Having not competed for most of the season because of injury, Ariana Coleman of the Canal Winchester High School girls track and field team figures she will have plenty of energy to expend during the postseason.
Still, Coleman found a way to make her return dramatic during the OCC-Capital Division meet that concluded May 12 at Olentangy Orange.
Coleman fouled on her first two attempts in the long jump before leaping 15 feet, 1/4 inch to advance to the final. There, she leapt 16-5 3/4 and 16-9 before unleashing a program-record 18-1/4 to win the event by almost 15 inches ahead of runner-up Rachel Blais of New Albany (16-7 1/2).
"I was nervous, but I still expected myself to go at least 16 (feet)," said Coleman, who won her only other event -- the 200 meters -- later in the day in 26.43 seconds. "I thought (my record jump) was a decent jump, but I had no idea it would be as good as it was. No idea it would be 18 feet. I am just hoping to do my best and make the most out of the rest of the season. I have plenty of energy for district and hopefully regional and state."
The Indians won six events in all to score 126 points in the league meet and finish second behind Big Walnut (137) and ahead of New Albany (113), Groveport (81), Newark (50) and Franklin Heights (16).
Also winning titles were Erica Babusci in the 100 hurdles (15.71) and 300 hurdles (47.58), Emily Clubb in the discus (106-9) and the 400 relay of Shalea Byrd, Taylor Davie, Anaya Edwards and Mishayla Payne (50.88).
Babusci also tied for second in the high jump (4-10) with Davie and teammate Jaedyn Johnson and was on the third-place 1,600 relay with N'Daia Hamilton, Avery Huntzinger and Allena Klamorick (4:17.72).
"We had a decent meet. A few things didn't go our way, but we had some solid performances," girls coach Darren Avery said. "Erica is returning to what she can do. She had a rough winter due to injuries, so it's been a long season to get her back to where she wants to be. She is starting to hit her times. She is running the same kind of speed now that she was last year at this time. That's encouraging to see. ...
"I did not expect what Ariana did, and neither did she. Nobody did. We expected her to come out and do something special (May 12), though, and she did."
Clubb was the only discus thrower in the league meet to exceed 100 feet, easily outdistancing runner-up Asya Mosley of Groveport (95-11).
"I started the season throwing 99 feet, then I kept throwing in the mid-90s and not going any higher than that," Clubb said. "I've just been trying to keep myself in the 100s. Coming here, it was really surprising that I was the only girl who threw in the 100s and that wasn't even a (personal best), but it got me a championship. That was my goal.
"I think I am saving my big PR for district. I hope that's enough to make it on (to regional). My entire goal this season was to get the school around of 124 feet. If I do that, I will have a good day."
Korbin Martino won the 400 (49.51) and helped the 1,600 relay (3:31.54) and 3,200 relay (8:23.07) to first place as the boys team finished second with 120 points, behind Big Walnut (164) and ahead of Newark (76), New Albany (75), Groveport (60) and Franklin Heights (26).
Torrance Thomas was runner-up in both the 110 hurdles (15.42) and 300 hurdles (42.66), and the 400 relay (44.72) and 800 relay (1:32.93) both finished second.
"As a team, we had a phenomenal day. Everybody had pretty much the best day of their life, but Big Walnut had the best day of their life, too," boys coach Kurtis Robinson said. "They have a lot of firepower. I think we scored in 16 of the 17 events. We scored all over the place."
Canal Winchester is competing in the Division I district meet this week at Hilliard Darby.
The boys team is in district 1. Preliminaries for the running events were May 15, followed by field events Thursday, May 17, and running finals Saturday, May 19.
The girls are in district 2, for which field events took place May 15, followed the next day by preliminaries for running events. The running finals are May 19.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North. From regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Softball team falls short in upset bid
The softball team was on the verge of a huge upset May 9, but host and sixth-seeded Gahanna scored the final eight runs of a Division I district tournament second-round game to stun the 34th-seeded Indians 10-7.
Canal Winchester, which finished 8-16, led 7-2 in the middle of the fifth inning and 7-6 going to the bottom of the seventh before the Lions scored four runs in their last at-bat on a walk-off grand slam by Alaina Marcum.
The Indians lost six of their final seven games, including a 9-4 loss to Darby to end the regular season May 7. Their only win during that stretch was a 4-3 decision over Westerville South on May 5.
Baseball team ousted by Panthers
The baseball team gave up three runs in the first inning of its Division I district tournament opener May 13 at home against 19th-seeded Pickerington North, and that ended up being too much as the 13th-seeded Indians lost 3-2.
Justin Cox settled in to pitch a complete game, striking out six and allowing six hits.
Canal Winchester finished 16-9.
Crux of tennis team expected to return
Although the boys tennis team did not advance any players to the Division I district tournament, coach Doug Welsh said the Indians built a sound foundation as they posted a winning record and expect to bring back most of their lineup.
Canal Winchester finished 7-6 overall, and five of the Indians' top seven players are eligible to return in 2019. The Indians had won five matches combined the previous three seasons.
"The last three weeks, in particular, our kids gained some additional consistency and won matches, but when we didn't win, we extended sets and played everybody extremely hard with a lot of tenacity," Welsh said. "We're trying to make that a foundation of our program, for kids to be mentally tough and compete. They did. The team dynamic will be something we want to carry over into next year. This was a special team, a special group of guys."
No Indians won a match at sectional May 10 at Pickerington Central.
In singles, junior Connor Clark, sophomore Caden Sweeney and freshman Jeremy Irby all went 0-1. The doubles teams of seniors Zeke Blanchard and Devin Mullett and junior Corey Berner and freshman Jake Chapman also went 0-1.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district Thursday, May 17, at Hilliard Bradley and Saturday, May 19, at Upper Arlington.
The Indians, who finished their regular season May 8 with a 5-0 win at Whitehall, went 2-3 in the OCC-Capital to finish fourth behind New Albany (5-0), Big Walnut (4-1) and Newark (3-2) and ahead of Groveport (1-4) and Franklin Heights (0-5).
Other players eligible to return include sophomores Drew Adams, Vinny Caskey, Zane Diehl and Mason Saunders.
"We did way better than our expectations. Everybody improved," Blanchard said. "It goes back to doing a lot of tennis work in the offseason and working very well together. The future is very bright. They will be even better next year."