After winning just four games a year ago, the Dublin Jerome High School field hockey team came close to duplicating that total within the season's first two weeks.
The Celtics were 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division before playing Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 6.
An improved offense might be the biggest reason for Jerome's improvement after a 4-12-1 finish.
"This season looks to be a successful one," 14th-year coach Colleen Bender said. "We're pleased at the progress we've made so far. I'm hopeful that the girls continue to jell on the field and build from each game. We have good depth off the bench and are confident in all of the girls' abilities to contribute when they step onto the field."
Jerome opened with an 8-0 league win over Scioto on Aug. 21 and also posted wins over New Albany (1-0 on Aug. 30) and Lancaster (5-0 on Aug. 31).
Through five games, freshman midfielder Katelyn Root had scored four goals and junior forward Jaqueline McCully and sophomore forward Jane Goodstein both had three.
Other key players on offense include junior forward Brynne Pope and senior midfielders Mitali Singh and Allison Smith.
Seniors Danielle Kagy and Sophie Monte lead the defense.
Senior Susannah Halsey and freshman Lauren Finley are the goalkeepers.
Others on the roster are seniors Ireland Douglass (defender) and Abby Emmett (forward), juniors Aleyah Bonaventura (defender) and Claire Tzagournis (midfielder), sophomores Audrey Evans (defender), Olivia Spencer (defender), Sydney Stone (midfielder) and Yuna Takahashi (midfielder) and freshman Olivia Brooks (defender).
"(The win over Scioto) was a positive start to the season, with seven different players finding the cage," Bender said. "We do have a tough schedule ahead of us, but I think we're up for the challenge."
Depth is strength in
boys cross country
With more than 100 athletes out, it's not a shock to sixth-year boys cross country coach Dave Wadenstierna that depth might be his team's biggest strength this season.
It helps when two of those athletes are as talented as senior Kellen Posacki and sophomore Elliott Cook.
Last season, Posacki finished 33rd (15 minutes, 55.9 seconds) and Cook was 46th (16:07.5) in the Division I state meet.
"We've got a really big team and it seems like the sport is growing in popularity," Wadenstierna said. "The challenge is what can you do to motivate the other 98 or 99 (that aren't in the top seven) to help them still feel like they're a part of it, but we have a really deep squad. We've got a couple freshmen in our top 20. We've got a really strong sophomore class with Elliott Cook back, and he and Kellen Posacki both went to state last year, so that's two big horses."
On Aug. 26 in the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North, Jerome scored 125 points to place fifth of 12 teams behind the champion and host Panthers (85) as Cook was eighth (15:59.64) and Posacki took ninth (16:00.09).
Then on Sept. 2, Cook didn't compete but Posacki finished fourth (15:58.4) as Jerome was seventh (164) of 10 teams behind champion Centerville (51) in the Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson.
Other key runners have included seniors Jeremy Coad, Andrew Reese, Alex Sanders and Jake Siddiqui, junior Sahil Ambardekar and sophomores Arjun Dhankani, Spencer Rubel, Derek Sanders and Sean Scott.
Girls runners working
on mental toughness
After spending the last three years as an assistant, Megan Brar has stressed having the right mindset in her first season as girls cross country coach.
Brar is a Wadsworth graduate and former competitor at Clarion University who took over after Kenny Schuster stepped down during the offseason.
"We need to focus on being mentally prepared," Brar said. "We've been trying to do a lot of mental exercises. Otherwise, we've tried to keep it simple."
Jerome finished ninth (234) in the Pickerington Classic behind champion Liberty (54) as senior Jessica Blake finished 37th (20:50.69) to lead the way.
In the Hot Summer Bash, freshman Lauren Metzger was 34th (20:23.68) as the Celtics were eighth (190) of nine teams behind champion Centerville (35).
Senior returnee Kathryn Willette didn't compete at either meet, but she helped the Celtics advance to the Division I regional meet last fall.
Seniors Halle Bentley and Sowbhagya Gosangi, junior Larkin Thomas and sophomore Madison Weigle also are returnees from last year's top seven.
Other top runners include juniors Nicole Bowen and Abby Lenz, sophomore Nithya Warrier and freshmen Lauren Metzger and Anna Speeney.
Other seniors are Liz Turley, Jessica Webb and Haylee Zigmund.
Golf teams battling
for league titles
The boys and girls golf teams both could wrap up league titles next week.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the girls team will compete in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament at Cooks Creek.
Jerome is first at 18-0, with Delaware second (14-4) and Hilliard Bradley (13-5) third.
During the third round Aug. 29 at Royal American, Jerome was first (313) as Taby Robinson was medalist with a 73. She was followed by Abby Kiefer (74), Meaghan Yant (82), Ash Abhang (84) and Caitlin Yant (84). Kiefer leads the league with a 73.7 average and Robinson is second (75).
The boys also are 18-0 in the league, with Scioto second (14-4) and Thomas Worthington third (13-5).
In the third round Aug. 30 at Darby Creek, Jerome shot 298 to take first as Ethan Snyder was medalist (73), Blake Solomon tied for second (74) and Jackson Chandler (75), Nick Karlik (76) and Mason Wagner (79) also competed. Snyder is second in the league with a 73.3 average.
Aug. 21 -- Dublin duel at home
Aug. 26 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 2 -- Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 9 -- Boys: McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial; Girls: Tiffin Carnival
Sept. 16 -- Valkyrie Invitational in Louisville, Ky., and Otterbein Invitational
Sept. 23 -- Celtic Clash at home
Oct. 7 -- Hilliard Darby Dash
Oct. 14 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Davidson
*Aug. 21 -- at Scioto
Aug. 24 -- at Columbus Academy
Aug. 28 -- vs. Bexley
Aug. 30 -- vs. New Albany
Aug. 31 -- at Lancaster
*Sept. 6 -- at Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 9 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Coffman
*Sept. 13 -- at Olentangy orange
*Sept. 18 -- vs. Olentangy
*Sept. 25 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 28 -- at Hilliard Lynx
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Oct. 4 -- vs. Hartley
Oct. 9 -- vs. Granville
Oct. 11 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 10-11 -- Kiely Cup at Canterbury
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal at Clover Valley
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Cooks Creek
Sept. 7 -- At Gahanna
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Strongsville
Sept. 12 -- At DeSales
*Sept. 7 -- At Dublin Scioto
Sept. 9 -- Mason and Cincinnati St. Ursula at Pickerington North
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
*Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Delaware
Sept. 9 -- At Granville with Newark
*Sept. 12 -- At Scioto