As we begin 2014, we take a look back at the highlights of central Ohio high school sports for 2013.
As we begin 2014, we take a look back at the highlights of central Ohio high school sports for 2013.
There was plenty to celebrate over the course of the year, as area teams won state championships in eight sports - basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis, track and field and water polo - and area individuals won state titles in golf, swimming, tennis, track and wrestling.
There also was tragedy, as two area cross country coaches and a boys basketball player passed away during their respective seasons.
Here's how the year stacked up through the eyes of the ThisWeek sports staff:1. EAGLES SOAR TO TITLE
The Watterson boys basketball team captured the first state championship in its 55-year history, beating Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 55-52 in the Division II final March 23 at Ohio State to finish 28-1.
"This feels great and I'm incredibly proud of the way our guys played," coach Vince Lombardo said afterward. "It's not just this group. I'm thinking about every group that came close to making it here and helped our program get to this point.
"We're thrilled to be here and thrilled to be state champs."
Ranked second in the final state poll, Watterson went on a 15-0 run in the first half and led 26-17 at halftime, but SVSM rallied and took a 42-41 lead with 5 minutes, 34 seconds left on a basket by Jalen Hudson.
Eagles guard Cody Calhoun was elbowed in the face as Hudson scored and left the game with a bloody nose.
With fans chanting his name, Calhoun returned to the court less than 30 seconds later in game time and converted a three-point play with 4:17 left to put Watterson ahead for good 44-42.
Calhoun assisted on a 3-pointer by Matt Lehmann that gave Watterson a 49-44 lead with 2:03 left and converted two free throws in the final minute to help the Eagles close the season on a program-record 23-game winning streak.
"My nose didn't hurt because of the adrenaline, but it just wouldn't stop bleeding so I had to come out," Calhoun said. "(SVSM was) making a run and the crowd was chanting my name, so I couldn't wait to get back in there. The energy was amazing, so I just tried to do what I could to give my team a lift."
Calhoun scored five of his 14 points in the final 4:17.2. TRAGIC LOSSES
Christopher Randolph, a 17-year-old junior in his first season with the Westerville South boys basketball program, died shortly after collapsing at the end of the junior varsity practice Dec. 11.
According to Westerville City Schools, Randolph was treated by a certified athletic trainer at the school until an EMS crew arrived and transported him to Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 9 p.m.
"He was a super nice kid, very well-liked," South j.v. coach Mike Wasylik said. "He was easy going, very laid back. He really wanted to play basketball. He really wanted to work at it. He was new to us and new to our program and somewhat new to basketball. His dedication is what earned him a spot with us."
An autopsy was performed by the office of the Franklin County coroner, Dr. Jan Gorniak, who ruled Randolph died of a natural, heart-related issue. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Gorniak planned to study his death further.
Central Ohio also lost two longtime cross country coaches, Canal Winchester's John Bender and DeSales' Bob Lennon, who died one day apart during their sport's season.
Bender, 71, passed away Sept. 14 from complications related to leukemia and congestive heart failure.He was in his 21st season with the Indians.
Canal Winchester maintained its practice schedule the week afterBender's death but decided not to compete in the Bob Reall Invitational on Sept. 21 at Lancaster because his funeral was being held that day.
The Indians returned to competition in the Don Hardin Invitational on Sept. 28 at Heath, with the boys and girls teams both winning titles. All of their runners who competed that day had "we run forBender" written on their shoulders.
"Our teams are always motivated to run well this time of year, but I think it's fair to say that our runners are even more motivated to do well this season in honor of coachBender," said Jeff Kline, who took over as head coach after serving as an assistant underBenderfor 14 seasons. "We took the Lancaster meet off so we could attendJohn's funeral service and it was a very touching experience, where a lot ofJohn's family and members of the community spoke about how he impacted people's lives.
"I wasn't surprised at all to see both teams run so well at Heath because they are very motivated."
Lennon, 64, was killed Sept. 15 in a hit-and-run crash as he was riding his bicycle in Delaware County. He was in his 38th season with DeSales.
