The Ready High School softball team is hoping to muscle its way back to respectability.
During the offseason, the football team's defensive coordinator, Kyle Cutler, helped put a more intense workout regimen in place.
Jen Goff believes that should help the Silver Knights improve after going 6-16 a year ago in her first season as coach.
Ready opened April 3 against Olentangy Liberty.
"The kids worked hard all offseason," Goff said. "Kyle Cutler developed our offseason lifting program and I could tell by November that it was starting to work. I could tell my pitchers were throwing harder and my hitters were hitting harder."
Ready went 17-7 and was a district runner-up two seasons ago.
This spring, the Silver Knights return a pair of seniors in Emily Finchum (C) and Sammy Hawkins (3B), while sophomore Hailey Bryan is back as the No. 1 pitcher. Junior Julia Hall and freshman Courtney Hackney also should see time in the circle.
Hackney will be at first base when she's not pitching and Hall also will play left field.
Finchum was at third base last season but spent time at catcher during her first two seasons.
Junior Sydney Gammon (2B) and sophomore Madison Gatley (SS) are the other two starters in the infield.
Joining Hall in the outfield should be junior Haylee Patel (CF) and sophomore Molli Abbruzzese (RF).
Carly Smith and Brook Minnehan are sophomores looking to contribute as utility players.
Last season, Ready tied Watterson at 1-5 in the CCL, behind DeSales (6-0) and Hartley (4-2), and was seeded 17th for the Division III district tournament. The Silver Knights opened the postseason by falling to fourth-seeded North Union 2-1 in the second round.
Ready lost five players to graduation, including Erin Bennett (1B), Alexa Elfrink (OF) and Mara Waldo (C).
"The girls have had an eye on returning to what the past Ready teams did, and that's what we talked about all offseason," Goff said. "When they would struggle with their lifting, I'd say, 'Think about what you want.'"
Baseball team expects to improve
Last season marked the second in a row that the baseball team won 12 games, including two in the CCL.
With a more experienced lineup and deeper bench, the Silver Knights are hoping to surpass both totals this spring.
Ready opened April 1 with an 8-0 win over Lancaster.
"I have five seniors this year, and we brought a lot of (other players on the roster) up for the (district) tournament," fifth-year coach Harry Caruso said. "We have high hopes."
The top returnees are seniors Ross Etgen (SS/2B/P), Mitch McNabb (P/1B) and Sean Mogan (OF) and junior Hunter Clanin (C).
Etgen was second-team all-district last year and has signed with Walsh University, and Mogan also was second-team all-district. Clanin, according to Caruso, has been receiving interest from Division I colleges.
McNabb likely will be the No. 1 starting pitcher.
The other seniors are Jacob Centers (OF) and Matt Sweet (OF).
Juniors Jacob Larsen (INF) and Drew Maxwell (1B/DH) transferred from St. Charles.
Other juniors are Grayson Budd (1B/3B), Vincent Castorano (P), Patrick Feldkamp (P/OF), Jason Foster (P/1B/3B), Gavin Gatley (2B), Graham Green (OF), Drew Hasenkamp (2B/SS), Bailey King (OF) and Jacob Rogers (utility).
Sophomore Jared Wilson will see time at first base and catcher and classmate Brian Weiner will catch and pitch.
Ready went 12-12 overall last year and 2-6 in the CCL to place behind DeSales (7-1), Watterson (6-2) and St. Charles (5-3) and ahead of Hartley (0-8).
The Silver Knights lost their Division III district tournament opener to East Knox 3-1 in eight innings in a second-round game.
"I think we have a pretty good mix," Caruso said. "We have some depth in our pitching staff and some hitters with some pretty good mechanics. I think we'll be sound (defensively)."
Track teams have younger look
The boys and girls track and field teams both have an athlete who returns with state experience, but 29th-year coach Dean Tower isn't sure what kind of season either squad will have.
Ready opened April 2 in the Hamilton Township Booster Invitational.
"On both sides our numbers are really down with us only having 18 girls and 12 boys," Tower said.
Senior Taron Slone is the top returnee for the boys team after earning a runner-up finish in the 200 meters (21.79 seconds) and placing third in the 100 (11.05) in the Division II state meet. He gave Ready 14 points to tie it with Magnolia Sandy Valley for 11th behind champion Dayton Dunbar (49) as 81 teams scored.
Also looking to contribute for the boys team are seniors Alex Franco (sprints), Daniel Perry (middle distance), Billy Platter (distance) and Jonas Wahl (hurdles/high jump) and sophomores Steve Landy (distance), Cody Platter (middle distance) and Mark Vatter (distance).
Senior Carly Culbertson is the top returnee for the girls team. She ran on the 400 relay that finished 10th (51.15) at state.
Senior Taylor Longinette (shot put/discus), juniors Jordan Bair (sprints), Maddy Bowen (distance) and Allie Schroeder (hurdles, sprints), sophomores Angelique Bowman (hurdles, sprints) and Courtney Bair (distance) and freshmen Kathleen Colvin (distance) and Emily Genders (middle distance) should be other top competitors.
Last season, the boys team was fourth (68) in the CCL meet behind DeSales (157), St. Charles (126) and Hartley (79) and ahead of Watterson (58) and placed ninth (35) in the 13-team district 2 meet behind champion DeSales (110).
At regional, Ready tied Eaton for 15th (14) behind champion Dunbar (98) as 47 teams scored.
The girls were fourth (64.5) in the CCL meet behind Hartley (152), Columbus School for Girls (104.5) and DeSales (102) and ahead of Watterson (57).
In the district 2 meet, Ready was fourth (72) behind champion CSG (129).
The Silver Knights were 22nd (10) at regional behind champion Dayton Chaminade Julienne as 44 teams scored and did not score at state.