Throw in a little bit of cloud cover - and even some cold weather - and Nigel Preacher is good to go.

Throw in a little bit of cloud cover - and even some cold weather - and Nigel Preacher is good to go.

At the Division I state track and field meet last June, the Brookhaven High School senior easily cleared 6 feet, 7 inches in the high jump as clouds descended on Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Preacher also has excelled throughout the months of March and April since joining the Bearcats' team in 2010, including this year when he cleared 6-9 at the Watkins Memorial Icebreaker Invitational on March 26.

Finding more consistency likely will be what determines whether he can make a run at a state title in the high jump or long jump, another event in which he advanced to state a year ago.

"It was nice out, but it was cold (at Watkins Memorial)," said Preacher, who placed third at state last year in the high jump. "I've always gotten most of my most decent jumps in cloudy, colder weather. At state last year when it started getting cloudy, I jumped 6-7 with no problem."

Preacher's jump of 6-9 had him second on the area honor roll released April 18. He was second in the area in the long jump (21-11).

He also has added the 300-meter hurdles to his repertoire this season. His time of 40.64 seconds was fourth in the honor roll. He plans to run on the 1,600 relay or in the 110 hurdles as his fourth event during the postseason.

Preacher placed 11th in the long jump (21-4 3/4) at state last year.

"I'm pleased with the way I'm jumping," he said. "I thought I'd be more like a 6-5, 6-6 high-jumper at this point. The long jump is probably one of my favorite events. I'm doing better in that than I did last year. It doesn't come quite as naturally to me as the high jump."

Preacher and his brother, senior Aryton Preacher, moved to Columbus from Detroit a year ago. Aryton Preacher and junior Tajuan Green have been the top sprinters for the Bearcats early on.

"We're still trying to find (the right) four," coach Steve Ayers said of his team's sprint relays. "Aryton is doing a good job. We have the talent; we're just trying to fit it all together."

The girls team has been led by junior Charletta Henley, who has jumped more than 16-0 in the long jump and also runs the anchor leg on the 800 and 1,600 relays. Junior Teara Wallace has been another standout on sprint relays.

•The Northland baseball team has been scoring enough runs to remain in the upper echelon of the City League-North Division this season.

On the way to a 4-6 start that included a 4-4 record in league play, the Vikings scored an average of 10.7 runs while allowing 10.3 per game. Junior Manthoni Brown, who had been splitting time between playing third base and pitching against Northland's toughest opponents, had a team-high 17 RBI. Senior Corey Johnson was hitting .480 and senior outfielders Alex Rivers and Ron Johnson also were key contributors, according to coach Dean Washington.

In addition to Brown, sophomores Wade Beightler and Xavier Conner and senior Joe Iacobucci have been spending significant time on the mound. Freshman Darriel Hernandez is another player who has been gaining experience, Washington said.

"We think we're solid enough defensively that when we put a really good pitcher out there, we can compete with anybody in the City League," Washington said. "All of our pitchers are giving the best effort that they can. It's been kind of a weird scenario in that we've run-ruled a few teams and been run-ruled a few times."

•Brookhaven baseball coach Joe Krabill is hoping his team can improve its hitting during the second round of City-North play.

Defensive mistakes also have been a sore spot for the Bearcats, who went 5-2 during the first round of the league schedule.

Senior outfielder Savyon Cunningham has been hitting close to .400 and junior shortstop Devin Williams has an on-base percentage of about .600. Junior Jesse Curry has shown improvement defensively at catcher, according to Krabill.

Junior Grant Parker has been the team's top pitcher.

"We competed with Centennial (on April 14)," Krabill said. "The score was 11-3, but we made two big mistakes or it would have been 5-3. (Parker) pitched five innings of relief against Centennial and only gave up two earned runs. He competed for us, there's no question about that."

•The Beechcroft baseball team will be wearing pink jerseys for its home game Monday, May 2, against Mifflin to raise awareness for breast cancer research.

The game will begin at 5:30 p.m.

"The guys are excited like you would not believe for it," coach Matt Bell said. "It's a good community service thing for them."

The Cougars closed the first half of the City-North schedule with consecutive run-rule losses to Northland (16-1 on April 13) and Whetstone (18-0 on April 14).

Still, Bell has been pleased with his team's competitiveness, particularly when all of his players have been in uniform.

"(Senior pitcher/outfielder) R.J. Daniels missed three games and (junior pitcher/infielder) Ricky Crum was out of town," Bell said. "They all work hard, but some nights I've started guys who have not started a game their entire life. We're .500, so it's not been bad."

Through seven games, Crum was hitting .438 with 12 runs, eight walks and six stolen bases. He also was 3-1 with 30 strikeouts and six walks in 21 innings pitched.

Junior outfielder Tyquan Wakefield was hitting .333 with 10 stolen bases and 10 runs.

Also seeing extensive innings on the mound have been Daniels, junior Brandon Woods and senior Anthony Barnes.