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Defense keys boys lacrosse team

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Forgive Upper Arlington High School boys lacrosse coach Ted Wolford if he doesn't get too high or low when it comes to regular-season results.

The Golden Bears controlled the first three quarters of a home game against Cincinnati Moeller on April 16, scoring the game's first eight goals and overcoming some strong play by the Crusaders late to win 10-5.

That victory, coupled with a 16-5 win over Dublin Coffman on April 17, raised the Bears' record to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Worthington Kilbourne on April 23.

"These are moral victories, but not necessarily anything that will really help us down the road," said Wolford, whose team is seeking its third consecutive Division I state championship. "We understand that defense will be the key that will take us where we want to go. We're constantly talking about how we're going to play defensively.

"Overall, we have done a lot of good things, but we're still looking at what we need to continue to work on to help us for the end of the year."

UA was averaging 11.6 goals through seven games. Junior attacker Justin Wick had a team-best 19 goals, followed by senior attacker Cam Marsh (15) and junior attacker Jack Pardi (12) as 18 players had at least one goal.

Wolford also was pleased with the Bears' defensive play, as a rotation of three goalkeepers had allowed an average of 4.4 goals through seven games.

The defense is anchored by seniors Brandon Jones and Trent Porterfield and juniors Jackson Pfister and Jack Plasket.

Jones was named first-team all-state last year and is an Air Force Academy recruit.

Jack Reed, a senior, was the starting goalie in the season-opening 10-6 win over Dublin Jerome on April 2 and had 12 saves. He had 11 saves against Moeller and has split time with sophomore Christian Carlin and junior Wes Markwood in goal.

"I just try to go in there and make saves and really focus hard," Reed said. "We've had some guys step up (defensively), like Trent Porterfield and Brandon Jones and Jack Plasket, who are playing well. I know we're capable. Every year, we have to deal with working new guys in, and I'm one of them. It's not easy to step in for a guy like Jack Warmolts (a 2013 graduate who is playing at Air Force). I just tried to work hard in the offseason and come out strong."

Wolford hasn't ruled out juggling personnel in any area during the next few weeks.

"If you want a position, rather than telling everybody you want that position, go and get it," he said. "You have to earn it."

Zelezny shines in Worthington Cup

Boys tennis coach Amos Allison chose freshman Jack Zelezny to represent his team in singles in the eight-team Worthington Cup on April 19 at Thomas Worthington, and that proved to be the correct decision.

Zelezny, who has rotated between third singles and doubles this season, defeated two-time Division I state qualifier Cameron Raglin of Reynoldsburg 6-2, 4-6, 12-10 in the final to secure the team championship for the Bears.

The Bears scored 18 points in the event to finish ahead of Reynoldsburg (14), Pickerington North (12) and Hilliard Davidson (8). Thomas and Kilbourne both scored six points to tie for fifth, and Dublin Jerome and Granville both scored five points to tie for seventh.

"I wanted to give Jack a good tournament experience and he certainly took advantage," Allison said. "It was an excellent win for Jack (against Raglin). He beat Blaine Carr of Pickerington North a round before that, and Blaine's an excellent player. Everything turned out the way I hoped it would. It was absolutely a best-case scenario for Jack."

Each team competing in the Worthington Cup was allowed to be represented by one singles player and a doubles team. Allison opted to give his top two singles players, Jeffrey Melvin and Chuck Shewalter, the day off.

In addition to Zelezny, the Bears were represented by Tyler Holsopple and Eric Hunter, who combined to win the doubles title.

UA was 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Hilliard Davidson on April 22. Its only loss entering the week was to Cincinnati Sycamore, 3-2 on April 12.

"I've been pleased so far. The competition we've had has been strong and the effort is there," Allison said. "I want to see us work on controlling our emotions a little bit better. Sometimes we let negative emotions come out and that can not only distract us, but also give the opponent some confidence. We must keep developing our good habits."

Girls track team wins Chieftain Relays

The girls track and field team won two events and finished second in seven more to earn a share of the championship of the Chieftain Relays on April 17 at Bellefontaine.

UA scored 94 points to tie Toledo Whitmer as 10 teams scored. The title was the Bears' first championship this year.

UA won the 6,400-meter relay (meet-record 22 minutes, 7.5 seconds) and the 3,200 relay (10:18.3). The Bears were runners-up in the high jump (13 feet, 10 inches), long jump (40-4 1/4), pole vault (18-0), shuttle hurdles (1:10.4), distance medley (10:02.1), 400 relay (52.03), 800 relay (1:51.25) and 1,600 relay (4:18.06).

The boys team finished ninth (26) of 10 teams in the Chieftain Relays, behind champion Toledo Whitmer (94). The Bears' best finishes came in the 1,600 relay (third, 3:35.35) and high jump (fourth, 16-4).

UA competes in the Fulton Relays on Friday, April 25, at Lancaster, the third of three relay meets for the Bears this season.

"I like having relay meets earlier in the year," girls coach Latisha Wilder said. "Since we have a really large team, we like to get as many athletes on the track as we can, especially early in the season, just to see what everyone can do in several events.

"These (meets) just happened to fit our schedule. They were looking for another team and there we were."

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