New Albany Roundup
Track teams turn attention to postseason
O.B. Oppong and Darron Lee of the New Albany High School boys track and field team didn't have the smoothest baton exchange entering the final leg of the 800-meter relay during a meet May 7 against Westerville Central.
Lee, a senior, had to hesitate to get the handoff from Oppong, a junior, and even though the Eagles won the race by 6.22 seconds, they still heard about their slipup from girls coach Otis Winston, who also lends a watchful eye during boys events.
"Darron and I don't really mess up a lot, but it's better to get it out now than later on in the season," Oppong said. "We've had a lot of strong performances, but we have a lot more to show in districts and further on in the season. We've had a few hiccups here and there, but we'll be good by the time we get to the championship season."
There haven't been many hiccups, however. The boys and girls teams enter the OCC-Capital Division meet Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Hilliard Bradley more confident about their performances than at any point this season, and possibly longer.
"Last year, I felt like we had a really, really great regular season. The pieces fit together at the beginning of the season, then come championship season things didn't come together the way I wanted them to," boys coach Chad Olinger said. "For the first time this season, I feel like we're in a good place mentally. I see that fire, and we have good seniors. We have Alex Frye, Darron Lee and Alan Watson, three Division I athletes who just get it."
Lee and Watson, who will play football at Ohio State and Columbia, respectively, have anchored the 400 and 800 relays that have peaked at 42.68 and 1:29.83. Frye, a senior and Dartmouth recruit, has gone 6 feet, 8 inches in the high jump, 14.56 in the 110 hurdles and 39.92 in the 300 hurdles but said he is slightly disappointed in his season.
"I haven't gotten any (personal records) yet, but I'm starting to improve and get more consistent," said Frye, whose best high jump and 110 hurdles efforts came May 11 in the Hilliard Bradley Invitational. "That's just going to mean me dropping my head more at this point and getting faster."
Sophomore Karrington Winters, the defending state indoor and outdoor champion in the girls 400, entered last week with the state's best times in the 100 (11.83) and 400 (55.3), according to MileSplit.com.
"I work to get at least a second or half-second better each week," she said. "I do feel some pressure. I walk into meets and girls and guys are staring, coaches are looking. I feel it. I run well under pressure and feel this will help me push myself harder and harder knowing people want to be where I am. It's very exciting."
Other standouts for the girls have included junior Dena White, who has gone 16-11 1/2 in the long jump.
Olinger considers Watkins Memorial the boys favorite in the OCC-Capital meet.
"They have three throwers and three jumpers and three vaulters in every event," Olinger said. "After (May 16), I know we'll be behind, but can we close that gap? I am confident going into the running events that we'll take care of things on the track, but it's the field events that are definitely a concern."
On the girls side, Olentangy Orange is boosted by a deep group of sprinters as well as Michigan State-bound thrower Katelyn Daniels.
The boys and girls teams will compete Wednesday, May 22, May 23 and May 25 in the Division I, district 3 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.
Girls lacrosse team earns top seed
The girls lacrosse team earned the top seed for the Division II South/Central Region tournament and plays host to Dayton Miami Valley or Granville in a second-round game Thursday, May 16.
The winner plays host to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy or Wellington in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21, and that winner plays host to a regional final May 23.
New Albany, which is 10-4-1 overall and finished 4-1 in the OCC-Buckeye, one game behind champion Upper Arlington, did not play those teams during the regular season. The Eagles, who lost to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 17-13 in the Division II state final last year, are aiming for their seventh consecutive state tournament appearance.
"We've battled from beginning to end in games all year," coach Dave Ferguson said. "We're proud of where we are."
New Albany ended its regular season with a 15-8 win over Cleveland Heights on May 11. Senior attacker Katie Hernandez scored seven goals.
Boys tennis team sweeps through OCC
The boys tennis team won all five courts in the OCC-Capital tournament May 11 at Olentangy and claimed three seeds for a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central.
Sophomores C.J. Cash and Alex Kobelt won the first and second singles titles, respectively, and senior Rathnakishore Giri claimed the third singles championship. Senior Jacob Teich and sophomore Nick Blair won first doubles, and freshmen Harrison Lippy and Sam Malik won second doubles.
New Albany went 12-3 overall in the regular season and 7-0 in OCC-Capital play to earn the maximum 82 points, followed by Olentangy (55, 6-1), Orange (53, 5-2), Big Walnut (35, 3-4), Delaware (35, 3-4), Watkins Memorial (35, 3-4), Mount Vernon (16, 1-6) and Franklin Heights (2, 0-7).
For the sectional, Giri earned the top seed in singles, as did the doubles team of Kobelt and Blair. Cash and Teich are seeded third.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 24 and 25 at Hilliard Davidson.
Baseball team opens postseason
After earning the 25th seed in the Division I district tournament, the baseball team opened at home May 13 against 35th-seed Groveport, and with a win would have visited eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty for a second-round game May 15.
The second-round winner plays third-seeded Watkins Memorial or 40th-seeded Logan in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Pickerington North, and that winner plays in a district final May 23 at Ohio Dominican.
The Eagles lost two regular-season games against Watkins Memorial, 7-1 on May 1 and 5-1 on May 3.
New Albany entered the postseason at 11-15 overall after finishing 6-8 in the OCC-Capital. The Eagles capped their league schedule with a 5-3 win over Mount Vernon on May 8, in which junior Devin De Silvestri pitched a complete game.
Softball team hopes power sticks around
Fueled by junior short-stop/outfielder Kaitlyn Gliha's school-record 11 home runs and sophomore outfielder/ shortstop Jamie Sevenish's 47 hits -- New Albany's season record -- the softball team hoped to stay hot when it visited Upper Arlington for a Division I district tournament first-round game May 14.
The Eagles, who entered the week 9-16 overall, finished 6-8 in the OCC-Capital and won three of their last four regular-season games, were seeded 28th. The Golden Bears were 23rd.
The winner visits fifth-seeded Orange in a second-round game Thursday, May 16. New Albany lost two OCC-Capital meetings with Orange, 10-5 on April 8 and 3-2 on April 30.
That winner plays 11th-seeded Westerville Central, 15th-seeded Chillicothe, 20th-seeded Dublin Jerome or 38th-seeded Reynoldsburg in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at Pickerington North, and the semifinal winner plays in a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.
New Albany lost to Westerville Central 13-12 on April 27.
Boys lacrosse team's win streak snapped
A 12-1 loss to Worthington Kilbourne on May 11 ended the boys lacrosse team's four-game winning streak, but the Eagles still brought records of 7-7 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Ohio into a May 13 league game at Liberty.
Olentangy already has clinched the league title at 6-0, but New Albany had a chance to finish second by defeating Liberty and Orange on May 15.
The Eagles end the regular season Friday, May 17, at Wellington, two days before the Division II Central Region tournament draw.