Dublin Coffman High School boys track and field coach Kathryn Slaven will choose which Division I district meet her team competes in at the drawing Sunday, May 5, and a determining factor might be which meet offers the path of least resistance for her team's talented group of sprinters.
Assuming he continues on his current trajectory, one athlete who figures to advance to regional no matter which district meet the Shamrocks compete in is senior high jumper Derek Van Vlerah.
On April 13 in the Joe Lenge Dublin Classic at Coffman, Van Vlerah cleared 6 feet, 7 inches, which was first in last week's area honor roll.
"I'm hoping he can get up to 6-9," Slaven said. "He's been probably more consistent than a lot of our high jumpers over the years. Once he starts going, he's pretty good at continuing to improve."
Van Vlerah cleared 6-6 at the state meet last spring to place fourth, but likely is preparing for his final few weeks in the sport. During the April signing period, he committed to play men's basketball for the University of Incarnate Word, a Division I school located in San Antonio.
Van Vlerah also received interest from Division II programs such as Hillsdale but ultimately settled on playing for UIW, which competes in the Southland Conference.
"It seemed like a good fit and the time to sign was coming up, so I just made a decision," said Van Vlerah, a three-year varsity regular who averaged 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists for his prep career.
He missed a few basketball games this past winter because of a bout with mononucleosis but hasn't shown any effects of the illness this spring.
"I missed four or five games and practices so that kind of threw me off in what we were doing as a team," Van Vlerah said. "I got to the point where I didn't feel like doing much of anything, so I got myself checked out. Basketball was my first love. Track is kind of fun to keep me doing something in the spring so I'm not in horrible shape for when basketball comes."
The boys track team won the six-team Wildcat Invitational on April 25 at Hilliard Davidson with 140 points but Van Vlerah did not compete.
Finishing first were Ricky Pinney in the 110-meter hurdles (16.03 seconds), Jameel Williamson in both the 100 (11.37) and 200 (22.31), Josh Page in the 400 (49.53), Michael Ching in the 300 hurdles (40.71), the 400 relay (44.84) and the 800 relay (1:30.14).
Coffman competes in the OCC-Central Division meet May 9 and 11 at Davidson. Van Vlerah cleared 6-1 in the league meet last season to place second behind Davidson's Christian Gillilan (6-2). Gillilan has cleared 6-6 this spring.
"(I enjoy) just the mental aspect of (the high jump)," Van Vlerah said. "You get your three jumps and if the first two don't go how you planned, you've got to adjust for the third. I just like competing, and if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."
Tennis team preps for postseason
After closing the regular season by facing some of central Ohio's top competition, the boys tennis team is preparing to compete at a Division I sectional May 9 and 11 at Upper Arlington.
The Shamrocks lost to Columbus Academy 5-0 on April 29 and were 7-5 overall before playing New Albany on April 30 and Hilliard Darby on May 1.
Coffman will compete Saturday, May 4, in the New Albany Invitational before playing its final dual match Tuesday, May 7, at home against Jerome.
At the sectional, sophomore Luke Ritchie is the No. 1 seed in singles and junior Peter Lin and senior William Sun are seeded second and third, respectively, in singles.
In doubles, sophomore Sanjay Janardhan and senior Cobie Frank are seeded third and sophomores Anton Bakunin and Siddharth Rajagopal are the fourth seed.
"We're doing well," coach Brett Hundertpfund said. "These guys are working hard and they've shown up better than last season with four new guys on varsity."
Ritchie saw some action at second singles last season while attending Watterson but has settled into the first singles spot this spring for the Shamrocks.
In a 4-1 loss to UA on April 23 that represented the Shamrocks' final OCC-Central match and a district quarterfinal in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament, Ritchie beat Paige Kompa 6-4, 6-3 at first singles.
Coffman finished second in the OCC-Central at 3-1, behind UA (4-0).
"I think our season's been really good," Ritchie said.
Baseball team hanging in league title race
The baseball team entered this week still in contention for the OCC-Central championship.
The Shamrocks lost to UA 9-3 on April 29 and were 11-6 overall and 6-3 in the league before playing UA on April 30. The Golden Bears were 11-5 overall and 9-0 in the league before April 30.
Coffman plays host to UA on May 10 in the final league matchup between the programs.
The Shamrocks will try to win the season series against Central Crossing when it visits the Comets on Wednesday, May 8. The teams split their first two league matchups, with Coffman winning 3-0 on April 22 at home and losing by the same score April 24 on the road.
In the win over the Comets, Ryan Ebeling allowed just one hit over 5 1/3 innings and struck out three and Ben Hall tossed 1 2/3 shutout innings for the save. Coffman had only four hits, but one was a RBI double by Grant Guetle in the third inning.
Boys lacrosse team entered week unbeaten
The boys lacrosse team was 13-0 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Central before playing UA on May 1.
The Golden Bears were 5-0 in the league heading into that matchup.
The Shamrocks won by double figures in nine of their first 13 games and scored 20 or more 20 goals in five games.
In a 17-2 win over Pickerington North on April 25, 10 players scored, including Ethan Tyack with four goals and Nick Harris with three.
Coffman will face a stern test Saturday, May 4, when it plays host to Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Brother Rice, which won its first 10 games.
Another tough challenge awaits Tuesday, May 7, when the Shamrocks visit New Albany, which was 12-2 before playing Big Walnut on April 30.
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
*May 3 -- At Westland. The Shamrocks beat Westland 8-0 on April 10 and 10-0 on April 12.
May 4 -- Home vs. Toledo St. Francis and Brunswick
*May 6 -- Home vs. Marysville. The Shamrocks lost to the Monarchs 8-5 on April 15 and won 1-0 on April 17.
*May 8 -- At Central Crossing. The Shamrocks beat the Comets 3-0 on April 22 and lost 3-0 on April 24.
May 4 -- Home vs. Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice
May 7 -- At New Albany
May 3 -- Home vs. Jerome
May 7 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls
May 2 -- At New Albany
May 4 -- At Scioto with Jerome in Dublin Classic
May 6 -- Home vs. 30th-seeded Whetstone in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 16th-seeded Westerville North in second round May 8. The Shamrocks are seeded 19th of 45 teams.
May 2 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
May 4 -- New Albany Invitational
TRACK & FIELD
May 3 -- Upper Arlington Larkin/Crosten Invitational at Thomas Worthington
*May 2 -- At New Albany. The Shamrocks beat the Eagles 25-12, 25-14, 25-20 on April 11.
May 3 -- At Jerome with Scioto in Battle of Dublin
*May 7 -- Home vs. Pickerington North. The Shamrocks beat the Panthers 21-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19 on April 16.