Underclassmen did their part to prolong the Upper Arlington High School girls tennis team's season as long as it could go.
On Oct. 15, freshman Kyra Jung defeated Dublin Jerome's Rhiannon James 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district final to give the Golden Bears the match-clinching point and complete a 3-2 comeback win to earn a trip to the state tournament Oct. 20 at Reynoldsburg.
At state, sophomore Olivia Kompa, who has been hampered at times by a shoulder injury, helped deliver UA its 14th OTCA championship. After Jung and junior Audrey Berger won their singles matches in the final against North Canton Hoover, Kompa defeated Natalie Bourlas 6-2, 6-2 to give the Bears a 3-0 win.
Winning a team championship is not lost on the Bears, especially those who fell short in the individual state tournament that had concluded the previous day.
"It's huge. We've worked our whole season for this. This is the last step," said senior Beniva Ganther, who qualified for district in doubles with freshman Anna-Marie Reynolds, finishing one win short of reaching state. "We lost to a team that was third at state (Pickerington Central's Isis Thomas and Kyah Thomas in a district quarterfinal), so I mean there's definitely no shame. This is the way to redeem ourselves, I guess."
UA defeated Mason 3-0 earlier Oct. 20 in a state semifinal. Berger beat Elizabeth Kong 6-2, 6-2 at first singles, Ganther and Reynolds edged Isabel Cepeda and Nina Cepeda 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 at first doubles and seniors Emily Flitcraft and Katie Schoedinger topped Haley Hopkins and Radhika Pandit 6-4, 6-3 at second doubles.
Against Hoover, Berger beat Nicolette Bourlas 6-0, 6-1 at first singles and Jung beat Alivia Arnold 6-3, 6-1 at second singles, paving the way for Kompa's match-clinching win at third singles.
"I've always emphasized the team title," coach Shaun Stamps said. "It helps you stay united as much as possible. You can't control anything that happens in the individual tournament. With (the OTCA tournament), you just have to win three courts. There's not too much pressure on any one person to get it done."
Berger and Jung placed third at district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson and went 1-1 at state Oct. 18 at Ohio State. They beat Toledo St. Ursula Academy's Celina Nowicki and Sydney Seeley 6-1, 6-0 before falling to the eventual runners-up, Alexa Abele and Maggie Skwara of Cincinnati Sycamore, 6-2, 6-1.
Kompa went 1-1 at district, finishing one win shy of qualifying for state, and freshman Ashley Weeks was 2-1 at sectional, falling a victory short of advancing to district.
UA finished 18-1 overall and 7-0 (39 points) in the OCC-Central Division to win their 25th consecutive league championship.
Dublin Coffman (34, 6-1) finished second in the league, followed by Olentangy Liberty (30, 5-2), Davidson (27, 4-3), Thomas Worthington (17, 3-4), Marysville (12, 2-5), Westland (8, 1-6) and Central Crossing (1, 0-7).
In the OCC's inaugural first-place tournament Sept. 28 at Pickerington Central, the Bears came in second (13), behind Dublin Jerome (17) and ahead of New Albany (12) and Pickerington Central (8).
Girls runners advance to regional
Five runners finishing in the top 20 powered the girls cross country team to the Division I, district 3 championship Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial.
Sophomore Ann Heuerman was fourth in 19 minutes, 11.31 seconds, followed by senior Dorrian Jaffe (ninth, 19:43.07), juniors Megan Brewer (15th, 19:58.12) and Erin Simko (17th, 20:06.25), senior Sarah Heuerman (19th, 20:08.3), freshman Elisabeth Barbour (22nd, 20:11.69) and senior Karla Jeggle (37th, 20:55.85). UA had 64 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Lancaster (112) as 17 teams scored. The top six teams and top 24 individuals qualified for the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North.
At regional, the top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to the state meet Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
The boys team's season ended in the district 3 meet, as it finished 13th (372) behind champion Lancaster (36) as 16 teams scored.
Sophomore Ian Hamilton led the Bears, finishing 56th (18:08.59), followed by junior Nar Wang (73rd, 18:34.02), sophomore Jurgan Wilkes (74th, 18:34.81), junior Payton Warner (82nd, 19:05.9) and freshmen Jack Taylor (88th, 19:23.98), Andrew Harper (94th, 19:34.87) and Trent Popovich (95th, 19:38.34).
