The Centennial High School boys tennis team has ended the five-year reign of Whetstone representing the City League-North Division in the City final.
The Stars, who beat Whetstone 4-1 on March 29, were 5-3 overall and 4-0 in the league entering their City-North finale April 10 against Mifflin. Whetstone was 3-1 in the league entering the week, but even if both teams finish 4-1, Centennial owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
"We want to finish it right and continue to play well," coach Barbara Stevenson said. "They're all playing well and playing to their ability. I tried to schedule some tough non-league opponents before league matches to lift their play and help them focus. I think that challenge has lifted their play."
The Stars lost to Thomas Worthington 5-0 on March 24 then earned a 3-2 win over Beechcroft on March 27. They lost to Groveport 4-1 on March 28 before beating Whetstone the next day. They lost to Upper Arlington B 5-0 on March 30 in the match before a 5-0 win over Northland on April 3, and they defeated Hilliard Davidson B 3-2 on April 4 and then beat Linden-McKinley 5-0 the next day.
In singles, Stevenson said Jack Jones has dominated at No. 1 in league play, Spencer Newkirk has been solid at No. 3 and Kitano Watkins has played well at No. 2 despite missing a few matches.
In doubles, Dhrough Patel and Sam Ferrell entered the week perfect in league play, as were Preston Newkirk and Tyrell Davis.
"Last year they were all freshmen and sophomores and they've grown their games with hard work," Stevenson said. "They come to practice and have fun while working hard and their confidence is growing when they win close matches. They've got good attitudes and winning is icing on the cake."
The softball team was 4-1 overall entering the week, including 3-0 in the City-North before playing Whetstone on April 10.
The Stars, who defeated Franklin Heights 19-7 and lost to host Bexley 1-0 on April 8, also played league games April 11 against East and April 12 against Beechcroft. They will play host to Mifflin on Thursday, April 13, in a makeup from March 31 before spring break begins the following day.
Games against Reynoldsburg (March 28), Dublin Scioto (April 1) and Delaware Christian (April 6) were postponed because of bad weather, and none were immediately rescheduled.
After the Mifflin game, the Stars are not scheduled to play again until April 24 at Northland.
"We've had some rainouts and had one game where the umpires didn't show up," coach Malik Dean said. "It's been tough to get into any kind of pattern when you don't play as many games.
"Our pitchers, Stacey Leach, Gwen Moran and Lexi Thompson, have all done well so far. I'm just hoping our bats will catch up. In some of our City games, we haven't seen a lot of strikes. Our hitters have to focus and be ready for that one good pitch they might see in an at-bat. You don't want to swing at bad pitches, but on the other hand you have to remain focused and ready to hit."
Centennial beat Northland 14-0 on March 29, Beechcroft 14-3 on April 4 and International 13-0 on April 5.
Rudoff, Schutte lead
The baseball team was 3-3 overall and 3-0 in the City-North before playing Whetstone on April 10.
"Jackson Rudoff's pitching and Noah Schutte in the leadoff spot of our batting order have been impressive for us so far," coach Pat Nance said. "I've been pretty happy overall, but I'd like to see us make it through a full game without making some type of mistake.
"We've made several base-running mistakes and a few defensive lapses. Maybe that's just a coach talking about being closer to perfect, because I am pretty happy with the way we're playing. It's just that you can always do better."
After losing a doubleheader to Central Crossing on March 25 (11-1 and 13-3), the Stars beat Northland 8-2 on March 29, East 24-1 on April 3 and Beechcroft 10-0 on April 4. They lost to Lancaster 7-2 on April 8.
"Noah has done a great job at leadoff, especially for a sophomore," Nance said. "He is seeing a lot of pitches and getting on base regularly. Jackson struck out 11 and allowed four hits against Northland in a complete game."
The Stars played Mifflin on April 11 and Beechcroft on April 12 in league contests.