Notebook: St. Charles Cardinals’ Owen Karas ready to go distance in postseason

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
St. Charles senior Owen Karas entered the Division I postseason having won the 800 (1:57.04), 1,600 (4:21.28) and 3,200 (9:39.23) in the CCL meet May 10 and 12 at DeSales.

Standout distance runner Owen Karas hit his stride in time for the Division I postseason with the St. Charles track and field team.

In the prestigious Rod Russell Invitational on May 7 in Mason, the senior finished fifth in the mile (4 minutes, 15.24 seconds) as Uniontown Lake’s Nathan Moore — the individual champion last fall in the Division I state cross country meet — won the race in 4:13.06.

The meet had an invitation-only race for the mile that included top runners from Ohio as well as several adjacent states. It was a mile-long run rather than the 1,600 meters — the event that usually is contested at meets.

“I wasn’t too happy with the way I ran it,” said Karas, who has committed to compete in cross country and track at Yale. “I feel that I went to the outside lanes too much. It was good competition for sure.

“We went out a little too slow for the times that we wanted to run. I miscalculated it, too. I thought the race might have gone out faster, but it didn’t. It went out at 65 (seconds) in the first lap. I think the top five wanted to finish around 4:10 and that first lap made that unrealistic.”

The mile is slightly longer than the 1,600. Karas’ time in a 1,600 race would have been 4:13.76, which would have been a program record for the Cardinals. The record of 4:14.65 was set by Chris Quinn in 2011.

“We didn’t run Owen for the last two weeks so he could focus on training for this,” coach John Leskovich said. “Now he’s continuing the load for the upcoming district and regional. He’s had a great season so far.

At the Lexington Invitational on April 10, Karas came close to setting multiple meet records. He won the 3,200 in 9:26.02, breaking the meet record of 9:35.41 from 2012. He just missed the record of 4:21.28 in the 1,600 while winning in 4:21.51.

In the CCL meet May 10 and 12 at DeSales, Karas won the three open distance races — the 800 (1:57.04), 1,600 (4:21.28) and 3,200 (9:39.23) — as the Cardinals scored 137 points to finish second behind Watterson (172).

St. Charles is competing in the district 1 meet May 18, 20 and 22 at Hilliard Darby. The top four in each event advance to the regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.

“I think in the postseason, I need to learn how to get out in races faster,” said Karas, who placed 29th (16:08.9) in the state cross country meet last fall. “I need to get out and get in those first couple positions as soon as possible. That way I can run the closest to the inside as I can.

“I’m looking to run multiple events, but we’re not sure which ones. This year I haven’t been able to run a fresh 3,200 but I’ve definitely enjoyed my (1,600 runs), and right now that’s my favorite race.”

•The Bexley boys tennis team will have a singles player and both doubles teams competing in the Division II district tournament May 20 and 22 at Columbus Academy.

The top two finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

In a sectional May 11 at Academy, second-seeded Blake Simons reached the second day of play May 15 to guarantee his qualification for district. The top-seeded doubles team of Will Meyer and Stefan Schiff and second-seeded Austin Flamm and Mitchell Giller also made the final day to guarantee a spot at district.

“Our two doubles teams played very solid, high-percentage doubles on day one of sectionals and took care of business,” coach Will Gingery said. “Both teams were serving the ball quite well and getting up to the net together and finishing points when possible.

“Blake also played some great tennis on the opening day, winning both of his matches in straight sets to advance to district. I was happy to see him go out and play with some confidence on the singles court after playing primarily doubles all season.”

The Lions were 13-7 after losing 3-1 to Wellington on May 10 in a Division II district semifinal in the OTCA team tournament. They closed the regular season May 17 against Olentangy Liberty.

•The St. Charles volleyball team has played a tough schedule to help prepare it for the Division II postseason.

The Cardinals were 13-6 overall before playing Gahanna on May 14. The postseason draw was May 16.

“We’ve played an overall tough schedule and all six of our losses have come against teams currently ranked in the top 10 in the state,” said coach Ned Gruber, whose team tied DeSales at 5-1 to share the CCL title. “We haven't had very many strong wins, but we did beat Dublin Jerome, which was ranked sixth in the region, (17-25, 28-26, 25-19, 25-20 on May 4). That’s a good sign for us as we get closer to the regional tournament.”

Through 18 matches, outside hitter Nick Bennison led with 5.65 kills per game, and middle/outside hitter Ben Franz had a team-high 1.23 blocks per game to go with 1.84 kills. Setter Miller Kuntz led with 10.57 assists per game and averaged 3.38 digs, and outside hitter/libero Narit Mongkollugsana had a team-leading 4.16 digs per game.

Middle/outside hitter Josh Thomas was at 3.3 kills per game, outside hitter/setter Kian Haghnazari averaged 3.52 digs and middle hitter Zach McClimon totaled 1.09 blocks per game.

Grace Heilman had 58 goals, 26 assists and 30 ground balls through 14 games for Bexley, which was 10-3-1 before playing Hilliard Darby on May 13 and opened the Division II postseason May 19.

•First-year coach Jackie Lund has been pleased with the progress of her Bexley girls lacrosse team, which was 10-3-1 overall before playing Darby on May 13.

“Over the last three weeks, our team has grown significantly in our play style and our ability to work together on the field,” said Lund, whose team finished 3-3-1 in the Central Independent League. “We feel confident going into the postseason.”

The fourth-seeded Lions played 13th-seeded Chillicothe on May 19 in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament. With a victory, Bexley would play host to fifth-seeded Columbus School for Girls or eighth-seeded Hartley on May 22 in a regional quarterfinal.

The regional semifinal is May 25, with top-seeded DeSales as a possible opponent.

Through 14 games, midfielder Mikayla Williams had 71 goals, 53 ground balls and 22 assists, and midfielder Grace Heilman had 58 goals, 26 assists and 30 ground balls.

Midfielder/attacker Emma Magee had 33 goals and eight assists, and attacker Lillian Hoyer had 13 goals and three assists. Attacker/defender Maddy Krasnow had 22 ground balls, and goalie Molly Esque had 123 saves.

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