The Stallions competed three days later in the Whetstone Invitational. Beginning with that meet, each DeSales runner wore an armband with the words "run forBob" for the remainder of the season.
Assistant coaches Katie Shelton and Emily Rizek finished the season as co-interim head coaches.
"Both teams really rallied around each other," Shelton said after the season. "After coach Lennon passed, the first thing we did was meet as a team and decide to run (at Whetstone). Looking back, I think that's the best thing we could have done. He's on our minds during every practice and every race. We supported them and they supported us."
On Nov. 15, Mary Kathryn Paul, 36, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and failure to stop after the crash. Both charges are third-degree felonies.
Paul told investigators that she has severe vision problems but wasn't wearing corrective lenses at the time of the crash. She also said that she thought she had struck a mailbox.
On Dec. 16, Paul pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of fleeing the scene of an accident. She faces a maximum sentence of six years.
No sentencing date was set when she entered her pleas.3. PLAYOFF EXPANSION IN FOOTBALL
The Ohio High School Athletic Association expanded its football playoffs in 2013 by adding a seventh division, marking the first change infootball's playoff structure since 1999.
Footballremains the only OHSAA-sanctioned sport in which every school does not participate in its postseason.By creating a seventh division, 32 additional teams earned a playoff berth than each of the previous 14 seasons.
There had been six divisions since 1994.
In 2013, there were 715 schools playingfootball, with 224 - a little more than 31 percent - advancing to the playoffs.
"Infootball, it's a big deal qualifying for the playoffs," Dublin Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "It's pretty special."
The OHSAA went to a playoff format in 1972 and for the first eight years the playoffs were comprised of 12 teams divided into three classes (A, AA and AAA) and featured only two rounds (state semifinals and state final).
Two divisions and a round wereaddedin 1980 and another round wasaddedin 1985, bringing the total number of playoff qualifiers to 80 (16 in eachof the five divisions).A sixth division wasaddedin 1994, doubling the number of playoff qualifiers from 96 to 192 in 1999.4. OHSAA PROPOSAL REJECTED AGAIN
The OHSAA announced May 16 that its latest proposal fora competitivebalancebylaw failed in a 327-308 vote by member schools.
Similar proposals failed in 2012 (339-301) and 2011 (332-303).
If the latestcompetitivebalancereform had passed, it would have been implemented in the 2015-16 school year.
"We're going to do a survey of our member schools since it was so close and we're going to take the information from the survey and have thecompetitivebalancecommittee come back together," OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross said. "If you think about this, 10 schools vote the other way and this passes.
"From our conversations with the group that has promoted separation of tournaments, that issue is still an option that is out there."
Numerous private high school administrators and coaches in central Ohio were strongly against the latest proposal.
"I'm extremely happy that it failed," Columbus Academy football and baseball coach Jim Collis said. "The thing with private and public is that it is always going to be an issue, but it's a tough one to solve."5. WALKING AWAY
Several high-profile coaches in central Ohio either stepped down or retired, including Brian Cross (Olentangy Orange), Mike Golden (Upper Arlington), Mark Mueller (New Albany) and Ed Terwilliger (Olentangy) in football, Tony Bisutti (Dublin Scioto) and Kevin Thuman (Westerville North) in boys basketball and Mary Ann Grimes (Orange) in girls basketball.
Golden stepped down after the 2013 season. He compiled a 203-78 record with 16 playoff appearances and a state championship in 25 seasons as a head coach. He spent the last nine years at UA, where he went 65-33 with five playoff appearances.
He coached Watterson from 1988-2002, leading the Eagles to the Division III state title in 2002, and New Albany in 2004 before arriving at UA in 2005.
"I feel like I've been the Forrest Gump of coaches," Golden said. "My teams have had lots of good luck and usually were overcoming me all the time. You know when it's time, and it's time.
"I've been talked into coming back the last few years. I enjoy the kids so much. I love it, but it's time. That's all."
Mueller, who succeeded Golden at New Albany, stepped down last March for family reasons after compiling a 69-24 record with five playoff appearances with the Eagles, and Terwilliger announced his retirement last May after going 138-114 with eight playoff appearances in 24 seasons at Olentangy.
