Signs commemorating the Upper Arlington High School girls tennis team's six Division I doubles state championships and three singles titles are hung around the Golden Bears' complex.

When UA competes in this year's state tournament Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, the team's future will be on display.

The doubles teams of Ella Hazelbaker and Noah Mizer, and Evelyn Holman and Wendy Shi, will represent the Bears at state. They finished second and fourth, respectively, in the district tournament that concluded Oct. 14 at UA.

Holman, a junior, is the only qualifier making a return trip to state. She and her older sister, 2017 graduate Nicole Holman, advanced as a doubles team last year but did not win a match.

Shi is a sophomore. Hazelbaker and Mizer are freshmen.

UA is being represented at state for the fifth consecutive year and 24th time in 25 seasons.

Hazelbaker and Mizer lost to Olentangy Liberty's Maddi Atway and Dani Schoenly 6-0, 6-2 in the district final. Holman and Shi fell to Liberty's Cellini Ko and Lexi Steer 6-0, 6-3 in the third-place match.

After trailing New Albany's Elizabeth Hancock and Emma Waite 5-0 in a first-round match Oct. 12 at Hilliard Bradley, Holman and Shi won 13 consecutive games to defeat Hancock and Waite 7-5, 6-0. They qualified for state with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Pickerington Central's Margaret Gordon and Rachel Terbovich.

"My sister and I had a ton of practice together last year and Wendy and I have known each other, we just haven't played a ton of doubles before this," Holman said. "We're super-good friends, but we hadn't developed a strong doubles game. It just developed as we were playing in sectionals, honestly. We knew each other's styles, but we hadn't put it together in a high-pressure tournament."

Hazelbaker and Mizer edged Dublin Jerome's Vicki Chang and Reagan Resor 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in the first round and clinched their state berth with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Central's Semmie Moore and Jillian Stang.

The freshmen said they took a nothing-to-lose approach last weekend.

"We had a lot of energy, bouncing around on the court," Hazelbaker said. "Noah is better at keeping up the energy and she keeps me calm and focused."

Mizer praised Hazelbaker's range.

"Ella runs down everything," Mizer said. "She never gives up."

Also competing at district was singles player Masha Manilchuk, who went 0-1.

Coach Shaun Stamps wants to make sure the state tournament provides a learning experience for his players.

"That's the best thing about getting to state. They will be gaining that experience," coach Shaun Stamps said. "Evelyn has some experience at state after going last year with her sister, so she's more familiar with the site, the stage, the tournament and being on those pro courts. The rest of them just have to have fun, but always be focusing on the next point."

Girls water polo team set for state

The girls water polo team will go for its fourth consecutive state title, seventh in eight years and 17th overall when it competes in the state tournament Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Cincinnati Princeton.

UA is seeded second behind Napoleon in the 11-team tournament. The Bears got a first-round bye and will play the seventh-seeded Columbus Hawks club team or 10th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in the second round.

All teams are guaranteed at least two games

UA finished the regular season at 17-8 after defeating Thomas Worthington 15-6 on Oct. 11.

A tournament bracket had not been finalized entering the week.

The boys team gets this weekend off before its state tournament Oct. 27 and 28 at Princeton and Mason.

UA is 25-10 after going 3-1 in the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Pioneer Tournament that concluded Oct. 14. The Bears defeated Pioneer 8-3, Birmingham (Michigan) Groves 4-3 and Grand Blanc (Michigan) 12-7 and lost to Dexter (Michigan) 5-3.

UA lost to Thomas 5-4 on Oct. 11.

Runners prepare for district meet

After earning top-three finishes in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby, the boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the Division I, district 1 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial.

At district, the top five teams and top 20 runners advance to regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.

At the league meet, Heidi Heuerman's second-place finish (18 minutes, 43.36 seconds) led the girls, who scored 53 points to place second behind Hilliard Davidson (22) and ahead of Marysville (77), Dublin Coffman (88) and Central Crossing (155).

Also scoring for UA were Eileen Dunn (eighth, 19:49.94), Emma Switzer (13th, 20:01.96), Elizabeth Clingan (14th, 20:17.04) and Mallory Sharp (16th, 20:29.38).

For the boys team, Thomas Richter placed seventh (16:48.19) in the league meet, and the Bears used a tight pack to score 68 points and finish third behind Davidson (24) and Coffman (60) and ahead of Marysville (99), Central Crossing (130) and Westland (189).

