Abriana Mann has learned how to work through the nagging injuries such as shin splints and back strains that can take their toll on an athlete.

The senior for the Central Crossing High School girls track and field team has come to realize this is her last shot at reaching the goals she has aimed for since she was helping to set program records as a freshman.

After injury-ridden sophomore and junior seasons, Mann now is in the homestretch of her prep career. The OCC-Central Division meet is Thursday, May 9, and Saturday, May 11, at Hilliard Davidson. That will be followed by the Division I, district 2 meet concluding May 18 at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event will advance to regional May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North.

"I have a few aches and pains," said Mann, who hopes to qualify for her first state meet. "I have a small knee problem, which is something new, and we're doing cupping on my legs to help that. I have some back problems so I do heat and stem(-cell) treatment on my back."

As a freshman, Mann was on three relays that still hold program records: the 400-meter relay (49.65 seconds), 800 relay (1:44.29) and 1,600 relay (3:54.94).

"Abri's healthy for the most part," coach Reggie Cannon said. "She has better learned to deal with her ailments and her aches and pains. (The injuries) are in some ways similar to last year, but you realize that it's your senior year and it's a make-or-break or all-or-nothing kind of thing. ...

"Now she is going out and working through the little dings such as shin pain and knee pain this year, which is new. She's like, 'OK, my knee hurts, but I still have events to run and either I run them or I don't.'"

Mann competes in a variety of events for the Comets. She will run the 100 and 200 and sometimes the 400 as well as the 300 hurdles. She also competes in the long jump.

In her final warm-up for the league meet, Mann had some of her best performances. She had a career-best effort of 16 feet, 4 inches in the long jump in a home meet May 1 against Grove City Christian and Marysville. She also had a 13.08 in the 100 and 26.34 in the 200 but did not run the 300 hurdles to rest up for league competition.

"My favorite event would have to be between the long jump and (300) hurdles," she said. "I have been doing the long jump for three years, but I have only been hurdling since last year. If I would have started (hurdling) when I was a freshman, I would be a lot better at them.

"My form isn't that good to run the 100 hurdles. My stride helps me make up for the way I go over the hurdles. It's the same with the 200 being a better race for me than the 100, which is such a short race for me. I need to have time to pick up my speed because my starts aren't the best. (The starts) are getting better, but the 200 is better for me."

Cannon said Mann is putting in the work and the effort necessary to excel in the postseason.

"I think she is starting to have an understanding of what is necessary," he said. "It's taken three years. I don't care how long it takes as long as they start to realize they can be better than they ever have been if they go after it.

"She has realized that her high-school career is almost over and that she has to make a mark here. I think she can do that."

Baseball team gets postseason script

The baseball team was 13-8 overall and 4-7 in the OCC-Central before playing Davidson on May 6.

The Comets close the regular season with a league game Friday, May 10, at home against Westland. They defeated the Cougars 15-0 in five innings April 29 and 2-1 on April 30.

Central Crossing is seeded 15th for the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye before playing 16th-seeded Grove City or 38th-seeded Westland on Wednesday, May 15, at home in the second round. The winner plays in a district semifinal May 20.

Through 21 games, Austin Woods led the Comets in batting average (.340), runs (22) and stolen bases (8) and also had 10 RBI. Drew DeYarmon was batting .333 with one home run, 20 RBI and 10 runs, and Nash Baker was hitting .326 with 14 runs and eight RBI. Matt Reed was batting .308 with 15 runs and six stolen bases.

On the mound, Baker was 4-2 with a 2.36 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 16 walks in 26 2/3 innings, and Tyler Ronevich was 2-3 with a 3.59 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 26 walks in 41 innings.

Boys tennis team heads to sectional

The boys tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 9, and Saturday, May 11, at Upper Arlington.

Seniors Stephen Semchishin and Owen Yoakum and sophomore Johnny Romanov will play singles. The doubles teams will be juniors Christian Petry and Josh Toscano and sophomores Calvin Lim and Bogdan Semchishin.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg.

The Comets were 3-8 overall before playing Beechcroft for May 7. They finished 0-4 in the OCC-Central.

Softball squad begins postseason

The 34th-seeded softball team opened the postseason May 6 by playing host to 38th-seeded Thomas Worthington in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

The winner played at second-seeded Mount Vernon on May 8, with that winner playing 26th-seeded Dublin Scioto, 27th-seeded Pickerington North or 28th-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district semifinal Monday, May 13, at a neutral site.

The district final is May 17 or 18 at Pickerington Central.

The Comets finished the regular season 6-14 overall and 4-6 in the OCC-Central.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen