The Upper Arlington High School boys tennis team will be well represented in the Division I state tournament.
For the first time since 1997, the Golden Bears have advanced six players to state, which takes place Friday, May 30, and Saturday, May 31, at Ohio State. It marks the 56th consecutive year in which UA has had at least one state qualifier.
The Bears won the singles and doubles titles at district May 23 and 24 at Hilliard Davidson.
In singles, junior Chuck Shewalter defeated his teammate, senior Jeffrey Melvin, 6-1, 7-5 in a semifinal and New Albany's Stephen Miller 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the final in singles. In doubles, sophomore Eric Hunter and freshman Jack Zelezny edged New Albany's C.J. Cash and Alex Kobelt 7-5, 7-5 in the final.
Also advancing to state was the doubles team of juniors Tyler Holsopple and Anthony Yang, who placed fourth.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district advanced to state.
"It's actually weird," Hunter said. "We lost five seniors last year and they were all in our top seven. This year, we have new people and just a really strong team despite all the losses."
Holsopple and Yang defeated Dublin Scioto's Sean Ferguson and Rohith Koneru 6-1, 6-3 in the second round to clinch their state berth. They did not play their semifinal and third-place matches because of an ankle injury sustained by Yang during their 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 win over Pickerington North's Cameron Friedman and Franco Platania in the first round.
"(Yang) didn't even acknowledge his ankle in (the state-qualifying) match. That's how tough he is," Holsopple said.
Hunter and Zelezny beat Pickerington North's Matt Barry and Blaine Carr 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in their state-qualifying match, and Melvin clinched his trip to state by handing Hilliard Bradley's Mitchell Thai his only loss of the year, 7-5, 6-3. Melvin defeated Dublin Coffman's Bryan Yoshino 6-2, 6-4 in the third-place match.
Melvin and Shewalter are seeking to become UA's first singles state champion since Bob Gardner in 1973. Rick Slager won singles titles in 1971 and 1972.
Melvin won the state doubles title last year with 2013 graduate Nate Wallace. Another 2013 graduate, Stu Little, placed third in singles.
"It's been our goal to get to state," Shewalter said. "We have a little bit of a push since we haven't sent six to state since 1997, so we hope this is our year."
UA entered the week with another goal, as it sought its third consecutive Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I state title.
The Bears played New Albany in a district final May 27, with the winner advancing to state Sunday, June 1, at Reynoldsburg.
Boys lacrosse team wins tourney opener
Cam Marsh scored five goals to lead a balanced scoring attack as the boys lacrosse team routed visiting Hilliard Darby 19-4 in the first round of the Division I Central Region tournament May 24.
Griffin Caldwell, Danny Logan, Max Rankin, Kyle Roberts and Justin Wick added two goals apiece, and Christian Carlin had four saves as second-seeded UA improved to 17-2. Darby was seeded ninth.
The Bears played host to fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a regional semifinal May 28, with the winner facing Cleveland St. Ignatius or North Canton Hoover in a regional final Saturday, May 31, at a neutral site.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal Wednesday, June 4, at a neutral site. The state final is June 7 at Liberty.
Heuerman wins 3,200 title at district track
Ann Heuerman won the 3,200 meters to lead the girls track and field team in the Division I, district 2 meet that concluded May 24 at Darby.
Heuerman won in 11 minutes, 11.09 seconds, to lead four individuals and two relays into the regional that began May 28 and concludes Friday, May 30, at Pickerington North.
Also qualifying for regional were Emily Jones in the pole vault (second, 10 feet, 8 inches), D'Nae Reese in both the discus (fourth, 109-9) and shot put (fourth, 36-10 3/4), Sarah Shroyer in the 400 (fourth, 59.99), the 1,600 relay of Hannah Peale, Shroyer, Betsy Trace and Collette Young (fourth, 4:04.36) and the 3,200 relay of Megan Brewer, Heuerman, Hannah Peale and Shroyer (fourth 9:38.18).
The top four finishers in each district event advanced to regional.
UA scored 58 points to finish fifth behind champion Gahanna (150) as 15 teams scored.
The boys team also competed in district 2 but did not have any regional qualifiers. Its best finish was by Liam Campbell, who was fifth in the pole vault (12-0).
The Bears finished 14th (7) behind champion Watkins Memorial (108) as 17 teams scored.
The top four finishers in each regional event qualify for state June 6 and 7 at Ohio State.
Baseball coach wants more next season
Baseball coach Matt Middleton rattled off a list of statistics that pleased him. He then told an anecdote he hopes makes his team hungry in 2015.
"We won 19 games and had a .968 fielding percentage," Middleton said. "We hit .310 as a team, had a 2.74 ERA and gave up only 106 runs in 28 games. But the bottom line is, we're tired of getting beat in the district (semifinals)."
UA finished 19-9 overall and 10-4 in the OCC-Central Division, ending its season with a 10-6 loss to seventh-seeded St. Charles in a Division I district semifinal May 20.
The ninth-seeded Bears had a first-round bye and beat 16th-seeded Watkins Memorial 3-0 in a second-round game that concluded May 16.
UA tied Thomas Worthington for second in the OCC-Central, behind Liberty (12-2) and ahead of Marysville (9-5), Coffman (6-8), Davidson (5-9), Central Crossing (4-10) and Westland (0-14).
The Bears lose 10 seniors, including Will Marable (SS/P), Mathis Newman (OF/P), Mitch Nini (3B/SS), David Storer (C) and Kevin Whitfield (P).
Marable had a team-high .402 batting average and 17 RBI and was first-team all-league and all-district. Nini (.322, 22 RBI) was first-team all-league, Newman and junior Alec Radcliff (P/OF) were second-team all-league and Whitfield was honorable mention all-league.
Radcliff batted .343, Storer hit .322 and junior Spencer Pinnick (2B/SS) batted .306.