City lacrosse program sees bright future
Not having its best defender all season hasn't dampened the spirit of one of the state's newest high school boys lacrosse programs.
In its fourth season, the Columbus City Schools club team took a big hit during fall conditioning when Eddie McGlynn, a Whetstone senior who has been with the program since its inception, went down with a season-ending knee injury.
With just four other seniors, the Terrapins were 2-8 before playing at Jonathan Alder on May 13.
Despite its few wins, CCS remains optimistic about the future of the program, which draws athletes from schools throughout central Ohio.
"Defense is usually the first thing to come around, and definitely that's improved," second-year coach Robert Corby said. "Last year we had Eddie McGlynn and he would have been our only kid to be in the program all four years, but he blew his knee out in practice. I was worried but we've had some other guys pick up the slack."
The Terrapins have athletes from 10 schools, with junior defender Isaac Keeno (Downtown) and senior midfielders Malik McGill (Early College Academy) and Dean Shaffer (Metro) serving as captains.
The school with the biggest representation is Brookhaven, which has senior Darryl Hinton (attacker) and juniors Jaevon Gillispie (midfielder), Victor Gonzales (goalkeeper) and Jerimiah Sopko (midfielder).
Northland's Aaron Barcus (attacker) and Jacob Henderson (defender) and Beech-croft's James Barnhart (midfielder) also are on the roster.
The Terrapins' wins before May 13 came over Jonathan Alder (7-2 on April 8) and Clinton County (6-3 on April 20). They went 2-6 in 2010, 7-7 in 2011 and 1-8 last season.
On May 15, CCS played Columbus Academy, which is coached by former CCS coach J.B. Jones. The Terrapins close the regular season Saturday, May 18, at Little Miami.
Postseason brackets are expected to be determined Sunday, May 19.
Through nine games, Shaffer had nine goals and eight assists, McGill had nine goals, Gieon Cousar (midfielder, Horizon Science) had five goals and Jake Bommer (attacker, Hartley) had two goals and six assists.
Gonzales had 80 saves.
"I think we've been progressing," said Shaffer, a Clintonville resident who began playing lacrosse a year ago. "I've definitely seen a lot of growth in our players this year. It's hard having a lot of people who haven't played before. In terms of the fundamentals, it takes years to develop. I definitely feel like we've put a lot of effort into it."
Track coach's strategy different at district
Northland girls track and field coach Tom Fast uses a different approach regarding which events he enters his athletes in at district compared with the City League meet.
Perhaps the best example of this is senior Jasmine Owens, who was expected to compete in the 3,200-meter relay as well as the 800, the 1,600 and the 3,200 in the league meet May 13 and 15 at Whetstone.
She likely will focus on a race or two that give her the best chance of advancing to regional when she competes in the Division I, district 3 meet Wednesday, May 22, May 23 and May 25 at Hilliard Darby.
"At the City meet, we're going for points," Fast said. "At district, I give them a little more say about what events they want to try."
Senior Jasmine Weatherspoon, who reached state last year in the high jump, hopes she'll be healthy enough to make it that far this spring.
Weatherspoon, who missed nearly all of basketball season with a knee injury, has cleared 5 feet, 2 inches this spring.
Fast also is hoping for strong efforts at district in the 400 and 800 relays and freshman Deanna Coles in the 300 hurdles. Senior Kennedi Pitts, junior Kennedy Dulaney and sophomores Mariah Nevels and Ariel Skipper have been among the top sprinters.
Another standout, according to Fast, has been junior Mackenzie Pahren, who finished four seconds off the program record in the 3,200 when she ran 12 minutes, 30 seconds May 4 in the Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington.
Boys tennis teams prep for sectionals
For a team with no seniors, coach Daphne Hess said she believes the Beechcroft boys tennis team has persevered this season.
In the City coaches tournament April 30 and May 2, junior Jason Rojas and the doubles team of junior John Stone and freshman Branden Matney each reached the semifinal round and earned honorable mention all-league honors.
The Cougars were 5-4 overall and in the City before playing Eastmoor Academy on May 13.
Last season, Beechcroft went 10-2 in the City to tie for second.
"I honestly think we've all worked too hard to (take a big step back after last season)," Rojas said. "We have no seniors, and me and John Stone are the only juniors. After losing the seniors we did from last year I'm supposed to be a leader this year."
"We lost five seniors from last year's team, so we're pretty young," said Kylie Hess, the coach's daughter who played at New Albany, is a student at the University of Pittsburgh and is assisting her mother. "Everyone's gotten a lot better and they've all been dedicated."
The Cougars compete Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, in a Division I sectional tournament at Pickerington Central. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Hilliard Davidson.
Also on Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, Brookhaven plays in a Division I sectional at Reynoldsburg and Northland plays in a Division I sectional at Upper Arlington.
Baseball teams open postseason
The Northland baseball team was seeded 30th for the Division I district tournament and opened the postseason May 13 against 31st-seeded Teays Valley.
The Vikings were 17-4 overall.
The winner played May 15 at seventh-seeded Grove City. The winner of the second-round game will play fifth-seeded Olentangy or 29th-seeded Dublin Coffman in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at Worthington Kilbourne. The district final is May 23 at Ohio Dominican.
Brookhaven went 8-16 in the regular season and was seeded 19th for the Division II district tournament. The Bearcats played 11th-seeded DeSales on May 14, with the winner to play ninth-seeded Sparta Highland or 20th-seeded Whitehall on Thursday, May 16, at the site of the higher-seeded team.
The second-round winner will play fifth-seeded Big Walnut, 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley or 23rd-seeded Mifflin in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at Hamilton Township.
Beechcroft was seeded 21st and 5-16 before playing 13th-seeded Utica in a first-round game May 14. The winner plays Thursday, May 16, at seventh-seeded Hamilton Township, with the winner to play top-seeded Granville, 16th-seeded Walnut Ridge or 17th-seeded Independence on Monday, May 20, at Hilliard Davidson.
The district final for the bracket of both Beechcroft and Brookhaven is 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
Softball squads begin postseason
The Beechcroft softball team was seeded 17th for the postseason and opened the Division II district tournament May 13 against 24th-seeded Walnut Ridge. The Cougars were 8-5 overall.
The winner played second-seeded Lakewood in a second-round game May 15, with the winner to face ninth-seeded DeSales, 11th-seeded Independence, 15th-seeded Eastmoor or 25th-seeded Mifflin in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at Pickerington Central. The district final is May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Brookhaven was seeded 22nd in Division II and was 4-7 before playing at 21st-seeded Hamilton Township on May 13. The winner played top-seeded River Valley in a second-round game May 15, with the winner to play sixth-seeded Licking Heights, seventh-seeded Jonathan Alder or 26th-seeded Linden-McKinley in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at Pickerington Central. The district final is May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Northland was 7-11 and seeded 40th entering its Division I district tournament opener May 14 at sixth-seeded Gahanna.
The winner plays 21st-seeded Canal Winchester or 33rd-seeded Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 16, at the site of the higher-seeded team. The second-round winner will play third-seeded Marysville, 25th-seeded Briggs or 32nd-seeded Logan on Tuesday, May 21, in a district semifinal at Pickerington North. The district final is May 25 at Pickerington Central.