For Ian Kellogg and Lissy Schmidt of the Bexley High School boys and girls track and field teams, the Division II state meet June 6 and 7 at Ohio State didn't go exactly as they had planned.
While Kellogg, who qualified in the 1,600 meters for the second consecutive season and Schmidt, who qualified for state for the first time in the 300 hurdles, both were pleased to have closed their prep careers on the state's biggest stage, they had hoped for better final performances.
It was the first time since 2011 that both the boys and girls teams were represented at state in the same season.
Schmidt placed eighth in the 300 hurdles (46.29 seconds), taking the final spot on the podium and scoring a point to give the girls team a tie for 68th behind champion Dayton Meadowdale (40) as 73 teams scored.
"I was not super happy about the results of the race. I was expecting to run a (personal-record time), but I was glad I was able to earn an all-Ohio honor and stand on the podium," Schmidt said. "I also was looking to break the school record (45.21), but I'm just glad my last race as a high-schooler was at the state meet.
"Running at the state meet was definitely an unforgettable experience."
Schmidt clocked a personal-record 45.63 when she finished third in the regional meet a week earlier. She also won the 300 hurdles (47.53) in the MSL-Ohio Division meet and captured a district title (46.54).
"At the beginning of the season my goal was to make it to the state meet, so I'm glad I was able to accomplish that," Schmidt said.
"I was so excited I was able to end my career at the state meet and meet my goal I put for myself, although the outcome wasn't exactly what I wanted."
A year ago at state, Kellogg was last (4:44.59) of 15 runners in the 1,600. This season, the Michigan State signee had aspirations of finishing in the top three.
He ran a personal-best 4:23.77 but ended up ninth, just missing the final spot on the podium behind Nick Campbell of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (4:23.75).
"I was neck and neck with (Campbell) for eighth place for the last 50 meters and ended up just getting out-leaned and missed the last spot on the podium," Kellogg said. "I won't lie, that was tough. To work four years towards being all-state and then coming up .02 seconds short ... that's tough.
"But to finish with a personal-best (time) off of such a slow pace was pretty astonishing. It was all bittersweet."
The boys team didn't score at state. Dayton Dunbar (47) won as 76 teams scored.
Kellogg, who was runner-up to Sparta Highland's Kevin Jones in the district and regional meets, finished ahead of Jones (10th, 4:24.05) at state.
"That race was so tight and in the end, I was just three seconds away from third place," Kellogg said. "Looking at those results, I can be disappointed, but I can't call that race, or my season, a failure."
Expectations rising for baseball team
This spring featured a few nice accomplishments for the baseball team.
The Lions finished 21-8 overall for their second consecutive 20-win season and went 12-2 in the MSL-Ohio to capture a share of their first league title since 1999. Bexley also had a 13-game winning streak, its longest in five seasons under coach Tom Marker.
Bexley concluded its season by making its first Division II district final appearance since 1998.
Despite losing six seniors, Marker wants his team to remain hungry.
"We accomplished a lot the past year and we're just trying to improve year in and year out," he said. "I would measure our success on how we grew as a team from the first nine games when we were 5-4 to the last 20 games when we were 16-4.
"I just don't want our guys to look back on the season and be comfortable."
The four losses down the stretch came to St. Charles (12-2 on May 8), which reached a Division I district final; Defiance (2-1 on May 10), which reached a Division II district final; eventual Division II state champion Bloom Carroll (7-2 on May 17) and eventual Division II state runner-up Jonathan Alder (5-1 on May 22).
Bexley loses four seniors who received postseason recognition.
Marshall Drewry was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district after going 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA to go with a .287 batting average and 20 RBI. Outfielder Alex Eikenberry hit .352 with 19 RBI and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Shortstop Tate Hughes led the Lions with a .365 average to go with 14 RBI and was first-team all-district and second-team all-league. Catcher Will Davis batted .310 with 20 RBI and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Junior pitcher/first baseman Josh Shapiro drove in a team-leading 25 runs, scored 25 runs and hit .351 while going 4-3 with two saves, a 2.50 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He was first-team all-league and all-district.
Junior outfielder Ethan Bredemeier (.333, 25 runs, 14 RBI) and junior pitcher Drew Elliott (5-2, 2.24 ERA) were second-team all-league, and freshmen Tommy Bruning (5-0, 0.19 ERA, 37 innings) and Alex Shapiro (INF, .317) were honorable mention all-league.
"I will never put an 'A' on anything that doesn't get you out of your district," Marker said. "We definitely improved and made strides in the right direction, but I will never be satisfied until we get out of the district and I don't think our kids will either."
Before losing to second-seeded Jonathan Alder in a district final at Beavers Field in Lancaster, third-seeded Bexley defeated 13th-seeded Heath 7-4 in the second round May 15 and fifth-seeded Licking Valley 6-2 in a district semifinal May 20 at Worthington Kilbourne.
The Lions shared the MSL-Ohio title with Columbus Academy. They were followed by West Jefferson (10-4), Worthington Christian (6-8), Grandview (5-9), London (5-9), Whitehall (4-10) and Madison Plains (2-12).
Softball coach's final season was solid
The softball team put together a strong final season for coach Rick Wemlinger, who told his team last summer that his fifth year at Bexley, and 23rd overall as a coach, would be his last.
The Lions finished 19-6 overall, placed second in the MSL-Ohio at 9-3 and advanced to a district semifinal for the first time since 2006.
Third-seeded Bexley fell to fourth-seeded and eventual Division III state semifinalist North Union 6-2 in a district semifinal May 19 at Pickerington Central after beating seventh-seeded Northridge 9-4 in the second round May 15.
"I'm just so proud of what they did," Wemlinger said. "We set goals of getting to Pickerington (Central and) we got (there)."
After going 13-14 last year, the Lions expected to enter this spring with a seven-member senior class. But pitcher Katy Watson, a senior at Columbus Academy, joined the team thanks to a new OHSAA bylaw that benefits non-public students whose sport isn't offered at their school.
Watson went 18-6 with a 2.03 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 152 innings and led the Lions with a .373 batting average and 21 RBI. She was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Among other seniors, first baseman Kayley Barno (.351, 18 RBI, 14 steals) and outfielder Sidney Woodford (.308, 13 RBI, 17 steals) were second-team all-league and third baseman Abby Lowenstein (.358, 19 RBI, 18 runs) and catcher Elizabeth Williams were honorable mention all-league.
Junior shortstop Abby Barno was first-team all-league after hitting .367 with 32 runs, 16 stolen bases and nine RBI. She also committed just three errors.
"This was an A-plus season for us. I have no problems saying that," Wemlinger said.
In the MSL-Ohio, the Lions finished behind West Jefferson (12-0) and ahead of London (7-5), Madison Plains (7-5), Whitehall (3-9), Grandview (2-10) and Worthington Christian (2-10).