After winning its first league championship last season, the Hilliard Bradley High School boys track and field team will need athletes to step up and fill the voids lost to graduation to repeat the feat.
The Jaguars must replace Daevon Anderson after he posted the top finishes in program history at the Division I state meet. Anderson placed second in the 300-meter hurdles (program-record 37.17 seconds) and third in the 110 hurdles (14.23).
Anderson also joined fellow 2018 graduate Kory Taylor, senior Zeke Bennett and junior Matthew Drovdlic on the 12th-place 800 relay (1:29.64).
Bennett said it's time for the returnees to step forward and lead the Jaguars to another OCC-Cardinal Division championship and more postseason success.
"A bunch of us are doing well and we want to progress and get back to where we were last year," said Bennett, who has committed to Wittenberg. "We have a lot of upperclassmen. Our four main guys -- me, (Drovdlic), (sophomore) Kenyon (Richardson) and (sophomore) David (Lamb) -- need to step up this year."
Seventh-year coach Ben Gadfield said the Jaguars are talented, so success will be a matter of putting together the right pieces.
"We have a lot of key contributors back, but we're trying to figure out the new kids," Gadfield said. "Things have been pretty good so far.
"We have a good group back, but there are some holes we have to fill and we need to find people to fill in those holes. As of right now, we don't have as much depth as last year, but we still have lot of talent on the team."
Bennett, Drovdlic, Lamb and Richardson are the top sprinters, and senior Caleb Levitt is one of the area's best in the high jump and long jump.
Junior Ibrahim Dumbuya is the top hurdler with juniors Eli Schneider and Haydon Spaulding and sophomore Caden Burkhart leading the distance corps. Juniors David Metzler, Brandon Mikesell and Kyle Schroeder are the top throwers.
"We're still trying to find that depth," Gadfield said. "We're moving people around to find ways to win and for them to be successful."
The Jaguars finished fourth (76 points) of 10 teams in the Panther Invitational on April 5 at Darby behind champion Olentangy Liberty (88). Bennett won the 400 (50.06), Levitt was first in the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) and Drovdlic, Lamb, Richardson and Bennett ran on the first-place 800 relay (1:30.92).
Girls track team to be led by throwers
The girls track team is expected to be led by senior throwers Christy Hribar and Megan Mummert and junior thrower Emily Keck.
Coach Thom Nees also is optimistic about seniors Courtney Baith and Naomi Kuo in the long jump and senior Alyssa Jones and freshman Jaelyn Hopson in the high jump.
"I think our throws might be our best area," said Nees, who is in his 10th season. "Emily and Megan have started strong, and they are pretty competitive all around. Our jumpers are also coming together."
Senior Mikhayla Draper, sophomore Brittany Amador and freshman Gracelyn Peebles are expected to lead the way in sprints. Sophomore sprinter Mallery Heimberger is out with an illness.
Kuo and senior Hope Funderburg are the top hurdlers, and senior Jenna Trivette, sophomore Ella Richardson and freshman Ashley Long will run middle distance. Senior Ellie Gierman, juniors Emily Marschhausen and Byann Rasul and sophomore Amber Figueroa lead the distance corps, and senior Lillie Sherwood is competing in the pole vault.
"This group competes," Nees said. "We have a lot of new faces, and we weren't really sure what we would get from them. They came out and worked really hard and competed for us, which is what we like to see."
The Jaguars did not score in the Panther Invitational as only the top six places received points.
Boys volleyball team has experienced lineup
Ninth-year boys volleyball coach Zach Franklin has an experienced roster after his team finished 8-11 overall and 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal last season.
Senior Attia Soliman (honorable mention all-region, first-team all-league) leads the returnees after having 118 kills, 13 blocks, 147 digs, 32 assists and 19 aces last spring as an outside hitter. He's at libero this spring after suffering a broken hand during club season.
Senior Joe Fadley and junior Tyler Mordarski are back as middle hitters. Sophomore outside hitter Jonah Gilbert (second-team all-league) and sophomore brothers Jin Tam (defensive specialist) and Tak Tam (setter) also return.
Senior right-side hitter Garrett Creek, junior middle hitter Donovan Banda, junior outside hitter Dominic Roberts-Evans and freshman defensive specialist J.J. Moine round out the roster.
"We definitely have a lot of hustle and defensive effort," Franklin said. "We're not so tall, so defense is important. Our main focus is getting our timing down. We're working on the timing between the attack and the hitters."
The Jaguars were 3-0 overall and in the OCC-Cardinal after beating Delaware 25-22, 25-11, 25-20 on April 8. They beat Olentangy Berlin 25-6, 25-13, 25-19 on April 2 and Worthington Kilbourne 25-15, 25-17, 18-25, 23-25, 15-12 on April 4.
"We want to work on our communication," Franklin said. "We need to be able to call out things in the play. We're also working on serving, which has been less than stellar so far."
Baker leading boys tennis team
Colleen Baker has taken over as coach of the boys tennis program after Donna Long led it for four seasons.
The Jaguars return three players from last season, when they finished 7-8 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Junior Dylan Shook has moved up from second singles to first, while senior Kiren Manoharan is at second singles and junior Dylan Castro is at third singles.
"(Shook) has played in tournaments and has gone to clinics to prepare for this challenge and (Manoharan) has played singles for the last two seasons," said Baker, who also took over the girls tennis program last fall. "(Castro) has mostly played doubles but is ready to try playing singles."
Junior Anish Chitti and sophomore Alex Zakrzewski are at first doubles with junior Ankit Kumar and sophomore Isaac Tawney at second doubles.
Also competing for playing time are senior Trevor Scherer, juniors Naman Amin and Valen Rajmohan and sophomore Luke Miller.
The Jaguars lost to Gahanna 4-1 on April 8 and were 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Kilbourne on April 9.
Bradley opened with a 5-0 loss to Thomas Worthington on April 2 in league play, but then defeated Westerville Central 4-1 on April 3, Berlin 5-0 in a league match April 4 and Jonathan Alder 5-0 on April 5.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
*April 12 -- At Olentangy Berlin
April 13 -- Home vs. Lancaster
*April 15 -- Home vs. Berlin
*April 17 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*April 11 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*April 16 -- At Dublin Jerome
*April 11 -- At Kilbourne
*April 16 -- Home vs. Jerome
*April 11 -- At Dublin Scioto
April 13 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
*April 15 -- Home vs. Darby
*April 17 -- At Thomas Worthington. The Jaguars defeated the Cardinals 11-1 (5 innings) on April 1.
*April 11 -- Home vs. Delaware
April 15 -- At Reynoldsburg
*April 16 -- At Jerome
TRACK & FIELD
April 13 -- Joe Lenge Dublin Classic at Coffman
April 16 -- Home vs. Darby
*April 11 -- At Scioto
*April 16 -- Home vs. Darby
April 17 -- Home vs. St. Charles