One of the biggest highlights for the Dublin Coffman High School boys track and field team last season took place when its 1,600-meter relay reached the podium at the Division I state meet.
Three of those four competitors, seniors Ricky Pinney and Kevin Sabath and junior Jameel Williamson, are providing a base for what should be another strong unit this spring.
Another athlete who figures to be a regular point-scorer is senior Derek Van Vlerah, who placed fourth at state in the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches) and has committed to play basketball for University of the Incarnate Word.
"I'd like to see the (1,600 relay) team return to the podium," fourth-year coach Kathryn Slaven said. "We'd love to win (OCC-Central Division) meet if we can. I want them to do well individually. Because we are a younger team, it's just getting experience for those younger kids."
Also at state last year, Pinney, Sabath and Williamson joined 2018 graduate Lucas Bons on the 1,600 relay that placed fifth (3:20.69), and Bons added a runner-up finish in the 1,600 (4:06.96).
Junior Michael Ching competed at regional last year on the 800 relay that also included Sabath and Williamson. Also at regional, junior Alex Dediu ran on the 3,200 relay and Williamson was on the 400 relay.
Ching also competes in the 300 hurdles and could end up on the 1,600 relay.
Sophomore Jamil Robinson is another hurdler and senior Lawrence Zhang is running middle distance.
Seniors Dustin Drye and Josh Page also are among the team's sprinters.
Senior Trint Williams joins Van Vlerah in the high jump and junior Dylan Chapa and sophomore Mick Smith are competing in the long jump.
Senior Kobe Collins competes in the shot put and junior Michael Messer is competing in the discus.
Coffman opened April 2 by beating Thomas Worthington 89-48.
"We've got some really good freshmen who probably aren't quite varsity yet," Slaven said. "We're going to have a really team in a couple years."
Girls track squad should remain strong
The girls track and field team will have a different look this spring after losing one of the state's all-time most decorated runners in 2018 graduate Abby Steiner.
Even without Steiner, who is now competing for Kentucky after winning seven indoor and nine outdoor Division I state titles, the Shamrocks should have a strong group of runners.
Senior Isabelle Angerman, an Ohio State recruit, ran 42.93 to earn a state runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles last year and also is one of the team's top sprinters.
"We're a young team this year," 11th-year coach Greg King said. "It hadn't really hit me because we didn't have a ton of seniors last year, but when I started going through who our athletes are ... they're pretty solid."
At regional last year, junior Lydia Ainsworth and sophomores Abigail Collier and Abigail Scherer ran on the 1,600 relay, Ainsworth and Scherer both ran on the 3,200 relay and Ainsworth competed in the 800.
Senior SeRay Bray, junior Karlee North and sophomore Hallie Mitchell were among those on the 400 relay that competed at regional, and North earned a fifth-place regional finish in the pole vault (11-0).
Other returnees who competed at regional were senior Rachel Hoadley (pole vault) and junior Ashley Fitzgerald (high jump).
Junior Simone Rivard-Roberts, who was one of the team's top sprinters last spring, isn't expected to compete this spring because of an injury.
Junior Kinsey Crabtree, sophomore Kendal Kolba and freshman Katie Brand also are sprinters.
Freshman Maddie Irwin is among the middle distance runners and junior Emma Niswonger and freshmen Jaela Proper and Kasey Stammen are among the distance runners.
Senior Samia Juras also competes in the high jump, while juniors Amira Dehmani and Katie Kalvakis and sophomore Stephanie Smith are competing in the shot put and discus.
"It's going to be a growing year for us," King said. "We have the potential to get a couple distance runners to the regional meet and some sprint relays to the regional meet. We can be a pretty tough (1,600 relay) team."
Depth increases for boys tennis team
Despite losing three key contributors to graduation, the boys tennis team could be stronger overall this season.
The addition of sophomore Luke Ritchie, a Watterson transfer who reached the second round of a Division I sectional last season, has helped the Shamrocks' depth.
