Mitchell Thai set the standard for the Hilliard Bradley High School boys tennis program, but the process proved to be exhausting.
The senior standout finished third in singles in the Division I state tournament May 26 and 27 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, but a three-set match in the second round left him drained for his semifinal match.Videos •Watch Bradley boys tennis player Mitchell Thai. •Watch Bradley softball player Jordan Pallay.
Thai lost to Solon's Vlad Rotnov 6-3, 6-4 in semifinal match May 27 after defeating Mason's Saiprakash Goli 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round a day earlier. He defeated New Albany's Robert Cash by injury default in the third-place match.
"(The opening day of state) took a lot out of me with the three-set match and I was a little sluggish (May 27), but all the credit to Vlad," said Thai, who finished 25-2 this season and 92-8 in his career. "It's definitely still amazing to make it through to the second day of state."
Rotnov went on to lose to Hunting Valley University School's Paul Gota 7-5, 7-5 in the final.
"Vlad is going to be my teammate at Denison (University) and I'm proud that at least one of us could make it to the title match," Thai said.
Thai defeated University School's David Buchinsky 6-0, 6-0 to open his third trip to state. He did not place at state in his first two appearances, going a combined 1-2 as a sophomore and junior.
"Mitchell has had a great career and, to top it off by winning (the) third-place (Match) is great," said coach Donna Long, who completed her third season. "We were riding his coattails for the last four seasons, and he meant so much to us on and off the court."
Thai lost to Cash 6-0, 6-1 in the district final May 20 at Upper Arlington, as the top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state. He was the Jaguars' only district qualifier and won his fourth consecutive sectional championship by defeating Darby's Tom Ohler 6-0, 6-0 on May 13 at Davidson.
Also in singles at sectional, senior Kovid Misicka went 1-1 and sophomore Kiren Manoharan went 0-1. In doubles, senior Blake Mooney and freshman Dylan Castro went 1-1 and junior Louis Sartain and freshman Dylan Shook went 0-1.
The Jaguars finished 7-9 overall and went 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to tie Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne for fourth, behind Dublin Jerome (6-0), Darby (5-1) and Dublin Scioto (3-3) and ahead of Delaware (1-5).
Thai, who played first singles, was league Player of the Year and Sartain was second-team all-league at second singles.
Softball team falls
in regional final
The softball team reached new heights by advancing to a Division I regional final, where the Jaguars lost to second-ranked Gahanna 6-2 on May 27 at Ohio State.
The Lions had a five-run second inning that proved to be the difference.
"It came down to one big inning," said coach Kevin Moody, whose team finished 24-5. "We couldn't come up with that big hit the way we had over the past few weeks."
Jen Nashalsky and Heather Holly both had an RBI single and Aimee Duckworth had two singles for Bradley, while pitcher Lexie Hilling struck out four and allowed 10 hits and three walks.
The Jaguars came up with big hits in a 10-9 win over Mount Vernon in a regional semifinal May 24 at Ohio State. The Yellow Jackets took a 9-8 lead in the top of the seventh inning, but Hannah Lewis had a two-run single in the bottom of the inning to send Bradley to the regional final.
"I just wanted to watch the ball and hit the ball," Lewis said. "We had to get those runs in."
Jordan Pallay, who went 4-for-4, led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and her courtesy runner, Maci LoParo, never broke stride on a bunt single by Duckworth to reach third base. Duckworth then stole second to set up Lewis' winning hit.
Bradley led 8-4 through six innings, only to see Mount Vernon score five runs in the top of the seventh.
"It was definitely frustrating (falling behind in the top of the seventh)," Pallay said. "We just had to relax and continue to do what we had been doing all game."
Hilling picked up the win, allowing 12 hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Pallay had a solo home run and three singles, and Jaiden Bryant hit her 11th home run of the season - a two-run shot - and singled. Duckworth had two singles and Annika Murray had a two-run single.
for state track meet
Alec Frymier of the boys track and field team will compete in the 110-meter hurdles in the Division I state meet Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.
The junior finished fourth in the event in a program-record 14.46 seconds at regional held May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North. The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.
The Jaguars scored 11 points at regional to tie Kilbourne for 17th behind champion Thomas (73) as 37 teams scored.
Frymier also was a member of the sixth-place 800 relay (program-record 1:28.48) with Tyler Lewright, Said Saleh and Kory Taylor and was on the ninth-place 400 relay (43.53) with Saleh, Taylor and Daevon Anderson.
Anderson also placed sixth in the 100 hurdles (personal-record 14.78) and competed in the long jump but fouled on all three attempts.
Also at regional, the 1,600 relay of Saleh, Ethan Pearson, Cullen Bober and Lewright finished 11th (3:28.98), Lewright was 12th in the 400 (51.14), Pearson was 14th in the 800 (2:01.51) and the 3,200 relay of Pearson, Rob McCabe, Bober and Franklin Fiqueroa was 13th (8:16.95).
The girls team did not have any regional competitors.
Boys volleyball team
losing 11 seniors
The boys volleyball team will have a youth movement next season, as it is losing 11 seniors and expects to return only two starters.
The Jaguars finished 9-10 overall and went 6-6 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fourth, behind Darby (12-0), Scioto (10-2) and Jerome (8-4) and ahead of Kilbourne (4-8), Delaware (2-10) and Thomas (0-12).
The 11th-seeded Jaguars defeated 14th-seeded Westerville Central 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 20-25, 15-12 in a play-in match of the Division I East Region tournament May 19 at Westerville North before losing to ninth-seeded Pickerington North 25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 25-18 in the first round May 20 at Olentangy.
Matt Howard (second team all-region, first-team all-league), Capell Miller (honorable mention all-region, second-team all-league) and Max Mordarski (honorable mention all-league) were among the seniors.
"From an offensive standpoint, our seniors accounted for about 98 percent of our kills," said coach Zach Franklin, who completed his seventh season. "They set a great example throughout the entire offseason by playing club and organizing more boys for open gyms, and then helping take care of the day-to-day communication during the season."
Expected to return are junior middle hitter Dylan Chaney and sophomore setter Attia Soliman.
"We will very much be getting a lot younger with returning only two starters next season, but do have a very solid group of freshmen coming in who will immediately challenge for varsity positions," Franklin said. "We hope to continue a tradition of defense and passing since we will also probably be a bit undersized and need to emphasize ball control and playing smart."
Seniors helped young
girls lacrosse team
Three seniors helped a young girls lacrosse program grow throughout the season.
The 11th-seeded Jaguars finished 4-15 overall after losing to fourth-seeded Watterson 15-6 in the opening round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 15.
Bradley went 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fifth, behind Thomas (6-0), Jerome (5-1), Kilbourne (4-2) and Darby (3-3) and ahead of Scioto (1-5) and Delaware (0-6).
Maddy Conklin, Maggie Lornez and Ali Phillipi were the seniors.
"It was nice to have seniors spread out over the field with Maggie Lorenz on defense, Maddy Conklin in midfield and Ali Phillipi in goal," said Becky Mottlow, who finished her eighth season. "They were a huge part of our growth both during practices and in the games."
Among the expected returnees are juniors Maddie Clingman (midfielder), attacker Casey Mingery (attacker) and Callie Rogers (defender), sophomores Hannah Hubler (defender), Frankie Mehman (goalkeeper) and Emily Siford (defender) and freshman Maggie Ullom (defender).
"The players learned to work together better and also to compete hard no matter what team they were facing," Mottlow said. "Since we were so young and the players picked up on concepts so well, there is room for a lot of improvement in the next few years."