The Whetstone High School girls soccer team defended its City League championship, defeating Centennial 7-0 in the final Oct. 10 at Crew Stadium.
Senior defender Hannah Shook scored two goals to lead the Braves, who beat Centennial for the second time in four days and third time this season. Whetstone won both regular-season league games, defeating the Stars, 5-0 on Oct. 7 at home in its regular-season finale and 2-0 on Sept. 12 at Centennial.
The Braves also beat Centennial in the City championship game last year, winning 3-2 in overtime, after losing to the Stars 1-0 in overtime in the inaugural contest in 2011.
"The girls are pretty excited," coach Phil Labuhn said. "For half of them, this is their first one. Most of the seniors were not only a part of last year's title team, but also played as sophomores when we lost to Centennial in the championship (game)."
Also scoring in this year's championship game were senior defenders Kalie Mascarello and Maddy O'Malley, senior forward Marlee Christian, junior midfielder Rita Knasel and sophomore midfielder Sydney Carroll. Mascarello scored on a penalty kick.
Christian and freshman forward Bailey Waitkus both had two goals and Shook scored one in the Oct. 7 win over the Stars.
"Marlee is quietly having a very good year," Labuhn said. "She's been steady with 13 goals and eight assists, and she's gotten stronger all season.
"Bailey looks to be back to her old self. She missed four games with a broken arm. In her first four games back, she scored twice in each game prior to the championship (game)."
Whetstone improved to 13-0-2 overall with its victory in the City final and is hoping to carry the momentum it gained from that win into the postseason.
The Braves are seeded 24th of 40 teams in the Division I district tournament and had a first-round bye. They will face 21st-seeded Dublin Scioto or 26th-seeded Canal Winchester in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17, at the site of the higher seed. Whetstone has not played either team this season.
"We match up better against Scioto, but it sure would be nice to have a home game and Canal Winchester has to win for us to play on our grass," Labuhn said. "Canal just beat Scioto (1-0 on Oct. 8), so they're pretty evenly matched. The one thing I know is, for us to have any tournament success, we're going to have to rely on strong defense. Shook and O'Malley have been pretty formidable for us at center backs."
The second-round winner will play at top-seeded Dublin Coffman or at home against 40th-seeded Westland in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22. The Braves have not played either team this season.
Boys cross country team wins City title
The boys cross country team captured the City League title, scoring 33 points in the nine-team league meet Oct. 9 at home to finish well ahead of runner-up Centennial (74).
Junior Ike Boateng led the Braves, placing second in 17 minutes, 10 seconds behind Centennial's Kevin Adams (16:54). Senior Hayden Palmer finished third (17:51).
The girls team was runner-up (41) in the six-team City meet, behind Centennial (33).
Whetstone will compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Watkins Memorial.
Both teams will compete in district 2, where the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Finnegan, defense spark football team
Quarterback Ramroth Finnegan returned to the lineup sooner than expected and led the football team to a 36-0 win over Linden-McKinley on Oct. 11 in a City League-North Division game.
The senior, who sustained a knee injury during a 44-26 win over Columbus East on Oct. 4, initially was expected to miss a few weeks. Instead, he came off the bench and was 12-for-19 passing for 185 yards and four touchdowns.
On the receiving end of the touchdown passes were running back Melek White (5 yards) and wide receivers David Simmons (52), Tony Cordetti (26) and Rozell Manley (10). White also rushed for 142 yards on 15 carries.
"We didn't start Finnegan, but he played well and the knee didn't bother him," coach Don Poff said. "He played the second, third and half of the fourth quarter. Melek White had a good game and we rushed for 160 yards, so that was a bonus."
Freshman Jack Staggs started at quarterback and played the first quarter.
Running back Chris North scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter, in which the Braves scored 22 points. He also had two interceptions as a defensive back and Mitchell Tijernia had one as Whetstone posted its second shutout of the season.
The Braves defeated Africentric 40-0 on Sept. 6.
"We moved Tijernia into a cornerback position and he had some big hits and an interception and North also had a big game defensively," Poff said. "(Defensive back) Trent Harper and (linebacker) Justus Barnett also played well, as they usually do.
"We switched some guys into new positions and we also made some good defensive adjustments. A shutout is great because Linden has some athletes, but we played good assignment defense."
The Braves, who improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the City-North, travel to Northland on Friday, Oct. 18, for another league game. The Vikings are 5-1 and 3-1, with their lone loss coming against Brookhaven (29-28 in overtime Sept. 20).
"Northland is a great team that is playing super well right now," Poff said. "They just beat Mifflin up pretty bad (42-7 on Oct. 11). They have one of the best athletes in the City at running back (Nateshawn Hargrove). It's going to be a real test for us."
Boys soccer team begins tourney
Any momentum that the boys soccer team may have gained during a recent 2-1-1 stretch was lost after losing its final two games to finish the regular season 4-10-1 overall and 4-7-1 in the City-North.
The Braves, who lost to Centennial 3-1 on Oct. 7 and fell to Columbus International 6-3 the following day, were seeded 40th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and played 18th-seeded Dublin Scioto in the first round Oct. 16.
The winner will play at fourth-seeded Hilliard Bradley in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19. The winner of that contest will play 13th-seeded Upper Arlington, 17th-seeded Dublin Jerome or 35th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the site of the higher seed.
Volleyball team places third in City-North
The girls volleyball team finished the regular season 13-9 overall and 10-4 in the City-North after losing to Centennial 25-18, 25-22, 25-16 on Oct. 7 and Columbus International 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 on Oct. 8.
The Braves finished third in the league behind International and Centennial.
Whetstone was seeded 33rd of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament and played 27th-seeded Logan in the first round Oct. 14. The winner played second-seeded Dublin Coffman in the second round Oct. 16.
The second-round winner will play 21st-seeded Canal Winchester, 23rd-seeded Mount Vernon or 37th-seeded Zanesville in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Bloom-Carroll.
Golf team ends season as City champion
The boys golf team shot a 168 in the City League tournament Oct. 9 at Airport to win the tournament and clinch the league championship.
Centennial (180) was second, followed by Briggs (217), Walnut Ridge (221), Brookhaven (223), Columbus West (231), Northland (235), Eastmoor Academy (237), Columbus South (250) and Independence (262).
Juniors Carson Matthews and Quentin Pruneau both shot a 39 to share medalist honors with Centennial's Phil Pezzatta. Juniors Dylan Matthews (40) and David Stern (50) and senior Emily Tuttle (53) also competed.
Combined with league dual matches, the Braves totaled 54 points to win the City title, ahead of Centennial (48), Briggs (42), Walnut Ridge (30), Northland (26), Brookhaven (24), West (20), Eastmoor (16), Independence (6) and South (4).
"It was just a great way to end a wonderful season," coach Tom Philip said. "I have great kids who really truly love the game and are willing to work hard. They're a joy to be around."
Whetstone had three of the league's top four scoring averages and four of the top seven.
Carson Matthews (39.6) and Dylan Matthews (40.1) had the top two averages and Pruneau (44.2) was fourth behind Pezzatta (41.7), as the top five were first-team all-league. Stern (51.0) was seventh to make second team.
"We're already excited for next season," Philip said. "We're losing one senior in Emily Tuttle, who did a great job in her first year of competition. But (junior) Ethan Evans will be our fifth scorer next year. With so many back, we're excited and thinking about taking the next step and reaching district. The (Matthews) twins and Quentin are going to play in some tournaments next spring and they want their senior years to be fantastic and rewarding."
The Braves finished 12th (389) in a Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Turnberry and did not have any individual district qualifiers.