The conclusion is simple to baseball coach Mike Shade. Gahanna Lincoln High School is synonymous with district championships.
"That's what we do at Gahanna, we win district titles," he said after his program captured its fourth Division I district championship in five seasons and seventh since 2008.Videos and photos •Watch an interview with softball player Aly Harrell. •Watch an interview with baseball player Cael Baker. •Watch the baseball team receive its district championship trophy. •Check out the slideshow from the softball district finals played May 20.
The school added four championship trophies to its collection last week.
In addition to the title won in baseball May 18 at Dublin Coffman, the Lions celebrated a fifth consecutive softball district title May 20 at Pickerington Central.
Also on May 20, the boys and girls track and field teams easily captured district championships at Hilliard Darby.
The softball team played Lancaster on May 24 at Ohio State and the baseball team plays Big Walnut at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at Coffman in regional semifinals.
The track teams are competing in the regional meet, which began May 24 and concludes Friday, May 26, at Pickerington North.
Softball team easily
wins district title
The fourth-seeded softball team quickly dispatched of 10th-seeded Marysville, winning 11-1 to take a 23-5 record into the Division I regional tournament.
If the Lions beat Lancaster, they would play Hilliard Bradley or Mount Vernon in a regional final at noon Saturday, May 27, at Ohio State.
Gahanna beat Lancaster 14-5 on April 19 and 7-6 on May 2 in OCC-Ohio Division action.
The regional champion plays Parma, Elyria, Holland Springfield or Bowling Green in a state semifinal June 1 at Firestone Stadium in Akron. The state final is June 3 at the same site.
"We played (Marysville on April 6) and beat them 6-3 in a good game, but we also didn't give them an opportunity to see (pitcher Faith Bogard)," coach Jim Campolo said.
In the district final against the Monarchs, Bogard pitched a complete game and was backed by an offense that scored five runs in the first inning and four in the second.
Aly Harrell hit a two-run home run to end the game in the fifth.
Sophomore Alaina Marcum, who became a starter in late April, got both rallies started with a double in the first and a single in the second.
"I'm very excited to be a part of this team," Marcum said. "I've tried to work really hard since they put me in the lineup (full time)."
Baseball team gets
On its way to a regional runner-up finish last season, the baseball team beat Big Walnut 10-5 in a regional semifinal.
The Lions are hoping for a repeat performance when they play the Golden Eagles in another regional semifinal. The winner plays Darby or Olentangy Orange in a regional final at 5 p.m. Friday, May 26, at Coffman.
The regional champion plays Strongsville, Perrysburg, Avon or Medina in a state semifinal June 2 at Huntington Park, with the winner to play for the title June 3 at the same site.
Gahanna, which was seeded seventh for the district tournament, beat 15th-seeded Bradley 10-0 on May 16 in a district semifinal at Upper Arlington and improved to 16-7 with an 11-10 win over third-seeded Olentangy in a district final.
"Our first few games we weren't hitting at all, but ever since then we've clicked together and have had a lot of chemistry," junior outfielder Mason Coleman said. "Most of the regular season we were getting on each other when somebody would make a bone-headed mistake. Then we started to realize this is the seniors' last run."
Senior catcher Cael Baker went 4-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI against Olentangy after going 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI against Bradley.
With Gahanna leading Olentangy 11-8, senior Major Belli walked in two runs but got the final batter to bounce into a fielder's choice to clinch the victory.
"This team doesn't give up," Baker said.
Boys track team
After taking second at district a year ago, the boys track team scored 151 points to easily win the 15-team Division I, district 2 meet.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional, where the top four qualify for state June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
"We stepped up from last year a lot," senior Solomon Costa said. "Mentally we know we wanted to win district and have a lot of guys qualify for the regional."
Costa played a key role in the district title, winning the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 24.81 seconds) and running on the third-place 3,200 relay (8:16.66) with seniors Connor Ingram and Andrew Ray and junior Jaire Latta.
Sophomore LaCarr Trent won the 100 (10.92) and 200 (21.85) and ran on the first-place 400 relay (43.03) with senior Zechariah Holderby, junior Jerome Buckner and sophomore Kelly Wilson.
Sophomore Joseph Gathuru won the 400 (48.95) and senior Brendon Cox won the shot put (50 feet, 11 inches).
The 1,600 relay of Buckner, Gathuru and seniors Dontae Deas and Jayvonta Tolliver also took first (3:20.36).
"We're feeling pretty good," Holderby said. "We're all one big family and we've all come together. I love them."
Earning district runner-up finishes were Cox in the discus (139-2), Deas in the 110 hurdles (14.89) and 300 hurdles (38.95), Tolliver in the 400 (49.42), senior Kevin Opoku in the long jump (21-4) and the 800 relay of Buckner, Gathuru, Holderby and Tolliver (1:28.67).
Also moving on were Holderby in the 100 (fourth, 11.66), sophomore Bronte Johnson in the discus (third, 114-0), junior Jason Mehalic in the 3,200 (fourth, 9:53.83) and Wilson in the 110 hurdles (fourth, 15.44).
