Joe Hill used hard work and determination to become the first singles player for the Dublin Scioto High School boys tennis team.
That commitment also has paid off in the postseason, as the junior earned a berth in the Division I district tournament by finishing third in a sectional May 11 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
"This has been my goal the entire season," Hill said of qualifying for district. "I'm pretty stoked about it. I'm excited to play (at district)."
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at sectional advanced to district Thursday, May 18, at Davidson and Saturday, May 20, at Upper Arlington. At district, the top four finishers advance to state May 26 and 27 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Hill won his first three matches at sectional, securing the district berth with a 1-6, 3-2 (retired) win over Gahanna's Daniel Shtein in a quarterfinal. Shtein was forced to withdraw in the second set because of leg cramps.
Hill lost to eventual sectional champion Mitchell Thai of Hilliard Bradley 6-0, 6-1 in a semifinal before defeating Gahanna's Colin Jordan 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 in the third-place match.
"He has come a long way in three years," coach Mike Wrigley said. "He played some great tennis (at sectional) and I'm real happy for him. He's improved tremendously."
Hill played second doubles for the Irish as a freshman before being promoted to second singles last season behind 2016 graduate Rohith Koneru. A year ago in the postseason, Hill reached a sectional quarterfinal.
"I think he would say he has to put in a little more work to compete with some of the bigger boys, but he's come a long way," Wrigley said. "As long as I've coached, getting the experience and then hopefully coming back another year gives you a better shot at it."
Wrigley said an improved groundstroke has played a key role in Hill's development.
"He's able to put the ball where he wants on the court," Wrigley said. "He's able to put it with power and, if he needs to, a top spin. Last year he was just starting to work on that, but he can do it now."
Also at sectional, singles players Shivam Patel and Kunal Arya both went 0-1, as did the doubles teams of Jasmohan Bawa and Dylan Mathess and Varma Gadiraju and Santhusht Prasad.
Track teams compete
in league meet
The track and field teams tuned up for the postseason by competing in the OCC-Cardinal Division meet May 11 and 13 at Coffman.
The girls finished third (91 points) behind Hilliard Darby (189) and Thomas Worthington (143) and ahead of Delaware (72), Bradley (51), Worthington Kilbourne (44) and Jerome (41).
Alexis McQuade won league titles in both the 100-meter hurdles (15.2 seconds) and 300 hurdles (45.66). Also winning was the 400 relay of Taysia Cordova, Brooklyn Richardson, Kali Steele and Erin Holsinger (50.29).
The boys finished sixth (44.5) behind Thomas (192), Darby (155), Bradley (85), Jerome (75.5) and Delaware (51) and ahead of Kilbourne (22).
The Irish did not have any first- or second-place finishers. Placing third were Cesar Arellano in the 1,600 (4:22.1) and Jordan Sopher in the 800 (2:00.81).
Scioto is competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week at Darby.
The competition began May 16 with preliminaries for the running events, continues Thursday, May 18, with the field events and concludes Saturday, May 20, with finals for the running events.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 24, and May 26 at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
Boys lacrosse team
The ninth-seeded boys lacrosse team was 5-11 before playing at eighth-seeded Westerville North in the second round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 17.
The winner plays at top-seeded Upper Arlington in a regional quarterfinal Saturday, May 20, with that winner playing host to fourth-seeded Davidson, fifth-seeded New Albany, 12th-seeded Westerville Central or 13th-seeded Bradley in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 24.
The regional final is May 27.
Girls lacrosse team
wins tourney opener
The 10th-seeded girls lacrosse team improved to 8-9 with a 19-14 win over 13th-seeded Davidson in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 15 at home.
Jessie Hartman and Kiersten Jennings each scored five goals.
Scioto plays at top-seeded UA in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 19. That winner plays host to fourth-seeded Watterson or fifth-seeded Coffman in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 23.
The regional final is May 27.
Boys volleyball team
wins Battle of Dublin
The boys volleyball team prepared for the postseason by winning the Battle of Dublin for the third consecutive season and sixth time overall.
On May 12, the Irish defeated Jerome 25-18, 25-19 and host Coffman 25-12, 25-20 in the 13th annual event to improve to 16-3.
Scioto's other championships in the Battle of Dublin came in 2006, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Coffman has won the title five times (2005, 2009-11, 2014) and Jerome has won it twice (2007, 2008).
Scioto also wrapped up the OCC-Cardinal championship by beating Thomas 25-6, 25-13, 25-14 on May 11. The Irish finished 10-2 in the league.
The Irish are seeded first in the Division II East Region tournament and play Eastmoor Academy or Watterson in the first round Saturday, May 20, at DeSales. The winner plays DeSales or Whetstone in a quarterfinal Tuesday, May 23, at Scioto. The regional final is May 26 at Westerville Central.
Softball team falls
in second round
After having a first-round bye, the 15th-seeded softball team lost to 16th-seeded Watterson 4-2 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 10 at home to finish 13-10 overall.
Scioto, which lost its final four games, went 9-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish second, behind Bradley (12-0) and ahead of Darby and Delaware (both 7-5), Jerome (5-7), Kilbourne (2-10) and Thomas (0-12).
Ashley Burris (INF), who was one of four seniors, had a team-best .462 batting average, followed by senior Alyssa Jauregui (.450, OF/SS/P), freshman Lauren Erickson (.386, SS), juniors Imani McCullough (.359, OF) and Madison Heasley (.351, P/OF) and senior Cara Stamets (.324, OF).
Heasley led the team in RBI (28) and Erickson led in runs scored (29).
In the circle, Heasley was 8-8 with a 4.11 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 46 walks in 93 2/3 innings, and Jauregui was 4-2 with a 4.03 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 22 walks in 40 innings.
Jauregui has committed to play for Le Moyne College.
Other players eligible to return are junior Haley Cole (1B), sophomores Katie Bush (2B/C), Jean Chappelear (1B) and Emily Dinan (2B) and freshmen Lucia Adams (1B), Gretchen Baker (OF), Maddy Baughman (OF), Sarah Booth (INF/P), Makayla Jauregui (C/utility player) and Lauren Perry (utility player).