Over the last few years, Elijah Carter has gotten accustomed to making adjustments.
Having grown up in the Reynoldsburg school district, Carter wasn't sure how he'd handle wearing white button-down shirts and khaki pants on a regular basis when he first began attending Hartley High School in the fall of 2014.
Not only has the senior gotten used to the school dress code, but he has gone from being a safety when he was younger to emerging as the best cover cornerback for the Hawks' football team.
The latter transition has proven to be a positive for the Hawks, who improved to 3-1 with a 44-7 win over Chillicothe on Sept. 15 and will play host to Worthington Kilbourne on Friday, Sept. 22, in a rematch of a game they won 45-13 last season.
"In eighth grade, my dad was like, 'I'm going to have you go to Bishop Hartley' so I could focus on my academics," Carter said. "I actually love this school. They really changed my whole mindset from when I first came in. I didn't really like that I'd be in a Catholic school dressing up all day, but after being here, it's just a great community. Everybody's friendly, the teachers are nice, they help you with your homework and the uniform's no problem now."
Carter, who switched to cornerback last season, intercepted his first pass this season during the Hawks' 31-6 victory over Central Crossing on Sept. 1.
Last season, he grabbed an interception in Hartley's 42-7 win over Watterson.
"Last year, I probably had about 16 attempts of quarterbacks throwing to my side all season," Carter said.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, who also is a running back and wide receiver, has taken on a key role in an offense that also features running backs Alexander Blackmon, Nick Cone and Ben Dankow as well as the quarterback platoon of Anthony Carfagna and Miles Fleming.
Carter had a breakout game on offense in a 56-0 victory over East Cleveland Shaw on Sept. 8, rushing 15 times for 165 yards and a touchdown.
With Fleming limited because of an ankle injury in the days leading up to the Chillicothe game, Carter took a few practice snaps running the wildcat, although he doesn't consider himself one of the team's quarterbacks. He hasn't been under center since before high school.
"(Carter's) doing a great job," coach Brad Burchfield said. "He's our best corner and he's explosive. He's very elusive and he's got great vision. We're getting a lot better as we knew would happen."
Carter doesn't have any college offers but has received interest from Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
He's hoping to help the Hawks continue on a path that will lead them to their eighth consecutive postseason appearance.
Games such as the one against Chillicothe, which was a Division III playoff qualifier last year and fell to 2-2 with its loss to the Hawks, could be key to reaching that goal.
"We're doing pretty well and we just still have to get better each and every day," Carter said. "I believe right now we're close to where we need to be. After (an opening 35-16 loss to Toledo Central Catholic on Aug. 25), we learned that we can count on each other.
"I love being able to contribute and that they gave me the opportunity (on offense). I just have to give the credit to the offensive line because they're blocking for me and the other running backs. We complement each other, and every time we do something bad, we come together and pick each other up."
Boys golfers prep
The boys golf team will compete in the CCL postseason tournament Sunday, Sept. 24, at The Players Club before opening the postseason with a Division II sectional Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Oakhaven or The Players Club.
Junior Trent Tipton, senior Andrew Berger and sophomore Andrew Inthavongsone have led the Hawks.
One of Hartley's best finishes came Sept. 2 when it placed third (321) in the 17-team Bexley Invitational at Westchester behind Bexley (308) and Fairfield Union (316) as Tipton was runner-up (72).
Among the Hawks' most improved golfers, according to coach David Liskowiak, is Inthavongsone, who was averaging 41.7 per nine holes through the Hawks' first 10 events.
"That's an unbelievable almost 10 strokes-per-round improvement," Liskowiak said. "I knew he'd gotten better, but I didn't know quite how much. The sky is the limit for that kid.
"We're 58-51 (through 10 events). That might be a bit misleading, as I try to enter the toughest events I can. ... It's still a reasonable goal of ours to make the district tournament."
Tennis team boosted
by young players
The girls tennis team was 5-5 overall before playing Watkins Memorial on Sept. 18.
The Hawks beat Ready 5-0 on Sept. 12 to improve to 1-2 in the CCL heading into their league finale Sept. 19 at Watterson.
Coach Lynn Winters has been pleased with the contributions of a group of young players that includes sophomores Elise Amorati, Laurynn Caldwell and Leah Herbert and freshman Gia Green.
Green has been playing first singles for much of the season.
Seniors Hannah McFeeters and Abby Thompson have just two losses at first doubles and senior Londynn Caldwell also has been a key player.
"(McFeeters and Thompson are) really hustling and have been together the whole time," coach Lynn Winters said. "Record-wise, we've had a lot of close matches. We're halfway through the season and I think we're getting stronger."
Below are the coming schedules for the Hartley cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 23 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 25 -- At Upper Arlington
Sept. 21 -- DeSales at Blacklick
Sept. 23 -- Watterson Invitational at Clover Valley
Sept. 24 -- CCL postseason tournament at The Players Club
Sept. 26 -- Division II sectional at Oakhaven. Top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 4 at Denison Golf Club at Granville.
Sept. 21 -- Pickerington Central at Turnberry
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Fairbanks
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Ready
*Sept. 21 -- At Watterson
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Bexley
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Grove City
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
*Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Ready. The Hawks beat the Silver Knights 33-31, 25-15, 25-20 on Sept. 5.
*Sept. 26 -- At DeSales. The Hawks lost to the Stallions 25-22, 25-12, 24-26, 25-23 on Sept. 7.