Girls track team wins
another district title
With 158.5 points, the girls track team easily took first in the 16-team district 2 meet.
It was the fifth consecutive district title for the Lions.
"We actually got a lot of girls out (to regional) who we weren't really expecting to get out," senior Benja Duff said. "Getting the five-peat (was) the goal."
Duff won the 100 hurdles (14.37) and 300 hurdles (44.69) and ran on the first-place 400 relay (47.41) with senior Ivy McKee, junior Amariah Thomas and freshman Shaina Rutledge.
Other championships were turned in by Thomas in the 200 (24.95), junior Claire Steigerwald in the 3,200 (10:57.03), sophomore Brooke Johnson in the shot put (36-4), the 1,600 relay of McKee, Thomas, sophomore Shynae Deas and freshman Alexis Thigpen (3:53.88) and the 3,200 relay of Deas, Steigerwald and sophomores Madison Martinez and Ari Redmond (9:24.23).
Earning runner-up finishes were senior Rhea Lanier in the shot put (35-6), Deas in the 800 (2:10.96), Thomas in the 100 (12.27), senior Courtney Owens in the 300 hurdles (45.76) and the 800 relay of McKee, Rutledge, Thigpen and freshman Trinity Houpe (second, 1:41.68).
Also moving on were junior Nia Chandler in the high jump (third, 4-10), freshman Natalie Clay in the 1,600 (fourth, 5:15.43), Martinez in the 800 (third, 2:11.6), McKee in the 200 (third, 25.2) and Thigpen in the 400 (third, 57.19).
falls to Jerome
The sixth-seeded boys volleyball team lost to seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome 25-12, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24 on May 20 in the second round of the Division I East Region tournament at Olentangy Liberty.
The Lions finished 11-14.
OCC title highlights
boys tennis season
Junior boys tennis player Colin Jordan seemed on the verge of forcing a third set against top-seeded Ryan Worthen of Jerome in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 18 at Hilliard Davidson but ended up falling 6-0, 7-5.
Jordan led the second set 5-2.
"Colin was playing really well, but Worthen played lights out for five straight games," coach Chris Schwinnen said. "It was Colin's second year in a row at district after making it in doubles last year and I thought he performed very well."
Jordan took fourth in a sectional May 11 and 13 at Davidson to lead the Lions, who had just one senior in their postseason lineup in Jake Selker. He teamed with freshman Kyle Fout to reach a sectional quarterfinal in doubles.
With Jordan at first singles, Selker at second singles and junior Daniel Shtein at third singles for most of the season, the Lions finished 15-3 overall and went 5-0 in the OCC-Ohio to win their second consecutive league title.
Fout played first doubles with junior Oliver Cope, and juniors Connor Barnette and Josh Miller teamed at second doubles for much of the season.
Also at sectional, Cope lost in a second-round match and Shtein lost in a quarterfinal in singles while Barnette and Miller lost in the second round in doubles.
Gahanna finished ahead of Pickerington North (4-1), Pickerington Central (3-2), Grove City (1-4), Lancaster (1-4) and Reynoldsburg (1-4) in the OCC-Ohio.
"Colin will be the favorite to be at No. 1 singles again next year," Schwinnen said. "We'll be going for our third OCC title in a row next year. I'll be disappointed if we don't win it again. I'd say we'll be the favorites again, but who knows. We went 15-3 this year, so it was a great year."
Girls lacrosse team
has first winning mark
For the first time in the seven-year history of the girls lacrosse team, the Lions earned a winning record.
The Lions were seeded eighth for the Division I, Region 3 tournament and lost at seventh-seeded Darby 13-11 in a first-round game May 15 to finish 10-8 overall.
Gahanna went 3-3 in the OCC-Central to place fourth behind Upper Arlington (6-0), Pickerington Central (5-1) and Coffman (4-2) and ahead of Davidson (2-4), Pickerington North (1-5) and Marysville (0-6).
"Overall I'm pleased with how the season went," coach Shelley Huffman said. "One of our team goals this season was to have a winning season. We definitely had some ups and downs, but that's to be expected. We pulled off some upsets and we lost a few games we should have won, but overall I think we improved as the season went on and that's always an accomplishment to be proud of."
Gahanna had an 11-member senior class that was led by Brooklyn Ballenger (midfielder), Katherine Belz (defender), Alex Churchill (attacker), Ana Inman (defender), Jen Patrick (defen-der), Emily Sloan (midfielder) and Leah Swisher (defender).
Sloan led the Lions in goals (51), assists (22), groundballs (55) and draw controls (96). Ballenger is a Wittenberg recruit.
The top returnees should be junior Stephanie Shirey and freshman Julia Foresi at midfielder. Juniors Samantha Stafford and Amanda Olsen split time at goalkeeper.
Foresi finished with 31 goals.
Others eligible to return include junior Marissa Frissora (attacker) and sophomores Sydney Ankrim (attacker), Melanie Whalen (attacker) and Brooke Gates (defender).