The Delaware Hayes High School boys lacrosse team reached the OHSLA club division state final for the second season in a row.
The top-seeded Pacers played second-seeded Louis-ville St. Thomas Aquinas in the championship game June 8 at Upper Arlington. It was their first meeting this season.
Delaware reached the final by beating fourth-seeded Springboro 16-7 in a state semifinal June 5 to improve to 17-3. That same day, the Knights defeated third-seeded Lebanon 10-9 in the other semifinal to improve to 14-1.
The contest against Springboro was a rematch of last year's state finalists. Delaware beat the Panthers 11-10 in overtime to win its first state championship and defeated them 12-4 during a regular-season game April 4.
"We played well in all areas and we kept our emotions in check, especially our big senior class in their final home game here," coach Sean Ryan said. "I thought we were relentless on groundballs, our defense was strong until late in the game and we were balanced and aggressive on offense."
Senior attacker Dominic Sanfillipo and sophomore attacker Judson Huston led the way against Springboro in the semifinal with four goals apiece. Senior attacker Griffin Kinney and junior midfielder MacGregor Roberts both scored three, as the Pacers extended their winning streak to 13 games.
"As a team, we played awesome," Kinney said. "Our assists were way up and the ball was moving around. We made the extra pass to be one-one-on with the goalie. We were finding the right guy."
Senior attacker Kyle Gabbert had five assists and senior goalkeeper Frank Duffy made 11 saves.
"I thought we really stepped up on defense," Duffy said. "(Senior defender) Andrew Ward came up big and helped lead the defense. I couldn't be prouder of my guys. I couldn't be prouder to be a Pacer. This is nostalgic. We helped build this program and we're seeing it flourish."
The Pacers outscored Springboro 6-0 in the second quarter to take a 9-1 lead into halftime and led 14-3 after three quarters. Huston and sophomore midfielder Joseph Sanfillipo both scored in the final eight seconds of the third quarter.
"Our middies were working well and got us some goals and they also worked really hard for groundballs," Dominic Sanfillipo said. "Plus, our defense stepped up big time."
Delaware defeated 13th-seeded Toledo Ottawa Hills 17-2 in a state quarterfinal May 31 at home, marking its third quarterfinal appearance in its four-year history.
Joseph Sanfillipo had four goals and Huston, Roberts and senior midfielder Paul Golden each scored two.
Track season ends at regional meet
Neither member of the boys track and field team who competed in the Division I regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North qualified for state.
Senior Cole Millet placed seventh in the 400 meters (51.48 seconds) and junior Collin Wittig finished 11th in the shot put (47 feet, 6 3/4 inches), as the top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.
The Pacers scored two points to tie for 34th behind champion Pickerington North (99) as 39 teams scored.
Millet, who placed second (50.59) in the district 3 meet that concluded May 25 at Hilliard Darby, advanced to the regional finals by running a 50.9 in his preliminary heat.
"I'm really happy for Cole because he took his senior year seriously and really trained hard," boys coach Jim Bibler said. "I know he was chasing the school record of 49.9, but I'm just really proud and happy for him to be a district runner-up and make it to the regional finals."
Wittig had finished third (50-6 1/2) at district, as the top four finishers in each event qualified for regional. If he had matched that distance at regional, he would have placed sixth.
"Collin was our most improved field athlete last season and he added 12 feet to his shot put this season," Bibler said. "I don't know if we can expect another 12 feet, but he is working hard and he is talented. I'm real proud of him, too."
Delaware placed eighth (30.5) in the 16-team district meet behind champion Granville (117).
Placing fifth at district Ethan Tucky in the 100 (11.22), Brendan Conley in the high jump (5-8) and the 1,600 relay of Conley, Skyler Helmeci, Tyler Treese and Millet (3:27.19).
The 800 relay of Conley, Millet, Helmeci and Tucky placed sixth (1:31.22) and Austin Woods tied for sixth in the high jump (5-8).
Delaware scored 52.5 points in the OCC-Capital Division meet May 16 and 18 at Hilliard Bradley to place fifth, behind New Albany (182), Watkins Memorial (173), Big Walnut (81) and Olentangy (69) and ahead of Olentangy Orange (41.5), Mount Vernon (37) and Franklin Heights (25).
The Pacers lose six seniors, including Millet and Helmeci.
"We need to develop athletes in areas where we basically have none, which is hurdles and pole vault," Bibler said. "We're giving away points there. We need to get started earlier in those areas so we can establish those guys during indoor season."
The girls team did not have any regional qualifiers.
In the 16-team district 3 meet, junior Emily Richards placed fifth in the 400 (1:01.84) and senior Emily Mengerink finished sixth in the 800 (2:23.79).
Placing seventh were the 1,600 relay of Tayler Reid, Mengerink, Richards and Tiarra Avant (season-best 4:14.36) and the 3,200 relay of Richards, Mengerink, Taylor McGinnis and Courtney White (10:29.72). Rylee Wright finished eighth in the long jump with a personal-best 15-5.
Delaware placed 12th (12) at district behind champion Dublin Coffman (141) and finished eighth (27) in the OCC-Capital meet, behind New Albany (153), Big Walnut (124.5), Watkins Memorial (109.5), Orange (79.5), Olentangy (70.5), Franklin Heights (50) and Mount Vernon (46).
The Pacers lose five seniors, including McGinnis, Mengerink and Reid.
"We're going to miss our seniors," girls coach Andy Graham said. "... This was an exciting corps as freshmen and sophomores, but injuries seemed to crop up every year."