Track teams point to postseason
According to coach Shane Roberts, the Bexley High School boys track and field team entered the MSL-Ohio Division meet relatively healthy.
The two-day meet, which is being held at Heath, began May 14 and concludes Friday, May 17.
"Guys are hurt, not injured," Roberts said. "It's like other sports. We have nagging hamstrings, knees and shoulders, but it's nothing to hold people out.
"We pick and choose what guys are going to run, but that's the name of the game sometimes."
The league meet should be, if nothing else, a primer for the Division II postseason, as Roberts views the MSL-Ohio as being more competitive than the experience his athletes will have at district.
The boys and girls teams will compete in the district 2 meet Tuesday, May 21, Wednesday, May 22 and May 25 at Westerville South. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 30 and June 1 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
To get ready for the league meet and the postseason, the boys and girls teams competed May 10 in the Circleville Invitational.
"The MSL is going to be tougher than our district," Roberts said, referring to the boys team. "I think we had four of the MSL teams in the top 10 of our district in the coaches' eyes, and Granville is Division I. Our league is tough.
"Circleville, for us, is the meet we always go to before the league because they have prelims and that gets you ready. The league is something special in itself. You get to go to a dinner if you win league and it's something to strive for."
Roberts expects distance runner Ian Kellogg to stand out in the postseason.
"There's a kid who's going to step up to the line and give it his all, all the time. He doesn't really have an off switch," Roberts said. "Sometimes we'll have a hard work out and find out that Kellogg ran more afterwards. He wants to be the best he can and he's a great leader. He's not a talker; he's leading by example and showing what we need to do."
Kellogg missed out on a trip to state last season when he was disqualified in the 3,200 at regional.
Another leader for Roberts is sprinter Josh Hoffman, who was an alternate on the 400 and 800 relays that advanced to state a year ago.
"He's a kid who eats right, sleeps right and is leading by example," Roberts said. "He's a senior and I'm doing everything I can to get him in the best situation to get to the state meet."
The girls team, which has been without injured Regan Detwiler all season, now has lost fellow distance runner Lindsey Mathews to a stress fracture.
"It's a big loss not to have her compete," coach Jamie Hayes said of the senior. "To see her finish her career that way is sad."
Hayes is anticipating a strong postseason showing from Lissy Schmidt in the 300 hurdles, as she has posted a personal-best time of 47.9 seconds after advancing to regional in 2012.
"Lissy is doing a phenomenal job," Hayes said. "She runs the 400 and 800 relays, and she's really come on strong in the 300 hurdles. She's only had the opportunity to run that a few times in events, so she hasn't really had a chance to show what she can do. We're really excited heading into the league and district."
Baseball team earns second seed
Baseball coach Tom Marker made it a point of emphasis that the Lions play for a high seed in the Division II district tournament.
"To be honest, league championships are secondary to us," said Marker, whose team finished third in the MSL-Ohio at 10-4. "It's not really the goal of ours. If it happens, it happens, but we're interested in competing at the Division II level.
"We had a game against (Sparta) Highland (on April 23) and it was in the middle of league play, but we used our top pitchers there (and won 9-7). If you win your league, but lose in the first or second round of the tournament, that's a disappointing season in my mind."
The Lions, who are 17-7 overall, earned the second seed for the tournament and had a first-round bye. They play host to eighth-seeded Licking Heights or 24th-seeded Eastmoor Academy on Thursday, May 16, with the winner advancing to a district semifinal against fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder, 10th-seeded Lakewood or 25th-seeded Columbus South on Tuesday, May 21, at Dublin Coffman. The district final is May 23 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
Marker said Licking Heights and Jonathan Alder would be difficult opponents.
"They can put up runs," he said of Licking Heights, which the Lions defeated in the second round 4-2 in 2011 and 9-4 last season. "They have guys who can swing it. We have seen them a couple times this year and they hit a ton."
Jonathan Alder is "really well-coached," Marker said. "Craig Kyle does a great job and he's seen us three or four times this year. They've won the district three of the last four years, and he's going to always have his team prepared."
Shortstop Tate Hughes has excelled for Bexley, hitting .410 in league play and .324 overall through 24 games with 15 RBI.
"He's a catalyst for us," Marker said. "He gets it done defensively and he's been a huge part of our success and the turnaround in our program. He doesn't miss anything in the offseason and that's shown to pay dividends."
Josh Shapiro was hitting .310 and led the team with 23 RBI. He also was 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 56 strikeouts, while Tyler Kondracke was 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA.
"Tyler pitches almost every game for us, it seems," Marker said. "He always wants the ball."
Girls lacrosse team opens postseason
The girls lacrosse team was 12-3 overall before opening the Division II South/Central Region tournament May 14 against Columbus School for Girls.
The winner advanced to play a second-round game Thursday, May 16, at Columbus Academy.
The Lions lost to Academy 11-5 on April 9 and finished 5-2 in the Central Independent League. Academy won the league at 7-0.
The second-round winner plays host to Hartley, Cincinnati Indian Hill or Cincinnati Wyoming in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21. The regional final is May 23.
Softball team begins district tournament
The softball team finished 2-10 in the MSL-Ohio and was 12-13 overall before opening the Division II district tournament May 13 against 12th-seeded Centennial. The Lions were the 13th seed.
The winner played fifth-seeded Big Walnut or 27th-seeded Columbus South in the second round May 15, with that winner advancing to face fourth-seeded Granville, eighth-seeded Hartley or 23rd-seeded Columbus East in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington Central. The district final is May 25 at Pickerington Central.