The St. Charles Preparatory School water polo team has a new look after winning its third state championship in four seasons.
The Cardinals will need a balanced effort if they are to defend the title won last season by defeating Cincinnati St. Xavier 17-13. They also won titles in 2010 and 2011.
"We're trying to evaluate lot of players because we have a lot of guys returning," said coach Geoff Gear, whose team started 4-0 to begin in his eighth season. "We won our first four games and played 20 guys in each game. Winning was a good by-product of that, but we're trying to see where everyone fits."
St. Charles finished 21-13 last season led by 2014 graduates Dylan Hammon (goalie) and Andrew Hoffman (utility player), who were named all-state and all-region. Hoffman scored 11 goals in the state final and 24 in the state tournament, and Hammon had 10 blocks in the final and 34 total at state.
Casey Horan (center) and Franz Kabelka (center-defender) rounded out the 2014 senior class.
"We lost four starters and all four graduated," Gear said. "Filling those roles will take time. We played a lot of good young players last year and we had a good j.v. group. We don't have the superstars that we might have had last year, but we have more depth."
Gear said junior Nick Ward and sophomore Ben Sugar lead the offense as attackers, and Sam Aslaner is back for his senior season after leading the team in scoring in 2012 and spending last year in Turkey.
Senior Tyler Welty plays center-defender and senior Jack Lumpe takes over in goal. The rest of the roster does not have set positions.
"Other than Tyler and Jack, everyone else is interchangeable," Gear said. "(Hammon) was injured for a couple of weeks last fall, and Jack filled in nicely. He has a great arm and great reflexes, so we won't miss a beat in goal."
Rounding out the senior class are Andrew Alfred, Joey Hickman, Noah Miller and Sam Smith.
Also playing are juniors David Allen, Anthony Baglione, Austin Beam, Colin Hawes, Joe Heller, Adam Lieser, Bryce Long, Derek Nguyen, Vincent Sears, James Sullivan and Connor Timmons, sophomores Jack Carlin, Stuart Decker, James Grodesky, Charlie Henry, Hannes Kabelka, John Lewis and Wil Price and freshmen Evin Cogan, Michael Gutman, Brandon Jordan, Ben Mooney and Patrick Pema.
The Cardinals opened with four wins in the Napoleon Sprint-Off Classic on Aug. 15 and 16. They defeated Toledo St. Francis 4-3, Mason 13-7, Cincinnati Sycamore 10-8 and the St. Xavier B team 14-4.
Cross country team returns top talent
The cross country program returns its top three runners from a team that made its fourth consecutive trip to the Division I regional and won its seventh consecutive CCL championship and 14th league title in 15 seasons.
Sophomore Kevin Hennessey (21st, 16 minutes, 41.48 seconds), senior Brendan Harty (30th, 16:52.01) and senior Nick Marino (62nd, 17:20.6) helped the Cardinals finish eighth (239) of 16 teams at regional behind champion Dublin Jerome (66).
"If Brendan Harty, Kevin Hennessey and Nick Marino run like they can, we can run with about anyone in the area after three runners," sixth-year coach Damien Brandon said. "We have seven guys battling for our fourth and fifth positions, and that competition will make everyone better."
Senior Nathan Herriman was the No. 4 runner last season, but did not return to the team.
St. Charles opened by finishing eighth (227) in the 17-team Panther Race of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 23 at Pickerington North behind champion Dublin Coffman (67).
Harty (11th, 17:02.2) led the Cardinals, followed by Hennessey (13th, 17:02.8), junior John Simmons (61st, 18:23.9), Marino (70th, 18:35.3), senior Jacob Sekinger (95th, 18:55.1), junior Kenneth Norris (106th, 19:11.4) and junior Christopher Mitchell (121st, 19:25.9).
Other top runners from the opener include freshman Kenton Coleman (152nd, 19:58.5), senior Michael Nazario (156th, 20:02.1), sophomore Anthony Sanderell (173rd, 20:14.2), senior Patrick Somodi (214th, 20:50.3), junior Sammy Lisa (215th, 20:50.6), junior Conor Abel (228th, 21:00.3) and freshman David Somodi (240th, 21:12.4).
"If anyone is off for one day, we really drop back," Brandon said. "Either we are consistent and run with top-six teams in the region or, if not, we can drop to 10, 11 or 12 in the region."
Football team to play Eastmoor
The football team opened Aug. 29 against Coffman and travels to Eastmoor Academy on Friday, Sept. 5.
The Cardinals defeated Eastmoor 48-8 last season. Senior tight end Jack Billman caught a 20-yard touchdown pass, junior running back Jacob Nowell rushed for 81 yards on seven carries and senior quarterback Jacob Moehrman rushed for scores of 5 and 7 yards.
Golf team finishes 2nd in CCL preseason
The golf team shot a 310 to finish second in the CCL preseason tournament Aug. 18 at Clover Valley behind Watterson (303).
DeSales was third (339), followed by Hartley (340) and Ready (385).
Jacob Rumfola and Connor Yakubov both shot 77 to lead St. Charles, followed by Mike Altomare (78), Andrew Shyu (78), Evan Yakubov (80) and Eddie O'Brien (83).
The CCL postseason tournament is Sept. 20 at The Players Club at Foxfire.
Soccer team wins first two games
The soccer team was 2-1 overall after losing to Canal Winchester 1-0 on Aug. 28.
Jack Engert scored twice to lead the Cardinals past Olentangy Orange 3-2 in their opener Aug. 19. Roger Walther also scored and goalkeeper Josh Zebula had 15 saves.
On Aug. 23, St. Charles defeated Teays Valley 5-1. Engert, Isaac Flemming, Kristo Strickler, Niko Strickler and Walther all scored and Zeubla had two saves.