The Centennial High School girls track and field team has low numbers this season under second-year coach Brittni White.
With just 14 athletes on the roster, White is concentrating on individual improvement while keeping an eye on the future.
"I'm low on the number of girls this season, but I'm still hopeful for what I have," White said. "I have a few girls that want to step up to the plate, which is making me excited. They still want to be able to put points on the board, so that's what we are going to do."
There are three seniors on the roster in Paris French, Ruby Greenwood and Olivia Turner.
Greenwood finished 11th in the 200 meters (26.14 seconds) in the Division I regional meet last season, while Turner was 11th in the 800 (2:18.49) and joined 2017 graduates Lauryn Boudreaux and Oreoluwa Obayemi and senior Kamika Smith on the 10th-place 400 relay (50.12). Smith did not return this season.
Also at regional, 2017 graduate Jazilee Williams finished second in the high jump (5 feet, 4 inches) to qualify for state, where she finished eighth (5-4).
"Olivia Turner and Ruby Greenwood are going to give us a show this season," White said. "I asked them how they want to be remembered and they have plans on setting more school records. They each have one record and they plan on more, and it's my job to help them achieve that goal."
Turner won the 800 (2:23.67) and 1,600 (5:36.58) and Williams won the high jump (4-10) in the City League meet last season as the Stars placed second (90.5) behind Northland (149).
Other returnees include juniors Naveah Brown, Dayja Franklin and Sky Harris and sophomores Lucy Bednar-Warren and Naa Dromo Korley.
Completing the roster are juniors Akea Hunter and Shamara Bridges, sophomores Rian Kelly and Alyse Schneider and freshmen Fatema Fnu and Alyssa Magee.
On April 14 in the Hank Smith Invitational at Heath, the Stars placed 14th (23) of 17 teams behind champion Big Walnut (103) as Greenwood won the 400 (1:00.36), was second in the 100 (12.97) and joined French, Bednar-Warren and Turner on the sixth-place 1,600 relay (4:39.78). Turner was seventh in the 800 (2:34.26).
"Lucy Bednar-Warren should lead us in middle distance and she doesn't even realize her potential," White said. "It's my job to help her see what she can do. Naa Dromo Korley is throwing the discus farther in each meet. It amazes me how determined she is on being the best. I will be by her side all the way.
"Last year our sprinters gave us most of our points, but now we are moving to the distance side. I have plans for them and I'm hoping the weather cooperates."
Boys track team also low in numbers
Fourth-year boys track coach Darrin Green is excited about his team's future.
"We are predominantly a freshman-and-sophomore team and we don't have a lot of depth right now," Green said. "But we have two or three guys we're waiting on to come back from injuries, we've got some talent and experience back and we have a lot of promise with our younger classes.
"So we want to build this year and make sure everyone comes back so that maybe we can compete for a league championship next year. We had several guys not come back this season. There are four or five kids with (great) speed who aren't out here this year and a few who are ineligible."
Green, who recently completed his first season as girls basketball coach at Whitehall after six years guiding the Stars, blames himself for some of the boys not returning.
"I wasn't in the building enough to stay in touch with all the kids because of my coaching duties at Whitehall," he said. "Next year I have to be more assertive (and) attend (Centennial) football games and some other school activities."
Among the returnees are seniors Zach Bendolph, Devontay Bowie, Dieontay Bowie and Coreion Watts, juniors Kamryn Simpson and Kaleb Turner and sophomores Kelvin Gilliam, Falusho Obayemi and Chemlahyah Yisrael.
"Watts, Yisrael and Obayemi will lead our sprints early, but Simpson, senior Jordan Walker and sophomore Luchene Davis are injured and should be back soon. They will definitely give us a lift individually and in the (400 relay)."
Completing the roster are juniors Reda Fathalah and Roy Frimpong, sophomores Alex Crippen and Ajae Talison and freshmen Dejwar Ali, Ayoub Benaaouinate, Aaron Bendolph, Justin Bridges, Sammy Cruz-Rivera, Vincent Flinders, Jeff Kimball, Jabe Miller and John Smith.
In the Hank Smith Invitational, the Stars finished 16th (6) of 20 teams behind champion Thornville Sheridan (97) as Watts placed third in the 400 (51.66) and Gilliam was 10th in the discus (114-1).
"Kimball and Miller look to be our leaders in distance events, but Ayoub has been really coming on and surprising us lately," Green said. "So we've got three competitive freshmen there. Kaleb Turner and Vincent Flinders are looking real good in middle distance. Gilliam will lead us in throws, and Obayemi is right there in shot put. I think they'll score well in throws in the City (meet)."
Baseball team starts strong in City-North
After battling some tougher non-league opponents, the baseball team opened City-North Division play April 9 by beating Linden-McKinley 15-0.
The Stars defeated East 26-0 the next day, beat Northland 10-8 on April 11 and defeated Beechcroft 22-1 on April 13 to move to 5-5 overall and 4-0 in the league before an April 16 game against Mifflin.
Centennial played Whetstone, which also was 4-0 in the league entering the week, on April 18.
Freshman C.J. Dean threw a no-hitter in the five-inning win against Linden. Freshman Nate Dorinsky threw a five-inning ho-hitter against East, and the Stars scored 17 times in the third inning.
Against Beechcroft, A.J. Grumbling and Peyton Hathaway combined on a one-hitter in the five-inning contest. Shaan Morales hit a three-run home run.
Four Stars make college decisions
Four student-athletes announced their college decisions last week.
Chris Darlington will play football at Wilmington, Gary Elder will play men's basketball at Wilmington, Qiyje January-Stiger will play women's basketball at the University of Northwestern Ohio and Sean Tyson will play men's basketball at Defiance.
TRACK & FIELD
March 31 -- Tecumseh Invitational at New Carlisle
April 10 -- at Westerville South
April 14 -- Hank Smith Invitational at Heath
April 17 -- at Mifflin
April 20 -- Pat McMillan Invitational at Whitehall
April 25 -- Braves Invitational at Whetstone
May 2 -- vs. International, Linden-McKinley and Whetstone
May 4 -- Tiger Invitational at East
May 7, 9 -- City League meet at Africentric
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial baseball, girls lacrosse, softball and boys tennis teams:
April 19 -- At Bexley
*April 23 -- Home vs. East
*April 25 -- At Linden-McKinley
April 19 -- At Westerville North
April 20 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
April 21 -- At Dayton Oakwood with Westerville South
April 23 -- Home vs. Whetstone
*April 20 -- At International
April 21 -- At Reynoldsburg (DH)
*April 23 -- Home vs. East
April 24 -- Home vs. Westland
*April 25 -- At Linden
April 19 -- At Village Academy
April 23, 25 -- City League coaches tournament at TBA