Boys enjoy being champs
When the Columbus Academy boys track and field team won the Division III state championship in 2012, it raised the bar for the program.
The Vikings reached that new standard this season, as they won their second consecutive state title and fourth overall, scoring 49 points in the state meet held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State to hold off runner-up Lima Central Catholic (43) as 67 teams scored.
Academy's other two state championships came in 1977 and 1981.
"We're on a high that's going to last for the rest of the summer," said senior Dominic Facciolla, who will continue his track career at Columbia University. "We're going to be enjoying this for a long time. It's crazy that it's been two years in a row that we've been able to pull it together. It's been great."
Facciolla teamed with senior Tyler Gittins and juniors Jack Lint and Jake Tuckerman to win the state title in the 1,600-meter relay (3 minutes, 19.66 seconds). He also teamed with junior Aron Aziz, freshman Logan Baker and Tuckerman to place second in the 3,200 relay (7:59.09) and placed eighth in the 1,600 (4:24.11).
Also at state, Lint placed second in the 300 hurdles (37.15), third in the 110 hurdles (14.57) and third in the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches), Gittins finished third in the 300 hurdles (37.86), Tuckerman was sixth in the 800 (1:55.96) and senior Aakaash Paladugu finished eighth in the high jump (6-2).
Paladugu was in his first season competing in track.
Academy won its third consecutive regional title May 29 and 31 at Fairfield Union, scoring 89 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Attica Seneca East (60) as 38 teams scored.
Lint won regional titles in the 300 hurdles (37.88) and long jump (20-9 1/2), placed second in the 110 hurdles (14.45) and third in the high jump (6-3).
Also winning titles were Paladugu in the high jump (6-5) and the 3,200 relay (8:11.82).
Placing second were Gittins in the 300 hurdles (38.38) and the 1,600 relay (3:28.05). Tuckerman finished third in the 800 (1:57.8) and Facciolla placed fourth in the 1,600 (4:31.57).
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.
Academy also won the 17-team district 1 meet that concluded May 25 at Hamilton Township, scoring 168 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Liberty Union (125.5).
Winning district titles were Lint in the high jump (6-4), long jump (20-11), 110 hurdles (14.58) and 300 hurdles (37.8), Tuckerman in the 800 (2:00.12), junior Alex Ho in the 3,200 (10:26.57), senior Jacob Hill in the discus (131-2), the 3,200 relay (8:33.1) and the 1,600 relay (3:28.07).
Academy finished second (117) in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 14 and 17 at Heath, behind Granville (166) and ahead of Licking Valley (92), Heath (78), Whitehall (74), Lakewood (68), Bexley (37) and Newark Catholic (31).
Winning league titles were Lint in the 110 hurdles (14.63) and high jump (6-2) and Gittins in the 300 hurdles (37.89).
The Vikings lose nine seniors, led by Facciolla and Gittins.
"Seniors always mean a great deal to the teams," coach Bob Kirk said. "They are the oldest guys, they are the most seasoned and they are friends with each other and those friendships cross ability levels and defuse some psychological angst kids with lots of pressure on them have. It might be that their very tight buddy is standing nearby and they know each other's rhythms and that support is vital."
In addition to Aziz, Baker, Ho, Lint and Tuckerman, juniors Isaac Sheumaker (throws) and Ben Uchimura (middle distance) also are expected to be among the key contributors next season.
Rizk led way for girls track team
Among the highlights for the girls track and field team was placing second (24) in the Division III state meet behind Versailles (28) as 75 teams scored.
Sophomore Julia Rizk led the way for the Vikings at state, placing second in the 1,600 (4:59.95) and anchoring the 3,200 relay that placed second (9:39.78) and the 1,600 relay that placed fifth (4:02.59).
She was joined on the 3,200 relay by junior Margaret Sutton and sophomores Andrea Ballinger and Elizabeth Falkenberg and teamed with senior Aziza Corbett, Ballinger and Sutton on the 1,600 relay.
Also at state, senior Anjali Kanwar placed seventh in the high jump (5-3) and junior Jillian Woodard finished seventh in the long jump (17-2).
"We are thrilled with being state runners-up," said coach Kelly Parker, who finished her first season leading the program. "It just goes to show that nothing is predetermined and it is about who shows up ready to compete that day."
Academy won the regional title, scoring 63 points to finish ahead of runner-up Reeds-ville Eastern (50) as 43 teams scored.
Winning regional titles were Rizk in the 1,600 (5:14.93) and 400 (53.83), the 3,200 relay (9:43.49) and the 1,600 relay (4:03.76).
Woodard placed third in the long jump (16-1 1/4), Sutton placed fourth in the 800 (2:23.07) and Kanwar finished fourth in the high jump (5-1).
Academy also won the 32-team district, scoring 96.5 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Grandview (66.5).
Winning district titles were the 3,200 relay (9:56.52) and Rizk in the 1,600 (5:11.04).
Academy finished second (119) in the MSL-Buckeye meet, behind Granville (172.5) and ahead of Heath (111.5), Bexley (86), Licking Valley (65), Whitehall (39), Newark Catholic (37) and Lakewood (24).
Winning league titles were Rizk in the 1,600 (5:06.27), Kanwar in the high jump (4-9 ???), Woodard in the long jump (16-6 1/2), the 1,600 relay (4:06.78) and the 3,200 relay (9:42.38).
The Vikings lose six seniors, including two state qualifiers in Corbett and Kanwar.
"We graduate a class of strong leaders that we will certainly miss," Parker said. "We are thankful for their leadership and dedication to the sport and the team, and I hope the returnees take away a lot from these great senior role models."
In addition to Ballinger, Falkenberg, Rizk, Sutton and Woodward, among those expected to be key contributors next season are junior Annie Morford (throws) and freshmen Jessica Hile (throws) and Louise Rosler (sprints).