The DeSales High School track and field teams had strong finishes in the Stallion Invitational on April 14.

The DeSales High School track and field teams had strong finishes in the Stallion Invitational on April 14.

The girls team scored 85.25 points to finish third in the 12-team meet behind Olentangy Orange (146) and Canal Winchester (143.75) and ahead of Brookhaven (74), London (41), Hamilton Township (40.75), Pickerington North (40.5), Northland (23), Watterson (13.75), Westerville South (8), Beechcroft (6) and Grove City Christian (1).

"With us missing 12 girls who contribute significantly who were on spring break, I'm very happy and pleased with what we were able to do," coach Greg Zachariah said. "We had some young kids step in and perform and we showed our depth. We didn't set any records or anything, but since it was our first day in rainy, cold weather and we came close to several personal records, I'm just very thrilled."

Sophomore Ashli Pope placed second in the 100 meters (12.57 seconds) and third in the 200 (27.41). Senior Sophia Nnadi was second in the discus (119 feet, 2 inches) and third in the shot put (34-11).

Pope also teamed with juniors Sierra Mergliano and Leah Selmek and sophomore Erin Kuisti on the second-place 400 relay (52.85).

"I thought we got a number of great efforts in the adverse conditions and Ashli Pope, Leah Selmek, Sierra Mergliano, Sophia Nnadi and Kristin Faulkner did a great job leading us," Zachariah said. "I thought with missing 12 girls, we'd finish fifth or sixth. We used makeshift lineups and the girls' drive and hard work showed."

The boys team finished second (125.66) of 12 teams behind Canal Winchester (131.5) and ahead of Orange (95.33), Brookhaven (78.5), Hamilton Township (62), Northland (29.5), Watterson (27), Westerville South (17.5), London (17), Grove City Christian (14), Beechcroft (10) and Columbus East (10).

Finishing first were LeShaun Sanders in the 400 (52.76), the 400 relay of Auston Garrett, Tariq DeGraffinreed, Tristan Caldwell and Breyon Bowman (45.07), David Brooks-Dandridge in the shot put (48-0) and Aaron Melsop in the long jump (21-7 1/2).

Softball coach encouraged by way team is playing

Even though the softball team lost five starters from a year ago when it reached the Division II state tournament for the first time, coach Julie Barber thinks this year's squad is as good as last year's.

"We had a rough opening week because I don't think the girls believed in themselves or believed that they were as good as we told them they could be," Barber said. "But now we're on a roll and the girls are showing confidence and believing in their ability."

The Stallions improved to 8-2 by beating Watterson 12-2 on April 16 in the CCL opener.

DeSales was hitting .424 as a team through nine games and senior pitcher Sarah Flint has been strong in replacing 2011 graduate Kelsey Seeds, who was first-team all-state last year.

"Sarah is a totally different style of pitcher than Kelsey," Barber said. "Kelsey was overpowering and Sarah is a finesse-type of pitcher. She is the first pitcher I've ever coached who can make her ball move in all four directions. She's been dominating."

With fourth-year starter Kelsey Albanese at shortstop, four-year letterwinner Bryn Allen at first base and three-year letterwinner Anna Gentile at second base, Barber said the defense has been strong behind Flint. She also noted the play of outfielders Deonna Jones and Cassidy Jenkins.

The most pleasant surprise for Barber has been the offense.

"We're scoring a lot of runs and I didn't expect us to be that strong on offense this early," she said. "But the younger girls have stepped up and our baserunning is more aggressive. Allen, Jenkins, Jones and Flint are all batting .500 or better."

Girls lacrosse team suffers first loss

The girls lacrosse team endured its first loss of the season on April 12 when it fell to host Columbus School for Girls 11-9 in a Central Independent League game.

It was the first game for the Stallions in April and also marked their first game on grass this season.

"We had some trouble scooping the ball up because we weren't used to grass, but that's not an excuse," coach Joe Finotti said. "We also were sluggish and didn't play well, and that's the nature of a long layoff over spring break.

"We scored when we got the ball in the attack end, but we really struggled with ground balls and defense."

The Stallions bounced back to beat Westerville Central 15-7 on April 14 and Dublin Scioto 11-9 on April 16 to improve to 5-1 overall.

"When we play DeSales-style lacrosse, we will do well," Finotti said. "We want to play with intensity from the first whistle to the final whistle. We want to be aggressive and give great effort until we're exhausted and have to ask out. We want to attack the ball at all times on defense and push the ball at all times on offense."

Finotti said Jessica Johnson, Paige Pleisch and Mallory Janszen have led the attack, with Ali Cargin and Margaret Kistner playing well on defense. He also said Johnson and Cargin have been solid in the midfield.

"I believe in these girls," Finotti said. "They work hard and the staff works hard. We're about on pace with where I thought we would be. If we continue to play DeSales-style, we should easily exceed .500 ball."