Longtime Whetstone High School boys track and field coach Joe Monda was itching for spring break to end so that he could have his complete team back and working toward the City League meet Tuesday, May 7, and May 9 at Africentric.
"We've had kids on vacations with their families over spring break (April 19-26), and many of the kids couldn't practice because they have no rides with school being out," Monda said. "This was the worst time for (Columbus City Schools) to have spring break because it's so late in the year and we're so close to the City championships. I can't recall this happening before. We've also had a few injuries, so we were pretty shorthanded for our (Braves Invitational on April 24) and (the Gary Smith Invitational April 27 at Thomas Worthington).
"I just don't know where we are in terms of our training and if our kids were set back by this. I'm anxious to get back to practice and get Emil Adams back from a tweaked hamstring and just get everyone back together."
In the Braves Invitational, the boys team placed ninth (31 points) of 14 teams, behind champion Eastmoor Academy (93).
Hassan Sesay won the high jump (6 feet) and was on the second-place sprint medley relay with Edmund Michel, Elnah Siaway and Brack Dillon (1 minute, 37.15 seconds) and on the fourth-place 1,600-meter relay with Adams, Siaway and Dillon (3:35.46).
Abdourahman Sallah placed third in the long jump (18-6).
The Braves finished 13th (25) of 15 teams in the Gary Smith Invitational, behind champion Thomas (107).
Dillon placed second in the 400 (51.34) and Sallah was fifth in the long jump (18-8 1/2) and joined Siaway, Dillon and Sesay on the fifth-place 1,600 relay (3:37.04). Finishing sixth were Sesay in the 400 (52.63), Matthew Conroy in the 1,600 (4:44.69) and the 800 relay of Dillon, Siaway, Sallah and Sesay (1:34.51).
"The boys have been progressing nicely," Monda said. "Thane Nederveld and Matt Conroy are leading the distance corps and Brack has been great in the 400 and in our relays. Hassan had his PR in the high jump (in the Braves Invitational) and has really come into his own this year after being in the shadow of his brother the past few years. Sallah and Ibrahim Bangura are really coming along well.
"We've had two seniors competing in their first year who have really been pleasant surprises in Elnah Siaway and Edmund Michel. Elnah can run the 100 to the 800 and is a key in our relays, as is Edmund. Those guys have really stepped up and they're engaged as seniors, which isn't always a given. Sometimes, seniors have a tendency to check out in the spring."
The girls team finished 11th (11.5) of 14 teams in the Braves Invitational, behind champion Watterson (96), and was last (3) of 14 teams in the Gary Smith Invitational, behind champion Thomas (104).
In the Braves Invitational, Mataya Stokes placed fifth in the 200 (27.91) and seventh in the 100 (13.55), Julian Calderone was fifth in the 1,600 (6:23.27) and Julia Carney was seventh in the long jump (12-9 1/2).
Mariyanna Lacy scored the Braves' only points in the Gary Smith Invitational by placing sixth in the 800 (2:33.68).
"In addition to (last week) being spring break, we've had a number of injuries," coach Chris Lisi said. "We've been repeatedly hit with shin splints because our track is so bad and so hard. But we have a great group of girls and always have volunteers to fill events when one of the girls goes down.
"That's what makes this a positive experience. The girls are working hard and getting better and it's a great group."
Baseball team tries to get back on track
The baseball team is inching closer to locking down at least a share of the City League-North Division title.
The Braves were 15-4 overall and 9-0 in the league before playing Beechcroft on April 29 and will play host to Centennial on Monday, May 6, before closing league play Wednesday, May 8, at home against Linden-McKinley.
Centennial was 6-1 in the City-North entering the week, but was scheduled to play four league games before closing the regular season against Whetstone. The Braves beat the Stars 8-0 on April 10, breaking open a tight game with a five-run sixth inning.
After having games against host Hardin Northern and Toledo Rogers canceled April 19 because of bad weather, Whetstone played for the first time in six days on April 23 and lost 11-1 at Olentangy Berlin.
Then, after having a game at Sparta Highland canceled April 25 because of bad weather, the Braves split a doubleheader on April 27, beating Galion Northmor 4-3 and losing to host Grandview 9-4.
Whetstone trailed Grandview 5-4 in the fifth but errors helped cement the loss.
"We had a bad game offensively against Berlin and then had a bad game defensively against Grandview," coach Tim Broskie said. "We made eight errors against Grandview, all in the infield. I'm not sure what happened. We only had one hit against Berlin. We've got to get back to work now."
Softball team hopes to find groove
After losing three consecutive non-league games during an 11-day stretch, the softball team was looking forward to getting back into league play April 29 -- the first day back from spring break -- at Beechcroft.
The Braves entered that contest 10-7 overall and 9-0 in the City-North and played a league game May 1 against International. They close out league play with a home game against Linden on Thursday, May 2, and a home contest against Centennial on a date to be determined.
The game against the Stars had been slated for Monday, May 6, but the contest had to be rescheduled as the Braves will play that day at 19th-seeded Dublin Coffman in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
The first-round winner will play at 16th-seeded Westerville North in the second round Wednesday, May 8. That winner advances to a district semifinal May 13.
The Braves are seeded 30th of 45 teams.
Whetstone lost to Grandview 15-5 on April 18 and didn't play against until April 27 when it lost a doubleheader to host Centerburg, 13-3 and 18-10. The Braves had an April 25 game against Bexley canceled because of bad weather.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone baseball, softball, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 2 -- At Marysville
*May 6 -- Home vs. Centennial. The Braves beat the Stars 8-0 on April 10.
*May 8 -- Home vs. Linden-McKinley. The Braves beat the Panthers 16-0 on April 8.
May 2 -- Home vs. Linden-McKinley. The Braves beat the Panthers 17-0 on April 8.
May 6 -- At 19th-seeded Dublin Coffman in first round of Division I district tournament. The winner plays at 16th-seeded Westerville North on May 8.
TRACK & FIELD
May 3 -- East Tiger Invitational at Harley Field
May 7, 9 -- City League meet at Africentric
May 2 -- Home vs. Watterson
May 7 -- At Eastmoor Academy