Westland High School boys soccer coach Dan Heckler knows that his program is making progress.
The Cougars finished 8-9-1 overall this season, marking the most victories during his 10 seasons as coach. The previous high was six, which Westland reached in 2007 (6-8-2) and again last season (6-7-4).
"Everybody (but the state champion) ends on a loss, so even though it's disappointing, we had a lot of good stuff this season," Heckler said. "Overall, I'm happy with how the team progressed and how we did. We did some stuff we haven't done before. It's more wins than we've had in a long time and we had some wins against some good teams."
Seeded 31st, Westland lost to 15th-seeded Pickerington North 5-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
The Cougars went 1-6 in the OCC-Central Division to place seventh, behind Dublin Coffman (6-1), Olentangy Liberty (5-2), Thomas Worthington (5-2), Hilliard Davidson (4-2-1), Upper Arlington (4-3) and Marysville (2-4-1) and ahead of Central Crossing (0-7). Liberty, which is the defending state champion, and Coffman faced each other in a regional final Nov. 2.
Westland defeated Central Crossing 3-0 on Oct. 8.
The Cougars lose 11 seniors, including midfielders Bachir Bah and Eduardo Santiago and goalkeeper Jonathan Olvera.
Bah had 10 goals and eight assists and was named first-team all-league and third-team all district. Santiago was second-team all-league and Olvera had 133 saves.
Expected to return are juniors Barood Ahmed (midfielder), Jose Garcia (midfielder), Ruben Garcia (defender), Luke Klatt (defender), Emmanuel Reyes (defender), Jose Santiago (defender) and Van Thang (midfielder/defender) and sophomores Mohamed Abubakar (midfielder), Tyler Hoffman (midfielder), Chris Jackson (midfielder), Danny Reyes (midfielder), Juan Rios (forward), Marco Santiago (midfielder) and Wyatt Sheline (defender).
Reyes was honorable mention all-league and Rios had a team-high 12 goals.
Girls soccer coach awarded honor
Even though the girls soccer team finished 0-16 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central, coach Pat Ellis was named league Coach of the Year.
Girls volleyball coach Eric Hughes was OCC-Central Coach of the Year in his sport.
"This is not the first time Pat has been singled out by coaches in the league, (but) it's Eric's first," athletics director Greg Burke said. "It's not always about winning. It's about how we prepare, how we play and how our girls handle themselves in competition. So when I have coaches being recognized like that, even though we did not win the league, it shows that we are doing the right thing."
Seeded 40th, the girls soccer team lost to top-seeded Coffman 11-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 after having a first-round bye.
The Cougars finished eighth in the league, behind Coffman (6-0-1), Davidson (5-1-1), Liberty (4-2-1), Thomas Worthington (4-3), Marysville (3-3-1), Upper Arlington (2-3-2) and Central Crossing (1-6).
Westland loses four seniors in Devine Davis (midfielder/ defender), Rachelle Marcum (midfielder), Danielle Miller (midfielder) and Nicole Weber (defender/midfielder).
Among the expected return-ees are sophomore forward Camryn Moreno, who had three goals, and freshman goalie Shayan Brown, who had 146 saves.
Also expected to return are juniors Kate Antonyuk (midfielder), Sarah Demana (midfielder/forward), Sarah Krepps (midfielder), Natalie Rock (defender) and Aleeah Ruthers (defender), sophomores Mariama Bah (defender), Jasmin Campos (defender/midfielder), Cindy Clemente (defender), Eimy Cordova (defender/midfielder), Marisol Garcia (forward), Destinee Long (defender), Nathalie Moeum (forward/midfielder) and Ali Orozco-Bueno (midfielder) and freshmen Chayla Davis (midfielder) and Katie Guy (forward/midfielder).
Farmer competes at regional meet
Seth Farmer of the boys cross country team ended his season in the Division I regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North, as he finished 89th (17 minutes, 48.09 seconds) of 122 runners.
The top 16 individuals advanced to state, which was held Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
"It's heartbreaking to sit there and watch someone have a bad race in a big meet," coach Josh Barkeloo said. "Sometimes the best lessons are hard-learned.
"Fortunately for Seth, he is just a junior and was able to use this as a learning experience. I believe he will rebound from this and go on to have a truly exceptional senior season at Westland."
Farmer was Westland's only regional qualifier.
Season ends for football team
The football team closed the season Nov. 1 at Central Crossing.
Both teams were 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Central entering the contest. Westland lost to Upper Arlington 69-0 on Oct. 25.
"When you have been doing this awhile like I have, you never want the season to stop," coach Steve White said.
Through nine games, sophomore quarterback Clay Carrel had rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown on 70 carries and had completed 12 of 27 passes for 66 yards with one interception.
Wide receiver Reggie Gilliam had 18 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns and wide receiver Dominick Thomas had 22 catches for 219 yards and a score.
"We always try to tell them to keep working hard and good things will happen," White said. "Keep coming back to work the next day and just get better, and hopefully they've been able to realize that and keep moving forward."