Cross, the only football coach in Orange history, resigned Nov. 22, less than a month after the Pioneers finished 1-9. He compiled a 33-30 record with two playoff appearances in six seasons at Orange and is 218-126 in 31 seasons as a head coach, with stints at Eastmoor Academy, Grove City and Canton McKinley before starting Orange's program in 2008.
"It was a mutual agreement," Crosssaid of his decision. "I resigned, but I still plan on coaching again."
Bisutti stepped down after 18 seasons at Scioto, where he compiled a 270-136 record with six OCC championships and two Division I district titles. He was named state Coach of the Year twice.
"There are a lot of things in coaching that you're not quite sure of, but one thing you're sure of is that when it's time to step aside, it's time," Bisutti said. "It was a good, long run."
Thuman stepped down following the 2012-13 season for family reasons. He compiled a 216-195 record in 18 seasons at Westerville North.
Grimescompiled a 519-248 record in a career that spanned 36 years. Her final three seasons were at Orange, where she went 69-8 and guided the Pioneers to their first state appearance. Orange lost to Twinsburg 73-63 in a Division I state semifinal March 15 at Ohio State to finish 26-3.
"I know I don't have the energy to keep (coaching),"said Grimes, who also had coaching stints at West Lafayette Ridgewood, Dresden Tri-Valley, Dublin Coffman and the University of Akron and was named state Coach of the Year in Division I in the 2007-08 with Coffman. "I'll probably always have a passion for basketball and always love it. Olentangy's a great school district and everybody treated me so well."6. RECORD WINNER
Pickerington North girls basketball coach Dave Butcher finished the 2012-13 season as the state's all-time winningest coach in his sport.
Butcher entered this season with a 686-88 record in 30 seasons at North and Pickerington, just three victories ahead of Beavercreek coach Ed Zink, who was 683-205 heading into his 38th season with the Beavers.
Butcher, who won 23 consecutive district titles from 1989-2011 and six state championships at Pickeringtonbefore moving to North in 2003, passed Zink in total wins Feb. 14 with the Panthers' 83-18 victory over Marion-Franklin in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
"I've been fortunate to receive some honors, which are great, but this one is sort of special," Butcher said. "We've had a lot of great teams and you share that with those teams from 30 years ago all the way up to now. We've been fortunate to have great talent. The kids have been special and it's something neat. Whether it lasts or not, it's nice to sort of reach the pinnacle in this state and still have a pretty good winning percentage."7. DOUBLE THREE-PEAT
The Dublin Jerome boys and girls golf teams both won state championships for the third consecutive year.
The boys team shot a 641 in the 12-team Division I state tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course, finishing five strokes ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (646).
Senior Brady Bohl led the Celtics, shooting a 157 to place sixth.
Jeromebecame the first boys program in Ohio to win the large-school division of the state tournament three years in a row since now-defunct Columbus Aquinas accomplished the feat from 1953-55.
The state championship was the sixth in the Celtics' 10-year history, tying them with Columbus Academy for the second-most state titles in boysgolfbehind Upper Arlington (16).
Jerome's other state championships came in 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2012 in Division I and in 2004 in Division II.
"It's so cool to go out with one more state championship, and I told my teammates that I wouldn't want to stand on the podium at the end of the tournament with anyone else," Bohl said, clutching the state championship trophy. "And sharing this with our girls team makes it even more special because we're all good friends with one another."
The Jerome girls team shot a 622 in the 12-team Division I state tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course to finish 10 strokes ahead of runner-up Massillon Jackson (632).
Senior Lexie Toth led the Celtics, carding a 151 to tie for fourth.
Jeromeis the only school in OHSAA history to win theboysand girls state tournaments in the same season, and the Celtics have accomplished the feat four times, with the first occurring in 2005.
Coffman senior Nick Sparling won the Division I state individual title for the second consecutive year, shooting a 146 to finish four strokes ahead of runner-up Jack Mancinotti (150) of Toledo St. John's.
