Wellington School boys tennis coach Tom Haddow thought his team would struggle after losing its top player, sophomore Nick Sweeney, to a season-ending wrist injury during a match against Upper Arlington B on April 9.
Haddow never imagined the Jaguars would win their next six matches and eight of their final nine to finish 11-2.
"We were 2-1 when Nick went down and I thought we'd be a .500 ream without him playing for us," said Haddow, whose team finished 2-9 in 2012. "But everyone else not only moved up a court, but stepped up and helped us keep winning against teams that had beat us last season."
The Jaguars went 5-1 in matches decided by 3-2 scores, defeating Upper Arlington B on April 9 and April 30, Village Academy on April 15, St. Charles on April 18 and Hilliard Darby on April 22. They lost to Watterson by that score May 9.
Wellington competed in the Division II sectional tournament May 16 and 20 at Columbus School for Girls, where the doubles team of juniors Lincoln Ficek and Lucas Rooney went 3-1 and placed third to advance to district.
Also at sectional, senior Vishal Sharoff and junior Shabach Tyus both went 2-1 in singles, freshman Temidayo Dairo went 1-1 in singles and the doubles team of seniors Will Gross and Nick Mayne went 2-1.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Columbus Academy, where Ficek and Rooney lost to Academy's Evan Alexander and Ryan Jung 6-4, 7-5 in the first round.
"Beating Upper Arlington B twice and qualifying a doubles team to district were the two biggest highlights of our season," Haddow said. "We did really well in matches decided by 3-2 scores."
The Jaguars lose three seniors in Sharoff (third singles) and Gross and Mayne (second doubles).
"Losing those three guys hurts because they won the majority of their matches and we'll miss their leadership," Haddow said. "But we've got three good singles players and our No. 1 doubles team coming back, so I'm excited about next season."
Baseball team had winning season
The baseball team finished 12-10 for the second consecutive season.
"I'm very proud of the boys," coach Craig Jones said. "We set out to build upon last season and, even though we finished with the same record, we improved our offensive numbers significantly, hitting for a higher batting average and driving in more runs this year."
Seeded eighth of 15 teams in the Division IV district tournament, Wellington lost to fourth-seeded Tree of Life 12-5 in the first round May 13.
Among the season highlights were an 11-1, five-inning win over Granville Christian on May 9 and an 8-7 win over Morral Ridgedale on May 3 in which the Jaguars rallied from a 5-2 deficit.
"It was nice to turn the tables on Granville Christian and beat them by run-rule after losing to them (8-7 on April 30)," Jones said. "We also came back to beat Ridgedale, which was exciting."
The Jaguars lose three seniors in Christian Braddy (OF), Billy Brisk (DH/1B/P) and Shawn Meddock (P/3B).
Brisk had a .484 batting average with three home runs, 33 RBI and 29 runs and was named first-team all-district. Meddock and Braddy had 20 and 18 stolen bases, respectively.
"Our seniors contributed with their play and leadership," Jones said.
Expected to return are juniors Grayson Ashby (P/SS/3B), Joe Campbell (C), Anthony Davis (OF/P) and Josh Roseler (OF), sophomores Linus Beatty (1B), Matt Conger (OF), Elliott Fite (2B/SS/3B) and Zach Kauffman (SS/3B/P) and freshmen Obinna Adams-John (2B) and Preston Fuller (C).
Ashby, who went 3-7 on the mound with a 4.43 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 49 innings and batted .406 with 17 RBI and 31 runs, and Kauffman, who was 5-1 with a 3.44 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings and hit .328 with 16 RBI and 25 runs, both were second-team all-district.
Roseler (.364, 8 RBI, 15 runs), Conger (.350, 12 RBI, 12 runs), Davis (.296, 14 RBI, 34 runs) and Campbell (.294, 5 RBI, 6 runs) also were key offensive contributors.
"We're losing Billy Brisk's big bat, but I'm very excited about our future because we have most of our pitching and starting infielders back," Jones said.
Softball team losing only one senior
The softball team finished 5-12, losing to second-seeded Millersport 10-9 in the first round of the Division IV district tournament May 14.
Wellington was seeded 13th of 16 teams.
"We had moments where we did the right things, but we were inconsistent overall," coach Me-chelle Burkhalter said. "We did end our season on a super note. Even though we lost to Millersport, we hit the ball well, played good defense and gave them a scare."
Wellington loses one senior in Erin O'Neil (3B) but expects to return eight starters in juniors Donnette Cox (1B), Abby Fleeter (P), Emily Hammett (LF), Katie King (C), Gabrielle Smith (2B) and Emily Swartz (RF), sophomore Casey Hansen (SS) and freshman Zoe Mak (CF).
Hammett batted .475 and was second-team all-district. Fleeter, Mak and Smith were honorable mention all-district.
"I definitely feel very optimistic about next year because of all the experience we have coming back," Burkhalter said.