After achieving one of its two main goals during the regular season, the Westerville Central High School boys soccer team embarks on reaching another when it opens Division I district tournament play Saturday, Oct. 21, against visiting Northland.
"A goal every year is to get to a district final," coach Dave Pence said. "If you get to a district final in the Central District you have a chance. Those are quality teams. It's come to a point where if you get to a district semifinal you're playing a quality team."
The Warhawks remained in possession of the trophy that's presented to the team that wins the series against the other Westerville programs when they defeated South 3-0 on Oct. 9. Central also beat North 2-1 on Sept. 12.
"The team is in good form now," senior forward Brandon Boerger said. "We're coming off a big win against South. Those are huge rivalry games. We always look forward to them. ... I look at that trophy every day whenever I pass it. It's just a great feeling to know that you've succeeded in 'ruling the 'Ville.'"
The Warhawks, who are 7-3-5 overall, closed the regular season with a 2-0 win over Mansfield Madison on Oct. 11. Sam Slocum and Abdi Hafid Salah scored and goalkeeper Jacob Borcila had three saves.
Central fell short of another goal when it finished second (2-0-3) behind Olentangy Liberty (4-0-1) in the OCC-Buckeye Division. The Warhawks tied the Patriots at 2 on Oct. 3.
The Patriots were ranked first in last week's state poll and were voted the top seed for the district tournament. The Warhawks could meet Liberty again in a regional final.
Central is seeded 11th for the district tournament and has a first-round bye before facing 44th-seeded Northland. The winner plays seventh-seeded Marysville, 23rd-seeded Watkins Memorial or 25th-seeded Chillicothe in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of the better seed.
Central defeated Watkins Memorial 2-0 on Aug. 22.
"Northland is a City League team that we should do fine with and then Marysville, they are a good team," Pence said. "Coach (Terry) Smith always has his teams playing hard. He came from Hilliard Davidson where they won the state championship (in 2007), so he's a quality coach (who) runs a quality program."
The semifinal winner plays in a district final Oct. 28 at a neutral site to be determined, possibly against fourth-seeded St. Charles.
St. Charles reached the state final last season, losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius 2-1.
"I believe we have one of the best chances to make it to a district final of any team in the bracket," said Boerger, who has a team-high seven goals with one assist.
Central is seeking its third district title.
"This team has come together and we're doing some good things right now," Pence said. "We lost a lot from last year and we have a lot of players who were getting first-time varsity experience and they've all stepped up. This team is an extremely hard-working team. We're playing our best soccer."
Cross country teams prepare for district
The boys and girls cross country teams tuned up for the Division I district meet by competing in the OCC-Buckeye meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby.
The boys finished fifth (115) behind Liberty (31), Orange (46), South (84) and Olentangy (103) and ahead of North (172). Austin Smith was second of 59 runners in 16 minutes, 44 seconds, followed by Sam Reyes (28th, 17:56.6) and Jacob Owens (29th, 17:57.93).
The girls finished fourth (83) behind Liberty (36), Orange (56) and Olentangy (62) and ahead of North (134) and South (174). McKenna Fry was fourth of 56 runners in 19:21.73, followed by Sydney Kapral (sixth, 19:27.12) and Chloe Ey (14th, 20:22.2).
The boys will compete in the district 1 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to the regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.
The girls will compete in the district 2 meet, with the top six teams and top 24 individuals advancing to regional.
Girls soccer team begins postseason
The 23rd-seeded girls soccer team improved to 3-8-6 overall with a 2-0 win at 14th-seeded Davidson in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16. Maria Givens and Kate Schimmel scored and Arianna Kellum had eight saves.
Central plays at 10th-seeded Canal Winchester on Thursday, Oct. 19, with the winner playing 11th-seeded Grove City or 17th-seeded DeSales in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed.
The district final is Oct. 28 at a neutral site to be determined.
Central went 1-3-1 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie South for fifth behind champion Olentangy Orange (4-1).