An Ohio State recruit, Sparling became the 17th golfer with two or more state titles. Among the other golfers to accomplish the feat is Jack Nicklaus, who won back-to-back championships in 1956 and 1957.
"It's been fun to come back and verify what I did here last year," Sparling said. "Other people tried to put pressure on me to win again, but my mindset was that I had nothing to lose because I had already won here before, so I didn't feel as much pressure as I felt last year."
Village Academy junior JegCoughlinIII was the Division III boys state champion, carding a 144 on Oct. 11 and 12 at Scarlet Course to finish three strokes ahead of the runner-up. He had placed fourth at state in 2012 with a 152.
Watterson junior Erin Harper became the first girls golfer in program history to win a state title. She carded a 145 in the Division I tournament to finish two strokes ahead of runner-up Cassie Pantelas (147) of Massillon Jackson.
"I've been working hard for this for so long that it almost doesn't feel real," Harper said of winning the state title.8. WRESTLEMANIA
Three area wrestlers won state titles, including two who finished the season with an unbeaten record.
Hilliard Davidson senior Travis Gusan (heavyweight) and Marysville senior Noah Forrider (138) won their championships in Division I and Ready junior Patrik Garren (heavyweight) won his title in Division III during the state tournament that concluded March 2 at Ohio State.
All three were first-time state champions.
Gusan, who was the Division II state runner-up at heavyweight in 2012 while attending Walnut Ridge, became Davidson's sixth state champion and finished the season 50-0, and Forrider went 49-0 and was Marysville's fourth state champion.
"It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders," Forrider said. "There's no way to really describe it. It's the best feeling."
A four-time state qualifier, Forrider finished his prep career as Marysville's career leader in wins with a 169-24 record. In his previous state appearances, he placed fourth at 138 as a junior, sixth at 130 as a sophomore and eighth at 119 as a freshman.
Ready's first state champion since 1999, Garren finished the season 42-1, with his only loss coming against the eventual Division II state runner-up in Whitehall's Alex Farrow.
"(Winning the state title is) still pretty unreal, but I'm trying to get used to it," said Garren, who entered this season with 101 career victories. "It feels awesome."
The 2012-13 season marked the debut of the state team tournament, which was split into three divisions like the individual state tournament.
Marysville reached a Division I state quarterfinal and Northridge advanced to a Division III state semifinal.
No area teams reached a state quarterfinal in Division II.9. GRIDIRON DROUGHT CONTINUES
For the third year in a row, central Ohio did not have a state champion in football.
The only area team to advance to a state final was Hartley, which lost to Coldwater 24-7 in the Division V title game Dec. 7 at Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to finish 13-2.
The Hawks, who were ranked fourth in the final state poll, also lost to the Cavaliers during the regular season, falling 41-16 on Sept. 6 at home.
Two other central Ohio teams - Ready (Division VI) and West Jefferson (Division V) - lost in a state semifinal. Ready fell to eventual state champion Kirtland 10-7 on Nov. 29 and West Jefferson lost to Coldwater 35-10 on Nov. 30.
In addition, Hilliard Davidson lost to eventual champion Cincinnati Moeller 13-11 on Nov. 30 in the Division I, Region 2 final, which doubled as a state semifinal.
The last time there were no state champions in central Ohio for three consecutive seasons was 1992-94. At least one area team won a state title in 12 of the 16 seasons between 1995 and 2010, with the exceptions being 1996, 2001, 2005 and 2008.
The last state champions from central Ohio were Watterson (Division III) and Hartley (Division IV) in 2010.10. FLY-ING FOUR-PEAT
Pickerington Central's Maddie Martin concluded her prep carrer by winning her fourth consecutive Division I state title in the 100-yard butterfly Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Martin became the 10th swimmer in state history to be a four-time champion in the same event, finishing in 55.37 seconds in the final to edge runner-up Emily Slabe of Cincinnati Ursuline by .06 of a second.
"I feel like I was expected to win it again, so I really wanted to do it and please people, like my parents and my teammates," Martin said.
Central coach Nicole Richmond was on edge the entire race.
"It was very, very nerve-wracking to sit through that. I'm excited for her, though. It's a huge accomplishment," Richmond said.
