Coach Lisa Molnar is looking to put together a winner in her second season leading the Westerville North High School boys volleyball team.
The Warriors have seven seniors, but most have only limited varsity experience. That's after North finished 16-5 overall last season and tied Dublin Scioto and Westerville South for the OCC-Cardinal Division title at 10-2.Video •Watch an interview with Westerville North boys volleyball player Beck Barr.
Senior libero Beck Barr (honorable mention all-league) and senior middle hitter Hunter Meadows return along with junior setter Pierce Monnin (second-team all-league) and junior Marcus Raine (right-side hitter). Junior Deyante Johnson (middle hitter) split time between varsity and j.v. last season.
"Last year we had a great season and we created a lot of excitement and new interest, and new players came out," said Molnar, whose team was 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Olentangy Liberty on April 11. "The issue for us now is timing and experience. We potentially have an amazing team, but so many of our players are in not only their first season, but first month of the sport."
Those new players include seniors David Fratienne (right-side hitter), C.J. Johnson (middle hitter), Connor Ledford (middle hitter) and Malik Sammons (outside hitter).
"We have a bunch of new guys who are crazy athletic," Barr said. "It's amazing how they have picked things up when they haven't played before. I'm excited to see how they will be playing by the end of the year."
North defeated Westerville Central 25-20, 25-16, 22-25, 25-17 on April 4 in its OCC-Buckeye and season opener. It then lost to Olentangy 17-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-14 on April 6 in a league match.
On April 8, the Warriors went 2-1 in the Polar Bear Bash at Massillon Jackson. They defeated Medina 25-10, 25-14 and Hudson 25-16, 25-24 but lost to Brunswick 23-25, 25-19, 25-23.
"We need to get back to what we were doing last year," Monnin said. "We won the league and we were playing with a lot of confidence. We have a bunch of new guys this year, and we get better each time we play. We need to have fun with it."
Rounding out the roster are senior Will Cooper (defensive specialist), juniors Josh Brown (defensive specialist), Travis Furman (defensive specialist), Zach Richards (right-side hitter) and Clay Stickney (setter) and sophomore Austin Hayes (setter).
"This is an incredibly enthusiastic group," Molnar said. "They are buying into the idea of the greater purpose of the team. I think there is a lot of character with this group. They have a good work ethic and they're not afraid to work for each other."
Girls team working
to get in track shape
Coach Johnny Jackson has his girls track and field team working to get in shape.
Jackson has several multi-sport athletes on his roster, but they still are working toward where they need to be.
"I like multi-sport athletes because playing different sports allows for different body development and makes for well-rounded athletes," said Jackson, who is in his 14th season. "They may think they come out here in shape, but track is different. We don't have timeouts in track in races or practices. We finish what we're doing and then we line up and do it again."
Senior Karli Royer, junior Leah Freeman, sophomore Riley Welsheimer and freshmen Jalylse Cornley and Jaiden Stokes lead the sprinters.
"We have a young sprinting corps and they were good in middle school," Jackson said. "They want to come in and do well and they are very competitive with each other."
Competing in her first high school meet, Royer finished fourth in the 400 meters (1 minute, 0.24 of a second) and fifth in the 200 (26.85) in the season-opening Stingel Invitational on April 8 at Pickerington North. The Warriors were 11th (28 points) of 15 teams behind champion Pickerington Central (109).
"Karli has potential and she has a lot of raw talent," Jackson said. "She will be able to help us a lot. I wish she would have come out earlier because she could be one of the best in the area."
Senior Asia Harris will compete in the throws and the high jump. Last season, she was the team's lone Division I regional qualifier and finished ninth in the shot put (35 feet, 4 inches).
Senior Dasia Burgess, junior Emily Bueter and sophomore Erica Mobley lead the distance corps with sophomore Katie Koch and freshman Samantha Dages running middle distance.
Jumpers start strong
for boys track team
Jackson expects his sprints and relays to be a highlight for the boys track team, but two long-jumpers led the way in the Stingel Invitational.
Senior Abie Turay was second (21-10 1/2) and senior Anthony Wong was fifth (19-10 3/4) to account for all of their team's points. The Warriors were 15th (12) of 16 teams behind champion Pickerington Central (104).
"Our strength is probably our sprints and we could have some good relays this year if we put things together," said Jackson, who is in his 12th season leading the boys. "We should also have some good jumpers and throwers this year."
Senior Mason Hay and sophomores Jeremiah Burton and Ramsey Farrow look to be the top throwers.
Turay and Wong also compete in the high jump and are sprinters along with senior Spencer Wills-Wright, junior Rodney Van Cleaf and sophomore Cyrus Neville. Juniors Carter Hudnell and Austin Ebbecht move from distance to sprints.
"We need to come together more as relays because we don't have that one outstanding sprinter," Jackson said. "We need to stay healthy and work on baton exchanges because that will be a big deal for us."
Competing in the hurdles are Neville and juniors Julian Slate, Rondale Smith and Kion Tucker. Seniors Jack Borden, Jacques Gauthier and John Whitesmith are the top distance runners.
"We don't want our kids to be running their best times yet," Jackson said. "We don't peak until OCCs and district. Our kids need to be peaking at the right time."
TRACK & FIELD
April 8 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North
April 19 -- Gahanna Relays
April 21 -- Fulton Relays at Lancaster
April 24 -- Northland Invitational
April 28 -- Milt Will Relays at Canal Winchester
May 2 -- vs. Westerville South
May 5 -- Warhawk Relays at Otterbein
May 11, 13 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Olentangy Orange
*April 4 -- at Westerville Central
*April 6 -- vs. Olentangy
April 8 -- Polar Bear Bash at Massillon Jackson
*April 11 -- at Olentangy Liberty
*April 13 -- vs. Westerville South
April 18 -- at St. Charles
*April 20 -- vs. Westerville Central
*April 25 -- at Olentangy
*April 27 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
May 4 -- vs. Mount Vernon
May 5 -- Spike for Tykes at Greater Columbus Convention Center
*May 10 -- at Westerville South
May 13 -- Pickerington Central Quad
May 17 -- OCC Challenge at Hilliard Darby
Below are the coming schedules for the North baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball and boys volleyball teams:
*April 14 -- At Westerville Central
April 15 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Ohio Wesleyan
*April 17 -- Home vs. Westerville South
*April 19 -- At South
*April 13 -- At New Albany
*April 18 -- Home vs. Central
*April 13 -- Home vs. New Albany
*April 18 -- At Central
*April 13 -- Home vs. Olentangy
April 15 -- Home vs. Johnstown and Pickerington Central
*April 17 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*April 19 -- Home vs. South
*April 13 -- At Liberty
April 17 -- Home vs. Bexley
*April 18 -- Home vs. South