Four years after the St. Charles Preparatory School water polo team first dipped into the pool, the Cardinals have won a state championship.

Four years after the St. Charles Preparatory School water polo team first dipped into the pool, the Cardinals have won a state championship.

That title came last Saturday when St. Charles defeated Toledo St. Francis 6-4 in the state final at Mason.

"In four years, Coach (Geoff Gear) has taken the team from nothing to state champions," said goalkeeper John Flis, a three-year starter who had 12 saves in the championship. "It really shows hard work pays off in the end."

The Cardinals finished 31-4, but had to beat two opponents which had beaten them earlier this season to win the title, including St. Francis. On Friday, they defeated defending state champion Upper Arlington 10-8 in a semifinal.

UA had defeated St. Charles 8-7 on Oct. 6. St. Francis won the North Regional by beating the Cardinals 5-4 on Oct. 16.

"We came out and worked together and played as a team. We went out and had fun," senior Orion Swanson said. "The seniors on the team knew that this was our last chance to play together in high school, so we went out and had fun and weren't going to let anything get in our way of enjoying the weekend."

In the championship, junior Daniel Cogan had three goals and Swanson scored two. Junior Natty Patterson also scored. Cogan had five goals in the semifinal win over UA, with senior Max Herath adding two goals. Patterson, Swanson and junior Zach Poulter each had one goal.

"Our loss to Upper Arlington opened our eyes that we weren't untouchable and had to work on closing out our games at end of the season," Gear said. "We played very smart and very controlled and stayed focused on our game plan, doing what we do well.

"That all starts with our defense with seniors John Flis in goal and our center-defender Brian Willi. They are two of the best and they played like it."

•The football team lost to Watterson 28-21 last Friday, but likely moved up from fifth to fourth in the Division II, Region 6 computer ratings.

"We executed our game plan almost flawlessly against Watterson, but you have to give them credit. They're a great team," said coach Jeff Pharion, whose team is 5-3 overall and finished 0-2 in the OCC-Silver Division. "You can't give them an inch or they will take a mile."

Joe Spahr had 71 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored on a 4-yard run. The senior quarterback also was 15-for-28 passing for 217 yards with an 83-yard touchdown pass to Jourdan Wickliffe.

Wickliffe caught three passes for 99 yards and also ran 12 times for 45 yards and a 7-yard score. J. Schroeder led the receiving corps with seven catches for 68 yards, and Colin Merrill had four receptions for 34 yards.

The Cardinals hope to snap a three-game losing streak when they play host to Jonathan Alder on Friday. The Pioneers are 8-1 and have outscored opponents by an average of 42 to 13.

"We know they're 8-1 and have scored a lot of points," Pharion said. "They are a typical Plain City football team. They're big and physical and we know we'll have our work cut out for us."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the St. Charles cross country and soccer teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday — Finished fourth (116) at 14-team Division I district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial, behind New Albany (42), Reynoldsburg (48) and Hilliard Davidson (102) and ahead of the fifth and final district-qualifier Olentangy (145). Chris Quinn (fourth, 15:59.87) led the Cardinals, followed by Eric Niemeyer (16th, 16:47.8), Joe Gilmore (25th, 17:06.91), Connor Bowman (28th, 17:12.62), Kyle Nazario (43rd, 17:39.3), Michael Susa (49th, 18:07.61) and Will Herriman (69th, 18:56.55).

Saturday — Regional meet at Pickerington North. The top four teams and individuals not on a qualifying team who finish in top 16 advance to state on Nov. 6 at Scioto Downs.

SOCCER

Oct. 20 — Defeated Pickerington Central 3-0 in opening round of Division I district tournament. Charlie Macias had two goals and Alan Sincich scored one. Adam Mesewicz had four saves.

Last Saturday — Lost to fourth-seeded Pickerington North 3-0. Mesewicz had five saves.

Of note: The Cardinals finished 5-12 overall and finished 2-2 in the CCL.