Since taking over the program in 2008, Whetstone High School boys soccer coach Kerry Nixon has gained high marks inside the City League for increasing his team's knowledge of the sport and helping it play a more consistent brand of soccer.

Since taking over the program in 2008, Whetstone High School boys soccer coach Kerry Nixon has gained high marks inside the City League for increasing his team's knowledge of the sport and helping it play a more consistent brand of soccer.

What the Braves have been lacking - until this year - were victories that showed evidence of the improvement.

After rallying from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 5-all tie against perennial City-power Brookhaven on Sept. 14, Whetstone lost close games to both teams that made it to the City final, Columbus West (1-0 on Sept. 21) and Centennial (2-1 on Oct. 7). In the midst of splitting their final eight games, the Braves beat Watterson 2-1 on Oct. 5.

Whetstone finally broke through in another area as well when it defeated Central Crossing 3-0 on Oct. 20 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

That victory marked their first postseason victory since 2003 when they beat Northland 3-1 in a tournament opener before falling to Thomas Worthington 6-0 in a second-round game.

"It was a great feeling (to win a tournament game), especially since it was one of our preseason goals," Nixon said.

The last time the Braves beat a non-City League opponent in the postseason was 2002 when they edged Groveport 2-0 in a first-round game before falling to Reynoldsburg 5-0 in the second round. In the 2001 tournament, Whetstone beat Northland 5-1 and Lancaster 1-0 in overtime to reach a district semifinal, where it fell to Westerville North 4-0.

The Braves' season ended last Saturday on the road when they fell to 2009 district champion Dublin Jerome 3-1.

Despite the loss, Whetstone posted its second winning in Nixon's three years, going 7-6-4 overall.

The Braves finished fourth in the City at 5-2-3, behind Centennial (10-0), West (8-2) and Brookhaven (6-2-1) and ahead of Walnut Ridge (5-3-2), Northland (4-3-2), Beechcroft (4-6), Mifflin (4-6), Independence (2-8), Marion-Franklin (1-8) and Briggs (0-9).

In the win over the Comets, Andrew Bogart and Tyler Glover scored and the Braves benefited from an own goal, all coming during the first 15 minutes of the second half.

"(Having a winning season) is definitely huge," Nixon said. "Coming back against Brookhaven showed the guys what can happen when you play the whole game. The guys really put it together after that."

The loss to Jerome was the last game for 11 seniors, a group that included first-team all-City players Stefan Koltun, Oliver Wilsbach and Glover. Seniors Bashir Farah, Pete Pajor and Ryan Thompson all made second-team all-league and seniors Bogart and goalkeeper Tom Kocab both made honorable mention.

The Braves had 61 athletes come out for the team and has particularly strong numbers in their sophomore and freshman classes.

"Our season kind of turned around when we moved Stefan back to sweeper," Nixon said. "We only lost to Centennial 2-1, and a lot of that was because of Stefan's work back there."

•Evan Schwartz is back at the regional boys cross country meet after taking fourth in 16 minutes, 8.97 seconds at the Division I district 3 meet last Saturday at Watkins Memorial.

Schwartz had the 11th-best time among the three districts. Individuals not on qualifying teams who finish in the top 16 in Saturday's regional at Pickerington North advance to the state meet Nov. 6 at Scioto Downs.

Last season, Schwartz finished 54th (16:49.32) at state after taking eighth at district and 11th at the regional.

Last Saturday, Schwartz was followed by junior Alexander Singer (44th, 17:18.51), freshman Hayden Palmer (100th, 18:38.09), senior Habeeb Al-Ghawi (108th, 19:13.06), junior MacKenzie Conkling (113th, 19:29), freshman Kevin McCoy (117th, 20:25.42) and junior Keinan Ali (118th, 20:59.2).

In the girls district 1 meet, freshman Liz Jackson led the Braves with a 60th-place finish (23:34.78). She was followed by seniors Erin Beard (63rd, 24:08.32) and Shelby Schaefer (72nd, 25:31.82), junior Rebecca Beech (73rd, 25:56.6), freshman Maria Beard (81st, 28:24) and senior Nina Radiz (82nd, 28:42).

•The girls soccer team lost to Watterson 4-0 on Oct. 19 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish with a 7-8 record for the second consecutive season.

The Braves went 3-1 against City League teams, beating Beechcroft (Sept. 2), Northland (Sept. 21) and Columbus East (Oct. 7) all by 7-0 scores and falling to Centennial (6-1 on Sept. 30).

"The girls played really hard the entire match and I thought we played one of our better games defensively against Watterson," coach Phil Labuhn said. "We really couldn't generate much of an offense. We were starting four freshmen, and one of our seniors went down with a concussion in the first half, which made it tough."

Seniors Katie Fuller and Sarah Patashinsky will be the biggest losses to graduation.

Junior Symiah Campbell, who started at goalkeeper, sophomore Alana Bruzzese and freshmen Liz Jackson and Maddy O'Mal-ley should be among the top returnees.

"They played their toughest games against the toughest teams we played," said Labuhn, who finished his 12th season. "I think it was one of the most cohesive teams I've had."

•The girls volleyball team lost to Westerville Central 25-9, 25-9, 25-6 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20 at East.

The Braves finished 10-12 overall and placed fourth in the City League-North Division at 8-6, behind Northland (14-0), Centennial (12-2) and Brookhaven (9-5).

"It was a very good year," coach Errole Rembert said. "They bonded and played well as a team. Everyone got to contribute."

Sara Johnson and Veronica Schulte-Hordelhoff were Whetstone's only seniors.

Junior Lauren McKee made first-team all-City, Johnson was second team and juniors Quincy Repka and Brittany Bishop both made honorable mention.

"We have a very young team coming back, so that will help," Rembert said. "We've got to get faster and learn to hit with more power. We'll probably have them go to some camps and clinics in the offseason."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Whetstone boys and girls cross country and football teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday - Boys: Finished 16th (369) in 18-team Division I district 3 meet at Watkins Memorial, behind champion Westerville North (52). Evan Schwartz was fourth (16:08.97) to advance to regional; Girls: Finished 11th (330) in 12-team Division I district 1 meet, behind champion New Albany (34)

Saturday - Boys: Schwartz will compete in the regional meet at 12:35 p.m. at Pickerington North. The top four teams and individuals not on qualifying teams who finish in the top 16 advance to state Nov. 6 at Scioto Downs.

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Defeated Mifflin 39-20. Jordan Mitchell rushed for 253 yards and scored on two touchdown runs, an interception return and a fumble return as the Braves won for the third time in four games.

*Friday - At Centennial

Of note: The Braves are 3-6 overall and 3-3 in the City-North.

*City contest