Westerville Central High School senior Luke Finnegan capped a strong effort in the Division I state track and field meet by helping the Warhawks reach the podium in the 1,600-meter relay June 2 at Ohio State.
Finnegan ran the second leg and gave Central a brief lead before the Warhawks settled for sixth in 3 minutes, 20.89 seconds. He was joined on the relay by Nathan Schroeder, Dymon Gainey and Rickey Hyatt.
Finnegan accounted for the boys team's other six points by finishing third in the 400 (program-record 47.54) behind Dayton Carroll's Sam Janson (47.32) and Cincinnati Withrow's Amir Willis (47.52).
"My goal was to break 48 (seconds), which I did, so I have to be happy with it no matter how close first and second were," said Finnegan, who will compete at Miami University. "The (400) is unbelievable. Nothing compares to the race."
Finnegan also qualified in the 200, but opted not to compete. He helped the Warhawks tie for 25th (9) behind champion Pickerington Central (58) as 69 teams scored.
The girls team also received strong performances while tying Hilliard Davidson for 20th (13) behind champion Gahanna (51) as 64 teams scored.
Sophomore Mabinty Kebe led the way, finishing third in the 300 hurdles in a program-record 43.9.
"I had a great start," Kebe said. "I just had to make sure I pushed through all the hurdles. ... This is amazing. It shows that I can do great things."
Senior McKenna Fry, who also will compete at Miami, capped her prep career by finishing fourth in the 1,600 (program-record 4:54.9) and joining Sydney Kapral, Kayla Jones and Chloe Ey on the seventh-place 3,200 relay (9:04.39).
"I'm so happy," Fry said. "I just wanted to race because that's all you can do. I wanted to get 4:55 or better, which I did, and I wanted to get on the podium, which I did, so I'm very pleased with what I did today."
Princella Ackon, Savannah Hall, Moriah Johnson and Delaney Reed were 10th in the 400 relay (48.8), Hall was 13th in the 100 (12.43), Ey, Jones, Kapral and Kebe were 13th in the 1,600 relay (3:58.89) and Kapral was 15th in the 800 (2:17.04).
In the seated division, Lyssa Zepfel was second in the 100 (22.07), 400 (1:28.01) and 800 (3:14.38), and Leah Schulze was third in the 100 (22.65) and 400 (1:36.76).
"It was a very good day," coach Ryan Borland said. "I'm disappointed for Sydney and the finish of her (800), but she ran a really good race up to that point. I'm super excited for McKenna, Mabinty and our wheelers."
Softball team enjoys historic season
The softball team had the best season in program history, winning its first district championship.
The Warhawks entered a Division I regional semifinal on a 10-game winning streak, but lost to Teays Valley 8-4 on May 23 at Ohio State to finish 18-10 overall.
The Vikings went on to lose to Massillon Perry 12-3 in a state semifinal May 31.
"We grew a lot from this," said coach Brian Wamsley, who was named district Coach of the Year. "From where we were a few weeks ago when we were 8-9, they came around. I couldn't be prouder of them."
After a first-round bye, the 19th-seeded Warhawks defeated 25th-seeded Dublin Scioto 12-1 in five innings May 9 at home and top-seeded Marysville 14-5 in a semifinal May 14 at Olentangy. They then beat host and 16th-seeded Pickerington Central 2-0 on May 19 in a district final.
Junior outfielder Avrey Schumacher, who batted .411 with a team-high nine doubles along with six home runs and 28 RBI, was named OCC-Buckeye Division Player of the Year and second-team all-district.
Sophomore Cami Compson (OF) led Central in batting average (.522), home runs (10) and RBI (42) and was first-team all-district and all-league.
Freshman Emily O'Dee (SS) hit .405 with a team-high 10 stolen bases and was first-team all-league.
Junior Sydney Stepp (P/1B), who missed part of the season with a bone bruise on her right pitching elbow, was 8-7 with a 2.36 ERA, 101 strikeouts and 34 walks in 95 innings. She was second-team all-league.
"We'll have Sydney back and healthier than ever hopefully," Wamsley said.
Junior Kylie Collins (2B/SS) hit .344 with 21 RBI, and junior Lily Linke (3B/C) batted .306 with 13 RBI. Both were second-team all-league.
Senior Hope Miller (C) had 17 RBI and was special mention all-league.
"It's incredible to have made it this far in my senior year and to play with such amazing people who helped us get here," Miller said. "I can't be disappointed with how things ended."
Sophomore Danielle Ingram (1B/OF) hit .311 with 21 RBI and was honorable mention all-league. Senior Gracie Musilli (OF) batted .450 with 10 RBI.
Sophomore Rachel Fields (P) was 8-3 with a 3.74 ERA, 66 strikeouts and 35 walks in 82 1/3 innings.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Sara Bentz (SS/2B/OF) and Tiffany Zuelzke (OF) and freshmen Hanna Hunt (3B/OF) and Lexi Recinella (1B/P/OF).
"The (three) seniors will be missed," Wamsley said. "Hope will be tough to replace. She's stepped up and became a leader in the last two years big time behind the plate."
The Warhawks went 7-3 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish second behind Olentangy (8-2) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (6-4) and Olentangy Orange, Westerville North and Westerville South (all 3-7).
Boys volleyball team has winning season
Boys volleyball coach Jimi Yu was pleased with his team's season, as the Warhawks finished 15-9 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Buckeye.
"We had to deal with many unexpected things early in the season, but we finished the season strong," Yu said.
Senior Scott Broadright (setter) was named first-team all-league and second-team all-region, senior Nick Pence (outside hitter/middle hitter) was second-team all-league and sophomore Ryan Kannenwischer (middle hitter) was honorable mention all-region and all-league.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Stephen Gerardi (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Maxwell James (right-side hitter/defensive specialist) and Will Latham (right-side hitter/defensive specialist) and sophomores Aidan Flannery (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Richard Marple (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Brady Patterson (outside hitter) and Justin Wade (outside hitter).
"The three seniors will be missed," Yu said of Broadright, Pence and Wade Petrides. "They did well leading the team this season and raised the bar for the boys volleyball program at Central even higher than before."
After a first-round bye in the Division I East Region tournament, the eighth-seeded Warhawks defeated ninth-seeded North 25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 27-25 on May 19 before losing to second-seeded Olentangy 20-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-13 in a semifinal May 22.
Central finished fourth in the OCC-Buckeye behind Olentangy (10-0), Liberty (8-2) and North (6-4) and ahead of Orange (2-8) and South (0-10).