Ryan Bibo, Mark Guza and Michael Guza of the Watterson High School boys tennis team won't be content with just getting back to the Division II district tournament.
A year ago, their first district appearances were brief, as Bibo lost in the first round in singles and the Guza brothers lost in the opening round in doubles.
The Eagles are competing in the sectional Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Columbus School for Girls. Bibo is the top seed in singles, and the Guzas are seeded first in doubles.
"Ryan, Michael and Mark were happy just to make it to district last year, but they have higher expectations for themselves this year since they are the No. 1-seeded players this year," coach Barb Woods said. "All three of them need to aim for the No. 1 spot at sectional to set themselves up for district. Last year, they all placed third (at sectional) and had to open (district) against a No. 2 seed. This year, I want to see them win (sectional titles) so they can open district against a No. 4 seed and have a better shot at making it to state.
"All three of them have the potential to be sectional champions. Ryan just needs to play steady and with confidence. The Guzas need to play good fundamental doubles, getting into position and placing the ball well."
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at sectional will advance to district May 24 and 25 at Columbus Academy. The top two finishers in singles and doubles at district qualify for the state tournament May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Also competing at sectional for Watterson will be Kevin Beattie and Ryan Maur in singles and the doubles team of Stev Gregory and Jae Suk Dae.
"I thought Kevin should have been seeded in singles and I think he has the talent to place in the top four if he plays well," Woods said.
The Eagles wrapped up CCL play with a 5-0 win over Hartley on May 7 but finished second in the league at 3-1 behind St. Charles (4-0) after losing to the Cardinals 3-2 on April 30.
"Losing to St. Charles was a disappointment, but I'm happy with our season overall," Woods said. "Our boys have improved and we've already won a lot more matches than we won last year."
Baseball team hoping to make district run
Baseball coach Scott Manahan is hoping his team's recent play is an indication that it will make a postseason run.
Watterson won four games in a row before losing to Newark Catholic 4-3 on May 9 to fall to 15-9 overall. The winning streak consisted of victories over St. Charles (7-2 on May 3), Hilliard Bradley (12-6 on May 4), Hartley (12-6 on May 6) and Whitehall (6-2 on May 7).
The Eagles are seeded sixth of 26 teams in the Division II district tournament and faced 22nd-seeded Columbus East in the first round May 14. The winner plays 14th-seeded Centennial or 18th-seeded Buckeye Valley in the second round Thursday, May 16, on the home field of the higher seed.
The Eagles swept Centennial in a doubleheader April 27, winning 10-4 and 8-0, but has not played Buckeye Valley this season.
The second-round winner will face third-seeded Licking Valley, 12th-seeded London or 26th-seeded Linden-McKinley in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Grove City. The semifinal winner likely will face second-seeded Bexley or fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder in a district final May 23 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
"We've been a Jekyll and Hyde team most of the year," Manahan said. "One day we're solid and the next day we make a lot of mistakes. We've had solid pitching all year, but our hitting and defense have been erratic.
"In our win over Hartley, we had eight hits and only one strikeout. Against Newark Catholic, we had eight strikeouts and only five hits. We've also had a lot of untimely errors that have cost us in close games. We need to get that cleaned up in the tournament."
Pitcher Greg Jacknewitz had 10 strikeouts and allowed five hits and one earned run in six innings against St. Charles and had six strikeouts and allowed four earned runs in six innings against Hartley.
Also against Hartley, shortstop Jacob Bolton went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI and first baseman Sam Rice went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Watterson finished 4-4 in the CCL to tie DeSales for second behind St. Charles (7-1).
Against Bradley, outfielder Gabe Martin and catcher Joe DiOrio each went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Nathan Giangardella was the winning pitcher against Bradley and Rice got the win against Whitehall.
"On the back of our T-shirts it says, 'It's not how you start. It's how you finish,'" Manahan said. "If we get hot and hit well, I wouldn't be surprised to see us win our district. If our Hyde team shows up, I wouldn't be surprised if we get knocked out before then. There's no team that we can overlook this year."
Girl lacrosse team places sixth in CIL
The girls lacrosse team wrapped up its regular season May 7 with a 16-2 loss to Bexley to drop to 4-9-1 overall and finish 2-4-1 in the Central Independent League.
Attacker Emily Engert and midfielder Grace Traini each had a goal and goalkeeper Victoria Farhat had 14 saves.
Watterson finished sixth in the CIL, behind Columbus Academy (7-0), Bexley (5-2), DeSales (4-2-1), Columbus School for Girls (4-3) and Hartley (3-4) and ahead of Granville (2-5) and Wellington (0-7).
Watterson opened the Division I South/Central Region tournament May 13 against Pickerington North. The winner played Cincinnati St. Ursula or Hilliard Darby in the second round May 15.
The second-round winner will play in a regional semifinal Monday, May 20, at top-seeded Upper Arlington, Gahanna or Marysville.
Boys volleyball team wins tourney opener
The boys volleyball team opened the Division II East Region tournament May 11 with a 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 win over Olentangy.
Watterson was 15-7 overall before playing DeSales in a regional semifinal May 15. The semifinal winner will play Dublin Scioto or Mount Vernon in a regional final Saturday, May 18, at Hilliard Davidson.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal May 25 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit.
Watterson beat Pickerington North 25-17, 25-20, 29-27 on May 7. Setter Matt Randolph had 24 assists and eight kills, outside hitter Zach Storc had 15 kills and five digs and middle hitter Matt Hughes had seven kills and five blocks.
Softball team opens district tourney
The softball team was seeded eighth of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament and played 41st-seeded Westland in the first round May 14.
The winner plays 18th-seeded Davidson or 32nd-seeded Hilliard Darby in the second round Thursday, May 16, on the home field of the higher seed.
The second-round winner will face seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, 19th-seeded Westerville North or 29th-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North.
The semifinal winner likely will play second-seeded Grove City in a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Watterson beat Mount Vernon 10-0 on May 9 and Olentangy Orange 12-0 on May 11 to improve to 16-4 overall.
First baseman Katie Manahan hit a grand slam and a two-run home run against Orange.