The Thomas Worthington High School boys water polo team will be seeking its first state title since 2003 when it competes Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, at Mason.
The Cardinals earned their state tournament berth by winning the North regional tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Napoleon. They went 3-0 to improve to 23-9.
Last season at state, the Cardinals placed fourth, losing to eventual state champion Upper Arlington 18-8 in a semifinal and Toledo St. Francis 10-9 in the consolation to finish 29-9-1.
"We have a shot," coach John Wolf said. "My senior boys have been there before. All of my starters have been there before, so they know what to expect. My starters are pretty solid and they have come together really well this season, and they're playing well as a team."
After a first-round bye, Thomas will play Upper Arlington or St. Charles in a semifinal.
Cincinnati St. Xavier, which won the South regional tournament, will play St. Francis or Mason in the other semifinal.
"We don't have to play the first game. The boys don't have to be down there as early to Mason," Wolf said. "It just depends on the mindset of the boys when they get there. Sometimes we've played a little flat coming out of the cars, so the hope is to get them down there a little bit earlier and get them in the right frame of mind and ready to play."
The championship game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
At regional, second-seeded Thomas defeated Sylvania 16-6 in the first round, top-seeded St. Charles 12-10 in a semifinal and St. Francis 12-9 in the final.
"The last two games were very tough games," Wolf said. "We were lucky to come out of those on top. They could have gone either way. It's just our boys played really well together and were able to score and play really good defense."
Wolf said Brady Roesch and Luke Porteus were the offensive leaders of the weekend, and goalkeeper Grant Smith and Michael Wolf led the defense.
Kilbourne placed fourth at regional, losing to St. Charles 20-10 in the third-place game to finish 13-18. The top three teams qualified for state.
The Wolves opened with a 10-8 win over Napoleon before losing to St. Francis 12-5 in a semifinal.
Kilbourne defeated Sylvania 14-6 in a consolation-round game.
Thomas girls to play in state tournament
The Thomas girls team will be seeking its first state title since 2009.
The Cardinals, who are 12-15, lost to Napoleon 9-7 in the North regional final.
Thomas will play Cincinnati Sycamore in the first round at state, with the winner playing UA in a semifinal. UA has won three consecutive state titles.
Mason and Cincinnati St. Ursula will play in the other first-round game, with the winner playing Napoleon in the other semifinal.
The championship game will be played at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
After a first-round bye at regional, second-seeded Thomas defeated fourth-seeded St. Ursula 15-10 before losing to top-seeded Napoleon.
The Cardinals "found their chemistry again at the regional tournament," coach Lauren Wallace said. "They played very well. I'm excited to take them to state. If they can bring their chemistry that they had last weekend to (this) weekend, they'll definitely have a shot."
Wallace pointed to the contributions of Abby Shell on offense and Cassandra Laios and goalie Melissa Matthews on defense as keys to the team's success.
Kilbourne finished fourth at regional, losing to St. Ursula 10-3 in the third-place game to finish 14-18. The third-seeded Wolves opened with a 19-8 win over fifth-seeded Sylvania before losing to Napoleon 14-9 in a semifinal.
Kilbourne defeated sixth-seeded New Albany 11-3 in a consolation-round game.