The Upper Arlington High School boys lacrosse team had to travel unfamiliar roads to return to a familiar place.
The Golden Bears traveled about 135 miles to play in their Division I regional final, defeating North Canton Hoover 15-2 on May 31 at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Hoover is only 28 miles from CVCA, but UA made sure that disparity became a non-issue by scoring 12 unanswered goals to advance to state for the 22nd time in 23 seasons.
"Considering the fact we had to travel so far for a game like that, I was very pleased with the start we had, then that we built the lead like we did," coach Ted Wolford said. "I think it was a combination of skill factor and our preparation. We did our homework and knew who we needed to stop and when to attack. The kids bought in and they played very well."
UA took a 3-0 lead before allowing Hoover to score a little more than seven minutes into the game. The Bears didn't give up another score until the final five minutes, after they had opened a 15-1 lead.
The Bears improved to 19-2 and advanced to play Hudson in a state semifinal June 4 at Denison University. The winner faces Cincinnati St. Xavier or Dublin Jerome in the state final at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Olentangy Liberty.
Kyle Roberts led the way against Hoover with a career-high five goals. Cam Marsh added three goals, and Carter Braet and Jack Pardi each scored two for the Bears, who led 11-1 at halftime. Christian Carlin had four saves and Wes Markwood made two.
Twelve of UA's 15 goals against Hoover came off assists, including four of Roberts' five goals.
"That was the great thing about (the game against Hoover)," Wolford said. "Kyle has been coming along all year. It's been a matter of him getting his opportunities to finish. He's done his part, and everybody else is doing theirs, too."
UA is 3-0 against its potential state-final foes this season. The Bears defeated Jerome 10-6 in their season opener April 2 and 9-7 in the North American Lacrosse Invitational on May 18 at Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice, and they beat St. Xavier 11-8 on May 9.
The two-time defending state champion Bears have beaten Jerome in the state final the past two years, winning both games by a score of 7-6.
The only time UA has failed to advance to state since 1992 was 2011, when it lost to Worthington Kilbourne in a regional final.
The top seed in the Central Region, the Bears advanced to the regional final by defeating fifth-seeded Liberty 13-5 in a semifinal May 28. Marsh had four goals, Justin Wick scored three and Pardi and Roberts each scored two, and Carlin had 10 saves.
Heuerman advances to state track meet
Ann Heuerman will represent the girls track and field team in the Division I state meet.
The sophomore qualified for state in the 3,200 meters by placing fourth in a personal-best 11 minutes, 4.53 seconds at regional held May 28 and May 30 at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state, which will be held Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Ohio State.
Gahanna's Kelsey Sandlin won the regional title in the 3,200 (10:58.02). Hilliard Davidson's Jane Onders (11:00.58) and Dover's Katherine Lehman (11:02) placed second and third, respectively, and Jerome's Carly Davis placed fifth (11:13.2).
Lehman had led part of the race by 10 seconds or more before dropping back to the pack.
"Kelsey caught (Lehman) and I was trying to catch her, too," said Heuerman, who competed in the state cross country meet the past two years. "I couldn't do it. But everything went well. We had a bunch of girls in the region going low 11s, so it would have been tough getting out with anything much above that. I knew I'd have to be in that range."
Heuerman is seeded 12th at state.
Competing at regional but failing to advance were Emily Jones in the pole vault (sixth, 10 feet, 6 inches), Sarah Shroyer in the 400 (10th, 1:00.53), D'Nae Reese in the shot put (10th, 35-4) and discus (11th, 103-4), the 3,200 relay of Megan Brewer, Shroyer, Dorrian Jaffe and Hannah Peale (10th, 9:46.64) and the 1,600 relay of Betsy Trace, Shroyer, Collette Young and Peale (12th, 4:09.84).
The Bears scored eight points at regional to tie Hilliard Bradley for 25th behind champion Pickerington Central (75) as 41 teams scored.
The boys team did not have any regional qualifiers.
Softball coach reflects on team's .500 season
Given his team's athleticism, softball coach Todd DelBoccio had high hopes for the season, in which UA finished 12-12 overall and 4-9 in the OCC-Central.
"This was the most athletic team we've had in a couple years," DelBoccio said. "They worked extremely hard. They were very good athletes and worked well together. That pushed us all year. We just didn't get as many wins as we hoped for."
Seeded 16th in the Division I district tournament, UA had a first-round bye and traveled to sixth-seeded Pickerington Central for a second-round game May 16. The Bears held leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but Central went ahead with a grand slam in the third inning and added six runs in the sixth en route to a 13-3 win.
UA finished sixth in the OCC-Central Division, behind co-champions Liberty and Marysville (both 12-2), Central Crossing (9-4), Thomas Worthington (8-6) and Davidson (6-8) and ahead of Dublin Coffman (4-10) and Westland (0-14).
The Bears did not play one of their two league games against Central Crossing. The contest was postponed April 30 and again May 10 because of bad weather and was not rescheduled for a second time.
UA loses six seniors, including third baseman Alex Keller, first baseman Stacy Gibson, shortstop Elena Medich, pitcher McKinly Vazquez and outfielder Annika Wachtman.
Keller had a team-best .380 batting average, Wachtman batted .321 and Vazquez was 8-7 in the circle with 85 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings.
Vazquez was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and Wachtman was second-team all-league and all-district. Keller was special mention all-league and Gibson was honorable mention all-league.
The Bears expect to return three starters in juniors Avery Brick (2B) and Sam Good (C) and sophomore Elli Wachtman (OF). Also expected back are sophomore Caroline Warner and freshman Ida Kegley, both of whom pitched behind Vazquez.
Brick was special mention all-league