The track and field resume of Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Amariah Thomas is full of accomplishments from the last four years.

She seemed ready for the big stage even as a freshman when she ran on both the girls 800- and 1,600-meter relays that captured Division I state championships.

During her prep career, she's competed in 10 state events, placing in eight, and also won a championship on the 1,600 relay as a sophomore.

Still, believing in what she can accomplish has seemed to have hit a new level since she committed to Penn State last fall.

During the indoor state meet March 3, Thomas placed sixth in the 60, seventh in the 200 and ran on both the first-place 1,600 relay and runner-up 800 relay.

Heading into the OCC-Ohio Division meet that began May 9 at Lancaster and concludes Saturday, May 12, at Dublin Coffman, Thomas was second in the area honor roll in the 100 (12.16 seconds) behind only two-time defending state champion Abby Steiner (11.8) and was 10th in the area in the 400 (59.58) despite not competing in that event much last season.

"Mentally, she's more mature," coach Roger Whittaker said. "She has a grasp that since she's committed to Penn State that she's got to step up."

Thomas, whose best previous time in the 100 heading into the OCC-Ohio meet was an 11.91 that she recorded at last year's league meet, ran her best time this season at the home Gahanna Relays on April 18.

She followed with a third-place finish (12.58) in the prestigious Eastern Relays on April 21 at the University of Louisville.

Thomas has tried to embrace the importance of running with confidence with the season's biggest meets approaching.

"One thing I talk with my coach about is that I have to have the mentality to believe that I'm one of the fast girls," Thomas said. "You can't go into it thinking that everybody is superior to you. You have to believe you're up there as well. At some point, you've put in just hard work and you have to trust the training. I definitely see my times drop as the postseason comes because your body is getting used to getting on the track and getting used to the conditions and the peak of your training is coming in. You get to show off how hard you've trained."

Despite the success she had at the prep level almost immediately after joining the Lions' program, a series of defining moments have shaped her career.

After getting started in track and basketball more than a decade ago, Thomas continued to grow in both sports.

She had to overcome an ankle injury sustained while competing in track in middle school.

Then, after her sophomore season for the Lions' girls basketball program, she made the difficult decision of giving up the sport despite being a key contributor on varsity that season.

A hamstring injury as a sophomore was another obstacle.

"I had an injury to my hamstring and that took a really big toll on my family," Thomas said. "I'd never been injured before like that in my life. It took a lot of rehab and recovery because I just wanted to get back on the track. That definitely taught me a lot about patience and taught me to see the bigger picture. It really taught me to work hard and bounce back. You can bounce back at any time."

Both the boys and girls teams will compete next week in the Division I, district 2 meet, which begins Tuesday, May 15, with field events, continues Wednesday, May 16, with running preliminaries and concludes May 19 at Hilliard Darby with running finals.

While Thomas isn't positive what combination of events she'll run during the postseason, she expects to compete in the 200 and 400 collegiately and considers the 400 her best race.

"I have a lot of muscle, so as far as short sprints, there are a lot of small girls in the short sprints," Thomas said. "Personally, for me being in the longer events like the 400 and 200, I can definitely use my body strength as far as wind resistance. I don't have extremely long legs, but my strides are pretty long.

"It's going to be really fun for me (at college) and I'll be able to grow a lot. There's so much technology to enhance your performance and the coaches are amazing."

Doubles teams excited for tennis sectional

The boys tennis team is competing in a Division I sectional Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Reynoldsburg.

Seniors Colin Jordan and Daniel Shtein played first and second singles, respectively, throughout the regular season but are teaming up in doubles in the postseason and are seeded third at sectional. They have a first-round bye.

Sophomore Kyle Fout, who spent much of the season at third singles, is playing doubles with senior Connor Barnette. The duo open against Westerville North's Henry Passerrello and Ervan Rodgers in the first round. If they win that match, they will play fourth-seeded Dev Vasani and Ben Yan of New Albany.

Passerrello, Rodgers, Vasani and Yan all were primarily doubles players during the regular season.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament May 17 at Hilliard Bradley and May 19 at Upper Arlington.

