Haley Wilson has to shoulder a great deal of responsibility for the Bexley High School girls tennis program, but it doesn't weigh her down.
Wilson plays on the No. 1 singles court for the Lions, and she also is the program's lone senior. It's a mantle she's proud to have.
"It has been fun so far being the only senior, which is strange because most teams have multiple seniors," said Wilson, who was 7-4 before the Lions played Whitehall in an MSL-Ohio Division match Sept. 18. "I don't mind being the only senior and as long as the team has a good dynamic, it doesn't matter what grade everyone is in. We all just kind of come together as a team."
Last season, Wilson qualified for the Division II district tournament but then lost in the first round. She played third singles last fall after playing second doubles in her first two seasons.
"First singles is really a tough position to be in, but it's also really rewarding," she said. "You're playing against some really great players. Even though someone might be noticeably better than you, you still get to experience a difficult match. That's really the only way to get better is to play people who are better than you. If you only play against players at your level then you won't get better."
Coach Shelby Cheses said Wilson has made the most of her opportunity.
"Haley has risen to the occasion and has a good attitude," said Cheses, whose team was 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the league before playing Whitehall. "When you move up to court one in singles, the competition is really tough. You rarely get an easy day."
Wilson said the transition from doubles to singles took some time.
"It was really difficult to transition," she said. "With doubles you have another person to work with and you are able to talk to each other throughout the match and help each other.
"When you transition to singles there is an aspect of being by yourself. There is no one there to talk to and you have to get your act together by yourself and make sure that your mental game stays on the whole time. Also I had to train harder for a better fitness level because your movement is not just half the court anymore, it's the entire court."
The Lions play in the MSL-Ohio tournament Saturday, Sept. 23, at Columbus Academy. The Division II sectional is Oct. 5 and 7 at Academy or Columbus School for Girls. Wilson has yet to decide whether to play singles or doubles in the postseason.
"I will probably end up playing doubles, which is sometimes what we do in the postseason," said Wilson, who was awarded the Silver Racquet award from the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association last fall for having at least a 3.75 GPA and playing at least two varsity seasons. "We usually decide closer to the date.
"I like (doubles and singles play) in their own way because they are so different. They may seem similar because it's the same game, but it's really different. I think I might prefer to play doubles in the sectional because it's less pressure. It's nicer to have your teammates with you when you go through that."
Football team looks
for first victory
The football team will try for its first win under first-year coach Nathan Castorena when it visits Grandview on Friday, Sept. 22, in an MSL-Ohio matchup.
The Lions dropped to 0-4 after losing their league opener to Liberty Union 41-7 on Sept. 15. The Bobcats are 2-2 after losing to Ready 24-22 that same night.
Grandview is looking to even the most recent series against the Lions, who hold a 2-1 edge since the teams became league rivals again in 2014. The teams have a long tradition going back to when they were members of the Central Buckeye League and Buckeye Athletic Conference.
Before Bexley's 42-16 win in 2014, the teams last met in 1998. The Lions won that contest 39-9.
"I used to live in Grandview and I would go down and watch (the Bobcats) play, and they always have a sound, disciplined team," Castorena said. "They have a good defense with Mike Lanza as the defensive coordinator. I knew Mike from my days (as an assistant) at Gahanna, and he will have them ready."
Grandview is led by the Lachey brothers, the sons of former Ohio State and NFL player Jim Lachey. James Lachey, a senior Bowling Green commit, is a Division VI all-state performer on the defensive line who also plays tight end and running back.
Against Ready, he rushed 22 times for 94 yards with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion run. He also caught four passes for 104 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown from sophomore quarterback Kyle Casey.
Sophomore Luke Lachey had four catches for 99 yards at wide receiver and two interceptions at defensive back.
"They run the jet sweep a little more, but we're two running programs that try to do a lot of the same things," Castorena said. "We're similar in a lot of regards."
Against Liberty Union, Anthony Welsh was 7-for-10 passing for 91 yards and two interceptions. Isaiah McFadden rushed for 53 yards on nine carries, Tyler Mitchell had two receptions for 57 yards and Connor Damron had a 9-yard touchdown run.
"We pretty much ran the ball whenever we wanted, but we shot ourselves in the foot," Castorena said. "We had 200 yards of total offense, but had 100 yards in (seven) penalties. That makes things tough."
Fagin, girls runners
win at Three Creeks
Molly Fagin finished first in the Division II-III race and the girls cross country team won the team title in the Central Ohio Invitational on Sept. 16 at Three Creeks Metro Park.
Fagin finished in 19 minutes, 27.93 seconds to outdistance runner-up Kamryn Rhodes (20:47.34) of North Union. The Lions scored 53 points to finish ahead of runner-up Hartley (60) in a seven-team field.
Ally Grieshop (ninth, 21:53.35) and Maria Steinke (10th, 21:53.63) were next, followed by Karleigh Place (14th, 22:41.04), Hannah Hayden (19th, 23:22.95), Virginia Anderson (26th, 23:54.76) and Anna Politi (27th, 24:06.48).
The boys team was third (66) of 11 teams in the Division II-III race behind Eastmoor Academy (53) and North Union (62).
Theo Snowdon (sixth, 18:18.06) led the Lions behind champion Chris Chandler (16:52.48) of Eastmoor.
Andrew Rogers (eighth, 18:27.45) was next, followed by Sam Warner (10th, 18:28.68), Zach Shapiro (18th, 18:57.34), Spencer Stevenson (24th, 19:08.39), Zebedee Muller (44th, 20:42.98) and Josh Needleman (47th, 20:56.86).
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley cross country, field hockey, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 23 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 23 -- At Cincinnati St. Ursula
*Sept. 25 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 26 -- Division II sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 4 at Denison Golf Club at Granville.
*Sept. 25 -- At Worthington Christian
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Grandview
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Mariemont
Sept. 25 -- At Hartley
*Sept. 27 -- At Grandview
Sept. 23 -- MSL-Ohio tournament at Columbus Academy
Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington B
*Sept. 23 -- At London. The Lions lost to the Red Raiders 25-10, 25-11, 25-13 on Sept. 5.
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Whitehall. The Lions lost to the Rams 25-18, 25-19, 25-23 on Aug. 31.
Sept. 27 -- At Columbus West