Tennis squad falls in City final
For the second consecutive season, the Whetstone High School boys tennis team must settle for being the City League runner-up.
The Braves lost to Columbus West 3-2 in the City League championship match May 20 at Columbus South to finish 12-4 overall and 10-1 in the City League. The Cowboys, who beat Whetstone by the same score in the City championship match last year, also went 10-1 in the City.
Whetstone had beaten West 4-1 on May 8.
"It was a little disappointing because we worked so hard all year for this and then we didn't play our best and ended up a court short (in the City championship match)," coach Bucky Walters said.
Winning for the Braves in the City championship match were junior Drew Gabalski at third singles (6-1, 6-3) and sophomore Quentin Pruneau and freshman Akeem Adesiji at first doubles (6-2, 6-3).
Losing in the match were junior Matthew Ray at first singles (6-3, 6-3), senior Tyler Weisent at second singles (6-2, 6-4) and junior Ricky Bowman and freshman Winfield Slocum at second doubles (6-3, 6-4).
"It was a great year overall. It was just disappointing that we didn't pull off the championship because we felt we were on the right path," Walters said. "But (Weisent) took 10 days off due to another commitment, missed the sectional and was a bit rusty in the (City) championship. Still, any of the other courts could've changed the outcome, too."
Senior Brink Hering played second singles during Weisent's absence and competed in the Division I sectional tournament May 16 and 18 at Upper Arlington, losing to West's Marcell West 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.
Also in singles at sectional, Ray lost to St. Charles' Will Niermeyer 6-0, 6-3 in the first round and Gabalski defeated Central Crossing's Stephen Taylor 7-6, 6-3 in the first round before losing to Westerville North's Sam Payne 6-1, 6-0 in the second round.
In doubles, Pruneau and Adesiji fell one win shy of advancing to the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Hilliard Davidson. After having a first-round bye, they beat Central Crossing's Mikey Massey and Dennis Melesh-chuk 6-4, 6-2 in the second round before losing 6-1, 6-1 to top-seeded Jeff Melvin and Nate Wallace of Upper Arlington in a quarterfinal.
The other doubles team of Bowman and Slocum beat Central Crossing's Aaron Hill and Jacob Cerino 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the first round before losing 6-0, 6-0 to second-seeded Peter Pema and Ben Minton of Upper Arlington in the second round.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
"Ray made quite a transition, going from doubles last year all the way to No. 1 singles this year," Walters said. "It was an incredible jump and he improved immensely. Gabalski had a real strong second half of the season and won a lot of big matches.
"Pruneau and Adesiji swept through their City League opponents without losing and also won a sectional match, and Bowman and Slocum played well, too, so I'm really looking forward to next season. We're excited."
The Braves lose two seniors in Hering and Weisent.
Darling advances to regional in two events
The track and field teams competed in the Division I, district 3 meet May 22, 23 and 25 at Hilliard Darby.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to the regional meet, which began May 29 and concludes Friday, May 31, at Pickerington North. The top four finishers in each regional event qualify for the state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.
Qualifying for regional during the first day of district for the girls team were senior Arionna Darling in the shot put (second, 40 feet, 4 1/2 inches) and discus (third, 112-1) and sophomore Bianca McLemore in the long jump (second, 16-4 1/2).
Advancing during the first day of district for the boys team was junior David Simmons, who finished second in the long jump (21-3 1/4).