"Colin and Daniel have been best friends for a long time and he said he wanted to have a good time, and they've got a great opportunity," coach Chris Schwinnen said. "Colin's got the power and the putaways and Daniel tracks a lot of balls down.

"Fout and Barnette are playing doubles and they'll have to beat the fourth-seeded team from New Albany. If we play well, I think they can give them a great match."

Also at sectional, senior Oliver Cope plays Granville's Raleigh Conway and senior Josh Russell plays Westerville North's Carter Jones or Lancaster's Chris Kirchgessner in first-round singles matches, while senior Josh Miller meets Olentangy's Ayush Sunkad in a feed-in match.

Gahanna was 11-4 overall before Bradley on May 8. The Lions will play New Albany on a date to be announced in a district semifinal of the OT CA team tournament.

Volleyball team gets shot at league title

The boys volleyball team played Hilliard Davidson on May 8 for the OCC-Ohio championship.

Heading into the match, both teams were 9-2 in the league. Gahanna, which last won a league title in 2013, bounced back from a 19-25, 15-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-13 loss to Upper Arlington on May 1 to beat Reynoldsburg 25-15, 25-17, 25-14 on May 3.

The Lions were 12-6 overall after beating Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph 26-24, 25-18 and Stow-Munroe Falls 25-21, 25-9 on May 5.

The Division I East Region tournament drawing is Monday, May 14. The Lions were fourth in last week's regional poll behind Olentangy, Hilliard Darby and St. Charles and also received votes in the state poll.

Through 13 matches, senior outside hitter and Wittenberg commit Russell Burke had 140 kills, 135 digs and 32 serving aces to lead the Lions.

Baseball team rolls into tournament

The baseball team entered the Division I district tournament on a five-game winning streak that included four consecutive victories over league opponents.

The 20th-seeded Lions beat 44th-seeded Walnut Ridge 17-0 on May 7 to improve to 14-10 overall.

Gahanna played at 12th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round May 9, with that winner facing fifth-seeded Upper Arlington or 30th-seeded Dublin Scioto in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 15, at a site to be announced. The district final is May 17.

Noah Laurent had three hits and Alex Streitenberger had two RBI in support of Mason Weber, who pitched the first 6 1/3 innings in a 5-4 victory over Pickerington Central on May 4 as the Lions finished 8-7 in the OCC-Ohio.

Austin Burchfield and Evan Wolf combined to allow just one hit in a 10-0, five-inning win over Reynoldsburg on May 3.

Softball squad opens tourney play

The sixth-seeded softball team opened the Division I district tournament with a second-round game May 9 at home against 34th-seeded Canal Winchester.

The winner plays fourth-seeded Groveport or 26th-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district semifinal Monday, May 14, at a site to be announced.

The district final is May 18 or 19 at Pickerington Central.

Gahanna, which has won five consecutive district titles, was 15-7 overall entering the postseason.

In the Gahanna Showcase on May 5, Addie Kittel hit one home run in each game as the Lions beat Stow-Munroe Falls 11-1 and Circleville 9-4.

Kittel, who also homered in an 11-3 victory over Reynoldsburg on May 1, had 16 home runs entering the postseason to tie the program's single-season record.

The win over the Raiders avenged a 10-7 loss to Reynoldsburg on April 11, as Gahanna finished 5-5 in the OCC-Ohio.



Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and boys volleyball teams:


May 11 -- At Westerville South

May 12 -- Home vs. 16th-seeded Miamisburg in first round of Division I, Region 3 tournament. Winner plays at top-seeded Upper Arlington in second round May 15. That winner plays 10th-seeded Pickerington North or 13th-seeded Beavercreek in regional quarterfinal May 18. Gahanna is seeded 15th.


May 3 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange

May 4 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls

May 8 -- Home vs. Chillicothe

May 14 -- Home vs. ninth-seeded Pickerington Central in first round of Division I, Region 3 tournament. Winner plays at second-seeded Dublin Jerome or 16th-seeded Marysville in second round May 18. Gahanna is seeded seventh.


May 11 -- Home vs. Watterson

May 12 -- At Beavercreek with Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit

May 15 -- OCC Challenge at Hilliard Darby