Playing in the state tournament has become a tradition for the Columbus Academy field hockey team.
The Vikings will be aiming for their 10th state championship when they compete this weekend at Upper Arlington.
Academy earned its sixth consecutive state berth by defeating Watterson 2-1 in double overtime in a district final Oct. 26 at Dublin Jerome. The Vikings, who are 16-2-1, play Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame in a state semifinal Saturday, Nov. 1.
Academy also defeated Watterson 2-0 on Oct. 1 and 2-1 in double overtime in last year's state final.
"The kids want to defend (the state title)," coach Anne Horton said. "No matter what has happened through the course of the season, they've developed such a character, it's just fantastic. We're going to the dance and we want to win it."
Thomas Worthington, which defeated Olentangy Liberty 4-2 in a district final Oct. 26, will play Shaker Heights in the other state semifinal. The final is 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at UA.
Academy and Thomas tied at 1 on Sept. 19. The Cardinals were the top seed in the district tournament and the Vikings were second.
Against sixth-seeded Watterson, senior attacker Paige Berliner scored the winning goal with 6 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the second 10-minute overtime on an assist from defender Brianna Stahl.
"I was thinking about how we've practiced that all season and I just knew what to do," Berliner said. "I knew (Stahl) was going to get me the ball and she did, and I just dived and it went in."
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead on attacker Lottie Smith's goal with 13:53 left in the first half. The Eagles tied the game on Stephanie Polletta's goal with 18:53 left in regulation.
Academy goalkeeper Sarah Guendert had six saves.
"Watterson is always tough competition for us, so we knew coming into this game it was going to be a really hard game, but we we're just all so excited and we knew that we could do it," Berliner said. "We've been planning for this all season. This is what we want."
In a district semifinal Oct. 22 at home, the Vikings defeated ninth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 5-0.
Girls runners advance to state
The girls cross country team qualified for its third consecutive Division III state meet by finishing second (112) in the 16-team regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North behind Sugarcreek Garaway (68).
The Vikings won a tiebreaker with Mount Gilead for second because of a better finish by their sixth-place runner.
The top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to state Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
"This week will be tough," coach Kelly Parker said. "(Division III) is strong this year. We know how strong our region is and we are excited. The pressure is off. We're ready to have some fun."
Julia Rizk was third of 126 runners at regional in 19:24.28, and Aubrey Grammel was sixth in 19:43.32. Also competing were Susan Peck (32nd, 21:12.21), Cobi Warstler (54th, 21:56.35), Sydnie Boykins (56th, 21:59.68), Sydney Brault (58th, 22:04.7) and Emma Farrenkopf (82nd, 23:21.78).
"I am extremely proud, but there are few times I'm not proud," Parker said. "They work hard. They deserve these moments."
The boys team finished seventh (179) of 16 teams at regional behind champion Garaway (46), as Aron Aziz was 35th (17:58.13) of 122 runners. Also competing were Ben Uchimura (39th, 18:01.20), Alex Ho (42nd, 18:04.21), Atticus Lee (58th, 18:27.55), Otis Klingbeil (62nd, 18:32.16), Andrew Heermann (73rd, 18:47.83) and Sean Reagan (87th, 19:26.45).
Football team to play for postseason berth
The football team will try to secure a Division VI, Region 21 postseason berth when it visits Bexley on Friday, Nov. 1.
The Vikings improved to 6-3 overall with a 48-6 win over Cleveland Heights Lutheran East on Oct. 25.
Academy is second in the MSL-Ohio Division at 4-1, behind West Jefferson (5-0), and projected to be 10th in this week's Region 21 computer ratings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs, and the Vikings are seeking their first postseason berth since 2006.
Bexley improved to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the league with a 28-20 win over London on Oct. 25. The Lions were projected to be fifth in this week's Division IV, Region 13 computer ratings.
The Vikings have won the past four meetings.
"The kids realize the implications of this game and will be ready to play," coach Jim Collis said.
Against Lutheran East, running back Conner Nelson rushed for 134 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, as Academy had a 310-43 advantage in rushing yards.
Boys soccer team wins district title
The boys soccer team won its second consecutive Division III district title by defeating fifth-seeded Columbus International 1-0 in a final Oct. 26 at Gahanna.
Defender George Daoud scored in the second half on an assist from forward Jake Tuckerman and goalie Tyler Kohman had three saves.
"I thought our defense was amazingly organized," coach Ron Leach said. "International had a lot of speed and ball skills. They had a difficult time penetrating. That was credit to our two center backs, George Daoud and Marcel Knopp, and also our keeper, Tyler Kohman, who were very good."
Academy, the top seed in the district tournament, also defeated sixth-seeded Wellington 1-0 in a semifinal Oct. 23.
The Vikings were 14-4-1 before playing Worthington Christian in a regional semifinal Oct. 30.
The winner plays Berlin Hiland or Wheelersburg in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 2 at Zanesville. The Vikings defeated Hiland 1-0 on Aug. 31.
The regional champion plays Cincinnati Summit Country Day, Cincinnati Seven Hills, Springfield Catholic Central or Cincinnati Country Day in a state semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 6, at a site to be determined. The state final is Nov. 9 at Crew Stadium.
Girls soccer team advances to regional
The fourth-seeded girls soccer team also won a Division III district title, defeating second-seeded Fairbanks 2-1 in a final Oct. 26 at Canal Winchester.
Midfielder Katerina Weikert and forward Sophie Krings scored and goalie Neve Adler had eight saves.
The Vikings, who also beat fifth-seeded Columbus School for Girls 2-0 in a district semifinal Oct. 22, were 11-3-6 before playing Middletown Fenwick in a regional semifinal Oct. 29 at Hilliard Bradley.
The winner plays Lynchburg-Clay or Zanesville West Muskingum in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 2, at Bellbrook, with the regional champion playing Summit Country Day, Sidney Lehman Catholic, Hamilton Badin or Country Day in a state semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 5, at a site to be determined.
The state final is Nov. 8 at Crew Stadium.