Kelvin Gilliam and Marquise Scott starred for the Centennial High School boys track and field team in the City League meet May 7 and 9 at Africentric.
They were hoping to build on those performances this week in the Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby. Running preliminaries were May 14, field event finals are Thursday, May 16, and running finals are Saturday, May 18.
In the City meet, Gilliam won the discus (136 feet, 2 inches) and was second in the shot put (46-9 1/4) while Scott was second in the 200 meters (22.46 seconds), third in the 100 (10.91) and fourth in the long jump (20-2 3/4). Scott also was on the fifth-place 1,600 relay with Chemlahyah Yisrael, Jadon Kimbrough and Folusho Obayemi (3:36.56).
The Stars finished fifth (50) behind Eastmoor Academy (115), Walnut Ridge (80.5), Whetstone (74) and Northland (53) and ahead of East (48.5), Africentric (46.5), Independence (43), Mifflin (27), Linden-McKinley and Marion-Franklin (22), International (14), West (8.5), Beechcroft (8), South (4) and Briggs (3).
"Marquise was just nosed out for second in the 100, but to finish second, third and fourth in individual events and be on a fifth-place relay, that's a pretty special day for most kids," coach Darrin Green said. "But he's a first-year guy, so what he did was spectacular. It shows how much potential he has.
"Kelvin won the discus with one of his worst throws of the year. His back was hurting him (May 7), but he muscled through it and came back and was feeling much better (May 9) for the shot put. So battling through it and still winning, that was special, too. I want to see them carry that momentum into the district (meet)."
Aaron Bendolph was sixth in the 110 hurdles (16.64). Placing seventh were Justin Bridges in the 1,600 (4:56.18), Kimbrough in the 300 hurdles (42.66) and the 3,200 relay of Ayoub Benaaouinate, Kimbrough, Bridges and Yisrael (9:04.78).
"Aaron has been the biggest surprise this year," Green said. "He didn't start running the hurdles until three meets into the year, but I think he found his niche. Justin Bridges, like Marquise and Aaron, is a sophomore. It's exciting to have all these young guys succeeding."
The girls team will compete in the district 2 meet at Darby, with field events May 14, running preliminaries May 16 and running finals May 18.
In the City meet, the girls placed ninth (26) behind Northland (140), Eastmoor (91), Beechcroft (69), Walnut Ridge (67), South (66), East (50), Independence (31) and Whetstone (27) and ahead of Briggs (22), Mifflin (19), Africentric (5.5), West (3), Linden (2), Marion-Franklin (1.5) and International (1).
Shamara Bridges was runner-up in the shot put (33-9) and fourth in the high jump (4-4), Sky Harris was third in the long jump (15-5 3/4), Alyssa Magee was fifth in the 300 hurdles (52.83) and the 1,600 relay of Lucy Bednar-Warren, Paige Williams, Harris and Imani Dean was sixth (4:33.52).
At district, the top four finishers in each event advance to the regional Wednesday, May 22, and May 24 at Pickerington North.
Boys tennis team captures City title
The boys tennis team won the City championship May 7, beating West 4-1 in the final.
The Stars won all three singles matches, with sophomore Max Wissman rolling 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1, senior Jack Jones winning 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2 and sophomore Aiden Ly completing the sweep 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3.
Juniors Simon McKenzie and Andrew Smith held on to win 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 at first doubles, while sophomore Izaaz Akbar and junior Tyler Morefield lost 6-3, 6-2 at second doubles.
The Stars finished 9-2 overall and won the City-North Division at 4-0.
"The boys were pretty excited because it had been 10 years since the last time we won the City championship," coach Barbara Stevenson said. "The icing on the cake was that Simon and Andrew won a three-set match at first doubles.
"It was a tremendous season. Max was first-team all-City in singles and went 12-0 in the regular season and Jack Jones, our only senior, was honorable mention all-City in singles. Tyler Morefield joined us late and really came on strong. He's a natural athlete and was a great surprise for us. The future looks bright, too. If I had to guess right now, I'd say Andrew might take Jack's spot in the singles lineup."
