The big three are back for one final season as members of the Westerville Central High School girls track and field team.
Senior distance specialists Chloe Ey, McKenna Fry and Sydney Kapral are hoping for one more appearance in the Division I state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
The trio teamed with 2017 graduate Emma Dyer to finish fourth in the 3,200-meter relay last season in a program-record 9 minutes, 4.85 seconds. Fry also was ninth in the 1,600 (5:01.73), and Kapral was 10th in the 800 (2:15.97).
Ey, Fry, Kapral and 2016 graduate Morghan Hyatt placed third at state in the 3,200 relay (9:10.83) in 2016.
"I'm really excited about the nucleus that's back," 10th-year coach Ryan Borland said. "(The) last two years we were district runner-ups and we have the core of that group of girls for one more year, so we're hoping to do more this year. We have a really good senior class and they've done a lot here."
Also back are seniors Princella Ackon (sprints, high jump), Savannah Hall (sprints) and Delaney Reed (sprints) and junior Kendall Allen (sprints, long jump). They comprised the 400 relay last season and have hopes of qualifying for state.
"I love this time of the year," Hall said. "The sprinters are all really competitive and we want to be the best that we can be. I want to go to state. It's been my dream ever since I was a freshman to go to state. I can't imagine the happiness we'll feel when we finally go to state because it's been a longtime goal for us."
Other key athletes are seniors Toni Kuhns (shot put) and Leah Schulze (seated division), junior Lyssa Zepfel (seated division) and sophomores Juliet Bernard (shot put), Kayla Jones (800), Mabinty Kebe (hurdles, high jump).
Last season at state, Zepfel was second in the 400 (1:31.29) and 800 (3:07.81) and fourth in the 100 (23.55), and Schulze was third in the 100 (23.22) and fifth in the 400 (1:42.46).
The Warhawks opened April 7 by scoring 104 points to win the 12-team Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut, ahead of runner-up Delaware (79).
Allen, Ackon, Hall and Reed won the 400 relay (50.81), and Hall, Kebe and freshmen Moriah Johnson (sprints) and Skylar Themelaras (sprints) won the 800 relay (1:48.63).
Ey, Fry, Kapral and senior Jennifer Ayarkwa (400) won the 3,200 relay (10:12.95), Ayarkwa, Fry, Kapral and junior Precious Baker (sprints) won the distance medley relay (9:45.13) and Jones, Baker, Fry and Kapral won the distance medley lap relay (13:06.89).
Ackon also tied for first in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches).
Last season, Central finished second (132.33) in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet behind Olentangy Orange (155.66).
"It's going to be a battle again," Borland said. "Us and Orange and probably (Olentangy) Liberty are the top three teams. ... At the top we'll compete really well. It's just a matter of do we have enough throughout."
Boys track team hopes to rebound
The boys track team did not qualify an athlete for state last season.
Senior sprinters Luke Finnegan, Ashton Gilkey and Nathan Schroeder were part of the fifth-place 800 relay (1:28.09) at regional. Finnegan, Gilkey and junior Tyrone Johnson (sprints) ran on the fifth-place 400 relay (42.22).
Central finished second (87) in the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays behind Big Walnut (94).
Winners were Schroeder, junior Eric Bonner (sprints, long jump) and sophomores Rickey Hyatt (hurdles, sprints) and Steven Hartley (sprints) in the 400 relay (44.81), Schroeder, Hyatt, Bonner and sophomore D.J. Johnson (sprints) in the 800 relay (1:34.24), D.J. Johnson, junior Darius Ruffin (sprints) and sophomores Nick Caputo (sprints) and Ben Emery (middle distance) in the 1,600 relay (3:44.04), and seniors Sam Reyes (distance) and Austin Smith (distance), junior Dymon Gainey (middle distance) and sophomore Joshua South (distance) in the 3,200 relay (8:36.05).
Other key athletes should be juniors Jacob Owens (distance) and Devon Richardson (discus).
"It's been a fun ride watching the program grow since the time (the school) has been opened," 15th-year coach Jason Loughman said. "We have a nice nucleus of guys from last year's team."
