The Whetstone High School girls track and field team is losing four seniors, including a pair of three-year captains in Jamie Bossenbroek and Sofia McLemore.
Bossenbroek represented the Braves in the Division I regional meet held May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North, finishing ninth in the 300-meter hurdles (45.94 seconds). A four-time regional qualifier in the event, she was nipped by Pickerington Central's Trinity Brown (45.94) in the preliminaries for the final spot in the final, from where the top four finishers advanced to the state meet held June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
"Jamie ran her season-best time but just got edged, and that's a shame because she wanted to get to the finals so bad," coach Chris Lisi said. "I've coached her since the seventh grade and I had never seen her cry before. She just wanted it so bad and my heart hurt for her.
"She's such a great kid, leader and student. She got a perfect ACT score and she's been a captain for three years, which tells you about her maturity and what her teammates think of her."
In the district 3 meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby, Bossenbroek placed third in the 300 hurdles (46.03) and seventh in the 100 hurdles (16.35), as the top four finishers in each event advanced to regional.
McLemore posted a personal-record 59.64 in the 400 to place fifth at district. She also finished eighth in the 100 (13.08) and joined Bossenbroek, freshman Mira Dush and junior Mariyanna Lacy on the sixth-place 1,600 relay (season-best 4:13.25).
The Braves scored 16 points at district to finish 10th of 14 teams, behind champion Pickerington North (109).
"Sofia, like Jamie, contributed as a freshman and has been a rock these past three years," Lisi said. "We'll miss them, as well as our other seniors, Sabrina Vedovato (sprints) and Jamiyah Hampton (throws). Sabrina really came on strong and had a good season. We definitely will need our young girls to step up their leadership and their games next year."
In the City League meet May 7 and 9, Whetstone scored 85 points to finish second, behind Northland (101) and ahead of Beechcroft (81), Centennial (68.5), Eastmoor Academy (45), host Africentric (43), Walnut Ridge (36), Briggs (28), South (25), Mifflin (20), Independence (11), Linden-McKinley (5) and Marion-Franklin (3.5).
Bossenbroek won two individual league titles, finishing first in both the 100 hurdles (15.51) and 300 hurdles (46.73), and teamed with McLemore, Dush and Lacy to win the 1,600 relay (4:14.78).
Lacy was runner-up in the 800 (2:32.34) and joined Dush, freshman Julian Calderone and sophomore Adrien Delapp on the second-place 3,200 relay (10:39.1), while Delapp placed second in the 3,200 (13:38.52) and Hampton was third in the discus (87 feet).
Among other expected returnees are juniors Julia Carney (sprints) and Arielle Swinehart (hurdles) and freshman Jane Carney (hurdles).
Boys team losing seven seniors
The boys team also completed its season at the Division I regional meet, where seniors Ibrahim Sesay and Francisco Soto teamed with junior Emil Adams and freshman Brack Dillon to finish 12th in the 1,600 relay (3:27.14).
The relay had advanced to regional by placing third (3:27.79) at district.
Sesay and Soto are part of a seven-member senior class. The others are Torriano Bradley, Evenson Desir, Sean Jones, Sam Khoury and Dylan Peaks.
"(Sesay), Francisco and Sam were our leaders," coach Joe Monda said. "Sesay was our first leg in the (400, 800 and 1,600) relays and always got us in good position. Francisco and Sam were key guys in our (3,200 relay) and Sam also was our top distance guy.
"But just as important was the fact that they were leaders and they will be difficult to replace. Sean was a real plus for us as a first-year runner, especially in the (1,600 and 3,200 relays). Dylan showed great improvement and has a great humor. He was fun to be around and kept the kids loose."
Whetstone scored 14 points at district to place 12th of 14 teams, behind champion Olentangy Orange (133).
Dillon finished fifth in the 400 (51.27), missing a regional spot by .09 of a second. The 3,200 relay of Adams, Khoury, Jones and Soto placed sixth (8:26.82) and Adams was eighth in the 800 (2:00.68).
"We've got some good, young guys coming back and I think we'll see a lot of growth with them next year," Monda said. "Emil is our top middle-distance guy and he hit his stride toward the end of the season, and Brack is an AAU runner who has a lot of experience for a young guy. He can run anywhere from the 200 to the 800 and had some of our top times in the (1,600 and 3,200 relays).
"We've got (freshman) Matthew Conroy (coming) back in the 1,600 and he'll likely add the 3,200 next year, and we also (will) have (freshman) Thaine Nederveld back in the 3,200. (Sophomore) Rashaun Broomfield showed a lot for being a first-year runner and we're expecting good things from him in the sprints next year. (Sophomore) Chase Gibson joined us late and missed a month, but he looks solid in the throws."
The Braves finished fifth (53) in the City meet, behind Eastmoor (160), Northland (118), Walnut Ridge (65) and Mifflin (55) and ahead of Centennial (41), East (38), Africentric (36), Marion-Franklin (25), Linden (12), Briggs (5), Beechcroft (4), South (2), Independence (1) and West (1).
Placing third in the league were Sesay in the long jump (20-10 3/4), Adams in the 1,600 (4:54.69), Khoury in the 3,200 (10:32.82), the 1,600 relay of Sesay, Adams, Soto and Dillon (3:28.61) and the 3,200 relay of Adams, Dillon, Soto and Khoury (8:26.6).
Among other expected returnees are junior Ephrayim Robinson (sprints) and sophomores Ibrahim Bangura (middle distance), Hassan Sesay (sprints) and Jack Zimmerman (sprints).