Columbus Academy senior Kevin Boyce had coach Bob Kirk on his mind when he joined his teammates on the podium in the Division III boys state track and field meet June 3 at Ohio State.
Boyce, seniors Hunter Moffett and Tommy Mampieri and junior Karibi Hart finished fifth in the 1,600-meter relay (3 minutes, 24.9 seconds), helping Kirk close his illustrious career on a positive note.
In his 43rd season at Academy, Kirk officially announced his retirement from coaching earlier this spring.
"We talked about this all season," Boyce said of honoring Kirk. "He's like a senior with all of us, like I am and Tommy and Hunter and others. We just wanted to send him out on top. He's had a stellar career at Academy and there was nothing that I'd rather do than to get him on the podium for his last season with us."
Hart, Moffett, senior Michael Kusi and sophomore Harry Mills were third in the 400 relay (43.57), and Academy opened the meet June 2 with senior Grayson Mick, juniors Nick Robie and Nicholas Watson and sophomore Liam McCann finishing fifth in the 3,200 relay (8:07.45).
Hart was sixth in the 200 (22.35), Robie was 13th in the 800 (2:00.83) and Boyce, Hart, Kusi and Moffett were disqualified in the 800 relay.
"We had some ups and downs, as every team at the state meet does, but our team showed a lot of character," Boyce said.
The Vikings finished ninth (17 points) behind champion East Canton (49) as 72 teams scored.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," Kirk said of coaching in his final meet. "It will sink in before long.
"You always hope that somebody gets to the top of the podium. They didn't, but they were close. I'm a competitive person, so I like to see that."
In the regional May 24 and 26 at Fairfield Union, Academy finished third (53) behind champion Grandview (71) as 39 teams scored. Hart, Kusi, Mills and Moffett won the 400 relay (43.96) and Boyce, Hart, Mampieri and Moffett finished first in the 1,600 relay (3:26.16).
In the district 1 meet that concluded May 20 at Watkins Memorial, Academy finished first (98) of 17 teams, ahead of runner-up Galion Northmor (92). Winners were McCann in the 3,200 (10:16.88), Mick in the 1,600 (4:40.74), Robie in the 800 (2:00.72), McCann, Mick, Robie and Watson in the 3,200 relay (8:34.42), Hart, Kusi, Mills and Moffett in the 400 relay (45.61) and Hart, Mampieri, Moffett and Warren in the 1,600 relay (3:30.35).
In the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 9 and 12 at Whitehall, Academy finished fifth (92.5) behind Grandview (146), Worthington Christian (145), Whitehall (100.5) and Bexley (96) and ahead of London (46) and West Jefferson (19).
Girls track team
competes at state
Seniors Audrey Grammel and Jessica Griffin, sophomore Samantha Kass and freshmen Annalise Grammel opened the Division III girls state track meet by scoring the team's lone point, as they finished eighth in the 3,200 relay (9:42.61).
Academy tied for 74th behind champion Anna (49) as 82 teams scored.
Senior Mercedes Cresta-nello, Audrey Grammel, Griffin and Kass were 10th in the 1,600 relay (4:05.13), Audrey Grammel was 15th in the 800 (2:22.39) and Griffin, Kass and juniors Briyana Dragin and Muriel Goldfarb were 16th in the 800 relay (1:52.26).
"I've been here enough times to know there's great days at state and there's also days where you just shake your head," coach Denny Hammond said. "We had good, solid performances."
At regional, Academy finished fourth (40) behind champion Marion Pleasant (45) as 43 teams scored. Audrey Grammel, Annalise Grammel, Griffin and Kass won the 3,200 relay (9:37) and Audrey Grammel finished first in the 800 (2:16.33).
In the district 1 meet, the Vikings finished first (122) of 16 teams as Pleasant and Fairfield Christian tied for second (107). Winners were Audrey Grammel in the 800 (Division III district-record 2:19.09), Annalise Grammel, Audrey Grammel, Griffin and Kass in the 3,200 relay (10:14.04) and Dragin, Goldfarb, sophomore Ginnie Ma and freshman Sarah Neltner in the 400 relay (52.38).
In the league meet, Academy finished second (136.5) behind Grandview (144) and ahead of Bexley (134), Worthington Christian (80), London (66), Whitehall (46) and West Jefferson (37.5).
"Our girls placed in every event at the league meet (and) somebody placed in every event at district except for the pole vault," Hammond said. "I'm happy as can be with that."
boys lacrosse coach
In his lone season as boys lacrosse coach, Jon Ewert guided the Vikings to a 10-9 record.
According to athletics director Dominic Facciolla, Ewert agreed to serve as coach for one season as a replacement for Greg Bice, who stepped down before the season. Ewert had served as an assistant coach the previous two seasons.
Derek Lichtfuss has been named coach after spending the last two seasons as coach at Thomas Worthington, Facciolla said.
Lichtfuss compiled an 11-28 record at Thomas, including a 3-16 mark this season.
Lichtfuss grew up in Baltimore and played at the University of Vermont, from which he graduated in 2011. Prior to taking the Thomas job, he served as an assistant coach for two seasons at Aurora (Colorado) Regis Jesuit, which won the 5A state title in 2014 and was state runner-up in 2015.
Sixth-seeded Academy defeated 11th-seeded Dayton Carroll 16-5 in the second round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 16 at home before losing at third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 12-5 in a quarterfinal May 19.
"We had a very young team that improved tremendously over the course of the season," Ewert said.
Sophomore attacker David Barren led Academy with 45 goals and 27 assists, sophomore midfielder Malcolm Klingbeil had 37 goals and six assists and senior midfielder Kyle Vorys had 19 goals and 18 assists.
Senior midfielder Roman Bellisari had 21 goals and seven assists despite missing part of the season with a shoulder injury. Freshman midfielder Andrew Schwartz had 19 goals and seven assists.
Barren, Bellisari and sophomore Gunner Geiger (faceoff specialist) were named second-team all-region, and Klingbeil and Vorys were honorable mention all-region.