Luis Bolanos-Cruz was the only Division I regional and state qualifier for the Central Crossing High School boys track and field team last season.
This spring, he has a lot of company in the throwers pit.
The junior finished 16th in last year's Division I state meet with an effort of 50 feet, 10 inches. The performance ended a stellar season that saw him increase his distance by nearly 15 feet from 2016.
The practice area now is filled with athletes trying to pick up some of the magic Bolanos-Cruz found last season.
"We have a big throwing team this year, so it has made it difficult to get everyone as many throws as they can. I'm trying to get mine in," said Bolanos-Cruz, who holds the program record in the shot put (52-2). "There are a lot of beginners, so obviously they aren't at the same level as me. I have been working with them, kind of like an assistant coach, and helping them out with their technique."
Bolanos-Cruz threw a career-best 152-3 in the discus to start the season in a dual meet March 27 at Thomas Worthington. He also threw 47-5 1/2 in the shot put and was dissatisfied with the effort.
"I have been training to make the same kind of jump (in distance that I had last season). I have been working to make that happen, but I've kind of been in a little bit of a slump," he said. "I won (the shot put at Thomas) but I only threw 47(-5 1/2), which is pretty back for me since I haven't thrown less than 50 in around four months."
Also back is distance runner C.J. Patrick. The senior won the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 49.47 seconds in the opener, but the Comets lost to the Cardinals 85-51.
Patrick, who normally runs the 800 and 1,600, holds the program record in cross country of 16:16.77
"Last season I came in later because of a back injury, but my back has been completely fine so far," he said. "So, I'm glad for that. I haven't been 100 percent healthy since my sophomore year of track."
Also returning is junior Sel Adehe, who swept the 110 hurdles (16.53) and 300 hurdles (44.18) in the opener. Seniors Amare Edwards (sprinter) and Greg Patrick (distance) and junior Michael Fry (distance) also return.
"We're just not deep across the board," second-year coach Reggie Cannon said. "We have a couple decent sprinters, some good distance runners, some good throwers and jumpers, but we don't have the three or four in each event. We have a lot of newcomers who are buying into our training and could make a difference for us."
Cannon said juniors Kameron Inks and Anthony Lowe and freshman A.J. Farmer should help in the sprints.
"We have seen a lot of potential and our new athletes have impressed me," Bolanos-Cruz said. "We have some sprinters who have shown a lot of heart for us."
Girls track team has promising throwers
The girls track team features a pair of throwers who won their events in the season-opening meet at Thomas.
Senior returnee Sara Pfeifer won the discus (81-2) and senior newcomer Allyson Kuhns was first in the shot put (32-1/4) as the Comets lost 82-32. Sophomore Jennifer Pena-Zamora also won the 3,200 (15:40.23).
The team has a 28-athlete roster with only five seniors, including returnees Jordan Madison and Chloe Webb and newcomer Bailee Davis. The Comets have 12 freshmen and seven sophomores.
"There is a lot of room for people to do well if they are willing to step up and follow our instruction," Cannon said. "Allyson Kuhns came out and won the shot put in the first meet that she ever threw, and it was one of the best throws we have had here."
Juniors Abriana Mann (sprints, jumps) and Zoey Calafatis (distance) also are top returning performers. Mann was second in both the 200 (22.63) and 400 (1:03.93) and third in the 100 (13.13) in the opener.
"I think things are going pretty well," Calafatis said. "We have a lot of new freshmen, and that has been exciting to see how hard they want to work."
Davis and sophomore newcomer Aleah Ward expect to boost the sprint corps.
"We have had some good performances, but we'll see how much we can improve," Cannon said. "We have some newcomers who can help us, especially in the sprints."
TRACK & FIELD
March 27 -- at Thomas Worthington
April 3 -- vs. Grove City Christian
April 7 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut
April 10 -- at Worthington Kilbourne with Hilliard Davidson
April 13 -- Best of the South-West at home
April 17 -- John Hammond Relays at Hilliard Darby
April 20 -- Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South
April 24 -- vs. Briggs and Teays Valley
April 25 -- Braves Invitational at Whetstone
May 1 -- vs. Briggs and Grove City Christian
May 5 -- Teays Valley Invitational
May 9, 11 -- OCC-Central meet at Dublin Coffman
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing baseball, softball and boys tennis teams:
*April 6 -- At Marysville
April 7 -- Home vs. Delaware (DH)
*April 9 -- Home vs. Marysville
*April 11 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
April 5 -- At Teays Valley
April 6 -- At Olentangy Liberty
April 7 -- Home vs. Ready and Utica
April 9 -- Home vs. North Union
*April 11 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
*April 5 -- Home vs. UA
*April 10 -- At Marysville