After falling one spot short of qualifying for the Division I state track and field meet in the high jump, senior Taylor Stills of the Westerville Central High School girls team set her focus on the long jump -- her final opportunity to reach state.
In her final attempt in the event, Stills secured a state berth by leaping 17 feet, 3 3/4 inches to finish third in the regional meet May 26 at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to state Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.
"I just have to stay calm," Stills said. "The board was small (at regional), but I didn't let that faze me since I didn't foul at all, so that was good. I just have to do my best."
Stills competed in the high jump May 24, finishing in a three-way tie for the fourth and final state berth at 5-3. However, she lost the tiebreaker to Lancaster's Anna Hartig because of more failed jumps and settled for fifth.
"(The long jump) was very eerily similar to how the high jump played out and I was afraid it was going to happen to her again and just missing," coach Ryan Borland said. "She really responded with that last jump and I couldn't feel better for a kid being a senior, and last jump getting you to the state meet is pretty exciting."
Stills qualified for regional last season in both events. She finished eighth in the long jump (16-2 1/2) and ninth in the high jump (5-2).
Central opened the meet by finishing second in the 3,200-meter relay (9 minutes, 15.01 seconds) as Emma Dyer, Chloe Ey, McKenna Fry and Sydney Kapral advanced to state.
Fry earned the final state berth in the 1,600, finishing fourth in a program-record 5:00.58.
"I'm real happy," Fry said. "I was just trying to get top four and I made it. ... Our (3,200 relay) is ready to go and we're going to bring our 'A' game."
Kapral earned a state berth in the 800, finishing fourth in a program-record 2:14.82.
"It was pretty technical to what she needed to do to put herself in a good position and she had a great finish," Borland said. "We're just super excited for her. That was a big personal record and a great time to do it."
Savannah Hall was seventh in the 100 (12.44), Lindsey Erlenbach was ninth in the pole vault (11-0), Hall, Princella Ackon, Kendall Allen and Delaney Reed were ninth in the 400 relay (49.75), Ey, Fry, Kapral and Kayla Jones were ninth in the 1,600 relay (4:03.44) and Ey was 10th in the 800 (2:18.95).
The Warhawks finished seventh (30 points) behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.
"It was a real good day for us (May 26)," Borland said. "Taylor, McKenna and Sydney all making it to state is a pretty big deal, and Savannah got on the podium for the first time in an individual race and Lindsey Erlenbach tied her personal best in her last pole vault. It was a fantastic day. I'm proud of our kids the way we competed, and we have some more opportunities."
Boys track team ends
season at regional
The boys track team did not have a state qualifier and finished 16th (12) at regional behind champion Thomas Worthington (73) as 37 teams scored. Luke Finnegan, Ashton Gilkey, Bryson Gilmore and Nathan Schroeder were fifth in the 800 relay (1:28.09), and Finnegan, Gilkey, Gilmore and Tyrone Johnson were fifth in the 400 relay (42.22).
Finnegan also was sixth in the 200 (22.35), and Finnegan, Schroeder, Dymon Gainey and David Madison were eighth in the 1,600 relay (3:24.34).
Softball team enjoys
The softball team's season was highlighted by winning its fourth consecutive OCC title.
The Warhawks went 10-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to finish ahead of Olentangy (7-3), Westerville North (5-5), Olentangy Liberty (5-5), Olentangy Orange (2-8) and Westerville South (1-9).
"We had a 10-game winning streak, we beat some very good teams (and) we lost to teams we shouldn't have lost to, but those things happen," coach Brian Wamsley said. "This was one of my favorite years because I had a team that got along well. We didn't have the drama that you sometimes have with softball."
After a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament, 13th-seeded Central lost to 20th-seeded North 5-3 in the second round May 10 at home to finish 15-8 overall. The Warhawks defeated North 11-7 and 7-3 in league play.
Senior Megan McMenemy (SS) capped a stellar four-year career by being named league Player of the Year, first-team all-state and all-district after batting a team-high .547 with nine home runs and 29 RBI. She will play at Ohio State.
Sophomore Avrey Schumacher (OF) was first-team all-league and second-team all-district after batting .410 with a team-high 34 RBI.
Sophomore Sydney Stepp (P) was 7-5 with a 1.47 ERA, 68 strikeouts and 38 walks in 85 2/3 innings and was first-team all-league.
Senior Hannah Richardson (P) was 8-3 with a 2.76 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 19 walks in 58 1/3 innings and was second-team all-league. Freshman Cami Compson (OF) batted .300 and was second-team all-league.
Senior Anna Bonitatibus (3B) and freshman Danielle Ingram (OF/C) were special mention all-league, and junior Hope Miller (C) was honorable mention all-league.
Other players eligible to return are junior Skylar Schorling (1B/OF), sophomores Kylie Collins (2B), Sara Bentz (2B/SS/OF) and Lily Linke (C/3B) and freshman Rachel Fields (P).
team 'buying in'
Second-year boys lacrosse coach Stefan Schroder likes the direction of the program.
The 12th-seeded Warhawks finished 6-13 overall, losing at fifth-seeded New Albany 19-9 in the second round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 17.
Senior midfielder Wilson Misiuk (49 goals, 17 assists) was named second-team all-OCC-Buckeye and and honorable mention all-region, and senior midfielder Mitchell Harrison was honorable mention all-league. Senior midfielder Patrick Zimmerer had 20 goals and 12 assists and was honorable mention all-region.
Central went 3-4 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish fifth behind Liberty (7-0), New Albany (5-2), Olentangy (5-2) and Orange (5-2) and ahead of North (2-5), Big Walnut (1-6) and South (0-7).
"Overall, the outlook on the season is positive," Schroder said. "The kids are buying in. We just challenged ourselves with a very tough schedule and got better for it. We are still a young team that will be returning seven starters, including several other contributors on both sides of the ball."
Key players eligible to return include juniors Logan Clapham, (midfielder), Mikey Doud (faceoff specialist), Jax Looby (attacker) and Jake Secrest (defender) and sophomores Finnegan Andre (midfielder), Nick DeRose (goalkeeper), Ryan Hallinan (defender/midfielder) and Dawson Kindall (attacker/midfielder).