Sophomore Angelo Ricci of the DeSales High School boys track and field team entered the Division I regional meet May 24 at Pickerington North unsure whether anything less than his district effort in the high jump would be good enough to earn a state berth.

In other years, it might not have been.

Video •Watch an interview with DeSales boys track and field athlete Angelo Ricci.

But Ricci took advantage on a day that featured steady winds and, at times, driving rain, leaping 20 feet, 7 1/4 inches to place fourth and qualify for the state meet for the first time.

The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.

Ricci, who leapt 21-1 1/2 to finish fourth in the district 1 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby, had a clean day as he fouled only once in six attempts.

“There were a lot of scratches and a lot of 19 (-foot jumps) because of the rain and the wind being so bad. Not everybody was on their ‘A’ game, and I ended up squeaking in to state,” Ricci said. “It wasn’t a bad day. I was pretty proud of myself.”

Based on other area results, Ricci thought he would need a 21-7 to advance and thinks he will need at least that distance to contend at state.

Last year, his 20-7 1/4 would have tied him for ninth at regional. It would have been sixth-best in 2015 and eighth-best in 2014.

“I’ve never been to the state meet, even to watch,” Ricci said. “I’m just feeling a lot of happiness.”

Ricci will be joined at state by Derrius Mullins, who finished third in the discus (154-7) on May 24 to advance for the second consecutive year.

“The rain made it challenging and slippery, but the wind was actually to my advantage,” Mullins said. “I was consistent all day. I’ve been consistent throughout the season. (Throws coach Greg Zacharias) has worked hard for me and done so much for me.

“It helps having been here. The first time I went through this, I was nervous and now I’m not. Now I take this (the postseason) just as a normal meet. You just have to trust in what you know you can do.”

On May 26, Mullins competed in the shot put and Ian McCandlish ran in the 800 meters final.

Also competing at regional but failing to advance were Art Williams in the 400 (10th, 50.23 seconds) and James Ervin in the 100 (14th, 11.47).

DeSales is seeking its first state champion since 1991, when Mike Merrick won the Division II title in the high jump.

Baseball team seeks
return to state

The baseball team played Hamilton Ross in a Division II regional semifinal May 26 at Mason, needing two wins to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2012.

DeSales was 18-11 before playing Ross.

The winner played Dayton Chaminade Julienne or Waynesville in the regional final May 27 at Mason.

The regional champion will play plays Athens, Gnadenhutten Indian Valley, Marietta or Steubenville in a state semifinal Thursday, June 1, at Huntington Park, and the semifinal winner will play Canfield, Chagrin Falls, Chardon Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin, Lexington, Maumee or Tallmadge in the state final Saturday, June 3, at Huntington Park.

DeSales defeated Chagrin Falls 10-3 on March 31 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Stallions got a regular-season win last week, defeating Newark Catholic 8-7 on May 22. DeSales tied the game with seven runs in the fourth inning and scored the winning run in the sixth.

Greg Gilbert, Drew McLuckie and Dylan Payne each had two hits.

Girls lacrosse team
wins regional semi

The girls lacrosse team advanced to the Division II, Region 7 final by surviving one of its closest games of the season, edging fourth-seeded Bexley 14-13 in a regional semifinal May 24 at home.

Sophia Finotti had five goals, Jennie Finotti scored four and Grace Lensmire scored three to power the top-seeded Stallions. Goalkeeper Emily Kraker made six saves as DeSales improved to 4-1 in one-goal games.

The Stallions were 17-1 before playing second-seeded Columbus Academy in the regional final May 27. The winner advanced to a state semifinal May 30, and the state final is Saturday, June 3, at Ohio Wesleyan University.

DeSales is seeking its second consecutive state championship.

Murphy named
boys basketball coach

Athletics director Tom Neubert needed only look across town – and the CCL – to find a new boys basketball coach.

Pat Murphy, the current athletics director at Hartley who formerly played and coached boys basketball at Ready, has been hired to replace Joe Bills, Neubert announced May 24.

Murphy, a 1992 graduate of Ready, has been in his current job since 2013. That transition into administration came after coaching stints at Briggs (2001-02), Ready (2002-06) and Lebanon (2006-11).

“The last few years, I’ve really missed coaching and I’ve been transparent with my boss that if a good job ever came open, I’d look into it,” said Murphy, who has a career record of 99-119. “I talked with Mr. Neubert and (DeSales principal Dan) Garrick and it seemed like a great fit. I am looking forward to being back on the sideline again.”

At DeSales, Murphy will teach English and work in the school’s Institutional Advancement office.

Bills resigned May 8 after going 58-41 overall and 15-17 in the CCL in four seasons with the Stallions. Bills is taking a teaching position at Upper Arlington.

Last season, DeSales went 18-7 overall and 5-3 in the CCL, losing to Eastmoor Academy 54-51 in overtime in a Division II district semifinal.

Boys lacrosse team
falls to Wolves

The boys lacrosse team’s season ended at the hands of Worthington Kilbourne for the second consecutive year, as the second-seeded Stallions lost to the third-seeded Wolves 12-10 in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal May 23 at home.

Sophomore midfielder Tommy Clayton had three goals and junior attacker Connor O’Brien scored two for DeSales, which finished 15-3. The Stallions trailed 4-3 after the first quarter and never led over the final three quarters.

Junior goalie Alex McClary made five saves.

Kilbourne also defeated DeSales 14-8 in the Central Region final last year on its way to winning the state championship.

The Stallions began the 17-team tournament with home wins over 15th-seeded Wellington in the first round (18-2 on May 16) and seventh-seeded Dayton Oakwood in a regional quarterfinal (12-5 on May 19).

Seniors Colton Hilleary (long-stick midfielder) and Chris Stoll (attacker), juniors Jack DeSantis (defender) and Carter Hilleary (midfielder) and Clayton were named first-team all-region, and O’Brien and freshman Mason Rickens (midfielder) were second-team all-region.

DeSantis and Carter Hilleary were named regional Players of the Year at their respective positions.

Senior midfielder Joe Revard has committed to play for Wheeling Jesuit.

Boys volleyball team
falls in regional semi

The boys volleyball team fell short of the state tournament for only the second time since 2012 when it lost at top-seeded Dublin Scioto 25-22, 25-23, 17-25, 25-22 in a Division II East Region semifinal May 20.

Fourth-seeded DeSales finished 12-8.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave