Mika Cox doesn't mind a little unpredictability, especially when she can take advantage of it.
Now in her second year on the Reynoldsburg High School girls track and field team after becoming eligible for the second half of last season, the senior has emerged as one of central Ohio's top competitors in the 400 meters.
The combination of speed and endurance needed to be successful is something she long has embraced.
"A lot can happen in a 400," Cox said. "When I was younger I would run it because I had long legs. Honestly I don't know why but it's my favorite race."
In the area honor roll released April 17, Cox and Dublin Coffman's Abby Steiner both had run 57.73 seconds to trail only Pickerington Central's Jaydan Wood (56.33).
Cox didn't compete in the 400 at state last season but ran on the third-place 1,600 relay (3:50.75) with seniors Hannah Gaskins and Tylar Mixon and sophomore Nia Grant.
That relay had the fourth-best time (4:04.94) in the area honor roll.
Cox also has turned in times of 12.52 in the 100 and 25.74 in the 200, while the 400 relay was third in the area (49.33).
Cox transferred to Reynoldsburg from Licking Heights before her junior season and sat out the first half of last season because of OHSAA rules.
"She ran (57.73 on April 15 at Canton GlenOak), but that was the first time she's run the 400 in outdoor," coach Richard Ladowitz said. "That time is going to dip. She had been hurt during indoor, so she has to be careful. She heats and ices every practice.
"I didn't really know anything about her when she came here. She got better throughout the summer."
Junior Dalajah Long has joined Cox, Gaskins, Grant and Mixon as a key sprinter, while freshman Jessica Ricks has "been impressive" in hurdles and sprinting events, according to Ladowitz.
On April 21 in the Lancaster Fulton Relays, the 400 relay won in 48.85, the 800 relay was third (1:43.71) and the 1,600 relay took second (4:05.43). Cox was joined on all three relays by Gaskins, Grant and Long.
Gaskins also went a season-best 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, tying for the best effort in the meet.
Ladowitz said Mixon has been battling an injury.
Cox is hoping for a strong push during the remainder of the regular season before her final prep postseason. She is planning to run for the University of Iowa, where her mother, Yolanda Cox, also competed.
"Things have been going pretty well," Cox said. "A lot of our freshmen have stepped up and surprised us. My plan is to bring down my 400 and 200 times. We all know what we need to do."
Sprint corps shines
for boys track team
The boys track team won each of the three sprint relays in the Fulton Relays.
Six athletes were spread among those events for the Raiders, with seniors J.J. Cooper and Sterling Smith running on all three.
The 400 relay (42.5) and 800 relay (1:28.37) also included senior Travis Marx and junior Marion Organ, while the 1,600 relay (3:25.75) was rounded out by seniors Arrington Dulin and Warrick Stanford.
Two other runners who have impressed Ladowitz are freshmen Wendesen King (middle distance) and Kyron Simpson (middle distance, distance).
King has run 2:01.5 in the 800 and was listed in last week's area honor roll.
Others in the area honor roll included senior Tyler Britton in the discus (153-4), Organ in the long jump (20-2 1/2), Cooper (11.1), Marx (11.11) and Smith (11.02) in the 100, Cooper in the 200 (22.71), Smith in the 200 (22.57) and senior Elijah Moses in the 110 hurdles (15.4).
Marx was out at the beginning of the season with an injury.
"J.J. Cooper is a first-year track guy (who is planning to walk on for football at Ohio State)," Ladowitz said. "He's gone 6-0 in the high jump and has been a nice bonus. The last year he competed was in eighth grade.
"It's been nice having Travis back."
Tennis team getting
improved singles play
After winning just two matches last season, the boys tennis team was 4-7 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division after losing to Gahanna 5-0 on April 24.
On April 25, the Raiders completed a suspended match against Lancaster in which they trailed 2-0. They also faced Marion-Franklin on April 26.
"My top of the lineup with my three singles are pretty solid," coach Les Somogyi said. "We've gotten very dependable singles play."
Sophomore Boban Mihajlov has moved from second singles last season to first singles, with senior Malcolm Kirksey at second singles and sophomore Preston Harmon at third singles.
"(Mihajlov) has learned a lot, is coachable and matured and has delivered," Somogyi said. "When he doesn't deliver, it's because he's up against somebody that is just better. His mental game is much, much better. His physical game is also better, but it's still improving.
"Kirksey actually plays better against better players. Harmon has been consistent at third singles."
Reynoldsburg lost to Olentangy Orange 3-0 on April 10 in the first round of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I team tournament.
The Raiders have beaten Hamilton Township (4-1 on April 5), Canal Winchester (5-0 on April 7), Granville (3-2 on April 12) and Whitehall (5-0 on April 17).
In a 3-2 loss to Fisher Catholic on April 19, Mihajlov won at first singles and the team of sophomores Sean Burns and Chase Cotner won at first doubles.
On April 22, the Raiders had all four of their doubles entrants go 1-2 in the Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament. The teams were comprised of Cotner and Mihajlov, Burns and Harmon, senior Trevor Templin and sophomore Mick Garlinger and senior Bryce Chambliss and sophomore Gunnar Green.
"I'm still trying to put together my doubles teams," Somogyi said.