The Dublin Coffman High School girls cross country team believes it has a deeper and more seasoned team than a year ago when it finished fourth in the OCC-Central Division and 11th at the Division I regional meet.
Having Ellie Weber back for her senior season is the biggest fuel behind that confidence.
"Things are going pretty well," fourth-year coach Greg King said. "We've got eight of our top nine runners back. Ellie Weber grew six inches from her freshman year to the start of her junior year and it took a little while for her to get her mechanics back, but she had a great track season."
Weber was an individual state qualifier last season and leads a group that also returns seniors Dimitra Herbei, Delaney Marsalek, Mackenzie Mescher and Janelle Gans, junior Leah Jablonski and sophomores Lydia Ainsworth, Emma Niswonger and Katherine Kinzeler. Freshman Abby Collier is another contributor.
Coffman finished eighth (225) in the 12-team Pickerington Classic on Aug. 26 at Pickerington North, behind champion Olentangy Liberty (54), as Weber was 10th (19:26.83).
Then on Sept. 2 in the Dual at the DeWine's in Cedarville, Weber ran 19:00.3, followed by Jablonski (20:45.7), Mescher (20:57.4), Niswonger (20:57.8), Ainsworth (21:18.2), Marsalek (21:18.9) and Kinzeler (21:24.3).
"So far, we've been pretty solid," King said. "We're a deeper team than last year, and (our) top (runners) are better."
Strong trio pacing
Six of the top seven runners, including senior Lucas Bons, have returned for the boys cross country team, which was OCC-Central runner-up and qualified for the Division I regional meet a year ago.
Bons, who placed fifth (15:16.3) in the state meet last season, ran 15:57.4 on Sept. 2 for the top finish in the Dual at the DeWine's.
Also in the meet, sophomore Alex Dediu ran 16:08.5 and senior Ryan Bosworth finished in 16:19.8.
On Aug. 26 in the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North, the Shamrocks placed ninth (212) of 12 teams, behind the host and champion Panthers (85), but Bons did not compete.
"It's been pretty business-like so far," 38th-year coach Chad Biegler said. "Even the freshmen are pretty serious about things. We have the potential to have a really good team."
There are more than 80 runners in the program, Biegler said.
Other key runners include seniors Brendan Flynn and Arnaldo Gonzalez-Calero, juniors Cameron Hull and Alex Hess, sophomore Collin Gagne and freshman Nate Brown.
Field hockey team
out to improve
Coming off a season in which it finished 4-12 overall and placed sixth in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division at 3-5, the field hockey team is focused on improving this fall.
Before playing Olentangy on Sept. 6, Coffman was 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the league.
On Aug. 21, the Shamrocks opened with a 2-1 victory over Columbus School for Girls as senior midfielder Maggie March and senior midfielder/defender Aubrey Jones scored.
Coffman lost to Bexley 2-0 on Aug. 23 and Thomas Worthington 7-0 on Aug. 28, and then fell to the Hilliard Lynx club team 3-1 on Aug. 30 as sophomore forward Lydia Koehler scored.
Senior Maddie Mitchell is the starting goalkeeper.
"It's going to be a season for us where every game will get better," eighth-year coach Caren Leslie said. "Half of the team is players that are on varsity for the first time, so some of the newbies are trying to figure it out. We have to grow and play each game."
The other seniors are Leia Goldberg (defender) and Erica Steller (forward).
Also on the team are juniors Alexis Frantz (midfielder), Anne Saucier (forward) and Helen Widman (forward/midfielder), sophomores Mia Citino (midfielder), Reece Collins (defender), Ashley Crotty (defender), Ainsley Hartman (defender), Grace Kennedy (midfielder/defender), Jada Kleinholz (defender/midfielder), Emma Kruse (midfielder/def-ender), Ava Scott (forward) and Maddie Villella (forward) and freshman Leah Finley (goalie).
Coffman lost just two players to graduation, including Shannon Aumiller, who scored 12 goals.
"We need to work on taking shots, and the fact that we got two really great goals (in our opener) is good because they were hard shots and nice goals by seniors," Leslie said.
in league tourneys
The boys and girls golf teams are preparing for the final rounds of their respective OCC-Central tournaments.
The boys are second in the league at 13-2, behind Upper Arlington (14-1), heading into the fourth round Sept. 14 at Darby Creek.
In the third round Aug. 30 at Clover Valley, the Shamrocks shot 314 to finish second behind the Golden Bears (309). Matt Sopko shot a 76 to lead Coffman, followed by Spencer Eiselt (77), Andrew Simpson (78) and Blake Whitis (83).
The girls won the last seven titles when they were in the OCC-Capital but likely will have to settle for second this season in the OCC-Central.
Coffman is second in the league at 12-3, behind UA (15-0), entering the fourth round Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Royal American.
In the third round Aug. 29 at Mentel Memorial, the Shamrocks shot 316 to place second behind the Bears (307). Maria Howard led Coffman with a 72, followed by Olivia Brickey (78), Annika Manjunath (80) and Ava Guilliams (86).
Aug. 21 -- at Jerome with Scioto
Aug. 26 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 2 -- Dual at the DeWine's in Cedarville
Sept. 9 -- Mason Invitational
Sept. 16 -- Otterbein Invitational
Sept. 23 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 30 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Hilliard Bradley
Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 14 -- OCC-Central meet at Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 21 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Aug. 23 -- at Bexley
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Aug. 30 -- vs. Hilliard Lynx
*Sept. 6 -- at Olentangy
Sept. 7 -- at Lancaster
*Sept. 11 -- at Jerome
Sept. 13 -- vs. New Albany
*Sept. 18 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 25 -- vs. Granville
Oct. 2 -- vs. Hartley
*Oct. 4 -- vs. Scioto
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Oct. 11 -- at Upper Arlington
Oct. 14 -- vs. Kettering Fairmont
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 11 -- Gdovin Invitational at Zanesville Country Club
Sept. 7 -- Watterson at Marysville Golf Club
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Central at Royal American
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Copley
*Sept. 12 -- At Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Licking Heights
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Sept. 11 -- At New Albany
Sept. 12 -- At Jerome
Sept. 9 -- At Toledo St. Ursula
*Sept. 12 -- At Marysville