The season ended for the Stars in a Division II sectional held May 9 and 11 at Columbus Academy.
Wissman was seeded third and reached a district-qualifying match by beating Sabien Latham-Aikens of Eastmoor Academy 6-0, 6-0 and Max Shaw of Fisher Catholic 6-0, 6-1. But he lost his quarterfinal 7-5, 7-5 to Columbus Academy's Ryan Panley.
Ly defeated Marion-Frank-lin's Cornell Garland 6-0, 6-0 and lost by the same score to top-seeded Drew Haffer of Columbus Academy in the second round. Jones defeated Watterson's Nick Geelan 6-3, 7-6 before losing to DeSales' Nate Stevens 6-1, 6-0.
In doubles, McKenzie and Smith defeated Bloom-Carroll's Nick Shreffler and Killian Bay 6-4, 6-0 before falling 6-2, 6-1 to DeSales' Kevin Heil and Ricci Kreuzer, and Akbar and Morefield lost to Fisher Catholic's Asher Carr and Ben Janita 7-6, 6-0 in the first round.
Baseball team forces City-North playoff
With unfinished league business looming, the baseball team shifted its focus to the Division II district tournament this week.
The 13th-seeded Stars played host to 16th-seeded Independence in the first round May 14, with the winner playing at ninth-seeded Granville on Thursday, May 16. That winner will play sixth-seeded Sparta Highland, 10th-seeded Buckeye Valley or 17th-seeded London in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at a neutral site, with the district final May 23 at a neutral site.
Centennial was 12-9 overall after losing to Watterson 7-0 on May 11. The Stars rallied to defeat host Whetstone 7-5 on May 6 to finish 11-1 in the City-North and share the league title with the Braves. The teams must compete in a playoff game to determine which will represent the North in the City final. The playoff date had yet to be determined entering the week.
Centennial trailed Whetstone 5-2 through three innings but got a two-out, two-run single from Logan Baldago in the fifth and then scored three in the seventh on a two-run single from A.J. Grumbling and an RBI single from Joe Theis.
C.J. Dean pitched a perfect seventh and earned the win with four innings of relief after Cameron Vasquez left with an injury.
"Obviously, this was a game we needed to have to give us a chance to reach our goal of winning the (City-North) and winning the City championship," coach Pat Nance said. "Our guys kept fighting and battling. We played well defensively. We turned a double play and came up with timely hits. We were disciplined at the plate and not swinging at bad pitches and that allowed us to get quite a few walks. Those things are keys in every game we play."
Girls lacrosse team to open postseason
The girls lacrosse team will play at second-seeded Columbus Academy in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament Thursday, May 16. The Stars are 3-10 and seeded last in the 17-team field.
The winner plays seventh-seeded Columbus School for Girls or ninth-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne in a quarterfinal Saturday, May 18, at the home of the better seed, and that winner advances to a semifinal likely against third-seeded Granville or sixth-seeded Hartley on Tuesday, May 21, at the home of the better seed. The regional final is May 24 at a neutral site.
Centennial defeated Whetstone 12-2 on May 9, as Katie Selby scored seven goals, Tonesty Burt scored four and Arabella Hoffman scored one.
Softball team drops tight game to Bexley
The softball team lost to visiting and 11th-seeded Bexley 1-0 on May 7 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.
The 10th-seeded Stars managed just three hits, but pitcher Kassy Stefanski kept her team in the game as Bexley had only two hits. The Lions scored in the third inning.
The Stars entered the week still battling to earn a share of the City-North title and a berth in the City final.
They were 15-9 overall and 12-1 in the league before playing at Whetstone in a makeup game May 13. Whetstone was 13-0 entering the game.
A Centennial win would have forced a playoff game, likely on May 14, to see which team would represent the North in the City final, which was scheduled for May 15.