Jazilee Williams reached her ultimate goal for the Centennial High School girls track and field team.
The senior made her first appearance in the Division I state meet June 3 at Ohio State and earned the final spot on the podium by placing eighth in the high jump with an effort of 5 feet, 4 inches.
"I'm happy to finish things like that," she said. "I wish I did better today, but getting here and (reaching the podium) is an incredible feeling. It wasn't a great season for me because I was up and down, but it is great to finish it well."
As Centennial's lone state qualifier, Williams' finish provided one point for the Stars, who tied for 54th behind champion Cincinnati Withrow (58) as 62 teams scored.
"I'm so proud of Jaz," coach Brittni White said. "She worked very hard with (jumps coach and boys head coach Darrin Green) these past few weeks to get her to reach her goals. I'm glad she was able to represent Centennial here and it was a great way for her to cap her career."
Williams qualified for state by finishing second (5-4) during the regional meet that concluded May 26 at Pickerington North.
Also at regional, the 400-meter relay of juniors Kamika Smith and Ruby Greenwood and seniors Lauryn Boudreaux and Oreoluwa Obayemi was 10th (50.12 seconds), junior Olivia Turner finished 11th in the 800 (2:18.49) and Greenwood was 11th in the 200 (26.14).
In the district 3 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby, the 400 relay finished fourth in a school-record 50.09, Turner was runner-up in the 800 (2:16.98) and Greenwood was fourth in the 200 (26.02).
In the City League meet that concluded May 10 at Africentric, the Stars scored 90.5 points to place second behind Northland (149) and ahead of Whetstone (67.5), Eastmoor Academy (56), East (45), Africentric and Beechcroft (44), Walnut Ridge (42), Independence (26), South (25), Linden-McKinley (16), Briggs (7), Mifflin (6) and Marion-Franklin (5).
Turner won the 800 (2:23.67) and 1,600 (5:36.58), while Williams won the high jump (4-10).
Other expected returnees are junior Paris French, sophomores Naveah Brown and Dayja Franklin and freshmen Lucy Bednar-Warren, Naa Dromo Korley and Sky Harris.
"We're losing the majority of our scoring, so we'll miss those seniors," White said. "But we also have Ruby and some other experienced girls coming back and I think some of the young girls will be ready to make some things happen next year."
The boys team did not have a regional qualifier. In the district 3 meet, senior Brian Lindsey was fifth in the 100 (11.66) and sixth in the 200 (22.78), and the 400 relay of freshman Chemlahyah Yisrael, junior Coreion Watts, sophomore Kamryn Simpson and Lindsey was sixth (44.02).
Finishing seventh were Simpson in the 100 (11.73), Watts in the 400 (57.51) and freshman Kelvin Gilliam in the discus (121-8).
In the league meet, the Stars finished fifth (54) behind Eastmoor (125), Walnut Ridge (115), Northland (96.5) and Whetstone (64.5) and ahead of South (41), Marion-Franklin (33), Mifflin (27), East (24), Linden (19), Beechcroft (12), Briggs (9), Independence (2) and West (1).
Lindsey, Simpson, Watts and sophomore Chris Street won the 400 relay (43.47).
Other expected returnees are juniors Luke Zimmerman and Will Zimmerman, sophomore Kaleb Turner and freshmen Falusho Obayemi and Jeremiah Upchurch.
"Brian Lindsey and Xavier Slaughter had strong seasons and we'll miss them, but at the same time I'm excited to see what guys like Coreion, Kamryn, the Zimmerman brothers, Kelvin and others can do next year," Green said.
Softball team must
replace four seniors
The softball team finished 15-6 overall after losing at Eastmoor Academy 13-5 in the City final, which began May 25 and concluded the following day because of bad weather and field conditions.
The Stars, who had their three-year reign as City champions snapped, fell behind 9-0 in the second inning May 25 as steady rain fell. By the time action was suspended, 13 Warriors had batted and only two outs were made.
"Things happen and there's nothing we can do about it," coach Malik Dean said. "Do I agree (with) not stopping the game until that point? No. On the other hand, if we get out of the inning and they're forced to pitch and play defense in that, we get the upper hand by the game not being called.
"(The following day), we outscored them 5-4 and we had several more opportunities that we didn't cash in on. So it is what it is."
Centennial went 13-1 in the City-North Division to tie Whetstone for first place and then beat the Braves 7-6 in a playoff game May 15 to advance to the City final.
The Stars were seeded 30th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and fell to 36th-seeded Canal Winchester 11-1 in the first round May 8.
"We didn't maintain focus for all seven innings but for maybe two or three games," Green said. "We just didn't play enough complete games. Too often, we played to the level of our competition. We can't afford to do that because it hurts you in the tournament and in the City championship if you can't play to a high level for most of the season."
The Stars lose four seniors in Katie Conroy (3B), Ariel Miller (LF), Rachel O'Leary (2B) and Lexi Thompson (SS).
Conroy batted .517 and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. O'Leary batted .407 and Thompson batted .394, and both made second-team all-league. Miller batted .313.
Among the expected returnees are junior Elise Fallon (C) and sophomores Jordan Fischer (CF), Ikera Ike (1B), Stacey Leach (P) and Gwen Moran (P). Fallon batted .452 and was first-team all-league, and Moran (6-1, 1.70 ERA in City) was second-team all-league. Ike (.400) and Fischer (.367) were honorable mention all-league.
"We've got good pitching coming back and four everyday starters, although they'll be switching positions," Green said. "I'm happy with that, but we're going to really need to improve offensively."