Many of the standouts on the Thomas Worthington High School girls track and field team are multi-sport athletes.
Coach Andy Cox said some of that is by design.
"Last year, our former (athletics director) Scott Dorne had a coaches meeting and said we need to be able to share athletes and make it easier for them to play multiple sports," Cox said. "He stressed the importance of giving kids the opportunity to do that.
"In track and field, we've always had that because the sport lends itself to making kids better athletes regardless of what other sport it is. They can get stronger, faster and jump further and higher and work on different muscle groups and footwork. That's why we have four or five soccer players as well as field hockey, girls basketball and cross country athletes."
Among the top athletes are sprinter Jazzlynn Gaiters and hurdler Breanne Beatty, both of whom excelled in basketball; sprinter and long jumper Sarah Charley, who excelled in field hockey; and distance runners Gia Napoleon and Carina Napoleon, sisters who stood out in cross country.
In the Gary Smith Invitational on April 28, Charley finished first in the long jump (personal-record 17 feet, 4 inches), Gaiters won the 400 meters (59.98 seconds), Carina Napoleon won the 1,600 (meet-record 5:04.97) and Gia Napoleon won the 800 (2:18.8) in her first meet back from injury.
"Gia just got cleared by doctors after suffering a stress fracture in her ankle and she's a defending state champion in the 800 who will give us a lift when the postseason arrives," Cox said. "Sarah has really come along in the long jump, but she also embraces the (400, 800 and 1,600 relays).
"We've taken it a bit easy on Jazzlynn because of the weather and trying to build sprint endurance. Hopefully, as the weather heats up, she'll get more and more volume. Carina has been outstanding and she finished fourth in the indoor nationals in the (1,600). She's excited about every race she runs. They're all great competitors."
Charley, Gaiters and Carina Napoleon were in the area honor roll last week, as were several other Cardinals.
"My goal is to reach 18 feet, which would break the school record," said Charley, who was all-state for the field hockey team last fall when it won its third consecutive state title. "I'm also on the (400, 800 and 1,600 relays) and I hope to stay on the (1,600 relay) because I know we're going to state in that one."
Entering the week, Gaiters had a season-best 58.91 in the 400 and Carina Napoleon had a season-best 58.7 in the 400.
"Basketball is more physical," said Gaiters, who was named second-team all-state for the girls basketball team this past season. "But what I love most about track is the competition is within yourself. There's no defense. That's what I like best, the personal challenge."
In the Gary Smith Invitational, Beatty placed third in the 100 hurdles in a season-best 16.02 and was fourth in the 300 hurdles in a season-best 48.21.
The Cardinals won the 15-team meet, scoring 106 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Dublin Scioto (87)
Also finishing first were the 1,600 relay of Carina Napoleon, Allycia Diggs-Hall, Charley and Gaiters (4:07.82), the 3,200 relay of Chloe Engel, Olivia Burrell, Morgan Edwards and Haddie Lawler (10:32.22) and the 6,400 relay of Lydia Miller, Cassidy Shaver, Engel and Carina Napoleon (22:33.24).
Diggs-Hall was runner-up in the 400 (1:02.13), while finishing third were the 400 relay of Charley, Jazmine Rogers, Curt'lynn Garner and Tylisha Roy (51.87) and the 800 relay of Garner, Charley, Diggs-Hall and Rogers (1:48.22).
The boys team finished sixth (53.3) in the Gary Smith Invitational behind champion Thornville Sheridan (112).
Placing second were Andrew Payne in the 3,200 (9:10.07) and the 1,600 relay of Theory Schroder, Macario Etienne, James Gaiters and Keegan Ballantyne (3:32.78), and finishing third were Jayvaun Lane in the long jump (19-10 1/4) and the 3,200 relay of Etienne, Wesley Horton, Clay Wood and Ballantyne (8:33.94).
"(Long-jumper and hurdler) Khalil Jones is getting back from an ACL injury in football and we're hoping he'll be ready for districts (which start May 15)," coach Bill Darling said. "He's going to compete in track and field at Miami (University) and hopes to walk on to the football team. (Distance runner) Arjun Jha hasn't been able to stay healthy and has tendinitis in his knee. We're not rushing him back because he's done so much for the program and we want him to be healthy when he goes to compete at Indiana. We're leaving that up to him and his doctors.
"So this is a development year for us because we're real young. I'd say the big surprise for us is first-year senior Cam Ryan. He's a football player who wanted to have fun this spring and he's been doing very well in the high jump and really enjoying his time with us."
Baseball team struggling to score
Spencer Kiehl tossed a two-hitter against Kilbourne as the baseball team improved to 8-11 overall and 6-5 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 2-1 win on April 30.
The Cardinals entered the contest having lost five consecutive games, in which they scored just seven combined runs.
During the skid, Thomas lost to Teays Valley (14-1 on April 21), Scioto (6-2 on April 23), Hilliard Darby (6-0 on April 25 and 6-1 on April 27) and Olentangy (7-3 on April 28).
The Cardinals are seeded 25th of 48 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 35th-seeded Central Crossing in the first round Monday, May 7. The winner plays at 23rd-seeded Olentangy Orange in second round Wednesday, May 9.
That winner likely will play top-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a district semifinal May 15 at a neutral site to be determined.
Softball team seeking wins
The softball team had lost 12 consecutive games and was 1-13 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Cardinal after losing to Darby 19-1 on April 30.
The Cardinals are seeded 44th of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play at 23rd-seeded Dublin Coffman in first round Monday, May 7. The winner plays at fifth-seeded Delaware in the second round Wednesday, May 9. That winner likely will face 12th-seeded Watterson or 15th-seeded Mount Vernon in a district semifinal May 14 at a neutral site to be determined.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 3 -- Home vs. Gahanna
May 4 -- Home vs. St. Charles
May 7 -- Home vs. 35th-seeded Central Crossing in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 23rd-seeded Olentangy Orange in second round May 9. Thomas is seeded 25th.
May 4 -- Home vs. Westerville North
May 8 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
May 3 -- At Olentangy Liberty
May 5 -- At Mason
May 8 -- At Watterson
*May 3 -- At Kilbourne
May 5 -- At Westerville North with Johnstown
May 7 -- At 23rd-seeded Dublin Coffman in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at fifth-seeded Delaware in second round May 9. Thomas is seeded 44th.
TRACK & FIELD
May 3 -- Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South
May 10, 12 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Coffman
*May 3 -- At Hilliard Darby. The Cardinals lost to the Panthers 25-8, 25-12, 25-19 on April 12.
May 7 -- At Westerville Central
*May 8 -- Home vs. Kilbourne. The Cardinals lost to the Wolves 25-23, 25-18, 26-28, 19-25, 15-12 on April 17.