The celebrations lasted late into the afternoon May 13 at Olentangy Orange for all the members of the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys and girls track and field teams.
Not only did both teams do well in individual events, but the boys captured their first team championship since 2008 to go along with the girls wrapping up their fifth consecutive OCC-Ohio Division title.Videos •Watch an interview with Gahanna girls track athlete Shaina Rutledge and Alexis Thigpen. •Watch an interview with boys track athletes Joseph Gathuru and Dontae Deas.
Both teams now are competing in the Division I, district 2 meet at Hilliard Darby. The meet began with field events May 16 and running preliminaries May 17 and concludes Saturday, May 20, with running finals.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional Wednesday, May 24, and May 26 at Pickerington North.
Boys track team
wins four OCC events
In the league meet, which began May 11, the boys track team earned titles in four events.
The 800-meter relay of Jerome Buckner, Joseph Gathuru, Jayvonta Tolliver and LaCarr Trent led the way by running a league-record 1 minute, 26.96 seconds.
Also winning were the 400 relay of Buckner, Trent, Dontae Deas and Zechariah Holderby (43.16), Trent in the 100 (10.82) and Brendon Cox in the shot put (55 feet, 7 1/4 inches).
Gahanna scored 147 points to edge Pickerington Central (143) for the title, while Reynoldsburg (97), Lancaster (77), Pickerington North (43) and Grove City (16) rounded out the standings.
"We had some ups and downs and we knew it would be tight," coach Shawn Johnston said.
Tolliver was runner-up in the 400 (49.75) and took third in the 200 (22.49), and Solomon Costa took fourth in both the 800 (1:59.47) and 1,600 (4:21.2).
Also earning runner-up finishes were Deas in the 110 hurdles (14.44) and 300 hurdles (39.39), Cox in the discus (152-5), Holderby in the long jump (20-10 3/4), Jason Mehalic in the 3,200 (9:53.43) and the 1,600 relay of Deas, Andrew Ray, Derrick Bradley and Kelly Wilson (3:28.41).
Colton Bosaw took third in the pole vault (12-6). Placing fourth were Gathuru in the 400 (51.19), Kylan Kaylor in the high jump (5-10) and Cameron Riddle in the shot put (46-2).
"It was hard really because (the OCC-Ohio has) great teams, but we came out and did our thing and stayed true to ourselves, and when we do that, nobody can stop us," Gathuru said.
Girls track team
adds another title
Record-setting performances helped the girls track team win its league title.
The 400 relay and the 3,200 relay each set a league record as Gahanna scored 165 points to finish ahead of Pickerington Central (150), Lancaster (85), Pickerington North (65), Reynoldsburg (42) and Grove City (16).
Running on the 400 relay (47.56) were Benja Duff, Ivy McKee, Shaina Rutledge and Amariah Thomas, while the 3,200 relay (9:19.12) was comprised of Sara Buckner, Shynae Deas, Madison Martinez and Claire Steigerwald.
Also capturing titles were Duff in the 100 hurdles (14.28) and 300 hurdles (44.7), Steigerwald in the 1,600 (5:05.99) and 3,200 (11:21.36), Martinez in the 800 (2:15.68) and the 1,600 relay of Deas, McKee, Martinez and Thomas (3:54.41).
Earning runner-up finishes were Deas in the 800 (2:18.24), Brooke Johnson in the shot put (39-5 1/2), Taylor Molli in the long jump (16-6 1/4), Courtney Owens in the 300 hurdles (45.03), Alexis Thigpen in the 400 (57.65), Thomas in the 100 (12.1) and 200 (24.93) and the 800 relay of Deas, Rutledge, Thigpen and Trinity Houpe (1:42.66).
Finishing fourth were Kierra Randolph in the long jump (16-2 1/4) and Ari Redmond in the 800 (2:25.05).
"This was a meet that I thought was a 50-50 toss-up (against Central)," coach Roger Whittaker said. "Two events really made the difference: The shot put, where Brooke Johnson was not even (expected to) score and she took second, and Taylor Molli taking second in the long jump. There's no question those two events kind of swayed things for us."
Baseball team makes
On May 16, the seventh-seeded baseball team played 15th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a Division I district semifinal at Upper Arlington.
The winner plays third-seeded Olentangy or ninth-seeded Mount Vernon in a district final Thursday, May 18, at a site to be announced.
The district champion plays Grove City, Dublin Jerome, Westerville North or Big Walnut in a regional semifinal May 25 at Dublin Coffman. The regional final is May 26 at Coffman.
Gahanna opened the postseason May 10 with a 3-1 win over 38th-seeded Groveport. The Lions improved to 14-7.
