Big Walnut High School boys track and field coach Eric Myers is optimistic about the season, especially after his team's performance in the Newark Invitational.

Big Walnut High School boys track and field coach Eric Myers is optimistic about the season, especially after his team's performance in the Newark Invitational.

The Golden Eagles turned in what Myers called a "great team effort" on April 4, scoring 117.5 points to win the 16-team Newark Invitational. Canal Winchester was runner-up (100.5) and Dublin Scioto finished third (62).

Big Walnut, which has 18 returning letterwinners, scored in 16 of the meet's 17 events, winning four.

Freshman Abe Myers won the discus, throwing 149 feet, 4 inches to set the program record for a freshman.

Also finishing first were senior Joe Muench in the 400 meters (51.6 seconds), sophomore Noah McKinney in the pole vault (11-0) and the 3,200 relay of seniors Jon Kahrmann, Michael Buckles, Bobby Bogantz and Muench (8:26.49).

Placing second were junior Isaac Lucas in the long jump (20-3 1/2) and the 1,600 relay of seniors Jacob Thompson, Cole Stark and Tyler Martin and sophomore Zach MacDonald (3:37.4).

Stark was Big Walnut's lone qualifier for the Division I state meet last season at Ohio State. He finished 10th in the long jump (21-7 3/4) in his first state appearance after placing third (21-3 1/4) in the regional meet at Pickerington North, where the top four finishers in each event qualified for state.

The Golden Eagles' only other regional qualifier was Muench, who placed sixth in the 400 (49.41).

"Our guys have been working really hard to prepare (for the season) and we have some specific goals in mind," said Myers, who is in his eighth season leading the program. "We have enough experience and depth to compete this season."

Big Walnut, which played host to the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays on April 11, dominated its first two dual meets, defeating Pickerington North 106.5-30.5 on March 31 and Olentangy 101-36 on April 7. Both were home meets.

The other returning letterwinners are seniors Alex Evans (hurdles), Christian Johnson (sprints), Joey Mazzi (sprints/hurdles), Anthony Pavuk (sprints/pole vault) and Adrian Thomas (throws) and sophomores Bradyn Anderson (sprints), Jordan Donaldson (sprints/high jump) and Matt Halbakken (middle distance).

Also expected to be key contributors are seniors Joey Spaulding (throws), Ben Wright (throws) and Kyle Wurm (sprints), junior Cole Weaver (sprints), sophomores Phillip Roberto (sprints), Tyler Ronk (sprints) and Parker Wooten (hurdles) and freshman Colin White (sprints/hurdles).

Among Big Walnut's highlights last year was a second-place finish in the OCC-Capital Division meet. Led by Stark, the Golden Eagles scored 134 points to finish behind New Albany (162.5), with Franklin Heights (114) finishing third.

Stark won four league titles, finishing first in the 110 hurdles (15.66), 300 hurdles (41.31), long jump (21-9) and high jump (6-1).

Muench won the league title in the 400 (51.52).

"Our key this season is keeping everyone healthy for when the league meet rolls around in May," Myers said. "As a whole, this is one of the most talented groups we have had in the last few years, which could lead to an exciting season for us."

Girls track teamlooking to surprise

Longtime girls track and field coach Joe Evener thinks his team will surprise some of the other teams in the OCC-Capital meet later this spring.

Big Walnut scored 51 points to finish sixth of 15 teams in the Newark Invitational on April 4, behind champion Olentangy Orange (119). The Golden Eagles defeated Pickerington North 81-56 on March 31 in their opening meet but lost to Olentangy 88-49 on April 7, with both dual meets taking place at Big Walnut.

"This team is going to shock people," said Evener, who is in his 21st season leading the program. "Some think this is the right time to beat us, but we aren't going anywhere."

Big Walnut, which finished fourth (89.5) in the OCC-Capital meet last year behind New Albany (167.5), Olentangy (104) and Orange (102), lost its only Division I state qualifier from a year ago to graduation in Jamie Annis, who placed third in the 100 hurdles (14.78).

Also lost to graduation was Olivia Small, the 2013 state champion in the long jump who missed all of last season because of illness.

Big Walnut has returned its only other regional qualifier from a year ago in senior Avery Kerns, who tied for seventh in the high jump (5-0). She also qualified for regional in the high jump in 2012, finishing ninth.

Kerns also is one of the Golden Eagles' top runners in the 400.