Senior Cobie Frank, junior Peter Lin and sophomores Anton Bakunin and William Sun are returnees from last season when Coffman went 6-6 overall and placed second in the OCC-Central at 3-1.
The Shamrocks opened April 2 with a 3-2 loss to Olentangy Orange but beat Olentangy Liberty 4-1 on April 3 and Westerville North 5-0 on April 4 before losing to Wellington 3-2 on April 8.
Coffman opened league action April 9 at home against Hilliard Davidson.
"We've got a good team," eighth-year coach Brett Hundertpfund said. "We've got some guys that definitely put in a lot of work in the offseason. Our depth is going to be one of our strengths, and I think we're going to do pretty well. We've got a lot of guys that play a bunch, and some tournament players. My hope is always that we get better each day and after each match."
Ritchie played first singles, with Lin at second singles and Sun at third singles in each of Coffman's first three matches.
Lin and Frank have been joined in doubles by sophomores Siddharth Rajagopal and Sanjay Janardhan. Junior Matt Yuan is another looking to contribute.
Last season, Bakunin and Sun reached a quarterfinal of the Division I sectional at Hilliard Bradley in doubles, Frank and 2018 graduate Grant Brooks reached the second round in doubles and Lin lost in the second round in singles.
"I'm very impressed with William and I've definitely seen a lot of good stuff from Sanjay," Hundertpfund said. "Cobie being a senior, he's got that experience and leadership that's hard to do without."
Volleyball team has senior-laden roster
Of the 15 members of the boys volleyball team, 11 are seniors.
Among that group is setter Jack Proctor, who was first-team all-OCC-Ohio last season and led the team in serving aces (58) and assists (402).
Other key returning seniors include outside hitters Aaron Forbush and Cameron Burris, right-side hitter Tali Berzins and middle hitters Sean McDerment and Cole Northup.
Last season, Forbush was second on the team in kills (146).
"I'm happy right now," fifth-year coach Shane Farrell said. "It's kind of a weird season. We had three weeks of practice and then had spring break when most people were out. Now it's basically six weeks of (matches), so you've got to improve while we're playing. We're excited."
Coffman followed a seven-win season in 2017 by going 12-13 last season.
The Shamrocks opened April 2 with a 21-25, 25-22, 25-11, 25-23 win over Pickerington Central in OCC-Ohio action and were 3-1 overall and in the league after beating Hilliard Davidson 25-9, 25-22, 25-18 on April 8.
Junior defensive specialist Ian Watabe is another key returnee.
Rounding out the seniors are Josh Curtin (defensive specialist), Christian France (defensive specialist), T.J. Miller (defensive specialist), Andrew Nikolai (defensive specialist) and Nolan Roush (middle hitter).
Also on the team are junior Kurt Bouska (outside hitter) and sophomores Mitchell Harder (outside hitter) and Ryan Loynes (setter).
Joey Mitchell, who led the team in kills with 155 and was second-team all-league a year ago, has committed to play football for the University of Albany and did not return for his senior season this spring.
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
April 11 -- At Watterson
*April 12 -- Home vs. Westland
*April 15 -- Home vs. Marysville
*April 17 -- At Marysville
*April 11 -- Home vs. Newark
*April 16 -- At Marysville
April 17 -- At Delaware
April 13 -- At Thomas Worthington
*April 16 -- Home vs. Marysville
*April 11 -- At Westland
April 13 -- At Hilliard Bradley
*April 15 -- Home vs. Marysville
*April 17 -- Home vs. Central Crossing
April 15 -- At Pickerington North
April 16 -- Home vs. Marysville
April 17 -- At Olentangy
TRACK & FIELD
April 13 -- Joe Lenge Dublin Classic at home
April 16 -- At Hilliard Davidson
*April 11 -- Home vs. New Albany
April 13 -- DeSales and TBA in Olentangy Orange tournament
*April 16 -- At Pickerington North