The Warhawks closed the regular season Oct. 10 with a 2-1 win at South. Kristen Nguyen and Margaret Owsiany scored and Kellum had three saves.
Girls volleyball team ready for postseason
The girls volleyball team will look to carry momentum from winning its regular-season finale into the Division I district tournament.
The Warhawks won at Hilliard Bradley 25-19, 25-21, 25-19 on Oct. 12 to improve to 10-12 overall.
Central is seeded 23rd and plays at 17th-seeded Upper Arlington or 22nd-seeded Bradley in the second round Thursday, Oct. 19. The Warhawks defeated UA 25-23, 25-22, 25-19 on Aug. 22.
The second-round winner plays third-seeded DeSales, 35th-seeded Whetstone or 38th-seeded Centennial in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Franklin Heights.
The district final is Oct. 28 at Franklin Heights.
Central went 4-6 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish fourth behind co-champions Liberty and Orange (both 9-1).
Boys golfers wrap up season
The boys golf team concluded its season by competing in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The Warhawks finished ninth (331) of 12 teams as champion Dublin Jerome (294) and runner-up Liberty (307) advanced to state.
Freshman Josh Qian led Central with a 75, followed by senior Jacob Kenneally (83), junior Cory Blankenship (85), senior Nick Altenbach (88) and junior Mwangi Kihara (90).
Senior Zach Wengerter, the team's No. 2 golfer behind Qian, missed the tournament with an illness.
"At the beginning of the year our goal is to get to the state tournament, that's the main goal, along with winning the league," coach Kyle Baker said. "As up and down as the season has been, we were very happy to get (to district). The kids were motivated to get here."
The Warhawks finished second (314) in a 13-team sectional Oct. 3 at Darby Creek behind Jerome (280) to advance to district.
Central went 12-8 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish third behind Liberty (20-0) and Olentangy (14-6) and ahead of Orange (10-10), North (4-16) and South (0-20).
Qian was first-team all-league and Altenbach was honorable mention all-league.
Girls golfer Welty competes at district
Sophomore Grace Welty represented the girls golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek, shooting a 77 to tie for 13th of 54 golfers behind co-medalists Ashley Au of Orange and Kayla Davis of Gahanna (both 71).
"I thought (Welty) did fantastic," coach Aaron Starkey said. "Obviously, the skill level when you get to this competition is pretty elite and there were three 73s and they get nothing other than an 'atta girl' as individuals for having a good round."
Only the top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.
Central placed fourth (350) in the 11-team Westchester sectional Oct. 3 behind district-qualifiers UA (307), New Albany (328) and Pickerington North (347) as Welty led the Warhawks with an 83 to advance.
Welty and senior Kelly Linnabary were second-team all-league, and freshman Katelyn Neil was honorable mention all-league.
Junior Terryn Witherspoon and sophomore Anna Borders also are eligible to return.
The Warhawks went 12-8 in the OCC-Buckeye to finish third behind Orange (19-1) and Liberty (17-3) and ahead of Olentangy (8-12), North (4-16) and South (0-20).
Girls tennis team closes season
Girls tennis coach Donovon Barrett was pleased with his team's development, as the Warhawks finished 6-9 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye.
"I'm very happy with the way we progressed with a strong schedule," Barrett said. "Unfortunately, we had some (potential) wins rained out, but finished the season with some wins over good teams. We had a strong showing at the sectional, just coming up short on qualifying two courts for the district tournament."
Freshman Levi Burks led the Warhawks in singles in the Pickerington Central sectional Oct. 6, going 2-1 and falling one win short of a district berth.
In doubles, senior Nikita Nair and freshman Vivian Baker also came within one win of qualifying for district, finishing 2-1.
Also in singles, junior Shayla Ta finished 1-1 and senior Priya Bhattal went 0-1. In doubles, seniors Carley Weiler and Haley Prue went 1-1.
Burks (first singles) and Ta (second singles) were third-team all-league as the Warhawks finished fourth behind Liberty (5-0), Orange (4-1) and Olentangy (3-2) and ahead of North (1-4) and South (0-5).