Despite adding to their recent runs of City League track and field championships, the Northland High School girls team and the Eastmoor Academy boys squad had a fresh set of challenges in their latest title performances.
The Warriors don't have as much depth in their sprint corps as they've possessed in the past and had their run of seven consecutive titles in the 1,600-meter relay snapped at this year's City meet, which was held May 7 and 9 at Africentric.
The Vikings, meanwhile, won only four events but still managed a near 50-point victory by placing two athletes in multiple events.
Eastmoor headed into the Division I, district 3 meet, which began May 15 with field event finals, continues Thursday, May 16, with running preliminaries and concludes Saturday, May 18, with running finals at Hilliard Darby, after winning its ninth consecutive City championship.
Northland, which also is competing in Division I, district 3, won its fourth league title in a row.
At district in Division I, the top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 22, and May 24 at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
"This (City title) probably felt like the hardest one," Warriors coach Jason Lewis said. "Heavy is the head that wears the crown. The kids and I know we're doing something special, so it's been a lot of laboring. We don't want to be the one to lose the streak. It's such a sigh of relief, but they know what they're doing and they're very respectful of what the other classes have done. Every championship is always about those other guys."
Senior Michole Martinez, who is the only Northland athlete to compete each year of the Vikings' current City championship run, called what her team has accomplished a "long, tough journey."
"I'm glad I can get to be able to have these years being a champion," Martinez said. "I really tried my hardest all four years."
In the City girls meet, Northland scored 140 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Eastmoor (91) as well as Beechcroft (69), Walnut Ridge (67), South (66), East (50), Independence (31), Whetstone (27), Centennial (26), Briggs (22), Mifflin (19), Africentric (5.5), West (3), Linden-McKinley (2), Marion-Franklin (1.5) and International (1).
Martinez won both the 800 meters (2 minutes, 33.97 seconds) and 1,600 (5:51.53) and was on the winning 3,200 relay along with Nahjae Alcorn, Nasia Bailey and Tyra Thomas (10:35.74).
Also finishing first for the Vikings was Shaniya Samuel in the long jump (16 feet, 6 inches).
"When I was making the sheet up for finals, I noticed that we had more (athletes) in finals than normal," said Northland coach Tom Fast, who has guided the Vikings to seven City titles in 10 seasons. "We had two scorers in almost every single event and just nickel and dimed it."
Beechcroft junior Makiya Montgomery, the City's top girls sprinter the last three seasons, won titles in the 100 (11.86) and 200 (24.51), teamed with Zha'Mia Vick, Amara Allen and Larissa Bronte-Agbor to win the 800 relay (1:48.32) and joined Vick, Bronte-Agbor and Fatmata Barrie on the first-place 400 relay (50.3).
"Our goal was to win the meet," Montgomery said. "Certain things didn't go certain ways, but our sprints were there and I (ran a season-best in the) 100. My plan is to drop my times and be there with my team."
The Eastmoor girls had a pair of champions in junior Jaylin Bradshaw in the high jump (4-10) and sophomore Kendall More in the discus (95-6).
Freshman Brayonna Muse-Dixon, who Warriors coach Marc Anthony expects to be an impact hurdler for years to come, had the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 100 hurdles but tripped on one of the hurdles in the final and was disqualified.
Senior Tyler White is the Warriors' top girls sprinter.
"We have a very young team," said Anthony, whose team also is competing in Division I, district 3. "This team is more versatile. The young lady who fell in lane four of the (100) hurdles is a freshman and I love her work ethic."
The other City girls champions were East's Sai Clark in the 100 hurdles (16.05), South's Spiritual Wilson Foster Wright in the 400 (1:00.93), South's Kennedy Stokes in the shot put (36-10), South's 1,600 relay of Kadai Greene-Tucker, Jurnie Hemsley, Rayshawna Wilkins and Wilson Foster Wright (4:12.27), Walnut Ridge's Brooklyn Williams in the 300 hurdles (46.69) and Walnut Ridge's Naveah Reaves in the 3,200 (14:00.68).
