Kaleb Simpson is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential as a sprinter for the St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team.
The junior missed most of his freshman season with a hamstring injury and the early part of last spring with a hip-flexor problem. This year, he has displayed what he is capable of doing when healthy, setting the program record of 22.08 seconds in the 200 meters and contributing to two relay records.
Simpson joined Isaiah Yarngo, Donavan Allen and Roland Rowe on the record-setting 400 relay (42.5) and 800 relay (1:29.8). Simpson also is closing in on the program record of 10.81 in the 100 after running 10.83 in the Mansfield Mehock Relays on April 13.
"I'm actually surprised with the way I'm running," Simpson said. "I didn't think I would be running 10.8 (in the 100). I have been wanting to break 11 (seconds) for a while now and to get that was great."
Coach John Leskovich isn't surprised by the performances. He said Simpson has put in the work necessary to put up those numbers.
"Kaleb has some natural, God-given talent but he has worked hard over the winter with his form and his starts," Leskovich said. "He has been meeting the training guidelines that we set for him every day and every week. He's really working hard at that and it's paying off for him.
"Kaleb ran a 22.28 (in the 200) in the (Division I) state indoor meet (March 2 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva) and it really boosted his confidence. After that, he became a different person in terms of training."
To handle the nagging injuries of the past, Leskovich put Simpson and the rest of the Cardinals on a training regimen that helped the athletes become more flexible.
"Kaleb had a hip-flexor problem last year, and a lot of kids his age don't have a lot of flexibility," Leskovich said. "Any kind of mobility training is really stressful on their bodies, particularly getting their knees up. We worked on that a lot over the winter.
"Over the winter, we did a lot of lifting three days a week. We did hurdle mobility five times a week to loosen up those hips and that has paid off tremendously for him and for all of our guys."
Simpson credits Leskovich with building up his confidence and his technique to find success. His starts are his most improved area, but that also is what he needs to work on most.
"Coach has gotten me to a 10.8 (in the 100) basically because of his work on my start," Simpson said. "My start was horrible. I have way more room to improve, but it's a lot better than it was.
"A sprinter needs to work on his technique out of the blocks. Getting out of the blocks can determine whether you win a race or get fifth. If you're not quick out of the blocks, you're already behind three to five steps at the beginning of the race. That's one of my problems. My starts aren't that quick, and I'm basically playing catch-up after the first 40 meters. My coaches say the strongest part of my race is the final 40."
The Cardinals won the 13-team Anthony Wilson Invitational on April 27 at Franklin Heights, scoring 129 points to 119 for runner-up Eastmoor Academy. Simpson won the 100 (10.87) and 200 (22.56) and was a member of the winning 400 relay (43.33).
"I don't think we have tapped into Kaleb's potential yet," Leskovich said "We are still piling on the training and haven't started tapering yet. We're excited to see what he will be able to do."
Fanning, Witherspoon leading baseball team
Tom Fanning and Erik Witherspoon have been leading the baseball team, which was 8-9 overall and 0-3 in the CCL before playing Ready on April 30.
Witherspoon led with a .424 batting average and had five RBI and eight runs through 17 games, and Fanning was hitting .395 with 11 RBI and nine runs. Charlie Duross was batting .359 with 12 RBI and nine runs, and Trey Willis was hitting .340 with two home runs, 11 RBI and 15 runs.
Aidan Rice was batting .333 and was 2-3 with a 1.41 ERA, 33 strikeouts and seven walks in 40 1/3 innings. Mason Olding was batting .324 with 11 RBI and eight runs.
Lacrosse team wins five of six contests
The lacrosse team has won five of six games to improve to 7-5.
During the six-game stretch, the Cardinals outscored opponents 73-40.
Henry Mauntel scored four goals and Max Lyski had two as St. Charles defeated McMurray (Pennsylvania) Peters Township 10-7 on April 27. Goalkeeper Brodie Sullivan had 16 saves.
Below are the coming schedules for the St. Charles baseball, lacrosse, tennis, track & field and volleyball teams:
May 2 -- At Bexley
*May 3 -- At DeSales. The Cardinals lost to the Stallions 8-4 on April 17.
May 4 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*May 6 -- Home vs. Watterson. The Cardinals lost to the Eagles 1-0 on April 24.
May 7 -- At Columbus Academy
*May 8 -- Home vs. Ready
May 2 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
May 4 -- At Cincinnati Moeller
May 7 -- At Dublin Scioto
May 4 -- Hilliard Davidson Doubles Classic
May 7 -- At Kilbourne
TRACK & FIELD
May 3 -- Upper Arlington Larkin Invitational at Kilbourne
May 7, 9 -- CCL meet at Columbus School for Girls
May 3 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon
May 4 -- Home vs. Akron Hoban and Olentangy Liberty
May 6 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
May 8 -- Home vs. UA