Nick Brandt excels in two sports even though his responsibilities in them appear to be at odds.
The senior sparks the attack for the Olentangy Orange High School boys lacrosse team in the spring. In the winter, he leads the hockey team's defense.
Although those roles seemingly are different, Brandt said the skill sets have proved to be complementary.
"You wouldn't think that it would be, but the skating position as a defenseman helps me around the net (in lacrosse)," said Brandt, who was honorable mention all-state in hockey this season. "In hockey, I would be in a deep squat going backward probably 75 percent of the time. I do that around the net (in lacrosse) and keep my balance with the ball. Being low helps a lot."
Brandt is playing at a high level this spring, leading the Pioneers to a record of 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Liberty on April 18. He entered the game with a team-high 44 goals and 11 assists.
"Nick has a great temperament; he comes ready to play," coach Patrick Boyce said. "He has that unique ability to be joking around and then being the most intense player on the field. He is ultra-confident in his abilities and wants the ball in the clutch."
Brandt likes hockey but said lacrosse is his passion, especially because of its team aspect.
"One kid can make a huge difference in hockey, but it's not that way in lacrosse," said Brandt, who will play lacrosse at Capital and was first-team all-region and all-league last season. "You really have to rely on other people in lacrosse. It's such a people sport, and that's what makes it so enjoyable."
The Pioneers are coming off a season in which they finished 16-4 to tie the program record for victories, which was set in 2014 when they had the same record.
Boyce was an assistant then under former coach Will Mathes, who currently is an assistant with the program. Brandt said Boyce's style as a first-year head coach makes for well-rounded players.
"It was different last year because coach Mathes is a defensive coach and coach Boyce has worked more on the offensive end," Brandt said. "Instead of having specific roles to our positions, we have to know how to do everything. The offense needs to know the defense and the defenders need to know the offense. We have to be ready to play any position."
Boyce said Brandt makes unselfish decisions on the field, which is part of his growth as a player.
"In the evolution of a player, first you'll work off the ball for a shot and second you'll make your own shot," Boyce said. "The third level is making shot opportunities for others. Nick makes that extra pass in order to get better shots. He's unselfish that way."
O'Reilly, Brown throw
gems for baseball team
Strong performances from two senior pitchers helped buoy the baseball team, which was 9-4 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Buckeye after losing to Olentangy 1-0 on April 17.
Garrett O'Reilly tossed a no-hitter in a 9-0 victory at Upper Arlington on April 13. Orange scored seven runs in the first inning.
O'Reilly faced 22 batters, one over the minimum, because the Pioneers committed an error. He had three strikeouts.
On April 10, Tyler Brown threw a one-hitter with eight strikeouts and faced the minimum 15 batters in a 10-0 victory in five innings at Westerville South. He gave up a single to lead off the bottom of the first, but the runner was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Marlo Robinson has led the offense for the softball team, which was 4-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye after defeating South 12-0 on April 17.
Through eight games, Robinson was batting .375 with eight runs, three doubles and two RBI. Alyssa Laisure was hitting .370 with five doubles, nine RBI, five runs and seven walks.
Ally Brandt was hitting .308 with the team's lone home run and three runs scored. Alex Nagy was batting .296 with four runs and three doubles.
In the circle, Nagy had a 1.99 ERA in 32 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts and seven walks. Brenna Oliver had thrown 32 innings with 24 strikeouts and four walks.
On April 12, 20 Orange student-athletes announced their college decisions.
In addition to Brandt, Logan Broskie will compete in wrestling at Ohio Northern, Tyler Brown will play baseball at Vanderbilt, J.D. Dayhuff will play football at Carnegie Mellon, Brooke Delara will play women's lacrosse at Capital, Bobby Eleyet will play football at Otterbein, Angel Frye will compete in women's track and field at Ashland, Spencer Gifford will play men's golf at Otterbein, Bailey Hurley will play women's soccer at Ohio Wesleyan, Hunter Knipp will play men's lacrosse at Capital, Alexandra Lowry will play women's lacrosse at Capital, Brittany Miller will play women's golf at Ohio Wesleyan, Hunter Moore will compete in men's track and field at Eastern Michigan, Logan Moss will play baseball at Ashland, Vince Reda will play football at Thomas More, Tiere Richardson will compete in women's track and field at Western Michigan, Robinson will play softball at Case Western Reserve, Adam Scherman will play men's lacrosse at Capital, Jason Schutte will play baseball at West Liberty and Brandon Thornbourgh will play men's soccer at Ohio Northern.