Tree of Life Roundup
Boys soccer team in rebuild scenario
The Tree of Life Christian School boys soccer team has a different look this season.
The Trojans reached a Division III district final for the first time last year, but were hit hard by graduation. They lost the final to Worthington Christian 4-0 to finish 11-7-2 overall.
"It's going to be a different year," coach Bryan Troast said. "We lost 11 of our 16 players, so (we're having) a little bit of a rebuild without trying to take a step backwards this year. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we've already shown a lot of growth through our scrimmages and practices."
Among the players lost was 2013 graduate David Burton, who had 24 goals and 15 assists and was MOCAL and district Player of the Year.
Senior forward/midfielder Aaron Russell had 17 goals and five assists last season and was first-team all-league and all-district.
Also back are seniors Simms Boateng (defender/midfielder), A.J. Feldman (midfielder), Anthony Howell (defender) and Corbin Kitzmiller (utility) and junior Chris Howell (midfielder).
Troast said senior Josh Hayes and freshman Josh Boamah will split time in goal in place of 2013 graduate Josh Winkler, who last season had 113 saves and was second-team all-league.
Other players are seniors Robbie Tipton (midfielder) and Ryan Weilbacher (defender), juniors Terrance Liggins (defender) and Sam Ruark (forward), sophomores Isaiah Ebert (defender), Robbie Nowe (midfielder) and Bryan Onwuagba (midfielder) and freshmen Cody Calland (forward) and Solomon Hayes (defender).
Boateng, Howell and Kitzmiller are captains.
Tree of Life, which won its third consecutive MOCAL title last season at 4-0-1, opened this season 0-3, losing to Columbus International (2-0 on Aug. 20), Westerville North (6-0 on Aug. 22) and Columbus Academy (6-0 on Aug. 24).
Boys golf team eyes continued success
The boys golf team is looking to build on last season, when it played in the Division III state tournament for the first time and finished 10th (695) of 12 teams behind champion Ashland Crestview (646).
Tree of Life's lone returning state competitor is senior George Homoelle, who shot a 191 to tie for 66th.
Seniors Jacob Bing and Colin Majors also return, but did not compete at state.
"They're all improved from last year, but we're still going to struggle from a Central District perspective," coach Scott Holahan said. "We'll be right there in the MOCAL. The MOCAL is going to be competitive."
Senior Walter Woodard is in his first season and "has improved dramatically," Holahan said.
The Trojans finished 11th (409) in the 14-team Jonathan Alder Invitational on Aug. 16 at Buck Ridge, behind champion Caledonia River Valley (309).
Tree of Life is looking to replace 2013 graduate Mark David Wright, who tied for fifth (153) of 72 golfers at state. He was first-team all-state and all-district and MOCAL Player of the Year.
"We're rebuilding this year," Holahan said.
Girls golf team returns one player
The girls golf team returns one player in senior Stephanie Ly. Juniors Brittany Alexander, Miriam Svoboda and Ansley Rothwell are new to the team.
Lindsay Augustyniak, a 2013 graduate, shot an 85 in the Division II district tournament a year ago to finish four strokes behind the third and final state qualifier, Centerburg's Faithe Carr (81).
Augustyniak was second-team all-district.
Girls soccer team coming off best season
The girls soccer team is coming off a program-best 10-5-1 record last season.
"We have made it a goal of the past several years to really improve the perception of Tree of Life soccer," coach Mark Sherrod said. "Last year, our school-record 10 wins went a long way in doing that. As a result, we have a harder schedule this year. However, we are still trying to make others notice us."
Senior midfielder Kasey Ticknor had 10 goals and 11 assists last season and was first-team all-district, while sophomore goalie Megan King (80 saves) was third-team all-district.
Other returning starters are senior Keirra Sanders (midfielder), junior Caroline Hanson (defender) and sophomore Liz Roberts (forward).
Other returnees are juniors Abigail Hanson and Erica Slogar and sophomores Kaitlyn Brooks, Abby Russell and Alicia Tong.
Other players are junior Marcella Longs, sophomores Elizabeth Bennett and Mackenzie Kuntz and freshmen Chelsea Dearth, AnnaMarie Sauer and Jenalee Strous.
Not all positions were set when the season began with a 7-0 loss to Johnstown on Aug. 20 and a 2-0 win over Liberty Union on Aug. 24.
Girls volleyball team hoping to improve
Looking to improve on last year's 3-18 record, Lisa Hargrove Molnar is in her second season as girls volleyball coach.
Senior setter Morgan Pennington was honorable mention all-league last year. Also back are seniors Mary Honaker (outside hitter) and Katie Miller (defensive specialist), junior Hope Marrah (middle hitter) and sophomore Shannon Borton (defensive specialist).
Other players are seniors Gracie Bell (outside hitter/defensive specialist) and Andrea Wright (outside hitter), sophomores Abby Garbe (middle hitter) and Rebekah Gordon (outside hitter) and freshman Micah Lawrence (outside hitter/defensive specialist).
"We're building," Hargrove Molnar said. "I don't know if this is the big year, but we are building towards a big year at some point. If not this year then next year. We didn't have a great record last year. I see us really improving that this year."
Tree of Life opened by losing to Columbus South 25-2, 25-10, 25-7 on Aug. 20.
Canfield, Rice to lead cross country team
The boys cross country team returns two runners in seniors Jimmy Rice and Daniel Canfield.
Last season in the Division III, district 1 meet, Rice was 66th (21 minutes, 10.04 seconds) of 83 runners and Canfield was 67th (21:26.22).
Sophomore Nathan Gordon is in his first season. Freshman Klayton Bumgarner also is on the team.
The volleyball team's Mary Honaker is the lone girl in the cross country program.
Coach Crickett Anderson said goals "are to become better, stronger, faster (and) advancing past district competition."