The Thomas Worthington High School girls track and field team is hoping that its success during the indoor season carries over to the outdoor season.
Led by their 3,200-meter relay, the Cardinals placed sixth (29 points) in the Division I state indoor meet March 2 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, behind champion Liberty Township Lakota East (53.5).
The 3,200 relay of junior Lydia Miller, senior Tori Banks, sophomore Carina Napoleon and senior Gia Napoleon won in a meet-record 9 minutes, 3.08 seconds.
"They set the state meet record and the SPIRE record and it was the No. 1 time in the nation this (indoor) season," seventh-year coach Andy Cox said. "They went on to nationals in New York City and finished third."
Banks plays for the girls lacrosse team and is not competing in track this spring.
"We had a number of season-bests in the state indoor meet and we finished sixth out of 136 teams that qualified for at least one event," Cox said. "We want to carry that over and have a great outdoor season now."
Also in the state indoor meet, Gia Napoleon won the 800 (meet-record 2:11.69), the 1,600 relay of Carina Napoleon, sophomore Jazmine Rogers, Banks and Gia Napoleon placed fourth (4:00.16), Carina Napoleon placed fifth in the 800 (2:13.3), Miller finished 11th in the 1,600 (5:11.58) and the 800 relay of senior Allyicia Diggs-Hall, sophomore Claire Sever, sophomore Jada Stephens and Rogers placed 18th (1:51.38).
Diggs-Hall, Rogers and Sever also are not competing this spring, but the Cardinals have picked up two key runners in senior Breanne Beatty (sprints, hurdles) and freshman Cora Hamilton (hurdles) and senior Sarah Charley (sprints) has returned. Beatty and Charley both played basketball this winter.
"We had a great indoor season and now Sarah and Bre are added to the lineup for the outdoor season," Cox said. "Along with Cora, they add more experience and explosiveness to the sprints, hurdles and long jump."
In the field events, sophomores Anna Bielanski and Tiffany Gilmore are expected to lead the team in the throws, junior Hannah Scott and freshman Emma Brown should lead in the jumps and senior Riley Adams and freshman Kennedy Macerollo should lead in the pole vault.
"We've got three tremendous athletes who are terrific leaders in Gia, Bre and Sarah," Cox said. "Gia will run track at Ohio State, Bre will play basketball at Oakland University and Sarah will play field hockey at Ohio State. All three are positive role models for our younger athletes."
The Cardinals finished fourth (71) in the 16-team Stingel Invitational on April 6 at Pickerington North, behind champion Olentangy Orange (135).
Carina Napoleon won the 800 (2:17.49) and anchored the winning 1,600 relay (4:05.6) behind Gia Napoleon, Stephens and Miller.
The 3,200 relay of sophomore Morgan Edwards, freshman Leila Boussedra, junior Abby Moulton and junior Cassidy Shaver was second (10:12.51), Gia Napoleon placed third in the 1,600 (5:12.24) and Beatty was fourth in both the 100 hurdles (16.09) and 300 hurdles (48.51).
Boys track team young but talented
The boys track and field team lost two of the top distance runners in program history to graduation last spring, but is hoping balance and youth will help make up for some of the lost scoring.
"We are very excited about this year's team, but we are incredibly young," sixth-year coach Bill Darling said. "Normally in track, you rely on seniors, but the shot put and the discus are the only events where our best athlete is a senior. Every place else, it's going to need to be younger athletes stepping up."
The seniors leading the way in the throws are DiJahn Davis, Devin Houdek and Sony Kipre.
The Cardinals lost 2018 graduates Arjun Jha and Andy Payne after they competed in the Division I state meet last spring. Jha finished fifth in the 800 (1:54.52) and Payne was fifth in the 3,200 (9:10.15).
Darling, however, believes the distance events remain a strength of his team.
"We look to be strong in the distance events with juniors Nate Johnson and Zubin Jha scoring for us," Darling said. "Zubin is coming into his own. He qualified for state in cross country and indoor track and is ready to make his mark in the 3,200 this year. His training has been going very well and he is really ready for a big junior year. Zubin is a very important part of this team."
The Cardinals have an improved sprinting corps this season, according to Darling. Junior Alie Jalloh, sophomore Jimmie Turner and freshman Justin Braun are expected to lead in those events.
"Our sprints aren't far behind our distance guys in strength," Darling said. "The sprinters are so young and will really need to work hard to score in the big meets. Justin is already highly ranked in the state in the 400, so that's exciting."
Sophomores Macario Etienne and Wesley Horton are expected to lead the team in middle-distance events, while juniors James Gaiters and Theory Schroder should lead in the hurdles.
"We're moving James and Theory to the hurdles, so we think they can be big contributors for us in those events," Darling said. "James is bouncing back from a serious arm injury incurred in practice during indoor track season. He is showing tremendous progress in the 300 hurdles. We are very excited to see his progression in the outdoor season. We need James to be a big contributor."
Sophomore Jayvaun Lane returns in the long jump, sophomore Jamir Lewis competes in the high jump and sophomore Luka Srsic is competing in the pole vault.
"Luka has improved greatly in the pole vault, so we've improved in that area," Darling said. "While the future is bright, we do hope to be able to accomplish good things as a team this year."
In the Stingel Invitational, Braun finished second in the 400 (48.87) and third in the 200 (22.09), Lane placed second in the long jump (20 feet, 3 1/2 inches), Srsic was fourth in the pole vault (12-6) and Kipre was fourth in the shot put (46-10 1/2).
Five players return for tennis team
The boys tennis team has returned five of its top seven players from last season, when it finished 10-6 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to place second behind Dublin Jerome (6-0).
Expected to lead the way are four Division I district qualifiers in seniors Kai Britz, Deep Gupta and Aaron Zeller and sophomore Will Newberry.
At district last season, Britz lost in the second round and Newberry lost in the first round in singles, while Gupta and Zeller lost in the first round in doubles.
"Britz will be at first singles and Newberry will be on the second court," fourth-year coach Andrew Sinclair said. "Kai has been close to qualifying for the state tournament two straight years. He won last year's Worthington Cup singles (title). Will, Aaron and Deep also are returning district qualifiers, so we are looking for another good season. Aaron and Deep will stay together at first doubles."
Senior Steve Jackman also is back and is playing third singles, while vying for playing time at second doubles are senior Xander King, juniors Mitch Button and Jake Yablok and sophomore Ryley Briones.
The Cardinals beat DeSales 5-0 on April 8 and were 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the league before playing Delaware on April 9. They beat Whetstone (March 27), Centennial (March 29) and Hilliard Bradley (April 2) all 5-0 and Upper Arlington B (April 1) and St. Charles (April 3) 3-2.
Thomas lost 4-1 to Jerome on April 4.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
April 11 -- Home vs. Whetstone
*April 12 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
April 13 -- Home vs. Kettering Fairmont
*April 15 -- At Dublin Jerome
April 16 -- At DeSales
*April 17 -- At Delaware
*April 11 -- At Dublin Jerome
*April 16 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
April 12 -- Home vs. Hudson in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament
April 13 -- Home vs. Hartley in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament
*April 16 -- At Dublin Scioto
*April 11 -- At Hilliard Darby
April 12 -- At Buckeye Valley
*April 15 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
April 16 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
*April 17 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
*April 11 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin
April 16 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
*April 17 -- Home vs. Watterson
TRACK & FIELD
April 13 -- Joe Lenge Dublin Classic at Dublin Coffman
April 15 -- Home vs. Westerville Central and Worthington Christian
*April 11 -- At Hilliard Darby
April 15 -- Home vs. Eastmoor Academy
*April 16 -- Home vs. Kilbourne