Senior Vinnie Balzano of the DeSales High School boys cross country team followed graduate Michael Rutherford in nearly everything the two did last spring for the boys track and field team.

Senior Vinnie Balzano of the DeSales High School boys cross country team followed graduate Michael Rutherford in nearly everything the two did last spring for the boys track and field team.

Rutherford finished second and Balzano fourth in the 800 meters in the Division I regional, and then a week later they finished fifth and sixth at state.

The plan now is for Balzano to follow Rutherford again as the next person to represent the Stallions at the state cross country meet. With Rutherford gone, Balzano is the clear No. 1-runner on a team that is loaded with seniors.

Coach Bob Lennon, in his 33rd season, will ask Balzano to stay with the front pack.

"He doesn't have to set the pace," said Lennon, whose team scored 103 points to finish second in the New Albany Invitational in the opener Aug. 20 and competes Saturday in the Circleville Invitational. "He can just hang with those guys. He was sixth in the state in the 800 last year. He should be able to out-kick just about anyone."

At New Albany, Balzano was second (17 minutes, 23 seconds) to Fredericktown's Isaac Potes (17:11) as the Stallions finished behind the Freddies (34).

Lennon said the opening race wasn't indicative of how well the Stallions could run.

DeSales was without seniors Troy Streacker and Doug Stauffer. Streacker was held out because of concerns with tendinitis and Stauffer still is getting into shape after he had surgery on a foot after last season. Lennon thinks Streacker could be as good as the team's No. 2 runner and Stauffer, he said, holds the freshman record for race time.

Others expected to contribute are seniors Patrick Caulkins, Alex Hegedus, Jonathan Herrick and Amechi Omameh and junior Daniel Harr.

Also on the team are seniors Jim Braun, Andrew Hunt and Mike Sarson, junior Jeremiah Schneider, sophomores Curtiss Cropper, Max Hennon, Kyle Hoyer and Steve Murdock and freshmen Evan Hoffman, Luke Howard, Jimmy Judson, Tyler McClary, Mark Omlor and Matt Young.

DeSales was a Division II district champion last year, scoring 49 points to finish ahead of runner-up Big Walnut (59). In the CCL meet the Stallions scored 52 points to finish as runner-up to St. Charles (22).

"If we're healthy, we'll be in the running for that district title," Lennon said. "I haven't seen St. Charles, but if we're healthy, I think (the CCL is) going to come down to us St. Charles."

The girls team also is trying to get healthy. Junior Melissa Thompson is expected to be the No. 1 runner, but has been a victim of nagging injuries this summer and has had to take it easy as far as distance training. She also had to get in shape to play for the soccer team.

Thompson was 20th (19:18.91) in the Division II state meet last year. Katie Rutherford was 15th (19:06.48), but Rutherford transferred to Upper Arlington, her home district, for her senior year.

Junior Amy Trabold is expected to be one of the other top runners, but at this point she's still recovering from a stress fracture suffered during last spring's lacrosse season.

The top placer for the Stallions in the New Albany Invitational was sophomore Claire Koberman, who was seventh (21:12) as Canal Winchester's Kaitlin Smith won (19:14). Lennon called Koberman one of the team's most improved runners. Ideally, though, she won't be the No. 1 runner.

"We can't afford for Melissa and Amy to be out for very long," Lennon said. "But I've told the girls to remember it's not about right now. It's a month from now when we have to be in shape so if we have to keep out a girl, we'll keep them out. It's just about getting healthy."

Also expected to play roles in the top five are sophomore Colleen Schneider and freshman Julie Anderson.

Also on the team are senior Anne Petrokubi, junior Kathryn Omlor, sophomores Jessica Bagby, Buzzy Biddinger, Ashley Quidaciolu and Summer Smith and freshmen Rachel Braun and Leah Rizek are also on the team.

The girls team was second to Hartley in both the district and CCL last year. The Stallions scored 69 points to finish behind Hartley in the district meet (56). In the CCL meet DeSales scored 61 points to finish second to Hartley (43).

The team portion of the season ended in the regional meet where the Stallion scored 212 points to finish eighth as Kettering Alter (57) won.