Martin, who is swimming for Auburn University, finished first in 54.27 in 2012, won in a state-record 53.34 in 2011 and finished first in 54.85 in 2010.11. DOUBLING HER PLEASURE
Olentangy Orange senior Katelyn Daniels won Division I state titles in both the shot put and discus for the second consecutive year.
She won the discus in a personal-best 161 feet, 7 inches and threw a state-record 51-2 to win the shot put in the state track and field meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State. The previous mark in the shot put was 50-10, set by North Canton Hoover's Ashley Muffet in 2005.
Daniels, who now competes for Michigan State, finished well ahead of the runner-up in both events. Dresden Tri-Valley's Kaylee Antill placed second in the discus (148-4) and Dublin Coffman's Sade Olatoye was second in the shot put (44-10).
"It's like the most surreal feeling. It's really incredible," Daniels said of defending both state titles.
At state in 2012, Daniels won the discus with a throw of 140-0 and finished first in the shot put by throwing 47-4 1/2.
Also in girls track, Reynoldsburg senior Diamond Gause capped her prep career by winning Division I state titles in the 100 meters (11.98) and 200 (23.96).
A year earlier, her sister Destinee, a 2012 graduate, won her fourth consecutive state title in the 200 and her second title in a row in the 100.
"All year I've been working hard, and I was just thinking that if (Destinee) could do it, I can do it," Diamond said. "My mindset is better this year and I'm stronger now."
The Columbus Academy boys team captured the Division III state championship for the second consecutive season, scoring 49 points to edge runner-up Lima Central Catholic (43), and the Eastmoor Academy girls team won the Division II title, scoring 58 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Dayton Meadowdale (38).
The 2013 season marked the first time that the state meet included four wheelchair events: the 100, 400, 800 and shot put.
The participants in those events - 11 boys and one girl - wore school uniforms and received awards for individual honors, but they did not score points for their teams.
Two area boys took part in the competition. Westland junior Tim Bailey won the 100 (17.28) and placed second in the 400 (1:01.96) and 800 (2:13.76), and Orange senior Travis Napper placed third in the shot put (16-11 3/4), sixth in the 400 (1:22.29) and 800 (3:05.72) and seventh in the 100 (22.05).12. WARRIORS END SKID
The Westerville North football team ended a 45-game losing streak by defeating Franklin Heights 48-21 in its season opener Aug. 30.
As time expired to end the game, hundreds of North students poured onto the field from the packed home stands in jubilation, mixing with players, coaches and parents in something of a mob scene.
"Nobody knew what to do because it had been so long since we last won here," coach Rodger Elander said. "We didn't own that streak. Nobody did really, but we wanted it removed from our team and the kids got the job done."
It was Warriors' first win since beatingWestervilleCentral 21-17 on Sept. 19, 2008.
Perhaps no one on North's roster was hungrier for a win than senior running back and linebacker Andy Struttmann, a four-year varsity player who had experienced 30 of the losses during the skid. Against the Falcons, he rushed for 52 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries and returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown.
During the on-field celebration, Struttmann carried the school's flag as he made his way through the crowd and soaked in the atmosphere.
"This is such an unbelievable feeling," he said. "I'm the only kid on this team who has played varsity since I was a freshman. To end that streak is one of the best feelings in the world. I've never seen so much hype going into afootballgame."
According to the OHSAA, the Warriors' losing streak was tied for fifth-longest in the state with Ashtabula (1975-80) and Cincinnati Taft (1977-82). Youngstown North, which closed after the 1979-80 school year, has the dubious distinction of owning the state record for consecutive losses (64 from 1957-64).
The Warriors went on to finish 3-7. They defeated host Newark 42-35 in their second game Sept. 6, marking the first time they had won back-to-back games since winning three in a row in 2006. Their other win came against host Canal Winchester, 30-28 on Oct. 25.13. COMING UP ACES
Anna and Alle Sanford of the Orange girls tennis team knew it was their only chance to win a state doubles championship together, and they made the most of their opportunity.
