Luis Bolanos-Cruz couldn't wait to compete.
The sophomore thrower for the Central Crossing High School boys track and field team was feeling optimistic going into the shot put competition in the Division I regional meet May 26 at Pickerington North.
After failing to qualify for state in the discus May 24, Bolanos-Cruz made the most of his final opportunity to reach that level this season when he finished fourth in the shot put (51 feet, 11 1/2 inches) to earn his first state berth.
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.
"I was excited all day just to get (to the meet)," said Bolanos-Cruz, who was participating in his first regional. "I had a great warm-up and I knew I could throw something good. I came out and my second throw in prelims got me (to state)."
Throws coach Sarah Hall could see Bolanos-Cruz was loose and focused on the task at hand.
"In his warm-ups, Luis was popping it," Hall said. "(Shot put) was his favorite of the two events and it was good to see him break through."
Bolanos-Cruz finished sixth in the discus (142-4). Pickerington Central's John Brown was fourth (144-10).
"After qualifying (in the shot put), I thought about all of the hard work that I had put in," said Bolanos-Cruz, who scored all of his team's eight points at regional. "It was good to have all of the people here behind me all along, like my father Huberto. I have had a lot of support."
The Comets tied Granville for 21st behind champion Thomas Worthington (73) as 37 teams scored.
Despite it being his first trip to state, Bolanos-Cruz has high expectations.
"I want to place at state, but to do that I'll have to be up around 55 (feet)," said Bolanos-Cruz, who set the program record of 52-2 in the OCC-Central Division meet May 11 and 13 at Dublin Coffman. "That's what I have to do to run with the big dogs."
The girls team tied with Dover, Groveport and Marion Harding for 29th (3) at regional behind champion Gahanna (79) as 35 teams scored.
The Comets' lone competitor was senior Julia Swallows, who finished sixth in the pole vault (11-4). She was fifth (11-4) at regional last season after qualifying for state as a sophomore by winning regional (11-3).
Olentangy Orange's Anna Watson won the event with a regional-record 12-8. Olentangy's Madeline Barnes was fourth (12-0).
"I'm upset that I didn't go to state, but I'm not that upset," Swallows said. "Making state was my goal, but the competition was really good.
"I knew if I were to make it, I wouldn't have to have many misses. I'm happy for everyone who made it out. They're all friends and I hope they do well."
Softball team's Gant
earns all-state honor
Emily Gant of the softball team was named first-team all-state and district Player of the Year in Division I, along with OCC-Central Division Player of the Year.
The junior pitcher 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).
Sophomore shortstop Chloe Corum was second-team all-district and first-team all-league, and senior outfielder Maddie Burkhart was honorable mention all-district and special mention all-league.
Junior Hannah Scott (C/1B) was first-team all-league, and sophomore Kaylee Watson (INF/OF) was second-team all-league. Sophomore Andi Rapp (2B) was special mention all-league, and senior Baylie Baker (P/1B) was honorable mention all-league.