The Wellington School's boys lacrosse team is getting back to nature, moving practice from the school's artificial turf to the natural grass of Northcrest Park.
Coach Andrew Farber said the new approach helped the Jaguars prepare for games on natural grass like the one Saturday at Olentangy Orange.
"Our theme has been to get back to the basics," said Farber, whose team was 5-5 overall after defeating New Albany 14-11 last Friday. "Playing on a dirt patch has helped us focused on getting ground balls and being physical."
Farber is hoping the return of senior Chris King will help the Jaguars. King, the team's leading scorer with more than 30 goals last year, suffered an MCL tear during the first week of practice.
King scored two goals against the Eagles, but Farber said it will take time before King is playing the way he played last year.
"Chris is the heart and soul of this team," Farber said.
"When you come back from a knee injury, your body might be ready but mentally you might not be. Every single day he gets better."
•Starting the season against some of the toughest competition may be pay dividends for the boys tennis team.
After losing its first six matches, Wellington won three of its next five. Those two losses - 3-2 to Centennial on April 22 and 5-0 to St. Charles last Friday - came when first-singles player Ian Wagner was sidelined with an illness.
"We started out the season with some of our toughest competition," coach Klint McEnery said. "Playing those tough matches at the beginning of the season showed our guys what level we were at and where we needed to be."
Wagner will be trying to repeat as champion of the Village Academy Invitational on Saturday.
Last year Wellington scored 138 points to finish first in the four-team tournament with Wagner winning the title at first singles.
Wagner started the season 8-0 at first singles but faces a much tighter path to the Division II state tournament this year. Wagner finished fourth at state as a freshman and third last season.
In the past, the top four from the district tournament advanced to state. This year the number of qualifiers was cut in half when the Southeast and the East were allowed to form a separate district.
Add to the mix that DeSales and Watterson moved down to Division II this year, and Wagner anticipates a tougher trip to state.
"We saw what happened with the girls tournament and we figured out they were going to do that for the boys," Wagner said. "It seems a little weird to only have four qualifiers but if you're going to go to states, you're going to have to beat someone good anyway."
McEnery said Wagner is a much better player than he was a year ago.
"His serve is a little bit bigger and he's become a lot smarter of a player," McEnery said. "He doesn't have too many weaknesses. "It's hard to play against someone like that."
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Wellington baseball, boys lacrosse, boys tennis, girls lacrosse and softball teams:
April 13 - Lost to Briggs 19-0
April 15 - Lost to Marion Franklin 14-6
April 17 - Defeated Independence 17-10 and 12-8
April 19 - Def. Granville Christian 9-5
April 20 - Lost to Harvest Prep 7-4
April 22 - Lost to Bexley 16-0
Last Saturday - Lost to Fairfield Christian 10-2 and 13-8
Last Tuesday - Played Northland
Last Wednesday - Played Hartley
Today - At Grandview
Saturday - Home vs. Tree of Life (DH)
Tuesday - Home vs. Marion-Franklin
May 6 - At Columbus Academy
Of note: The Jaguars were 3-12 overall before last Tuesday.
April 14 - Lost to Westerville Central 9-5. Josh Taylor had three goals and Geoff Quinn had 23 saves.
April 16 - Def. Gahanna 8-7. Corey Morse had five goals.
Last Friday - Def. New Albany 14-11. Morse had four goals and Pat Kim scored three.
Last Tuesday - Played Olentangy
Last Wednesday - Played Bexley
Saturday - At Olentangy Orange
Of note: The Jaguars were 5-5 overall before last Tuesday.
*April 14 - Def. Watterson 19-5
April 16 - Lost to Cincinnati Mariemont 10-9
April 17 - Def. Cincinnati Summit Country Day 9-8
Last Friday - Def. Dublin Jerome 14-13
Last Wednesday - Played Westerville North
Today - At Dublin Scioto
*Tuesday - Home vs. Columbus Academy
May 6 - At Columbus School for Girls
Of note: The Jaguars were 7-2 overall before last Wednesday and are 3-0 in the Central Independent League.
*Central Independent League game
April 13 - Lost to Madison Christian 11-4
April 14 - Lost to Briggs 11-2
April 16 - Game against Gahanna Christian postponed
April 17 - Lost Tree of Life 9-2 and 12-2
April 20 - Lost to Grandview 18-14
April 22 - Def. Brookhaven 16-6
Last Friday - Lost to Gahanna Christian 4-3
Last Saturday - Lost to New Albany 16-0; lost to Whitehall 31-3
Last Tuesday - Played Briggs
Today - Home vs. Franklin Heights
Saturday - At Worthington Christian (DH)
Tuesday - At Madison Christian
May 6 - At Mansfield St. Peter's
Of note: The Jaguars were 4-11 before last Tuesday.
April 12 - Lost to Dublin Jerome 4-1
April 13 - Lost to Chillicothe 3-2
April 14 - Def. Granville 3-2
April 15 - Def. Worthington Christian 4-1
April 19 - Def. Ready 5-0
April 20 - Lost to Centennial 3-2
Last Friday - Lost to St. Charles 5-0
Last Monday - Match against Watterson postponed
Last Wednesday - Played Ready
Today - Home vs. Granville
Saturday - At Village Academy Invitational
Tuesday - Home vs. Village Academy
May 6 - At Worthington Kilbourne
Of note: The Jaguars were 3-8 overall before last Wednesday.