Football team keeps playoff hopes alive
A 26-14 upset of visiting Marysville in an OCC-Central game Oct. 18 kept the football team in playoff contention.
UA was expected to be 19th in the Division I, Region 2 computer ratings released Oct. 22 by the OHSAA. The top 16 teams in the region qualify for the playoffs.
The Bears, who improved to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Central with the win over the Monarchs, travel to Westland on Friday, Oct. 25, before closing out the regular season Nov. 1 at home against Coffman.
Westland fell to 1-7 and 0-5 with a 52-0 loss to Coffman on Oct. 18. The Bears lead the all-time series 20-1 and have outscored the Cougars 310-17 in the last five meetings.
Against Marysville, UA had possession for almost 35 minutes against Marysville, which dropped to 6-2 and 3-2.
Quarterback Kyle Kaparos threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to running back Chase Greenlee, running back Chris Frey had a 1-yard touchdown run and defensive back Lewis Hughes returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Water polo teams look to defend titles
The boys and girls water polo teams each will get a chance to defend their state championships Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, in the state tournament at Mason.
The girls team clinched a state berth by going 2-0 in the South Region tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Mason, defeating Milford 16-4 and Mason 13-6. The boys team went 2-1, beating Canton GlenOak 18-7 and Mason 13-12 and losing to Cincinnati Xavier 15-10 in the regional final.
The girls team, which is 27-1, is seeking its fourth consecutive state title and 14th overall. The boys team, which is 13-9, is seeking its second championship in a row.
The girls team will open the state tournament against Cincinnati Sycamore or Thomas Worthington on Oct. 25. UA is 3-0 this season against Sycamore and it defeated Thomas 8-2 on Aug. 24.
The boys team plays St. Charles in the first round Oct. 25. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 11-8 on Sept. 11.
Season ends for field hockey team
The field hockey team was shut out just three times all season, but two came against Bexley in the final eight days of the season. The second was a 1-0 loss on Oct. 17 in the second round of the district tournament.
Bexley's Julia Applefeld scored the game's only goal with 26:44 to play and, despite outshooting the Lions 12-3, the Bears couldn't pull even. Junior goalkeeper Alee Caldwell made two saves as UA finished 9-6-1 overall and 4-2-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division.
The Bears also lost to Bexley 2-0 on Oct. 9.
"I knew it was going to be sort of a standstill, locked-down game," coach Kelly Roderick said. "It was one of those things of all days, we couldn't get a goal in. The girls gave everything they had on the field and I know they have no regrets. I don't, either. I'm very proud of how they handled themselves and rose to the occasion."
UA finished fourth in the COFHL-West behind Thomas Worthington (7-0), Liberty (5-1-1) and Coffman (5-2) and ahead of Jerome (3-4), Olentangy (2-5), Olentangy Orange (1-6) and Dublin Scioto (0-7).
Senior defender Hannah Tomaszewski had a team-high seven goals and junior forward/midfielder Avery Brick scored five.
Girls soccer team falls to Eagles
Sophomore goalie Hannah Ewing stopped seven of nine shots, but the girls soccer team fell to host and sixth-seeded Watterson 2-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 at Hagely Field.
Coach Mark Wise felt the 17th-seeded Bears, who finished 7-8-2 overall, deserved a better fate.
"The deciding factor was the facility. The field is narrow and the surface is terrible," Wise said. "On a good, solid grass surface, we can play our possession game, but their style of play was direct and that was an advantage on this field. We should have been ready, but it took us 10 to 15 minutes to adjust to the field. We're definitely a lot closer to (Watterson) than a 2-0 score."
UA finished sixth in the OCC-Central at 2-3-2, behind Coffman (6-0), Davidson (5-1-1), Liberty (4-2-1), Thomas Worthington (4-3) and Marysville (3-3-1) and ahead of Central Crossing (1-6) and Westland (0-7).
The Bears played Coffman to a scoreless tie Oct. 8.
Junior midfielder Maddie Miller had a team-high 16 goals, including four three-goal games, and senior forward Kerry Fry scored seven.
"We got better and had some nice wins and lost some tight games," Wise said. "We were peaking coming in here (the district tournament)."
Boys soccer team loses to Celtics
Seeded 13th, the boys soccer team lost to 17th-seeded Jerome 2-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 19 at home to finish 8-8-1.
Sophomore goalie Will Collis had five saves for the Bears, who had a first-round bye.