The St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team finished strong last year in the Division I state meet, and that success continued into its first meet this season.

The St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team finished strong last year in the Division I state meet, and that success continued into its first meet this season.

The Cardinals return two members of a 3,200-meter relay that set a program record by finishing second at state in 7 minutes, 47.53 seconds. The relay was comprised of 2011 graduates Colin Merrill and Chris Quinn as well as senior Stevyn Spees and junior Will Herriman.

On March 24, St. Charles won the five-team Hornet Relays at Licking Heights with 86 points, ahead of runner-up Whitehall (64).

That performance has eighth-year coach Al Hostetler excited about the prospects for his team.

"We won the meet, taking both our A and B teams and all of our kids got to run," he said. "The upperclassmen are mixing well with the younger kids and this is a pretty balanced team. We have a lot of distance runners, a lot of sprinters and a lot of throwers and a good mix of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen."

Last season at state, Spees also finished 11th (49.5) in the 400. St. Charles tied Beechcroft and Copley for 13th (14) behind champion Cincinnati LaSalle (36) as 78 teams scored.

"Stevyn ranges from anything from the 200 to the 800 and has even done mile races for us," Hostetler said. "He is already going to West Point, so now he can focus on the season and he wants to finish his (high school) career strong."

Other seniors for the Cardinals include Gunner Francis (sprints), Ian Mercer (throws), Mike Mignery (throws), Oga Odemena (high jump, sprints), Jake Ryan (throws) and Patrick Travis (throws). Juniors include Connor Bowman (distance), Evan Brown (sprints), Myles Everett (sprints), Sean Fitzmartin (sprints), Alex Jordan (hurdles), Tom Krajnak (distance), Phil LaFleur (throws), Sean Prendergast (hurdles), John Radney (sprints), Daniel Schmeling (throws), Brian Vetter (distance) and Brady Wilson (sprints, middle distance).

Sophomores include Ben Carlisle (relays), Ben Hale (hurdles, sprints) David Heil (throws), Joe Montgomery (sprints) and Alex Polinskova (sprints). Quentin Francis (sprints, middle distance) and Nick Marino (distance) are freshmen.

"I'm really happy with the team," Hostetler said. "We have 60 kids and they have great attitudes and they have track backgrounds and they are getting excited about track. We're at the point where we are doing good things with the program."

Last season in the regional at Pickerington North, the Cardinals tied for 15th (21) with Big Walnut and Pickerington Central behind co-champions Westerville North and Thomas Worthington (37) as 39 teams scored.

In the district 1 meet at Hilliard Bradley, St. Charles was eighth (48) of 16 teams behind champion Thomas (87).

St. Charles won its third consecutive league title and its fifth in 10 seasons. The Cardinals scored 124 points in the CCL meet at Columbus School for Girls, followed by DeSales (116), Hartley (90), Watterson (83) and Ready (73).

Lacrosse team returns experienced offense

The lacrosse team split its opening games in the Midwest Catholic Championships in South Bend, Ind. The Cardinals lost to Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier 14-7 on March 24 and defeated Cincinnati Summit Country Day 16-14 on March 25.

Mark Berndt is in his first full season as coach. The 1997 St. Charles graduate coached the final two games last season after seven-year coach Bill Taylor resigned on the day of the final regular-season game against DeSales. The Cardinals lost to the Stallions 10-7 and then to host Thomas 11-4 in a play-in game for the Division I Central Region tournament to finish 6-10 overall.

The Cardinals return several key players including senior captains Garrett Cargin (midfielder) and Ryan Finneran (attacker) as well as senior Frankie Jeney (goalkeeper) and juniors Phil Kebe (defender), David Shuster (midfielder) and Marcus Ward (attacker).

"On the offensive side of the ball we have four guys with returning offensive starting experience and we have the potential to score a lot of goals," said Berndt, who had been an assistant the last five seasons. "We have inserted more of an up-tempo offense and we expect to score quite a bit.

"We also have good play in goal from Frankie Jeney, who is a senior, and his backup, Zack Rikk, who is also a senior. We expect to have strong goal play all year."

Seniors also include Jack Bengel (defender), Michael Clouser (defender), Jake Holway (midfielder), Dominic Julian (midfielder), Isaac Kebe (midfielder), Trevor Lawler (defender), Conner Skufca (defender), Alex Travis (defender) and Brooks Wagstaff (defender). Nick Herfel (midfielder), Stuart Hudelson (midfielder) and Sterling Parker (midfielder) are juniors, and John Browne (attacker), Kevin Caldwell (midfielder), Ryan Cleary (attacker), Michael Hamrock (midfielder) and Henry McCann (midfielder) are sophomores.

"We have a very inexperienced defense," Berndt said. "We moved Phil Kebe from long-stick midfielder back to anchor the defense. Even though we may have inexperienced guys, they have stepped up and are getting better day by day and week by week."