Football players rounding into shape
The Hartley High School boys basketball team has become accustomed to late starts.
Because many of the Hawks also are members of the football team, which has made deep playoff runs each of the last three seasons, Hartley won't play its opener until Saturday, Dec. 15, at home against Whitehall, even though the season officially began Nov. 30.
The Hawks, who begin CCL play Dec. 21 at DeSales, have just four games in December but 11 in January.
"I told them (Dec. 3) that the chaos finally ends," said Randy Kortokrax, who is in his 13th season as coach. "Now we go to step two, which is getting the football guys in cardio shape."
Seniors Jacob Matuska (6-foot-6, center) and Trevonn Brown (6-2, forward) and juniors Kalil Morris (6-3, forward) and Jared Brandewie (6-4, forward) all contributed to the football team's Division IV state semifinal run.
Matuska averaged 10.3 points in 11 games and Brown (6.0 points per game) also was a key contributor last season as the Hawks beat Lakewood 75-38 but then lost to Watterson 45-43 in a Division II district semifinal to finish 17-4 overall.
Junior Chris Moxley (5-10, guard), who isn't expected to play in the opener because of an injury, averaged 10.2 points in nine games last season. He and junior Drew Onega (5-9, guard), who averaged 6.0 points, should be the top ball-handlers.
Also looking to contribute are seniors Billy Blashill (6-2, guard) and Eddie Siefert (6-3, guard/forward), juniors Cameron Ball (5-9, guard), Evan Feeney (6-4, forward) and Jacob Mercier (5-6, guard) and sophomore Jalen Austin (6-1, guard).
Senior Kris Little (6-2, forward), who averaged 7.3 points last season, isn't playing in the first five games but could return in January.
Last season, Hartley went 6-2 in the CCL to finish behind Watterson (7-1) and ahead of St. Charles (4-4), DeSales (2-6) and Ready (1-7).
Eric Siefert, a 2012 graduate, averaged 11.7 points and made first-team all-district and ThisWeek Super 12 honorable mention. Matuska and Joe Brown, a 2012 graduate who averaged 11.4 points, made honorable mention all-district.
Bolden, Cottrell back to lead swim teams
A Division II state champion returns for both the boys and girls swimming and diving teams.
Senior Ronnie Bolden won the 50-yard freestyle (21.13 seconds) and added a fifth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (50.18) at state a year ago. Returning for the girls is senior Andrea Cottrell, who won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.32) and was third in the 200 individual medley (2:04.57).
The boys and girls teams competed but didn't score in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State.
On Dec. 1, the girls were fourth (232) in the five-team Catholic Showdown at St. Charles behind champion Watterson (565) and the boys were last (53) in the six-team Catholic Showdown behind champion Cincinnati St. Xavier (698).
"Obviously the return of our two state champions ... is huge," coach Tony Phillips said.
Other key swimmers should be seniors Victoria Barlay, Hope Kahrig, Amina Kone' and Vince Canini, junior Alexa Williams, sophomores Lauren Bailey, Patrick Lawrence and Michael Bungard and freshman Hayley Elizondo. Junior Brian Hearns and senior Becky Hunold are the top divers.
Last season, the boys were 14th (60) at state behind champion Hunting Valley University School (237.5) as 57 teams scored. The girls were 13th (70) behind champion Gates Mills Hawken (360.5) as 45 teams scored.
Also at state last season, 2012 graduate Patrick Kelly of the boys team was sixth in the 200 IM (1:55.56) and 100 backstroke (53.04) and competed on the 200 free relay (21st, 1:32.03) and 200 medley relay (24th, 1:44.07). Kelly was joined on both relays by Bolden, Lawrence and Bungard.
Hunold was 12th in diving (334.9) at state.
Cottrell was joined on the ninth-place 200 medley relay (1:50.15) by Kahrig, Bailey and 2012 graduate Jessica Carpenter and on the 15th-place 200 free relay (1:42.77) by Carpenter, Kahrig and Williams. Carpenter also was 10th in the 100 fly (58.33) and 22nd in the 100 free (54.34).
The boys placed a program-best second (164) of 39 teams that scored in the Division II district meet behind Granville (325). The girls were fourth (203) of 36 teams that scored behind champion Granville (475).
Wrestling team builds around Rathburn
With just one senior in Christian Baker (138 pounds) among his 18 competitors, fourth-year wrestling coach Kevin Petrella is looking for new leaders.
One athlete he is counting on is junior Grant Rathburn, who went 0-2 at 126 in the Division III state tournament to finish 30-13 last season. He is now at 132.
Rathburn helped the Hawks win what Petrella believes was the first CCL title in program history when they scored 191.5 points to finish ahead of Ready (180.5), St. Charles (152.5), DeSales (114) and Watterson (16.5).
"We have 18 kids, so that's a little bit down," Petrella said. "We've got a great group of freshmen. The one thing we need to keep building on is that we lost a lot of good seniors and their leadership is hard to come by."
Juniors Jacob Croswell (160) and Jack Zang (145) are back after competing at district a year ago. Sophomore Kristopher Hill (113) was sixth in the sectional.
Also looking to contribute are juniors Trey Hampton (182), Patrick Keefe (126, 132 or 138) and Patrick Moran (126), sophomore Nate Jula (152) and freshmen Jared Croswell (195), Josh Heinmiller (120), Tyler Sweeney (heavyweight) and Luke Wulf (106).
The Hawks lost district-qualifiers Napoleon Bell (195) and Jarrod Zang (170) to graduation.
Hartley was fourth (131.5) of 14 teams that scored in the Madison Plains sectional behind champion Amanda-Clearcreek (247). The Hawks then were 26th (20) of 48 teams that scored at district behind champion Nelsonville-York (129.5).
Bowling teams excited for season
Third-year coach Margaret Owens has done her best to help the 19 bowlers in the program be equipped for the season.
"Me and our other coach, Greg Stitt, have worked really hard to make sure they all have their own bowling ball," Owens said. "The big thing for them to keep learning is that they have all of the equipment they need, and you start in September trying to find them a ball."
The top returnees are senior William Ball and junior Corey Wilbur, who were district qualifiers for the boys team a year ago.
Junior Daniel Supino also is back for the boys team, while others on the team are sophomores Jared George, Ben Mackowski and Mark Thiel and freshman Jamie Clark.
The girls team is comprised of seniors Melanie Hutton and Mackenzie Pugh, juniors Amina Cavin, Chelsea Kraft, Mia Meyer, Katie Owens and Molly Stitt, sophomores Brittany Aeling and Heather Delius and freshmen Keara Brown, Monica Evans and Sara Strapp.
The boys opened by beating Beechcroft 1,775-1,533 on Dec. 3 and Haugland Learning Center 1,806-1,402 on Dec. 6 in Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division matches.
The girls team opened by beating Beechcroft 1,573-970 on Dec. 3.
Last season, the boys tied three other teams for seventh (7-7) in the 15-team COHSBC-Central behind champion St. Charles (14-0). The girls tied Watterson a nd Columbus Academy for third (8-3) in the 13-team COHSBC-Central behind Ready (11-0) and Northland (9-2).