Shortly after the season began, junior Doniven Jackson sustained a hamstring injury that subsequently strained the Reynoldsburg High School boys track and field team's depth.
His first meet back happened simultaneously as one of the shining moments of the season for the Raiders, who captured the championship in the Division I, district 3 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby.
Jackson earned a runner-up finish in the 100 meters (11.15 seconds), placed fourth in the 200 (22.86) and ran on the winning 400 (42.83) and 800 relays (1:28.42) as Reynoldsburg scored 104 points to win the 16-team meet.
It marked the third time in four seasons that the Raiders earned a trophy at the district level after winning in 2016 and finishing second in 2017.
"Last year was my first year running track and this is actually my second day back since the first week of the season," Jackson said. "I strained my hamstring back in the beginning of March and I'm just trying to get back into it. I've got to get my wind built back up and I'll be fine."
The Raiders now are competing in the regional, which began May 22 and concludes Friday, May 24, at Pickerington North. The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
At district, Jackson was joined on the 400 relay by Dionte Roddy, Keyshawn Brown and Adrian Logan and on the 800 relay by Muhammad Fall, Brown and Roddy.
Fall also was one of the top scorers for the Raiders, winning the 110 hurdles (14.36) and taking second in the 300 hurdles (39.16)
Jeremiah Burton was second in the shot put (51 feet, 10 1/4 inches), Camby Goff was fourth in the long jump (21-9 1/4), Wendesen King was third in the 800 (1:58.04) and King ran on the runner-up 3,200 relay (8:09.57) with Seth Davis, Marsellis Davis and Breyon Eddings.
Brown was third in the 100 (11.17) and had the third-best preliminary time in the 200 but false-started in the final.
The Raiders finished fourth in the final district event, the 1,600 relay, as Fall, Kyle Cannon, Eddings and Roddy ran 3:22.88.
Olentangy Orange was third in the 1,600 relay but settled for second overall in team points with 101.
Coming up just short of advancing to regional was Cannon in the 400 (fifth, 51.13).
"It was a downer for Keyshawn (to false-start in the 200), but he's had such a great season and he's been pretty much our go-to guy all season," coach Richard Ladowitz said. "This was Doniven's first meet back since his first meet of the year, so that's pretty special to come back and get to the regionals."
The girls scored 57 points to place fourth in the 17-team district 3 meet behind champion Orange (125.5).
Capturing titles were the 400 relay of Adja Mbow, Jessica Ricks, Jamiona Ross and Mya Graham (48.71) and Ricks in the 100 hurdles (15.13).
"We just had the right mindset," Graham said. "You can't think about anything else but the race and be patient."
Also advancing to regional were Ricks in the 100 (fourth, 12.81), Graham in the 200 (second, 26.64), Milan Patterson in the long jump (fourth, 17-6 1/4) and the 1,600 relay of Mbow, Graham, Bre Johnson and Ross (fourth, 4:02.25).
Coming up just short of advancing was the 800 relay of Olivia Olverson, Kasha Rhodes, Milan Patterson and Bre Johnson (fifth, 1:48.17).
"(Ricks) won the hurdles and got through in the open 100," Ladowitz said. "We loaded up (the 400 relay) and they performed. Our girls were 12th place after the first day and they got fourth. It's a young team."
Volleyball team falls in tourney
The 19th-seeded boys volleyball team had its season end May 18 with a 25-9, 25-14, 25-16 loss at top-seeded Darby in the second round of the Division I East Region tournament.
The Raiders finished 1-23.
Tennis team losing large senior class
Of the boys tennis team's seven competitors in a Division I sectional May 9 at home, all but two were seniors.
The Raiders went 11-9 overall to post their first winning season since 2014 and placed fourth (2-3) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind champion Gahanna (5-0).
Boban Mihajlov, who played first singles for much of the season, led a seven-member senior class that also included Preston Harmon, Chase Cotner, Sean Burns and Gunnar Green.
"I was very happy with the season," first-year coach Brett Stewart said. "Our goal was to have a winning season with a very difficult schedule and league and we were able to accomplish that."
At sectional, Mihajlov and freshman James Knorr each lost first-round singles matches and Harmon lost in the second round. In doubles, Cotner and sophomore Brian McClain lost in the second round and Green and Burns lost in the first round.
Others eligible to return include sophomores Ryan Burns and Dane Myers.
"My players gained confidence as the season went on, which was a big step in winning our matches, and they worked hard and competed well," Stewart said. "I'm very excited about the future. We used a lot of seniors, but I will still have some returning players and a good group of freshmen coming up who I coached for a couple seasons at the junior high."
Baseball team to return strong nucleus
The baseball team is losing six seniors after going 9-16 overall and placing last at 3-12 in the six-team OCC-Ohio behind champion Lancaster (12-3).
Juniors Reece Crabtree (P/SS), Drew Cook (C/2B) and Gavin Smith (2B/OF) and sophomore Corey Brafford (SS) should be the top returnees for the Raiders, whose season ended with a 4-3 loss May 13 at 21st-seeded Canal Winchester in the first round of the Division I district tournament. Reynoldsburg was the 32nd seed.
"We have a good group of sophomores and we have a freshman playing, so I think we'll be pretty good next year," Smith said.
Crabtree posted a 2.48 ERA with 36 strikeouts. Freshman Preston Allen and junior James Dean also pitched.
Brafford was second on the team in RBI with 12, behind senior Brock Mason (P/1B/3B) with 16, and batted a team-best .418. Cook hit .333 and Smith batted .300.
Michael Tooker (P/1B/RF), Drew Hall (P/3B/SS), Ryan Grant (P/CF) and Bradley Thompson (P/2B/3B) were other key seniors. Tooker was the No. 1 pitcher and had a 3.77 ERA with 28 strikeouts, and Mason had a 3.53 ERA.
Juniors Kaleb Holland (OF) and Matt Wells (C/3B) are others eligible to return.