REGIONAL CHAMPIONS

During the first half of the Division I, Region 1 championship game May 27 at Thomas Worthington, Olentangy Liberty High School boys lacrosse player Skylar Wahlund was told by one of his coaches that he had "bad body language."

Once he snapped out of that, the junior goalkeeper began getting some of the results he was looking for, and so did his team.

The top-seeded Patriots outscored second-seeded Olentangy 3-1 in the third quarter and didn't allow a goal in the fourth of a 13-6 victory.

It marked the second time in three seasons that Liberty made the state tournament. The Patriots played Cleveland St. Ignatius in a semifinal May 31 at Wooster, with the winner advancing to the final against Upper Arlington or Cincinnati Moeller at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at Ohio Wesleyan.

Liberty lost to UA 6-4 on April 10.

"We started out slow (in the regional final) with some nerves," Wahlund said. "It's a rivalry game and that will happen. We came in at halftime and the scoreboard didn't show that we were winning, but we were winning the groundballs and 50/50 balls. If we played the same way, we could pull away and run the score up."

Johnny Wiseman had four goals and Griffin Hughes scored three for the Patriots, who got 18 saves from Wahlund.

"I love having a big impact, but my teammates put me in that position," Wiseman said. "(Olentangy) is a great rivalry. We watched some film and our coaches told us about some holes we could fix from the last time we played them (7-5 win April 20). That's what got us off to such success. Our coaches just believed in us."

Liberty beat fifth-seeded Delaware 14-6 on May 24 in a regional semifinal.

Girls track team
advances trio to state

On Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State, three members of the girls track and field team will compete in the Division I state meet.

Senior Sam Silber will compete in the pole vault after placing third (12 feet) in the regional meet that concluded May 26 at Pickerington North.

Also competing will be junior Emma Bower in the 3,200 meters (second, 10 minutes, 50.11) and sophomore Gracie Sprankle in the 1,600 (third, 4:58.78).

The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.

"To be heading to states means a lot to me," Bower said. "My season didn't go as well as I would have liked last year and I didn't make it out of districts, so I'm really excited to have the opportunity to compete at states."

Silber made it to state as a sophomore but didn't make it to the regional last season.

"Competing at state before in Jesse Owens (Memorial) Stadium is huge," Silber said. "It's the big time and there are a lot of distractions. This time, I can just focus on my vaulting."

Liberty tied for ninth (26) at regional behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.

Also scoring were the 800 relay of senior Abby Summers, junior Sydney Englehart and sophomores Carrie Lawal and Brea White (fifth, 1:42.47) and the 400 relay of Summers, Englehart, junior Lauren Walsh and sophomore Sienna Sakich (seventh, 48.87).

The other regional competitors were the 3,200 relay of Bower, Sprankle and sophomores Lily Biros and Emily Matta (11th, 9:48.4), Summers in the 200 (ninth, 25.23), Matta in the 3,200 (ninth, 11:18.91) and Englehart in the long jump (ninth, 16-9 1/4).

Sprankle was happy to make state after settling for sixth at regional last year.

"(Coming up short of state last year) provided a lot of motivation," she said. "I told myself I was going to go out with no regrets and I went out there and whether I made it or not, I knew I did everything I could."

Boys track season
ends at regional

The boys track team didn't have any athletes advance to the state meet.

The top finisher at regional was sophomore Joseph Johnson, who was sixth in the 800 (1:55.99). He scored three points for the Patriots, who tied for 31st behind champion Thomas Worthington (73) as 37 teams scored.

Senior Jonathan Mace was 12th in the 300 hurdles (41.97) and 15th in the 110 hurdles (15.7), and junior Jared Whitfield tied for 14th in the high jump (5-10).

The Patriots had three relays at regional, with the 800 relay of Mace, seniors Noah Meeker and Cole Richards and junior Andrew Bendick taking ninth (1:30.4), the 400 relay of Bendick, Meeker, Richards and junior Max Partin placing 12th (43.96) and the 3,200 relay of Johnson, senior Ryan Milligan, junior Logan Boone and sophomore Adam Clark finishing 10th (8:08.84).

Girls lacrosse team
falls in regional final

With a 15-9 loss to top-seeded New Albany in the Division I, Region 1 final May 27 at Olentangy, the girls lacrosse team finished 14-7 overall.

Liberty was seeded second and beat 14th-seeded Delaware 19-3 on May 16, fifth-seeded Orange 20-6 on May 19 and third-seeded Medina 13-9 on May 23 to set up a rematch with New Albany.

On May 10, the Patriots lost to the Eagles 14-7 for the OCC-Buckeye Division championship.

"This is the farthest this program has ever gone," coach Nicole Stines said. "They had a lot of nerves and the nerves got the best of them. They're a great team and they know that, but making it this far and being in this high-pressure situation, it's something they're not used to."

In the tournament loss, junior midfielder Madison Rapier had four goals and junior attacker Mollie McCormack scored three.

Liberty loses a seven-member senior class that was led by defender Claire Buckey, goalie Ellie Corder and midfielder Jordan Reineke.

The Patriots finished second (6-1) in the OCC-Buckeye behind New Albany (7-0) and ahead of Olentangy (5-2), Orange (4-3), Westerville Central (3-4), Westerville North (2-5), Big Walnut (1-6) and Westerville South (0-7).

Others eligible to return include juniors Lauren Alexander (attacker), Addy French (midfielder), Kendall Gallagher (attacker), Maddie Harrington (goalie), Emma Kern (defender), Anna Lovett (attacker) and Anna Maitino (attacker) and sophomores Molly Bursinger (midfielder/attacker) and Addy Druckenbroad (defender).

"A lot of our main contributors are younger players, so it'll be interesting in the future to see what it looks like," Stines said.

Volleyball team
falls in regional semi

The fifth-seeded boys volleyball team lost to seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome 25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18 on May 23 in a Division I East Region semifinal at Hilliard Darby to finish 10-11.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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