Big Walnut High School girls track and field coach Joe Evener knew his team would be strong in the field events this season.

Big Walnut High School girls track and field coach Joe Evener knew his team would be strong in the field events this season.

Yet, he still was impressed that the Golden Eagles were represented in the Division I regional meet held May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North in four of the five field events, the shot put being the exception.

Advancing to regional in field events from the district 2 meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby were sophomore Olivia Small in the long jump (17 feet, 9 3/4 inches, first), freshman Avery Kerns in the high jump (5-2, first), junior Laylaa Crawford in the discus (110-5, third) and junior Jordan Lyle in the pole vault (9-9, fourth).

The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.

"To get four out (to regional) in field events is phenomenal," Evener said. "This is the strongest our field-event crew has been since at least 2005, if not before that. What's really neat is that two (of the regional qualifiers) are juniors, one's a sophomore and one's a freshman, so the regional will be something they can build on.

"We showed tremendous balance (in the field events at district). It speaks volumes about our coaching staff. Mike Ryder has to be one of the best jumps coaches in the state, Kevin Abrams has been on our staff four or five years now working with the pole vault and has done a really good job, and (2001 graduate) Dora Riggs is in her first season as our throws coach and has been a great addition to our staff. I have the best seat in the house when it comes to the field events. All I do is walk from field event to field event."

Crawford, Kerns and Lyle are first-time regional qualifiers, but Small tied for ninth in the state meet last season in the long jump in 17-1 1/2. Small won the indoor state title in 18-1/4 on March 17 at the University of Akron and jumped a personal-best 18-3 1/4 in the Delaware County Elite 8 on May 3 at Buckeye Valley.

Lyle's performance in the pole vault broke her own program record of 9-6, which she had set in the Gahanna Relays on April 18. The previous record was 9-5, which was set by 2007 graduate Becky Hard in 2005.

Kerns tied the program's freshman record in the high jump. The mark had been set in 1996 by 1999 graduate Sonoma Clemens.

Also qualifying for regional were the 400-meter relay of senior Callie Carioti, sophomore Jamie Annis, Small and senior Brea Medlock (49.6 seconds, third) and the 800 relay of Carioti, Annis, Small and Medlock (1:44.11, fourth). Both times are program records.

The previous record in the 400 relay was 49.9 and had been set in the OCC-Capital Division meet May 12 at Hilliard Davidson. The previous mark in the 800 relay was 1:44.9, which was set in 1983.

The top four finishers in each district event qualified for regional.

Placing fifth at district were senior Shelby Bradford in the 100 hurdles (16.8) and junior Bethany Bogantz in the 800 (2:24.71). Big Walnut scored 51 points to finish fifth of 17 teams behind champion Davidson (101.5).

"I am so proud of the girls," Evener said. "We're the 15th smallest school (in Division I) in the state and we were the underdogs in every event except for Olivia in the long jump, but the girls didn't let the competition get to them. They really stepped up their games."

Boys track team gets two to regional

The boys track team competed in the Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 19 at Darby and had two regional qualifiers in senior Trent Fielding, who placed fourth in the shot put (45-9 1/2), and senior Josh Annis, who was fourth in the 800 (1:58.93).

Placing fifth were senior Jordan Stimmel in the pole vault (13-0) and the 3,200 relay of Annis, sophomore Logan Perry, senior Nate Seawell and junior A.J. Barber (8:08.41).

Big Walnut scored 26 points at district to finish eighth of 16 teams behind champion Davidson (104).

Randall falls in first round of district

Senior Nathan Randall of the boys tennis team concluded his prep career with a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Gahanna's Canyon Teague in the first round of singles in the Division I district tournament May 18 at Davidson.

Randall needed to win two matches at district to qualify for the state tournament held May 25 and 26 at Ohio State. He was trying to become Big Walnut's first state qualifier since Steve Mudre in 1987.

Teague went on to place fourth to advance to state.

"(Randall) knew it was going to be tough (to get to state)," said coach Mike McDonough, who completed his eighth season. "I think his mindset was to go out, try his best and have fun. I thought he did really well."

Randall qualified for district by going 4-1 and placing third in the sectional tournament May 10 and 12 at Davidson. He secured a district berth by defeating Worthington Kilbourne's Jack Klein 6-3, 6-4 in a quarterfinal. He then lost to the eventual sectional champion, Dublin Coffman's Hiromi Nakayama, 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal before beating Davidson's Spencer Walter 6-1, 6-4 in the third-place match.

Also competing at sectional in singles were seniors Dan Violet and Russell McMurry. Violet won his first two matches before losing to Walter 6-1, 6-2 in a quarterfinal and McMurry lost in the first round.

In doubles, seniors Sam Baldauf and Nate Fagan won their opening match before losing to eventual sectional runners-up Brian Do and Rohit Joshi of Coffman 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the second round. Senior Cory Walters and junior Sean Tribble also reached the second round, where they lost to Delaware Hayes' Josh Byerly and Colton Richard 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles at sectional advanced to district.

Big Walnut finished 14-4 overall to post its eighth consecutive winning season. The Eagles fell one win shy of the program record, which was set in 2007 when they finished 15-3 and matched last season when they went 15-4.

Big Walnut went 6-1 in the OCC-Capital and finished the league tournament May 5 at Olentangy Orange with 44 points to place third, behind New Albany (77, 7-0) and Orange (45, 5-2) and ahead of Delaware (38, 4-3), Hilliard Bradley (25, 2-5), Watkins Memorial (23, 3-4), Mount Vernon (14, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (2, 0-7).

"A number of our goals were met," McDonough said. "We wanted to compete for 15 or 16 wins. We weren't able to reach that, but I'm fairly certain we would've beaten Buckeye Valley and, I'm telling you, I know we were going to beat Kilbourne if we had finished that match. We only needed five more minutes to finish that match."

The match against Buckeye Valley on May 1 was canceled so Big Walnut could make up a league match against Franklin Heights that had been postponed April 26 because of bad weather. Against Kilbourne on May 7, the Eagles had won one court and were leading on two others when play was suspended because of bad weather. The match was not completed.

Big Walnut loses eight seniors in Baldauf (second doubles), Fagan (second doubles), McMurry (third singles), Randall (first singles), Violet (second singles), Walters (first doubles), Tyler Burks and Zach Flynn.

Randall was a three-time district qualifier.

Among those expected to return are Tribble (first doubles), juniors Thomas Hamann and Jeff Tribble, sophomores Logan Adams, Grant Burks and Adam Freeberg and freshman Isaiah Kolb.

Adams and Jeff Tribble played several matches this spring at second doubles.

"It won't be easy (replacing the seniors)," McDonough said. "We may have to re-evaluate our goals, but there's no reason to believe we won't remain competitive in our league. I still think we'll have a good team."

Loss ends season for boys lacrosse team

The boys lacrosse team lost to Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 8-7 in overtime in the first round of the OHSLA club division tournament May 19.

Big Walnut finished 8-7, marking its first winning season in its six-year history.

The Eagles opened the tournament with a 12-0 win over Columbus City Schools in a play-in game May 17.

Junior midfielders Parker Marsch and Trevor Severs each had two goals against Aquinas. Sophomore midfielder Jhordan Lang had three goals and Marsch and senior attacker Brandon Sholl each scored two against Columbus City Schools.

Girls lacrosse team loses tourney opener

The girls lacrosse team lost to Sylvania 20-6 in the first round of the OSLA North/Central Region club division tournament on May 18 to finish 0-16.