The sisters defeated Alexa Abele and Maggie Skwara of Cincinnati Sycamore 6-0, 6-2 in the Division I state final Oct. 19 at ElysiumTennisCenter in Plain City.
Anna is a senior and Alle is a freshman.
"Since we aren't in the same age group (in the USTA), we don't have the opportunity to play together, so we began thinking about this a real long time ago," Anna said. "We've been practicing for this for over a year because we knew this is something we've wanted to do since we were little."
"This was our only chance to play together and it's special because we get to represent our school, teammates and community as well as our coaches," Alle said.
Watterson's Lauren Ghidotti was state runner-up in singles in Division I, losing 6-1, 6-2 to Mehvish Safdar of Cincinnati Ursuline Academy in the state final Oct. 19.
Also in girls tennis, Upper Arlington win its 14th OhioTennisCoaches Association state title, beating North Canton Hoover 3-0 in the final Oct. 20 at Reynoldsburg.
In boys tennis, UA's Nate Wallace and Jeffrey Melvin won the program's state-record 17th state doubles championship with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Cincinnati Sycamore's Deepak Indrakanti and Dylan Stern on June 1 at Ohio State.
The next day at Reynoldsburg, Wallace and Melvin helped lead UA to the Division I OTCA state team championship. It was their second title in a row, third in four years and 17th overall.
Also in boys tennis, Columbus Academy's Jacob Wareti and Abram Schottenstein won the Division II state doubles title by defeating Cincinnati Hills Christian's Ben Wittkugel and Colin Kennedy 6-4, 6-1 in final June 1.14. WELCOME BACK
The Licking County League returned to the sports landscape in central Ohio after a 22-year absence.
Ten high schools - Granville, Heath, Johnstown, Lakewood, Licking Heights, Licking Valley, Newark Catholic, Northridge, Utica and Watkins Memorial - reunited from a league that began in 1927 before being disbanded in 1991.
The only high school in the county not in the LCL is Newark, which was not part of the original LCL and opted to remain in the OCC-Ohio Division.
During the 2012-13 school year, Watkins Memorial was in the OCC-Capital, Granville, Heath, Lakewood, Licking Valley and Newark Catholic were in the MSL-Ohio, Licking Heights was in the MSL-Cardinal and Johnstown, Northridge and Utica were in the MBC.15. RARE OCCURRENCE
For the first time since 1989, the DeSales and Watterson football teams both missed the playoffs.
The Stallions finished 5-4 and missed the postseason for the second year in a row after making playoff appearances in each of the previous 18 seasons, and the Eagles finished 3-6 and missed the postseason for the second time in three years after securing a playoff berth 11 times during a 12-year stretch from 1999-2010, with 2007 being the lone exception.
DeSales finished 11th in Division III, Region 9 and Watterson finished 11th in Division IV, Region 13, as the top eight teams in both regions earned a playoff berth.
In addition to missing the playoffs, DeSales and Watterson watched St. Charles win the CCL-Silver championship. It was the Cardinals' first league title since 1962.16. GOING PRO
Two central Ohio products, Le'Veon Bell and Trey Burke, have made an impact for their respective professional teams as rookies.
Bell, a 2010 Groveport graduate, was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 48th pick in the second round of the NFL draft last April. The 6-foot-1, 244-pound running back missed the Steelers' first three games of the 2013 season because of injury but quickly established himself as the team's top running back. Through 14 games, he led the Steelers with 646 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 198 carries (3.3-yard-per-carry average).
Burke, a 2011 Northland graduate who was named Ohio's Mr. Basketball as a senior, was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the ninth pick in the NBA draft last June and immediately traded to the Utah Jazz.
A 6-1 point guard, Burke played two seasons at the University of Michigan, where he was named Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year in the 2011-12 season and was a consensus All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year in the 2012-13 season.
Through 16 games this season with the Jazz, Burke was averaging 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
Another athlete with local ties, Connor Murphy, made his NHL debut Nov. 13 for the Phoenix Coyotes.
The 6-3, 185-pound defenseman was selected by the Coyotes with the 11th pick in the 2011 NHL draft. He is the son of Gord Murphy, who was an assistant coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets for eight seasons before team management made coaching changes following the 2009-10 season.