Junior Kim My Li returns to lead the girls tennis team at first singles, a year after advancing to the Division I state tournament.

Li, who also competed in the Division II state tournament as a freshman in doubles with 2007 graduate Laina Grote, fell in the first round of the state tournament last year to Maddy Eccleston (6-4, 7-6 (7-3) of Toledo St. Ursula.

Eighth-year coach Janet Wise has seen improved ability out of Li during the preseason, especially in the way she strings together her shots.

"I think she's matured," Wise said. "She sets up her points better."

The doubles team of Barbie Lewis and Abby Lewis joined Li in the state tournament last season, also losing in the first round to Massillon Jackson's Loni Dickerhoof and Trisha Conlan 6-2, 6-4.

Barbie graduated, but Abby, a sophomore, returns. She has opened at second doubles, and like Wise does every year, the two will have to make a decision before the postseason starts on whether Abby will compete alone or as part of a doubles team

Opening at first doubles were senior Blair Blumenscheid and junior Rachael Seiffert. They played together last year and did not qualify to the district tournament. This year could be different now that they're learning more about the intricacies of playing doubles tennis.

"We've worked a lot on serves and returns and with (Blumenscheid and Seiffert), we're working on some patterns," Wise said. "Last year they were just hitting the ball. They weren't ready for that. This year we've been able to establish some patterns."

Sophomore Christy Brugler is playing third singles. At second doubles, freshman Bryn Allen rotates with senior Mariam Hayes and junior Mary Walsh.

DeSales was 4-1 in the CCL last season, finishing second behind Watterson (5-0).

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the DeSales boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball:

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 11 -- Finished 13th (336) in Mount Vernon Classic at Mount Vernon Country Club

Aug. 12 -- Finished 15th (340) in Cleveland St. Ignatius Invitational at Red Tail

Aug. 13 -- Finished third (311) in first round of CCL tournament at Split Rock

Aug. 18 -- Finished second (316) at Columbus Country Club

Aug. 19 -- Finished third (314) in Warrior/Stallion Invitational at Medallion

*Last Tuesday -- Competed against St. Charles

*Today -- At Hartley

Saturday -- At St. Charles Invitational at Delaware Golf Club

*Tuesday -- At Ready

Of note: The Stallions were 3-2 in the CCL before last Tuesday

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 11 -- Lost to Marysville 172-188

Aug. 14 -- Finished second (361) in first round of MOGGL Tournament

Aug. 18 -- Defeated Columbus School for Girls 184-212

Last Saturday -- Finished second (367) in second round of MOGGL tournament

Last Tuesday -- Competed against Dublin Scioto

Last Wednesday -- Competed against Gahanna and Watterson

Today -- Home vs. New Albany

Wednesday -- At Gahanna vs. Gahanna and Hilliard Darby

Of note: The Stallions are 20-2 in the MOGGL.

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 21 -- Def. Hilliard Davidson 3-0 in opener

Last Saturday -- Def. Bay Village Bay 3-2

Today -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman

Saturday -- Home vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit

*Tuesday -- At Ready

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- Def. Grove City 2-0 in opener

Last Saturday -- Def. Toledo St. Ursula 7-0

Last Tuesday -- Played New Albany

Saturday -- Home vs. Sylvania Northview

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Ready

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 13 -- Lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights 5-0 in opener

Aug. 14 -- Def. Canton Central Catholic 3-2. Winners were Kim My Li (6-1, 6-0) and Abby Lewis (6-0, 6-1) in singles and Christy Brugler and Bryn Allen (3-6, 6-0, 6-1) in doubles.

Aug. 20 -- Lost to Columbus Academy 5-0

Last Monday -- Def. Bexley 4-1

*Last Tuesday -- Played Watterson

Last Wednesday -- Played Coffman

Sept. 4 -- At Reynoldsburg

VOLLEYBALL

Last Saturday -- Lost to Big Walnut 25-22, 25-15, 25-15 in opener

*Sept. 4 -- At CSG

Sept. 6 -- At tournament at Hilliard Davidson

*CCL contest