Coach Mike Shade was encouraged by the way the Lions were playing in late April before they lost their final four regular-season games.
"When guys are hitting the ball and having fun is when we're playing Gahanna baseball," junior first baseman Jarod White said.
Softball team defeats
Warriors in semi
The fourth-seeded softball team beat 20th-seeded Westerville North 12-0 on May 15 in a Division I district semifinal at Pickerington North to improve to 22-5.
The Lions play 10th-seeded Marysville on Friday, May 19, or Saturday, May 20, in a district final at Pickerington Central.
The district champion plays Lancaster or Groveport in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 24, at Ohio State. The regional final is May 27 at the same site.
The Lions opened the postseason May 10 with a 10-0 win over 36th-seeded Canal Winchester in a second-round game. Addie Kittel hit a solo home run and Faith Bogard tossed a six-inning one-hitter.
Against Westerville North, Bogard allowed five hits to pick up the victory. Mackenzie Soma hit a three-run home run in the second inning, and Kittel hit a grand slam in the fourth.
to district in tennis
Junior Colin Jordan is preparing for his second consecutive Division I district boys tennis tournament.
After making it to district in doubles last season, Jordan was seeded second for the sectional at Davidson in singles and went on to place fourth May 13.
He will open district Thursday, May 18, against Jerome's Ryan Worthen at Davidson. The district tournament concludes Saturday, May 20, at Upper Arlington, and the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 26 and 27 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Jordan won each of his first three sectional matches in straight sets to qualify for district, but lost to Darby's Tom Ohler 6-4, 6-2 in a semifinal and Dublin Scioto's Joseph Hill 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 in the consolation. Ohler was the third seed and Hill was unseeded.
"There are a lot of really great tennis players in central Ohio, and it's fun to think that I might be one of them," Jordan said. "It's especially rewarding as I've worked extremely hard this season and in the offseason preparing for this."
Bradley's Mitchell Thai, the No. 1 seed, won four of his five matches by 6-0, 6-0 scores, including beating Gahanna junior Oliver Cope by that score in the second round.
The other singles entrant for the Lions was junior Daniel Shtein, who won his first two matches and then won the first set 6-1 over Hill in a quarterfinal before being forced to retire while leading 3-2 in the second set because of cramping.
In doubles, the third-seeded team of senior Jake Selker and freshman Kyle Fout lost a district-qualifying match 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 to Adam Schrock and Krishna Revur of Darby.
The team of juniors Connor Barnette and Josh Miller lost in the second round.
"Daniel was playing really, really well and could have won, but I made the decision because we didn't want him to end up in the emergency room," coach Chris Schwinnen said. "Each of my guys won a first-round match, so overall it was just an outstanding day."
Girls lacrosse team
falls to Darby
The eighth-seeded girls lacrosse team opened the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 15 by losing 11-9 to seventh-seeded Darby in the first round.
The Lions, who beat Darby 8-7 on March 30, finished 10-8.
On May 11, the Lions got eight goals from Stephanie Shirey and five from Katherine Belz in an 18-17 loss to Westerville North.
to begin postseason
The boys volleyball team is seeded sixth for the Division I East Region tournament and opens at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 20, against seventh-seeded Jerome in a first-round match at Olentangy Liberty.
The winner plays fifth-seeded Liberty, 10th-seeded Westerville North or 16th-seeded Northland at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at Darby in a regional semifinal. The regional final is May 26 at Westerville Central.
With a 25-14, 20-25, 25-13, 25-21 loss May 9 to Olentangy, the Lions closed the regular season at 11-13.
Boys lacrosse coach
positive about future
A strong regular-season finish was the biggest bright spot for the boys lacrosse team this spring.
The Lions won three of five, with victories over Newark (16-0 on May 2), Bradley (9-7 on May 9) and Westerville South (12-7 on May 12), before losing at 14th-seeded Darby 16-5 on May 13 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament. Gahanna, which had two one-goal losses and a two-goal loss during the regular season, was the 15th seed.
"(The Darby game) was our fourth game in five days and we had a big program win over Hilliard Bradley plus we got a big program win on senior night (against South)," coach Chris Robbins said.
"We're excited for what we have coming up. We have five seniors, so we're only losing a few key players. We have key players returning at every position."
Defender Collin Strait led the senior class.
Among those eligible to return are juniors Austin Barok (midfielder), David Leibas (goalkeeper) and Thomas Prociuk (attacker) and freshmen Noah Swenson (defender/long-stick midfielder) and Shawn Cunningham (midfielder/ attacker).