With a schedule that included more established programs, the Pickerington High School North girls lacrosse team doesn't believe its record was indicative of the improvement it showed this season.

With a schedule that included more established programs, the Pickerington High School North girls lacrosse team doesn't believe its record was indicative of the improvement it showed this season.

Under first-year coach Norm Deena, the Panthers easily beat Pickerington Central (18-5 on May 11), won their second consecutive league championship and nearly got to the second round of the Division I South/Central Region tournament.

"The girls gave a lot of effort from the start and I was pleased with the season," Deena said. "We were able to see kids grow outside their comfort level. Having been the defending OCC champion and being able to take the title again was beneficial. We had players step up."

North lost to West Chester Lakota West 11-10 in its tournament opener May 14 to finish 8-8 overall.

The Panthers went 7-0 in the OCC-Central Division to place ahead of Pickerington Central and Westerville South (5-2), Gahanna (4-3), Westerville Central (3-4), Delaware and Westerville North (2-5) and Big Walnut (0-7).

North played one of central Ohio's most established programs in Worthington Kilbourne on April 12 (17-7 loss) and came up just short May 8 against one of the area's better Division II teams in Hartley (17-16 loss).

Seven of the Panthers' losses were by three goals or fewer.

North loses seven seniors, including Katelyn Mickelson (first-team all-league) and Laura Sullivan (second-team all-league).

Juniors Kaitlin Beemiller and Abbey Paulus are expected to be the top returnees after making first-team all-league. Junior Korri Titus was second-team all-league and junior Katie Hunt and sophomore Caroline Giardina both made honorable mention.

Paulus had 69 goals and 24 assists, and Mickelson had 24 goals and 24 assists.

Co-title highlights Central boys season

The Central boys team lost to Thomas Worthington 14-7 in the first round of the Division I Central Region tournament May 19. The game was tied at 2 after one quarter.

The Tigers went 11-6 overall and tied Delaware and Westerville Central for first in the OCC-Central at 5-1. Big Walnut and Pickerington North each went 2-4 and Westerville North and Westerville South both were 1-5.

Central beat Pickerington North 14-11 on May 11 and defeated Delaware 11-10 in overtime three days later to earn a share of the league title.

"Our guys battled hard all year and everything they got they earned," first-year coach Pete Campbell said. "I thought we took a big turn in terms of getting respect."

Junior Devon Maki should be the top returnee after scoring more than 80 goals and being named OCC-Central Player of the Year.

Junior Brent Walton had 38 goals and 40 assists, and senior Jake Raymond had 36 goals and 43 assists. Walton made first-team all-league and Raymond was second team.

Senior Garyck Todd, who also was second-team all-league, led the defense. Senior Darius Wagner was honorable mention all-league.

Junior Cole Naylor was the goalkeeper.

Raymond and Maki both were second-team all-Central Region.

"Getting our younger guys experience this year was huge," said Campbell, who was OCC-Central Coach of the Year. "We were able to run a full (junior varsity) this year and just got the guys reps. We definitely laid the foundation for the program."

North boys double last year's win total

The North boys team lost to St. Charles 13-5 in the play-in round of the Division I Central Region tournament May 17 to finish 6-10.

The Panthers, who tied Big Walnut for fourth (2-4) in the OCC-Central, won twice as many games as a year ago when they were 3-12.

Making first-team all-league was senior goalkeeper Jarrod Culp, while junior Austin Brady scored 37 goals at attacker and made the second team. Senior defender Adam Hunt was honorable mention.

Juniors Alex Dankowski and Seth Caudill and freshman Stephen Hertenstein should be among the top returnees. Junior Nathan Hess is expected to take over at goalkeeper.

"Unfortunately, it didn't show up in the stat sheet as wins, but I thought we definitely had a very good season," second-year coach Marc Diemand said. "By the end of the season we had four freshmen in key spots and in any one game we might have had up to seven freshmen playing, which is good for the future of the program."

Central girls take big step forward

The Central girls team improved to 8-8 overall and tied for second in the OCC-Central at 5-2 after finishing 1-8-1 and 0-4-1 a year ago.

The Tigers lose seven seniors, including first-team all-league player Bailey Domer and second-team all-league selections Chanelle BonDurant and Shannon Meyer-Walker.

The top returnees should be freshman Nessa Petropavlovskiy (first-team all-league) and sophomores Ashley Adams (honorable mention all-league), Gabby Johnson and Courtney Jones. Freshman attacker Carly Noel and sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Peterson also were key players.

Central opened the Division I South/Central Region tournament with a 16-12 win over Cincinnati McAuley on May 14 and lost to Upper Arlington 19-5 in the second round May 16.

"I was very pleased with our season," first-year coach Christine Miller said. "The girls played really hard and played with passion and dedication. They showed a lot of teamwork and learned to trust each other. We have a strong class of eighth-graders coming up next year that's very talented and has a great skill base. Several of our girls will be playing in the summer."