Girls soccer team in maturation process
The next step in what the Hartley High School girls soccer team hopes is its transformation into a district-title contender might have occurred during the regular season.
The Hawks tied defending Division II state champion DeSales at 1 on Sept. 18, tied 2011 Division III district runner-up Ready at 2 on Sept. 25 and posted wins over quality area teams like Bexley (5-3 on Aug. 28) and Granville (3-1 on Sept. 13).
With a senior-laden roster that has been complemented by players such as sophomore McKenna Welsh, the Hawks earned the fourth seed for the Division II district tournament and opened the postseason Oct. 17 against visiting Licking Valley. The winner plays sixth-seeded Big Walnut or ninth-seeded London on Saturday, Oct. 20, at a site to be announced, and the winner of that contest likely will face second-seeded DeSales in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The Hawks never have won a district championship, according to coach Scott Dempsey.
"Last year was a huge growing process, a transitional process," Dempsey said. "There's been some coaching turmoil the last few years and a turnover to what we hope will be a long tenure. This year we've got a pretty clear set of expectations, and even when we've gotten losses or ties to good teams we haven't looked at them as moral victories."
Welsh followed a season in which she led Hartley in goals with 18 by again being the team's leading scorer entering the tournament.
According to Dempsey, seniors such as Kaitlyn Weikert (goalkeeper), Samantha Burgess (midfielder), Molly Mackessy (midfielder), Dory Cassidy (forward), Mallory Rhodes (forward) and Kacy Kern (midfielder) also have had strong seasons.
Granville and Bexley, which were seeded first and fifth, respectively, are among the teams in the other portion of the district bracket.
Dempsey elected to set his team up along with DeSales so it potentially could have home games in each of the tournament's first two rounds.
"One of our losses this year was to Watterson and the other was to (Chillicothe) Unioto, which has only lost two games all year," Dempsey said.
"We tied with DeSales and Ready. Our strength of schedule was pretty decent this year."
Football team continues to roll
The football team improved to 8-0 with a 62-6 victory over Ironton on Oct. 12 and was No. 1 in last week's Division IV state poll.
The Hawks, who have been giving up an average of just 7.1 points while scoring 45.2, travel Friday, Oct. 19, to Coshocton.
Coshocton lost to Hartley 38-7 last season but went 10-3 and made the playoffs. The Redskins are 2-6 this fall.
Against Ironton, Hartley finished with 594 yards rushing, led 49-6 by halftime and didn't attempt a pass in the game. Ja'Wuan Woodley (115 yards), Marcellus Calhoun (106 yards) and Sam Mackowiak (150 yards) all scored two touchdowns.
Woodley has 1,094 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing this season, and Calhoun has 852 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns.
Franz defends CCL cross country title
Sophomore cross country runner Emily Franz won her second consecutive CCL championship Oct. 13 at Westerville Recreation Center when she ran 19 minutes, 31.9 seconds.
Mallory McCormick was Hartley's No. 2 runner, finishing 14th (22:09.4), followed by Maddie Menzie (19th, 22:47.8), Alexa Williams (26th, 23:41.4), Katelyn Supelak (30th, 24:13.9), Jillian Sommer (31st, 24:32.9) and Jordan Sekinger (35th, 25:21.3).
Hartley placed last (90) in the five-team meet behind champion Watterson (49).
"It was great weather, much better than last year," Franz said. "I'd like to get down (below 19 minutes). I've been pretty consistent this season, usually around 19:20."
The girls team will compete in the Division II district meet Saturday, Oct. 20, at Watkins Memorial. The top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to the regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
The boys also finished last (120) in the league meet, behind champion St. Charles (19).
Paul Matheke led the Hawks with a 22nd-place finish in 19:14.3, and Hartley's Michael Bungard (19:25.4), Sean Fitzgerald (19:28.5), Andrew Gold (19:34.7), Cameron Morello (19:39.3) and Brandt Groene (19:43.4) took the next five spots. Grant Rathburn was 29th (20:30.2).
The boys team will compete in the Division II, district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 20, at Watkins Memorial. The top four teams and the top 16 individuals advance to regional Oct. 27 at Troy.
Morales back in state tennis tourney
Senior girls tennis player Rachael Morales will enter her fourth Division II state tournament as a No. 2 seed in singles after she lost to DeSales' My Linh Li 7-5, 6-3 in a district final Oct. 13 at Columbus School for Girls.
Morales beat Li 6-4, 6-3 for the sectional singles championship Oct. 6 at CSG before losing for the first time this season a week later.
After advancing to a state semifinal as a freshman, Morales made it to the second round as a sophomore and then fell to Lexington's Courtney Earnest 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 in a first-round match a year ago. Morales was seeded second and Earnest third, but Earnest was the eventual runner-up.
"She's beaten My Linh four other times, including twice during the (regular) season," coach Lynn Winters said. "My Linh just made more shots (in the district final). It was a good match.
"Rachael's been playing really well and she should do very well at state. She's been working extremely hard to get to this point."
Also competing at district but failing to advance to state was the doubles team of seniors Kim Osborn and Reese Walaszek.