Since the beginning of the 2004 season, the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys soccer team has gone 57-0-4 in OCC-Ohio Division games and won at least a share of 10 consecutive championships.
This season's run to the title proved to be tougher than most for the Lions because of struggles to get their offense going, but they still outscored league opponents 22-1 while going 7-0.
"(The league title streak is) something we really take pride in as a team," senior midfielder Jacob Johnson said. "In the preseason, we always say as our goal that we want to win the league. We're pumped about it, and now we're going to redirect our focus to tournament time."
Gahanna, which is the third seed for the Division I district tournament and won a district title a year ago, closed the league schedule with a 2-1 win Oct. 8 at Pickerington Central.
Sophomore midfielder Nicholas Christoff and Johnson scored and sophomore midfielder Cole Popelas assisted on both goals.
The Lions have won 34 consecutive league games since playing Reynoldsburg to a scoreless tie in their league finale in 2008.
This season, Gahanna has been involved in four scoreless ties and enters its tournament opener Saturday, Oct. 19, at 10-1-5 overall.
On Oct. 12, the Lions closed the regular season with a scoreless tie against Cleveland St. Ignatius.
"The guys really wanted (the league title), and I've got a lot of respect for all of the OCC coaches because everybody always gives us their best game," coach Todd Keenan said. "I don't think we'll have an easy game in the tournament. My biggest thing is now we're creating chances. Our offense is a focus, but it's not a concern anymore."
Football team looks to bounce back
The football team's hopes of contending for the OCC-Ohio title and for a Division I, Region 2 playoff berth took a hit Oct. 11 when it lost 22-19 to Lancaster.
The Lions, who are 3-4 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Ohio, led the Golden Gales 19-7 entering the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Mason Blancett threw touchdown passes of 12 and 27 yards to wide receiver Boomer Lowe, and running back Vasean Davis ran for a 25-yard touchdown.
The Lions, however, allowed 268 yards rushing.
On Friday, Oct. 18, Gahanna will look for its fourth consecutive win over Grove City when it plays host to the Dawgs.
Grove City lost to Pickerington Central 32-29 on Oct. 11 and is 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the league.
Hughes advances to state in girls golf
Junior Emily Hughes will make her second appearance in the Division I state girls golf tournament, which will be held Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, on Ohio State's Gray Course.
In the district tournament Oct. 8 at The Links at Groveport, Hughes shot a 78 to give her one of two individual qualifying berths.
Hughes shot a 171 at state as a freshman when Gahanna made its only appearance in program history as a team.
"I feel pretty relieved and happy because I didn't play my best," said Hughes, who also was an individual district qualifier last season. "I went over (to Ohio State's Gray Course) a couple weeks ago and it's pretty tough. I definitely want to get in the top 10 and shoot in the mid to low 70s."
The program's best individual state finish was turned in by Lauren Bergman, who tied for 14th in 2005.
Girls runners win league; boys take 2nd
Led by the championship performance of junior Kelsey Sandlin, the girls cross country team won its third consecutive OCC-Ohio title.
In the league meet Oct. 12 at Pickerington Central, Sandlin ran 19 minutes, 31.6 seconds to edge two-time defending champion Leah Wallace of Reynoldsburg, who finished in 19:37.46.
"(Wallace and I) were together a little bit past the one-mile mark," Sandlin said. "I was all by myself for the rest of the time, so it's kind of hard to go as fast I wanted."
Freshman Ally Wharton finished fourth, while also scoring for the Lions were sophomore Kelsey Thompson (seventh), freshman Ivy McKee (eighth) and junior Rylee Tanner (ninth).
Gahanna scored 29 points to top Central (78), Newark (91), Pickerington North (95), Lancaster (113), Reynoldsburg (167) and Grove City (172).
"We knew as long as we ran the way we were supposed to that we could win it again," coach Ernie Ziegler said.
The boys team earned a runner-up finish in the league meet with 74 points, behind Lancaster (30) and ahead of North (77), Central (91), Newark (119), Reynoldsburg (163) and Grove City (191).
Sophomore Aaron Schaller led the Lions with a ninth-place finish in 17:11.08, followed by juniors Keiffer Whiteman (10th, 17:11.2) and Matt Ridinger (16th, 17:31.41), freshman Andrew Ray (19th, 17:41.28) and senior John Fife (22nd, 17:43.72).
Byas ends boys golf season at district
Senior Aaron Byas shot a 90 in the Division I district boys golf tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley, ending his season.
"We were happy for Aaron Byas," coach Judy Ratzenberger said. "At districts he started very strong with four straight pars and then had some struggles. He really made progress this year."
Girls volleyball team opens district tourney
The 15th-seeded girls volleyball team opened the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 against 25th-seeded Olentangy Orange.
The winner plays 16th-seeded Thomas Worthington on Thursday, Oct. 17, in the second round at the site of the better-seeded team. That winner advances to a district semifinal Oct. 24 at Whitehall.
Zink, Merickel end year at district
The doubles team of seniors Rachel Zink and Emily Merickel lost to Orange's Jessica Phelps and Madison Wolfe 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the Division I district girls tennis tournament Oct. 11 at Hilliard Davidson.
"They tightened up a little in the second and third sets, but they did a great job," coach Chris Schwinnen said. "I told them when they went off the court that (they) gave their all. They're out there with braces all over the place, and I had another coach remark about how they leave it all out there."