Members of the Centennial High School football and wrestling teams are awaiting the return of their friend and teammate Oscar Espino.
They're hoping to welcome him home from Mexico soon.
Espino, a senior, sustained injuries in an auto accident while he was visiting family over the holiday break. A vehicle he was riding in rolled over, and another passenger was killed.
"He's out of the hospital now, but I think he's staying at his family's place and it must be in a rural area because we can't contact him now because of the bad connection," said senior Khari Woods, who played football with Espino. "He had surgery for a broken leg and he also broke his collarbone. I think he has stitches and a concussion, too. He should be coming home soon because I think they told him he could travel after being out of the hospital for like 10 to 14 days."
While Espino was in Mexico for the holidays, his mother, father and sister remained in central Ohio. His mother flew to Mexico after the accident and remains there.
Espino, Woods and senior Jackson Bradfield all played on the offensive line for the Stars and are close friends.
"I moved here from Chicago and went to Ridgeview Middle School and met (Espino) and found out he also moved from Chicago," Woods said. "We became friends, and (Bradfield) was right there with us all the time, too.
"We were always talking about sneakers and then (Espino) went and bought a nice pair and I found out he was working for his dad in landscaping. He got his dad to offer me a job. Oscar is such a hard worker that he would get up at like 4:30 (a.m.) and go to work to get his job done and then go to two-a-days. He's an unbelievable worker in everything he does."
The three friends now all work at Texas Roadhouse. Woods and Bradfield started a GoFundMe page for the Espino family. To contribute, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/3p4qb-oscar.
"I say prayers for him, and we wanted to step up and help his family for the medical bills and the (transportation costs)," Bradfield said. "So the GoFundMe was our best way to call attention to the situation and ask everyone to help a good guy and a good family. Everyone's been pitching in.
"Oscar is everybody's friend and was a leader on the football team. Nobody has an unkind word to say about him. He's also a great student."
Football coach Donte Goosby wasn't surprised that Woods and Bradfield stepped up to help.
"We had four seniors starting on the offensive line, and they were close and good leaders," he said. "Plus, those three spent as much time together away from sports and school, they're family. They work together and have just been inseparable.
"I said it last fall and I'll say it again: This was the best offensive line group we've ever had and that was a large part of our success. Their unity and leadership was terrific, plus they're just great young men in general."
Woods said Espino "is a funny guy" who "loves doing sound effects, especially of all different types of cars."
"We'll all feel better when he gets back here and gets healthy," Woods said.
Bad weather prevented the wrestling team from competing last weekend, as the Ron Thomas Invitational at Jonathan Alder was canceled Jan. 19. It would have been the Stars' first tournament since Dec. 15.
Centennial will compete in the City League dual prelims Thursday, Jan. 24, at East. The semifinals and final will be held Jan. 31 at a site to be determined.
Girls basketball team looks to break skid
The girls basketball team had lost three consecutive games and was 5-10 overall and 3-7 in the City-North Division before facing Mifflin on Jan. 22.
"We're a little inconsistent with our effort and focus in practice and it shows when we play," coach Pete Baumann said. "When we are dialed in and playing hard, we have looked really good."
The Stars lost to Linden-McKinley 43-31 on Jan. 11, to Northland 63-24 on Jan. 15 and to Beechcroft 58-41 on Jan. 18.
Entering this week, Shamara Bridges was averaging 10.2 points and Naa Dromo Korley was averaging 10.1 points and 11.0 rebounds.
"We're getting about what we expected from our upperclassmen and the younger kids are starting to come along," Baumann said. "Freshmen Lauren Bailey and Z'niya Peterson and sophomore CiCi Dingess have begun to earn more varsity minutes, which has helped to improve our depth."
Boys basketball team hopes to rebound
The boys basketball team missed its chance to move into a first-place tie in the City-North, as host Beechcroft used a 23-8 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game and pull away to a 68-47 win Jan. 18.
A Centennial win would have forced a four-way tie atop the league, but the Cougars improved to 7-1 and the Stars fell to fourth place at 5-3. Linden and Northland both were 6-2 entering this week.
Centennial, which defeated Northland 69-63 on Jan. 15, was 7-4 overall before facing Mifflin on Jan. 22.
"If I'm not mistaken, that's the first time we've beaten them since I've been here," 17th-year coach Roosevelt Osborne III said of the win over the Vikings. "I could be wrong, but it's been a long, long time. We finally played to our potential and we executed very well, especially in the second half. It was a nice win."
Myles Martinez scored 20 points, Kelvin Gilliam had 16 and Jaylen Gilbert added 13 against Northland. Trayvon Jackson scored 20 points and Martinez had 12 against Beechcroft.
The Stars had their Jan. 19 game against Olentangy at Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana, postponed and rescheduled for Feb. 2.
Bowling teams set for tough stretch
The boys bowling team was seeking to remain in a good groove this week when it had big challenges against Teays Valley on Jan. 22 and Northland on Jan. 23.
The Stars entered the week 6-0 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-C Division. Teays Valley was 8-1 and Northland was 6-2.
Centennial will face Worthington Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Sequoia Lanes. Worthington Christian also was 6-2 entering this week.
Through six matches, Joe Thies had a team-best 191.2 average, followed by A.J. Grumbling (164.2) and Nick Loudner (158.6).
The girls team was 5-0 overall and in the COHSBC-C entering the week, as was Teays Valley. Worthington Christian was 6-1 and Northland was 4-2.
Leading the way for the Stars have been Kylie Crissinger-Acuna (155.3), Jeslin Deets (142.7) and Izabelle Segovia (134.6).