Though born in Boston, Connor Murphy was raised in central Ohio and attended Grizzell Middle School in Dublin.17. HIGH-STICKING
The Columbus Academy field hockey team won its second state title in a row and its 10th overall with a 1-0 overtime win over Thomas Worthington on Nov. 2 at Upper Arlington.
Midfielder Brie Stahl scored with 4:40 remaining in the first 10-minute overtime and goalkeeper Sarah Guendert had six saves, as the Vikings finished 18-2-1. The Cardinals finished 19-1-1.
Academy defeated Watterson 2-1 in double overtime in a district final Oct. 26 and Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 1-0 in overtime in a state semifinal Nov. 1.Attacker Paige Berliner scored the winning goal against Watterson and midfielder Grace Geiger scored against Mount Notre Dame.
"They've had the courage to face the adversity and they looked it square in the face and didn't shy away from it," coach Anne Horton said. "They moved through it, and for young ladies to do that, it's a true testament to why we are state champions right now."
Academy has the most state titles since the inception of the state tournament in 1979. Kettering Fairmont is next with four, but the Firebirds haven't won any since 1990.18. BEARS REPEATING
The Upper Arlington boys lacrosse team won its second Division I state title in a row, its third in four years and its 14th overall by defeating Jerome 7-6 in the state final June 8 at home.
Jerome took a 6-5 lead with 7:49 remaining, but attacker Zac Stowe tied the game with 4:38 left and attacker Cam Marsh scored what proved to be the winning goal with 2:03 left.
UA, which finished 20-2, had beaten Jerome by the same score in the 2012 final.
"We're two great programs, powerhouses," said UA goalkeeper Jack Warmolts, who made two saves in the final 28 seconds to secure the latest win. "It's telling we met two years straight in the state final. If you want a state championship, you have to beat the best, and it's a lot of fun coming out here and competing against those guys."
Jerome, which won Division II state titles in 2010 and 2011, finished 16-7.
The UA girls team won its first state title since 2008 and its fifth overall, defeating Cincinnati Sycamore 14-8 in the Division I state final June 1 at Thomas Worthington.
The Golden Bears, who finished 16-2, had lost in the state final each of the previous four seasons.
"That was a monkey on our back for so long," coach Wendy Pinta said. "It was very good to see this team show up and play just a phenomenal game from start to finish."
Attacker Samantha Farwick had five goals and her twin sister, attacker Sydney Farwick, scored four and midfielder Molly Plasket added two goals and two assists asUA outscored Sycamore 7-2 in the final 20:54.
The New Albany girls team won its first state title since 2009, overcoming a four-goal deficit to defeat Worthington Kilbourne 11-10 in the Division II final June 1 at Thomas to finish 15-4-1.
"I have goose bumps and it's about 85 degrees out here," said Eagles attacker Abby Manning, who scored the winning goal with 1:33 remaining. "I feel so close to my team right now. We all did it together."19. WATERED DOWN
The Upper Arlington girls swimming and diving team saw its eight-year state championship streak come to an end.
The Bears scored 215 points in the Division I state meet that concluded Feb. 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton to place second to Cincinnati Ursuline (234). Mason (148) placed third.
UA won only one event, with Gracie Long, Erin Sheehan, Grace Van Fossen and Jenny Smith combining to finish first in the 200 free relay in a state-meet record 1:34.19.
"(Ursuline) took care of their business more than we did," coach Dan Peterkoski said. "We fell a bit short.
"As I told thegirls, what a great meet. It's been fun to win for eight years. Second is nothing to hang our head about. We're still a strong program. It's fun to win, but at the same time, it's unrealistic to think we'd never lose one again."20. SMASHING SUCCESS
Led by 6-6 middle hitter Jarrod Kelso, theHilliardDarby boysvolleyballteam captured its first state championship.
Ranked second in the final state poll behind Cincinnati Moeller, the Panthers defeated Cincinnati Elder 25-17, 25-15, 25-27, 25-23 in the Division I state final May 26 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit to finish 24-2.
