Centennial High School senior Myles Martinez is proving his athleticism knows no bounds and that he can make the best of a difficult situation.
This fall, Martinez has earned a varsity letter in a fifth sport, adding cross country to baseball, basketball, golf and soccer.
The left-handed pitcher was competing for the baseball team last spring when he injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow during the second inning of the Stars' 14-0 loss at Lakewood in the second round of the Division II district tournament.
"We decided to get PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections rather than get Tommy John surgery," said Martinez, who has committed to Ohio Dominican. "I was looking to stay in shape before rehabbing, and I started running to keep my lower-body strength. Then the doctor told me I shouldn't go back and play golf because I could jar it on my swing, especially if I was in (a bunker).
"I played goalkeeper on the soccer team and lettered when I was a freshman, but I golfed the past two falls. But the more I ran, the more I liked the challenge."
Martinez already was thinking about running cross country when his older brother Gimel, a 2016 Centennial graduate, suggested he give it a try.
"Gimel told me he had some of his best times in high school when he joined the cross country team his senior year," Martinez said. "Two years ago, I would've laughed at him. I would have rejected that immediately. I wasn't a fan of running."
Martinez was cleared to begin throwing and shooting a basketball in mid-August and has been increasing his intensity in those workouts. He should finish his prep career with 12 letters, including four apiece in baseball and basketball.
But he's also enjoying his time with the cross country team.
"The first three or four practices were killers and left me with some doubt," said Martinez, whose father, Gimel, played basketball at the University of Kentucky from 1990-94. "I was like, 'What am I doing here?' But the more I ran with my teammates, the better it got. Being with them helped me adjust to the challenge. This has been more fun than I imagined it could be."
In his first race Aug. 25 in the Newark Catholic Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion in Granville, Martinez finished in 20 minutes, 46 seconds. Although he ran the same time in the Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 19 at Whetstone, Martinez wasn't disappointed.
"It was really, really hot, but it was better than the McGowan Invitational (on Sept. 8 at Watkins Memorial)," he said. "That course was fun in a different way, but nobody was going to run a good time there. It was muddy and water was everywhere, even through the woods."
Coach Michael Klingler was excited to welcome Martinez to the program.
"We really needed a good fifth runner because we had a big gap between No. 4 and 5," Klingler said. "He's a natural athlete with a good work ethic, a lot of charisma and he brings motivation and enthusiasm to all he does. He keeps the boys laughing and he's running well. For a kid in his first year in the sport, he's been outstanding. I think he can make a difference in the City (League) championships because he gives us that fifth scorer and that should help us against Whetstone."
The City meet is Oct. 10 at Walnut Ridge.
In the Arrowhead, sophomore Nick Loudner was 13th (19:14.8) and classmate Jeff Kimball was 16th (19:16.7). They were followed by senior Kaleb Turner (21st, 19:43.2), sophomore Jabe Miller (25th, 19:58.6) and Martinez (37th, 20:46.8). Also competing were sophomores Jaylon Jackson (65th, 22:37.6) and Kleeo Kapaj (79th, 23:47.5).
The Stars finished second (103) behind Watterson (39) in the 15-team field.
"I really like where we're at because times are going to fall once we get some cooler weather," Klingler said. "Jeff also is a soccer player, so he's not even practicing a lot with us. As a matter of fact, we had a few of our soccer players who couldn't run in the McGowan."
The girls team has just four runners and, therefore, hasn't been able to post a team score this year. Competing in the Arrowhead were sophomore Jana Kimball (47th, 27:40.7), senior Camilla Richards (52nd, 28:02.4) and sophomores Alyssa Magee (87th, 35:49.4) and Giana Francescon (93rd, 40:42.5).
Football team looking to build momentum
After beating Lucas 51-36 on Sept. 21 to avenge last year's 51-28 loss to the Cubs, the football team returns to league play Friday, Sept. 28, at East.
The Stars are 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the City-North Division. The Tigers fell to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the league with a 15-12 loss to Beechcroft on Sept. 21.
Beechcroft scored the winning points on a touchdown with 7:18 remaining. The Tigers were led by quarterback Deo-Samuel Pierre, who threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Michael Porter and a 75-yard scoring pass to Michael Hereford.
"East has athletes," said coach Donte Goosby, whose team won last year's meeting 63-27. "They can scary run. You blink your eyes and they're downfield fast. Northland was fast, but I think East is faster in some positions, although they don't have all the tools that Northland does. Lucas was very physical, so we're going the opposite direction this week."
Against Lucas, Jaylen Gilbert threw for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 89 yards and two scores on seven carries. Luchene Davis had 133 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
"We put things together against Lucas," Goosby said. "It was important for us to make some big plays early for our confidence and momentum and we were able to do that. We put things together and proved we're much better than we were last year.
"This is our third year in this defense and we've developed players who are buying in. (Linebacker) Jamal Erby is making plays all over the field, in the backfield and downfield. He's a third-year guy and our most consistent player. We lost our most physical player, defensive end Khari Woods, to an ACL injury against Northland. Noah Hatem did a good job filling in there against Lucas.
"Lamont Rankins, Kelvin Gilliam and Justin Grimes also played well on the defensive line. We're going to move Grimes to an end and put Kevin Motley at tackle this week."
Boys golfers set for City, sectional tourneys
Senior Chris Sfikas and junior Turner Wolfenberger will represent the boys golf team in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Turnberry.
The top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
The Stars also will compete in the City tournament Thursday, Sept. 27, at Airport.
Girls volleyball team
returns to form
The girls volleyball team had won four consecutive matches to take a 9-6 record into a Sept. 24 contest against Grandview.
After losing to Whetstone 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 on Sept. 12 and Eastmoor Academy 25-23, 25-19, 25-22 the following day, the Stars got rolling again by beating Mifflin 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 on Sept. 13.
They then defeated Linden-McKinley 25-8, 25-4, 25-11 on Sept. 18 and swept International 25-20, 25-5 and 25-14, 25-16 in a doubleheader Sept. 20. The doubleheader was scheduled after activities in Columbus City Schools were postponed Aug. 28 because of heat.
The sweep over International improved the Stars' City-North record to 8-1.
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 3 -- Backwoods Festival at Thornville Sheridan
*Sept. 27 -- At Mifflin
*Oct. 1 -- At Whetstone
Oct. 3 -- At Hartley
*Oct. 1 -- At Whetstone
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. International
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Delaware
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Beechcroft. The Stars beat the Cougars 25-14, 25-20, 25-12 on Sept. 4.
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. East. The Stars beat the Tigers 25-22, 25-18, 25-13 on Sept. 6.