Big Walnut did not have any first- or second-place finishers in the Newark Invitational. Placing third were Kerns in the high jump (4-10), junior Sara Althauser in the 100 hurdles (18.13) and the 3,200 relay of sophomore Lindsay Civin and freshmen Kaitlin Meade, Leksi Murnieks and Becca Bogantz (11:05.39).

Althauser also is expected to be among the Golden Eagles' top sprinters.

Others expected to be key contributors include seniors Sam Godby (sprints), Khaliyah Medlock (sprints) and Addison Shawver (distance), juniors Erin Lescinsky (pole vault), Anna Mackey (long jump) and Colleen White (throws), sophomore Alaina Wandling (sprints) and freshmen Morgan Hemming (distance) and Tori Buxton (sprints/hurdles).

"We have a lot of experience and a lot of talent with our core group," Evener said. "This team is primed for a great season."

Boys tennis teamrelying on youth

The boys tennis team was 2-0 overall entering its opening OCC-Capital match against Franklin Heights on April 10.

Big Walnut defeated Caledonia River Valley 5-0 on April 1 and beat Marion Harding 5-0 on April 6.

The Golden Eagles did not lose a set against Marion Harding. Sophomore Jared Deel won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, sophomore Nick Schulz won 6-1, 6-1 at second singles and senior Isiah Kolb won 6-1, 6-0 at third singles. Sophomores Mitchell Cholley and Donald Werner won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles and Lane Davis and Hunter Rankin won 6-0, 6-2 at second doubles.

Sophomore Stephen Push-kin and junior Grant Bartlett also are expected to be key contributors.

Rounding out the roster are sophomore Justin Fagan and freshmen Collin Bates, Logan Godby, Grant Houser, Benjamin Kessler, Jonathan Kessler and Brock Knepp.

Big Walnut, which lost eight players from a year ago to graduation, did not have any Division I district qualifiers last season. Three players who competed in the sectional at Pickerington Central last year have returned in Deel, Pushkin and Schultz.

Pushkin went 2-1 in singles at sectional, falling one win shy of advancing to district, and Deel and Schultz won their first-round match in doubles before losing.

"We have a lot of kids back this year that play year-round and you can tell how much it helps them grow," third-year coach Ryan Balaz said. "It's been nice to see a couple of wins in the early going."

Big Walnut finished 9-10 overall last season, losing its first six matches, and placed sixth (2-5) in the OCC-Capital behind champion New Albany (7-0).

"We're hoping to finish in the top four in the OCC-Capital," Balaz said. "We're looking to improve on last season's win total, and that will be a challenge with all of the great kids we have in this (league)."

Big Walnut was to have opened league play against Olentangy on April 7, but the match was postponed.

Fleser tosses no-hitterfor baseball team

Tommy Fleser of the baseball team pitched a no-hitter in a 7-0 win over Johnstown on April 4.

Fleser had 10 strikeouts and allowed six walks in the contest.

"For throwing a no-hitter, he struggled at times," coach Chris Holly said. "But he was able to throw well when it mattered and worked hard to get himself through the jams."

The Golden Eagles were 3-1 overall before playing Delaware on April 10.

Schedules BOYS TENNIS

April 1 -- vs. Caledonia River Valley

April 6 -- at Marion Harding

*April 7 -- vs. Olentangy

April 8 -- vs. St. Charles

*April 9 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

*April 10 -- at Franklin Heights

April 11 -- at Teays Valley

April 13 -- at Westerville Central

*April 14 -- at Delaware

*April 16 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

April 18 -- Spartan Invitational at Mount Pleasant

*April 21 -- vs. Mount Vernon

April 22 -- at Westerville South

*April 23 -- at New Albany

April 27 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

April 28 -- at Watkins Memorial

April 30 -- at Westerville North

May 4 -- at Dublin Scioto

May 5 -- at Newark

May 7 -- at Marysville

May 8 -- at Reynoldsburg

May 11 -- vs. Jonathan Alder

May 12 -- vs. Buckeye Valley

TRACK & FIELD

March 31 -- vs. Pickerington North

April 4 -- Newark Invitational

April 7 -- vs. Olentangy

April 11 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at home

April 14 -- at Watkins Memorial

April 16 -- vs. New Albany

April 18 -- Hank Smith Invitational at Heath

April 21 -- at Westerville Central with Delaware

April 22 -- Gahanna Relays

April 28 -- vs. Mount Vernon

May 2 -- Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington

May 7 -- Westerville South Sophomore Relays

May 8 -- Delaware County Elite 8 at Olentangy Orange

May 14, 16 -- OCC-Capital meet at Big Walnut

*League contest