In the championship match of the Elida Invitational on April 27, Gahanna Lincoln High School senior boys tennis player Canyon Teague beat Van Wert freshman Lane Mansfield 6-0, 6-0.
What was as impressive as Teague's margin of victory to at least one person in attendance was his conduct throughout the tournament, which took place at the alma mater of Lions coach Chris Schwinnen.
"He played this freshman from Van Wert whose mom came up to him at the end of the match and said, 'My son has played a lot of good players, and you're the best player he's played that wasn't a jerk,'" Schwinnen said. "She was more impressed not just with his demeanor, but that he's such a classy guy."
Teague, a Division I state qualifier last season who was 18-0 entering a match against Pickerington Central on May 7, tried to give a few words of encouragement to Mansfield after their match.
"We just had a lot of good points and I never acted like a snob or cocky," Teague said. "After the match, we talked about what he needed to do to make it to the next level. I take pride in my school and every action reflects on my school. (Mansfield's mother) gave me a very big compliment."
Teague's title came on the same day that the tennis courts at Elida were renamed for Schwinnen's father, Denny, who coached the program for 36 years.
Teague, who helped the Lions win the team championship at Elida as well, has had a smoother and healthier spring than a year ago.
After being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back in December 2011, Teague did not return to action until the third week of April 2012.
Teague went 11-5 after rejoining the team and reached the Division I state tournament for the first time. He lost his state opener to Perrysburg's Jeffrey Schorsch 6-0, 6-1.
Teague lost to Reynoldsburg's Cameron Raglin 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 in a sectional final last year and then forfeited his third-place match at district, which also was to have been against Raglin.
With better conditioning and a healthier back, Teague beat Raglin 6-0, 6-3 as his team won 3-2 on April 18.
The Lions were 5-1 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Pickerington Central. The league tournament is Saturday, May 11, at Reynoldsburg, and Gahanna will play in a sectional May 16 and 18 at Hilliard Davidson.
Teague teamed with 2012 graduate Daniel Emoff to win the first doubles title in the league tournament last year.
"The doctors said (the back injury) was most likely from overuse," Teague said. "I was playing six times a week last year and would come home and do some running. (Making it to state) was probably my best memory about playing high school tennis. Coming back from being hurt and losing in the sectional final, I had some doubts that I was going to make it (to state). It was a big moment for me."
Teague, who recently signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Richmond, said he feels "100 percent" physically.
"He's much better at everything," Schwinnen said. "The thing that was missing last year was the power in his shots. He has that extra kick."
Softball title hopes take hit
The softball team handed Grove City its first league loss when it won 4-1 on April 17, but the Lions' hopes of a season sweep were dashed with a 9-0 loss May 3 against the visiting Greyhounds.
Gahanna rebounded to beat Pickerington North 13-3 in five innings May 6 and was 9-3 in the league before playing Pickerington Central on May 8. The Lions also have a league game to make up against Lancaster.
Coach Jim Campolo hopes a schedule that also included a doubleheader May 4 against Strasburg-Franklin (11-0 win) and Warsaw River View (1-0 win) in addition to its league slate will have his team prepared for the postseason.
Grove City was second and Gahanna was fourth in last week's Division I area coaches poll. Strasburg-Franklin was fifth in last week's Division IV state poll.
The Lions are seeded sixth for the Division I district tournament and open Tuesday, May 14, against 40th-seeded Northland. The winner plays 21st-seeded Canal Winchester or 33rd-seeded Mount Vernon on May 16 at the home of the higher-seeded team.
"We have played a really, really difficult schedule, and I do think we've got a good lineup from top to bottom," Campolo said.
Senior Olivia Schumacher (OF), junior Becca Gavin (C) and sophomore Brittany Oldaker (3B) all were batting better than .500 through 19 games.
Volleyball team second in league
A slow start in the OCC-Capital ultimately kept the boys volleyball team from winning the league championship.
The Lions won their last five league matches, including over eventual-champion Mount Vernon 21-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-8 on April 18, after losing two of their first five.
Gahanna was 14-9 overall entering the OCC challenge May 8.
The Lions placed second in the league at 8-2, behind Mount Vernon (9-1).
Gahanna is seeded second in the Division I Central Region tournament and opens against 14th-seeded Upper Arlington on Saturday, May 11, at Westerville South.
The winner plays fifth-seeded Pickerington North or 10th-seeded Westerville South in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 15, at Westerville Central.