The Eastmoor boys scored 115 points to finish ahead of Walnut Ridge (80.5), Whetstone (74), Northland (53), Centennial (50), East (48.5), Africentric (46.5), Independence (43), Mifflin (27), Linden and Marion-Franklin (22), International (14), West (8.5), Beechcroft (8), South (4) and Briggs (3).
Capturing titles for the Warriors were Ira Graham in the 110 hurdles (15.19), Bushra Bonkiye in both the 1,600 (4:39.77) and 3,200 (10:22.85) and Wesley Prater in the long jump (21-5 3/4).
Roshaun Harper, who was expected to be one of Eastmoor's top middle-distance runners, is out with an injury.
"(Winning the City title) means everything," Bonkiye said. "That's been our goal since the beginning of the season and I'm glad we accomplished it."
Bonkiye also added a runner-up finish in the 800 (2:03.9), finishing well behind Mifflin's Aman Thornton, who ran a City-record 1:53.59.
Northland's Eugene Boahen captured titles in both the 100 (10.73) and 200 (21.87) and was on the winning 400 relay along with Ivan Roberts, Jesse Prewitt III and Mark Lee (43.32) as well as the first-place 800 relay along with Roberts, Prewitt III and Lee (1:31.41).
"It was a wonderful day, especially for our sprinters," said Vikings coach Gerald Baker, whose team is competing Division I, district 1, which began May 14, continues May 16 and concludes May 18. "Eugene Boahen swept the 100 and 200 for the second straight year and we swept the (400 and 800 relays) for the third straight year. We are in position to win a district title (in the 400 relay). They put up a 42.7 (during City preliminaries) and that was the fourth-best time in the state this year."
The other City boys champions were Walnut Ridge's Jamarius Dinkins in the shot put (49-3 1/4), Independence's Orlando Jones in the high jump (6-3) and Africentric's Anthony Tyler in the 300 hurdles (39.39).
Bruins win City volleyball title
A year after going undefeated against City competition, the Briggs boys volleyball team has continued its dominance over league opponents this spring.
The Bruins beat Eastmoor 25-15, 25-14, 22-25, 25-16 on May 9 to finish 8-0 in the City for the second consecutive season.
Briggs, which was 17-5 overall before facing Westerville North on May 15, will play host to Northland in the City championship match on Monday, May 20, or May 23, according to coach Herb Sharfenaker.
Through 22 matches, senior Justin Sharfenaker had 421 kills, a .538 hitting percentage and 155 digs, senior Quinten Johnston had 154 kills, senior libero Bryan Munoz had 113 digs and senior setter Solomon Overla had 476 assists.
The Division II regional tournament drawing was held May 13.
"Our libero, Bryan Munoz, has been playing a lot better and we're getting to the balls we haven't gotten to," coach Sharfenaker said. "Justin is already over 1,000 kills for three seasons. When we get him the ball in system, he scores."
Cougars tennis team enjoys strong season
The Beechcroft boys tennis team had both of its doubles entrants at the Division II sectional May 9 at Columbus School for Girls reach the quarterfinal round before having their seasons end.
It was the culmination of one of the program's strongest seasons under 10th-year coach Daphne Hess.
The Cougars finished 10-3 overall and 4-1 in the City League-North Division to place second behind Centennial (5-0). The Stars went on to defeat West 4-1 on May 7 for the City title.
"We finished 10-3, which is the most wins we've had, I think, since we had 12 in 2012," Hess said.
Seniors Henry Bright and Ali Mojtabaei comprised one doubles team at sectional, while seniors Gideon Adjei and Louis Ghazazwah comprised the other. Playing singles were senior Andrew Zigarevich and juniors Sam Kyereh and Maxime Ngoupa.
Also eligible to return is junior Mohamed Kargbo.
"I only have three (players coming back), so we'll have to start working on getting some new ones," Hess said. "It'll be a little bit of rebuilding."