Kaleb Simpson will be leading the St. Charles Preparatory School track and field team into the Division I state meet, but coach John Leskovich wants his junior sprinter to focus as much on his body as his running technique.
Simpson finished second in the 100 meters (10.89 seconds) in the regional meet May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North. However, he suffered leg cramps in his best event, the 200, and finished eighth (55.85).
Leskovich wants Simpson to make sure he's hydrated for state Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
"Kaleb started to cramp up some (before the 200) and I was standing 50 meters on the turn and told him I would signal him to slow down if I saw him struggling," Leskovich said. "I could tell he was struggling so we stopped him. We didn't want him to tear anything before getting a chance to run at state.
"We have a minute-by-minute breakdown of when the kids are supposed to warm up, when they are supposed to have water, when they can have snacks. All sorts of things like that. Ideally, you want them to hydrate the night before (a meet) because that's the most important time."
Simpson expects to be ready for state.
"I was happy with the (100) because I was second and I'm so happy to move on to state," he said. "It definitely will bring the best out in me at practice. There will be good competition ahead."
Simpson also joined Isaiah Yarngo, Justin Efebera and Roland Rowe on the runner-up 400 relay (42.36), and Owen Karas placed second in the 3,200 (personal-best 9:26.1).
"I was so happy with Owen's race with his having a PR by 28 seconds," Leskovich said.
"He crossed the finish line and he didn't know what had happened. Earlier in the year he ran on our (6,400) relay and struggled to finish the mile, but he's had an amazing comeback. For him as a sophomore to have a race like this is great."
The Cardinals finished eighth (26 points) behind champion Pickerington Central (101) as 42 teams scored.
The top four in each event automatically advanced to state. Also, two at-large state berths were awarded for each event based on times and distances statewide.
Rowe was eighth in the 100 (11.3), Efebera was 11th in the 110 hurdles (15.22) and the 3,200 relay of Liam O'Reilly, Cameron DeShetler, Will Blubaugh and Iain Karas was 11th (8:30.56).
Volleyball squad falls in East Region final
The defending state champion volleyball team lost to second-seeded Watterson 25-21, 25-21, 14-25, 25-20, 15-10 in a Division II East Region final May 24 at Westerville Central.
Senior setter Jake Franz had 52 assists to lead the top-seeded and top-ranked Cardinals, who finished 21-5. Senior outside hitter Nathan Lancia had 26 kills, and senior opposite hitter Alex McLane had 20 kills.
St. Charles defeated third-seeded Briggs 25-17, 25-19, 25-18 in a regional semifinal May 21 at Worthington Kilbourne.
Franz (12.6 assists, 2.07 digs per game), McLane (4.46 kills, 2.52 digs), Lancia (5.15 kills, 2.56 digs) and middle/opposite hitter Jack Schumacher (1.48 blocks) led the senior class.
"We lose 11 seniors who have helped to build this program," sixth-year coach Ned Gruber said. "They had the first freshman team, so they grew together and we had some really standout players as well. They left the program in a good place."
Expected to return are juniors Ted Hofmeister (libero/outside hitter), Ethan Hoying (opposite/outside hitter) and Andy Mason (middle hitter).
"We have some guys coming back on varsity and a lot of guys from j.v. who can play," Gruber said.
"We'll just have to put them in the right places and we'll have to start specializing a lot more. We have a good foundation."
Yakubov competes at state tennis tourney
Sophomore Reece Yakubov went 1-1 in singles in the Division I state tennis tournament May 24 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Yakubov defeated Solon's Aaron Lee 6-0, 6-1 before losing to Springboro's Sainandan Dore 6-3, 6-3. He finished 16-3 and won sectional and district championships, both coming over Thomas Worthington's Kai Britz.
Junior Evan Porshinsky (0-1) and freshman Brady Pema (1-1) also played singles at sectional. Senior Ben Wolfe and freshman Kellen Karas went 1-1 in doubles, and senior Will Prophater and freshman Daniel Ferguson were 0-1.
The Cardinals finished 6-7 overall and 4-0 in the CCL for their eighth consecutive league title.
Lacrosse team falls in regional semifinal
The lacrosse team lost to top-seeded Upper Arlington 6-3 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal May 21 at Wellington to finish 10-9.
Senior midfielder Evan Bouscher had two goals and senior attacker Karson Doon scored once for the sixth-seeded Cardinals. Senior goalkeeper Zach Lowis had 10 saves.
St. Charles opened the postseason with an 11-9 win at fifth-seeded Thomas on May 14 before defeating third-seeded New Albany 5-4 on May 17. The Cardinals had won six of nine games before losing to UA.
"Ultimately, it's been the rigor of a top-flight schedule," second-year coach Patrick Harnett said. "When we set the schedule, we went after every top-flight Division I team in the state that we could get our hands on. Our life in the postseason was a result of that rigorous schedule. Every game was intense."
Harnett said St. Charles relied on a balanced attack.
"Our (top) scorers (were) Karson Doon with well over 45 goals, (senior midfielder) Max Lyski (with) well over 30 goals, (sophomore midfielder) Henry Mauntel with just under 30 and (senior midfielder) Evan Bouscher came into the postseason with 20 goals and (finished with more than) 30.
"They carried a lot of weight and (senior attacker) Jack Hamrick had a lot of assists and a lot of goals. We run six midfielders and three attackmen so we were pretty balanced offensively."
The defense loses seniors Karson Burkey and Dylan Shuster, who will play at Cleveland State and Lynchburg, respectively. Junior Luke Eversole is expected to anchor the defense next season.