Boys tennis team to rotate lineup
Boys tennis coach Brian Arnett expects to rotate his lineup throughout the season after the team lost most of its starters.
"We're very young," said Arnett, who is in his 15th season. "We're playing a lot of new guys. It's a lot of mixing and matching (and) trying to figure out who sits where, which is made more difficult by not being able to practice as much as you would like."
Junior Corey Blankenship and sophomore Krish Nair are the only players with varsity experience.
Junior Jared Jaicks will play first singles.
Juniors Mason Fortin and Lakshan Suthanthira and freshmen Will Arnett, Jackson Rittman and Michael Weiler are competing for the other spots, according to coach Arnett.
Will Arnett is the coach's son.
Central opened with a 3-2 loss to Mount Vernon on April 2. Fortin won 6-4, 6-1 at second singles, and Will Arnett and Rittman won 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 at second doubles.
The Warhawks, who were 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Orange on April 10, lost to Westerville North 3-2 on April 5. Winners were Fortin 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 at third singles and Suthanthira and Nair 7-6, 6-3 at first doubles.
Boys volleyball team looks to improve
Looking to improve on last season's 7-14 finish, the boys volleyball team was 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Olentangy on April 10.
"We're looking pretty good," 10th-year coach Jimi Yu said. "I'm expecting really good results."
Senior Scott Broadbright (setter) was second-team all-league last season, and senior Nick Pence (outside hitter/middle hitter) was honorable mention all-league.
Also back are senior Stephen Gerardi (outside hitter/right-side hitter), junior Maxwell James (right-side hitter/defensive specialist) and sophomore Ryan Kannenwischer (middle hitter).
Other players are senior Wade Petrides (outside hitter/middle hitter), junior Will Latham (right-side hitter/defensive specialist) and sophomores Aidan Flannery (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Richard Marple (outside hitter/right-side hitter) and Justin Wade (outside hitter).
April 2 -- at Mount Vernon
*April 5 -- at Westerville North
April 6 -- at Gahanna
*April 10 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*April 12 -- vs. Olentangy
April 13 -- vs. Groveport
April 16 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*April 17 -- at Olentangy Liberty
*April 19 -- vs. Westerville South
April 20 -- vs. Big Walnut
April 23 -- at Marysville
April 25 -- vs. Watterson
April 26 -- vs. Pickerington North
April 28 -- at Thomas Worthington
May 3 -- at Watkins Memorial
May 8 -- at Columbus Academy
TRACK & FIELD
April 7 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut
April 12 -- vs. Centerburg and Reynoldsburg
April 13 -- Friday Night Eagle Invite at New Albany
April 16 -- vs. Newark and Worthington Christian
April 20 -- Freedom Relays at Olentangy Liberty
April 24 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson and Upper Arlington
April 27 -- Dan Adams Classic at New Concord John Glenn
May 3 -- Debbie Merriman meet at Westerville South
May 4 -- Warhawk Invitational at Otterbein
May 10, 12 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Olentangy Orange
*April 3 -- at Westerville North
*April 5 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
April 6 -- at Pickerington Central with Watterson and Worthington Kilbourne
*April 10 -- vs. Olentangy
*April 12 -- at Olentangy Liberty
April 13 -- at Mount Vernon
April 16 -- vs. Delaware
*April 17 -- vs. Westerville South
*April 19 -- vs. Westerville North
*April 24 -- at Olentangy Orange
*April 26 -- at Olentangy
April 27 -- vs. New Albany
*May 1 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*May 3 -- at Westerville South
May 4 -- vs. Mount Vernon
May 7 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
May 10 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
May 15 -- OCC Challenge at Hilliard Darby
Below are the coming schedules for the Central baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and softball teams:
*April 12 -- At Olentangy Orange
*April 13 -- At Olentangy
*April 16 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*April 18 -- Home vs. Liberty
April 12 -- At Big Walnut
*April 17 -- Home vs. Westerville North
April 12 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
April 13 -- At Granville
*April 16 -- At Westerville North
April 18 -- Home vs. Centennial
*April 12 -- Home vs. Orange
April 14 -- At Hilliard Davidson with Newark
April 17 -- At Delaware
*April 18 -- At Liberty