The Thomas Worthington High School track and field teams felt good about their performances in the annual Gary Smith Invitational on April 27.
But the Cardinals' celebration after sweeping the team titles in their biggest home meet of the season didn't last long.
"We don't compete (this) week, so we're going to have some real tough workouts," girls coach Andy Cox said. "This is not the time to back down on volume. We don't care about season-bests in April. It's all about district and regional."
The girls team scored 104 points in the Gary Smith Invitational to edge runner-up Athens (101) in a 14-team field. The boys squad scored 107 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Thornville Sheridan (78) in a 15-team field.
"It's back to the horrendous, horrible workouts (this) week because we're not competing with it being our prom weekend," said sophomore Carina Napoleon, who helped lead the girls team by winning the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 12.93 seconds. "We're not running the times we want to yet, but that's because of our workout load during the week. We've been working hard on our speed and final kick and the end goal is the postseason, but we keep thinking, 'Can that please start soon?'"
Senior Lydia Miller placed second in the 1,600 (5:19.72).
The Cardinals' distance corps has been strong as expected. Senior Gia Napoleon, who has committed to Ohio State, won the 800 (2:16.47) and junior Cassidy Shaver finished third in the event (2:23.28), while freshman Leila Boussedra placed second in the 3,200 (11:31.8) and sophomore Naya Roebke was eighth in the event (12:35.16).
"We've got a lot of depth in distance and a lot of them are underclassmen," Gia Napoleon said. "It's crazy and exciting to watch Carina, Leila, Naya and (sophomore) Morgan (Edwards). It's good to see that they will carry on the tradition after I'm gone."
The 1,600 relay of the Napoleon sisters, Shaver and sophomore Jada Stephens finished first (4:05.47), as did the 3,200 relay of Shaver, Boussedra, Roebke and Edwards (9:59.61) and the 6,400 relay of Miller, Edwards and the Napoleon sisters (21:23.38).
"It's amazing to have a sister that loves the same thing I love," Carina Napoleon said. "I'm going to miss her when she goes to college. We have our share of sister moments when we argue, but we're competitors and push each other and work together for the best of our interests and the team's interest. We've got so many girls competing for spots in our (3,200 relay), but we're a close group."
Also finishing first was senior Sarah Charley in the long jump (16 feet, 11 inches).
The boys team was led by Justin Braun, who finished first in both the 200 (21.97) and 400 (49.12) and joined Theory Schroder, Alie Jalloh and Macario Etienne on the winning 1,600 relay (3:28.07).
"Justin is a special freshman with a ton of talent and he doesn't run or act like a freshman," boys coach Bill Darling said. "He's competing with the top times in the state and we're excited about his career. But he's a freshman and we're not going to put too much pressure on him. We want him to have fun and let him set and reach his own goals. We're just going to train him and let him do what he's capable of doing."
Also finishing first was sophomore Luka Srsic in the pole vault (13-0), while placing second were Zubin Jha in the 1,600 (4:37.51) and the 3,200 relay of Etienne, Keegan Ballantyne, Wesley Horton and Clayton Wood (8:30.99).
Sony Kipre was third in the shot put (47-8) and joined Jalloh, Jimmie Turner III and Bernard Oteng Jr. on the fourth-place 400 relay (45.7). Also placing fourth was Noah Silliman in the 3,200 (9:58.49).
"Luka has worked very hard and he's scoring a lot of points," Darling said. "So we've got a number of younger guys performing well as we've moved along. Then we have some veterans like Zubin doing his thing in distance and senior Devin Houdek was fifth in the discus (135-3). I'm happy for Devin because he's finally seeing his hard work through the years pay off."
The Cardinals next will compete in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet May 9 and 11 at Hilliard Davidson.
Softball team preps for district tourney
The softball team is seeded 38th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play at 34th-seeded Central Crossing in the first round Monday, May 6.
The winner plays at second-seeded Mount Vernon in the second round Wednesday, May 8. That winner advances to a district semifinal May 13.
The Cardinals will conclude the regular season with games Thursday, May 2, at home against Bexley and Friday, May 3, at Olentangy Liberty.
Thomas lost to Hilliard Darby 15-3 on April 29 and was 3-14 overall and 3-9 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Dublin Scioto on April 30 and Kilbourne on May 1.
Girls lacrosse team to face Wolves
The girls lacrosse team will play host to Kilbourne on Thursday, May 2, to close OCC-Cardinal play.
The Cardinals had won three of their previous four games and were 8-5 overall before playing Columbus Academy on April 30. They are 5-1 in the league, with the loss coming against Dublin Jerome, 13-11 on April 10.
Thomas defeated Olentangy Berlin 21-9 on April 23, Darby 17-4 on April 25 and Cleveland Heights 8-6 on April 27 before falling to Thornhill (Ontario) Everest Academy 8-5 later that day.
Mollie Estepp and Tori Banks both scored five goals against Darby and Abbey Midnight scored five against Berlin. Estepp scored three against Everest Academy.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys tennis and boys volleyball teams:
May 2 -- At Licking Valley
*May 3 -- At Hilliard Darby
*May 6 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
May 7 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
*May 8 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
May 2 -- At Hilliard Davidson
*May 3 -- At Hilliard Darby
*May 2 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
May 4 -- Home vs. Springboro
May 7 -- At Olentangy
May 4 -- Hilliard Davidson Doubles Classic
*May 2 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby. The Cardinals lost to the Panthers 25-10, 25-9, 25-17 on April 11.
*May 6 -- At Hilliard Bradley. The Cardinals lost to the Jaguars 25-16, 25-12, 25-27, 25-12 on April 18.
*May 7 -- At Kilbourne. The Cardinals lost to the Wolves 25-15, 25-11, 25-21 on April 16.
May 8 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg