Despite falling short of the state championships he sought, Derrius Mullins of the DeSales High School boys track and field team otherwise finished his prep career exactly as he hoped.
Consistent in practice throughout last week, Mullins finished sixth in the shot put (57 feet, 3 1/2 inches) and 12th in the discus (157-6) in the Division I state meet June 3 at Ohio State.
"I thought I'd pop a 57 or 58 (in the shot put). I had some great practices (last) week," Mullins said. "Especially after what I threw (at regional), I had great practices and everything seemed to be coming together. I felt about as good as I could, and I was consistent.
"Finally, everything came together."
Mullins' performance in the shot put earned DeSales three points and a tie for 58th place with eight other teams behind champion Thomas Worthington (36) as 80 teams scored.
Sophomore Angelo Ricci was 16th in the long jump (20-6 3/4).
Mullins said he threw the discus about 170 feet a few times last week, but estimated he would need a 165-foot performance to place in the top eight and stand on the podium. That proved correct, as eighth-place finisher Nick Lane of Bowling Green threw 160-1 and winner Andrew White of Canton GlenOak boasted a toss of 182-2.
Although Ricci was consistent in his first state meet, hitting 20-6 3/4 on his first jump before efforts of 20-5 and 20-4 to fall short of the final, he admitted he was nervous.
"I was glad to get here, but I did want to get 21 feet," Ricci said. "It's very overwhelming when you see everybody else jumping 23 feet. I just have to make sure I learn from this experience and know what it takes to get back."
Mullins swept the discus and shot put championships at both the CCL meet that concluded May 10 at Columbus School for Girls and the Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 20 at Hilliard Darby.
In the CCL meet, the boys were second (153) behind St. Charles (173) and ahead of Watterson (89), Hartley (56) and Ready (17), and the girls were third (89.5) behind Watterson (159) and Hartley (125) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (73.5) and Ready (45).
At district, the boys were fourth (55) of 15 teams behind champion Olentangy Orange (124).
The girls team's season ended with a 12th-place finish (15) in the 15-team district 2 meet that concluded May 20 at Darby behind champion Gahanna (158.5).
In the regional meet May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North, Mullins placed second in the shot put (55-5 1/2) and third in the discus (154-7) as the top four finishers in each event advanced to state.
DeSales finished 14th (19) at regional behind champion Thomas (73) as 37 teams scored.
Among other contributors eligible to return are juniors Abi DeBrosse (distance), Alex Foos (hurdles, jumps, sprints) and Jacqueline Scott (sprints) of the girls team, and sophomore Ian McCandlish (middle distance) for the boys.
Girls lacrosse team
falls in state semifinal
The girls lacrosse team fell two wins short of its second consecutive Division II state championship, losing to Chagrin Falls 9-8 in two overtimes in a state semifinal May 30 at Wooster.
DeSales finished 18-2 overall, making this year's senior class 62-13-1 in four seasons, and coach Joe Finotti is certain why the Stallions again asserted themselves as a state power.
"The lacrosse IQ has continued to improve," Finotti said. "The girls have been working harder in the offseason. The amount and quality of work they've been doing is paying dividends. We have quality girls and great players. I'm extremely proud of them."
Senior attacker Jennie Finotti and sophomore attacker Sophia Finotti each scored three goals against Chagrin Falls as DeSales twice rallied from three goals down in the second half. The Stallions tied the game at 8 on an own goal with 45 seconds left, and senior goalkeeper Emily Kraker made three of her nine saves in the first overtime to prolong the game before the Tigers' Camille Concannon scored in the first minute of the second overtime.
"In the first half we got trapped into playing their game, but the second half was more our style," coach Finotti said. "We moved better without the ball and we were more aggressive when we had the ball. We controlled more draws and got more girls involved."
DeSales won its second consecutive Central Independent League championship, going 7-0 to finish ahead of Columbus Academy (5-2), Bexley and Watterson (both 4-3), CSG and Hartley (both 3-4), Granville (2-5) and Wellington (0-7), and went 3-0 in the CCL to win that league for the third year in a row, ahead of Watterson (2-1), Hartley (1-2) and CSG (0-3).
Seeded first in the 17-team Region 7 tournament, DeSales won three home games to start the tournament -- 21-2 over 13th-seeded Big Walnut in the first round May 17, 18-6 over seventh-seeded Granville in a quarterfinal May 20 and 14-13 over fourth-seeded Bexley in a semifinal May 24.
The Stallions defeated Academy 14-4 in the regional final May 27 at Otterbein University.
Jennie Finotti (43 goals, 21 assists) and Kraker both were named first-team all-region and all-state. Finotti, a University of Cincinnati recruit, finished her career with a program-record 248 goals. Kraker made 140 saves on 252 shots.
Sophia Finotti (53 goals) and junior attacker/midfielder Abbey Dop (48 goals) were first-team all-region and second-team all-state.
Sophomore attacker Grace Lensmire led the Stallions in goals (63) and assists (24) and was second-team all-region and all-state.
had 'great year'
The baseball team lost in a Division II regional final for the second year, this time 4-2 to Dayton Chaminade Julienne on May 27 at Mason, but coach Tom Neubert said he couldn't have asked for much more from his players.
"It was a great year," Neubert said. "It was just a case (in the regional final) of (Chaminade Julienne) capitalizing on their chances and us not doing that. Our pitching was solid, but we made a few mistakes."
Senior pitcher Chris McNally gave up a two-run home run to Garrett Wissman in the first inning, and Wissman drove in the winning run in the sixth with a single.
DeSales scored two runs in the fifth on senior catcher Drew McLuckie's RBI single and an error, and drew within 4-3 in the seventh when senior Ryan Corkrean (P/3B/OF) singled home sophomore Joey Velazquez (P/OF).
The Stallions, who defeated Hamilton Ross 9-0 in a regional semifinal May 26 at Mason, finished 19-12 overall.
Velazquez led DeSales in batting average (.461) and RBI (31) and tied junior pitcher Greg Gilbert for the team lead in hits with 41, becoming the first sophomore in program history to be named first-team all-state. Velazquez, who also was first-team all-league and all-district, is an Ohio State commit.
Gilbert batted .410 with 16 RBI and was 6-3 on the mound with a 1.10 ERA, 60 strikeouts and two walks in 57 1/3 innings. He was first-team all-league and all-district and second-team all-state.
"Joey is a fantastic player, and between him and Greg you have two guys you want at the plate in big situations," Neubert said. "There was a long stretch where Joey was hitting above .500. It's great to see that kind of hard work pay off."
Senior Jarod Jones (3B/OF) batted .310 with 22 hits and 11 RBI.
McLuckie and McNally were second-team all-league, and McNally was honorable mention all-district.
DeSales went 4-4 in the CCL to tie Hartley for third, behind co-champions St. Charles and Watterson (both 6-2) and ahead of Ready (0-8).
Seeded third in the 26-team district tournament, the Stallions defeated 13th-seeded Caledonia River Valley 8-1 in the second round May 11, eighth-seeded Johnstown 4-3 in 10 innings in a district semifinal May 16 and second-seeded Lakewood 5-0 in a district final May 18.
coach saw growth
The boys volleyball team won six of its final nine matches to finish 12-8 overall, losing 25-22, 25-23, 17-25, 25-22 at top-seeded Dublin Scioto in a Division II East Region semifinal May 23.
Coach Andy Feltz attributed the Stallions' late-season success to a few personnel changes, such as moving senior setter Max Freeman into more of a blocking and hitting role, and overall development.
"We found stuff along the way that we could hang our hats on," Feltz said. "We were a couple plays away from making it a different match against Scioto, but we just didn't get over the hump. I liked how our seniors took control from a leadership standpoint, especially considering three of them were pretty much new to the game. They had to develop, and that took some time, but they saw the benefits of their work."
DeSales went 3-1 in the CCL to tie St. Charles for the league championship, ahead of Watterson (0-4).
The Stallions began the postseason with a 25-14, 25-8, 25-12 win over sixth-seeded Whetstone in a first-round match May 20.
Hippler, who set a program record April 20 with 23 consecutive service points in the second game of 25-13, 25-2, 25-16 win over Watterson, was named first-team all-state and all-region. Freeman was first-team all-region and second-team all-state.
Senior libero Ian Cook was second-team all-region and sophomore setter Zach Clarke was honorable mention all-region.
Also eligible to return are juniors Tanner Baldwin (defensive specialist), Daniel Freeman (outside hitter) and Eric Nickell (middle hitter).
"Considering the amount of guys we lose, we're definitely looking at next year as a rebuilding year," Feltz said. "We learned a lot of things along the way this year and figured out how to work together."