16) and the 800 relay (1:44.29) of Charley, Kiara Coleman, Diggs-Hall and Kyra Griffith.
The Cardinals finished third (84) of 16 teams, behind Gahanna (158.5) and Olentangy Orange (97.5).
Girls lacrosse team
reaches regional semi
The girls lacrosse team won its first two games in the Division I, Region 3 tournament and played third-seeded Dublin Jerome in a semifinal May 23.
The winner plays at top-seeded Upper Arlington or fourth-seeded Watterson in the regional final Saturday, May 27. The regional champion advances to a state semifinal Tuesday, May 30, at a neutral site to be determined.
The state final is June 3 at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Second-seeded Thomas, which was 16-3 before playing Jerome, lost to UA 16-7 on April 4 but did not play Watterson in the regular season.
The Cardinals advanced to a regional semifinal by beating 14th-seeded Marysville 19-0 in the first round May 16 and seventh-seeded Darby 19-3 in a quarterfinal May 19.
Against Marysville, Tori Banks and Jenna Rao scored four goals apiece and Addie Hamilton and Elaine Miller both scored three. Against Darby, Rao had five goals, Hamilton scored four and Riley Godard added three.
Britz's tennis season
concludes at district
Competing in singles in the Division I district tournament May 18 at Hilliard Davidson, sophomore Kai Britz of the boys tennis team reached the second round before being eliminated.
Britz defeated Dublin Scioto's Joseph Hill 6-1, 6-3 in the first round before falling to Olentangy's Stu Brdicka 6-1, 6-1 in the second.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Britz was the lone district qualifier for Thomas after finishing second in a sectional May 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg, where the top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
Britz was seeded second at sectional and lost 6-0, 6-0 to top-seeded Robert Cash of New Albany in the final.
Also competing at sectional in singles were junior JunSung Park and sophomore Steve Jackman. Competing in doubles were seniors Luke Bobay and Myung Ho Chung as well as sophomore Aaron Zeller and freshman Deep Gupta.
The Cardinals finished 9-7 overall and 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to tie Kilbourne and Hilliard Bradley for fourth, behind Jerome (6-0), Darby (5-1) and Scioto (3-3) and ahead of Delaware (1-5).
Thomas is losing two seniors in Bobay and Chung. Also among the expected returnees is sophomore Alexander King.
Baseball team must
replace 11 seniors
The baseball team will have plenty of new faces next season, as it must replace 11 seniors who helped the Cardinals reach a Division I district final before losing to 11th-seeded Orange 1-0 on May 17 at Upper Arlington.
Thomas, which was seeded fourth of 46 teams, finished 19-5 overall.
"It's always disappointing to lose in the tournament, especially when you have 11 seniors who have enjoyed great success here and were strong leaders," coach Chris Olson said. "I couldn't be prouder of them as players and young men, and it was a great group to have in my first year as head coach."
Orange scored with two outs in the sixth inning on a single, wild pitch and infield hit off junior Spencer Kiehl, who allowed just five hits.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, consecutive singles by Joey Pischel and Vincent Armstrong put runners on first and third for the Cardinals before a foul popup ended the threat.
The Cardinals opened the postseason by beating 29th-seeded Pickerington North 1-0 in the second round May 10 at home and 16th-seeded Zanesville 3-0 in a district semifinal May 15 at Gahanna.
Despite producing only four runs in three postseason games, Thomas improved its team batting average from .257 last season to .310 this year.
Starters in the senior class were Armstrong (2B), Andy Caddas (C), Trent Castle (CF/P), Matt Harrison (3B), Joey Pischel (SS) and Caleb Struewing (P/1B).
Starters expected to return are Kiehl (P/RF) and juniors Nick Kendig (RF) and Niles Mantor (LF).
Thomas finished 9-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to place second, behind Darby (11-1) and ahead of Bradley (7-5), Kilbourne and Scioto (both 5-7), Jerome (3-9) and Delaware (2-10).
Castle and Struewing were named first-team all-league and all-district. Kiehl was first-team all-league and second-team all-district, and Pischel was second-team all-league and all-district.
Also named all-league were Caddas (second team), Armstrong (special mention) and Kendig (honorable mention).
Castle, who has committed to play for Marietta College, batted .521 with 26 runs scored, 26 RBI, 10 doubles, three home runs and 11 stolen bases. Pischel batted .427 with 28 runs and 21 RBI.
Other top hitters included Armstrong (.299), Caddas (.265, 17 RBI) and Kendig (.260, 11 runs, 14 RBI). Caddas is an Otterbein commit.
Struewing, a Denison commit, was 8-1 with a 0.77 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings. Kiehl, an Ohio Dominican commit, was 6-1 with a 0.49 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings and also hit four home runs, while Castle was 3-1 with three saves, a 2.44 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.
"Although we will be much younger next season, our goals will remain high," Olson said. "Our belief is we always reload, not rebuild."
Boys lacrosse team
ousted by St. Charles
The boys lacrosse team finished 3-16 overall after losing to sixth-seeded St. Charles 10-6 in the second round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 17.
The Cardinals, seeded 11th of 19 teams, had a first-round bye.
All of Thomas' wins were in the OCC-Cardinal, as they went 3-3 in the league to finish fourth, behind Jerome (6-0), Delaware (5-1) and Kilbourne (4-2) and ahead of Scioto (2-4), Bradley (1-5) and Darby (0-6).
Thomas is losing 11 seniors in Brian Bush, Leshun Gunn, Daniel Maxwell, Andrew Maynard, Kyle McClure, Will Passifume, Alec Roderer, Blake Ryan, Kazeem Saheeb, Isaac Short and Ryan Squires.
Among the expected returnees are juniors Jake Chizever, Basil Harvey, Dekaider Jackson, John Kallas and Max Nordquist and sophomores Bennett Fischbach, and Evan Parrott.
Boys volleyball team
losing one senior
The boys volleyball team lost to fourth-seeded Davidson 25-17, 25-9, 25-21 in the first round of the Division I East Region tournament May 19 to finish 3-23 overall.
Thomas, which lost 12 of its final 13 matches, had only one senior in Aroh Alugubelly and three of its starters had not played the sport before this season.
The Cardinals went 0-12 in the OCC-Cardinal to place seventh, behind Darby (12-0), Scioto (10-2), Jerome (8-4), Bradley (6-6), Kilbourne (4-8) and Delaware (2-10).
Among the expected returnees are juniors Dabiel DeRodes, Nathan Fullerton, Robbie Grimes, Oliver Mahnke and Matt Shockley and sophomore Noah Tennant.