Darby, which was state runner-up in 2012, became the first central Ohio boys team to win a state title since 2009, when St. Charles won the Division II championship.
Kelso was named Division I Player of the Year and East Region Player of the Year.
"I think what enabled us to achieve this is the balance and athleticism we had," coach Bryan Webb said. "You can't win it all with a few hitters and a setter. You need to be strong in every aspect of the game and we were at all positions."21. 'TITLE' WAVE
The Newark Catholic baseball team captured its seventh state title - but first since 2006 - by beating New Middletown Springfield 2-1 in the Division IV championship game June 9 at Huntington Park.
The Green Wave, which finished 25-10, has the second-most state championships in Ohio. The only team with more is Cincinnati Elder, which has 12.
Mitch Cox went the distance on the mound, allowing an earned run on eight hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.22. POLO GROUNDS
The St. Charles water polo team beat Cincinnati St. Xavier 17-13 in the state final Oct. 26 at Mason to win its third state title in four seasons.
The Cardinals, who finished 21-13, were just four games over .500 at the end of the regular season but won five of their six postseason games.
"We peaked at the right time," coach Geoff Gear said. "We were going through a tough stretch (before the postseason) and we just had to dig in and figure out what we needed to do."
On Oct. 25, St. Charles beat defending state champion Upper Arlington 16-11 in the first round at state and defeated Thomas Worthington 13-11 in a state semifinal.
Andrew Hoffman led St. Charles, totaling 24 goals in the three games at state. He had 11 goals against St. Xavier, eight against UA and five against Thomas.
Goalkeeper Dylan Hammon had 10 saves against St. Xavier, 13 against UA and 11 against Thomas.23. QUEENS OF THE DIAMOND
Two central Ohio softball teams, Bloom-Carroll and Licking Valley, captured state titles June 8 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
Ranked first in the final state poll, Bloom-Carroll defeated Columbia Station Columbia 3-2 in the Division III final to finish 29-3.
The Bulldogs, who had lost in the state final in 2012, were led by pitcher Taran Alvelo, who allowed only three hits and no walks with 12 strikeouts.
Making its first state appearance since 1988 and third overall, Licking Valley captured its first championship, beating Springfield Kenton Ridge 6-5 in the Division II final to finish 24-7.
Nine players collected one hit for the Panthers, including center fielder Sierra McConnell, who hit a solo home run, and pitcher Shelby McCombs, who had an RBI and, in the circle, allowed only one earned run and struck out 11.24. NO TITLES ON THE PITCH
For the first time since 2010, no central Ohio boys or girls soccer teams won a state championship.
However, 2013 marked the fifth consecutive season in which at least one area boys team and one area girls team reached a state final.
The Watterson boys team lost to Richfield Revere 2-0 in the Division II state final Nov. 9 and the Granville girls team lost to Rocky River 3-1 in the Division II state final Nov. 8. Both games were played at Crew Stadium.25. LEFT OUT IN COLD (AGAIN)
The Olentangy Liberty hockey team advanced to the state tournament for the second time in three years.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, they again fell short in their bid to become the first team from central Ohio to reach the state final, let alone win the state championship, as they lost to 2012 state champion Sylvania Northview 4-2 in a semifinal March 8 at Nationwide Arena. They lost to Toledo St. Francis 9-4 in a state semifinal in 2011.
Central Ohio teams are 0-7 in state semifinal games, as Orange (2012), Coffman (2010), UA (2007 and 2006) and Thomas Worthington (2003) also had seasons end one win shy of reaching the championship game.
Liberty jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Northview in the first 7:18 on goals by forwards Kyle Horner and Noah Allmaras, only to see the Wildcats rally for the victory.
"From the get-go, we wanted to show we were a good team all the way through," said forward Ethan Hollingsworth, who assisted on Horner's goal. "As a Columbus team, we have been looked down upon. We knew that if they looked down on us, we could capitalize on that."
Northview, which lost to Shaker Heights 3-1 in the final the next day, took a 3-2 lead with 5:15 left and added an empty-net goal with less than one second left.