Other scorers for the Bears were Jack Amling (13th, 17:11.76), Daniel Owens (14th, 17:12.5), Cole Smith (15th, 17:14.36) and Bryce Martyn (20th, 17:33.47).

Girls soccer team shuts out Wolves

The girls soccer team began the Division I district tournament with a 4-0 win over visiting and 30th-seeded Kilbourne in a first-round game Oct. 16.

Grace Wild scored two goals and Abbie Morris and Brooke Smith each added one for 13th-seeded UA, which extended its unbeaten streak to four games and will play 12th-seeded New Albany in a second-round game Thursday, Oct. 19, at Westerville South.

The Bears improved to 8-5-4 overall and also finished 2-1-2 in the OCC-Central. They went 1-0-2 in three games to end the regular season, with the win coming against Kilbourne, 3-0 on Oct. 7. UA also played to scoreless ties against OCC-Central foes Marysville on Oct. 3 and Coffman on Oct. 10 during that stretch.

"We're playing well, but I know there is more in us," coach Chris Merrick said. "Part of it is putting in the hard work for 80 minutes, part of it is focusing on our touches and our passes. But overall, our players do work hard and we are getting to the point where we want to be heading toward the postseason."

The UA-New Albany winner plays seventh-seeded Darby or 40th-seeded Westland in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the higher seed, and the semifinal winner advances to a district final Oct. 28.

UA defeated Westland 9-0 on Sept. 26.

Boys soccer team starts tourney

The boys soccer team began the Division I district tournament at home Oct. 18 against league foe Westland.

UA was seeded 20th, and Westland was 29th in the 47-team field.

The Bears finished the regular season at 5-8-1 overall and 2-2-1 in the OCC-Central after a 5-1 loss at Coffman on Oct. 10.

The UA-Westland winner visits ninth-seeded Pickerington North in a second-round game Saturday, Oct. 21. The winner plays eighth-seeded Olentangy, 45th-seeded Marion Harding or 46th-seeded Whitehall in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of the higher seed, and that winner advances to a district final Oct. 28.

The Bears lost to Olentangy 1-0 on Sept. 5.

Postseason underway for volleyball team

The girls volleyball team sought to snap a two-match losing streak Oct. 17 when it played host to 22nd-seeded Bradley in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

UA, seeded 17th of 50 teams, was 12-10 overall before playing Bradley and finished 7-3 in the OCC-Central. The Bears lost two matches last week, falling 25-11, 25-11, 25-13 to Coffman on Oct. 10 and 25-21, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 to Big Walnut on Oct. 12.

Coffman is the top seed in the Division I tournament, while Big Walnut is the second seed in Division II.

The UA-Bradley winner plays host to 23rd-seeded Westerville Central in the second round Oct. 19. The winner faces third-seeded DeSales, 35th-seeded Whetstone or 38th-seeded Centennial in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Franklin Heights, and that winner advances to a district final Oct. 28.

Field hockey team starts postseason

Seeded seventh in the 17-team district tournament, the field hockey team played host to ninth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a second-round game Oct. 17.

The winner visits second-seeded Columbus Academy or 15th-seeded Coffman in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, and that winner advances to a district final Oct. 28.

The Bears lost to Academy 5-0 on Aug. 22 but defeated Coffman 2-0 on Oct. 11 to end the regular season.

Natalie Meredith and Hannah Sharp scored against the Shamrocks and goalkeeper Faith Seely made one save.

UA was 8-4-3 overall before Oct. 17 and finished 5-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division.

Girls golfers fall short of state

Interim girls golf coach Steve Gdovin is certain the team will again vie for the Division I district championship next year, especially since the entire lineup is expected to return.

Freshman Julia Rabadam's round of 73 led UA to a third-place finish (311) at district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek behind Orange (304) and Jerome (307) as nine teams scored. The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Ohio State's Gray Course.

Also scoring for the Bears were sophomores Emily Hummer (75) and Maddie Frank (81) and junior Lilly Carine (82). Sophomore Lizzie Murray added an 85.

"You have four of the best teams in Ohio competing for two (state) spots. We'll bounce back," Gdovin said.

"I expect us in a year from now to be in the same situation we are today, grinding it out and being the team everybody looks to to beat. Whereas we're chasing teams down this year, I think we came in with the right mental approach (Oct. 10)."

Gdovin coached the team for most of the season after 10-year coach Kristi Ghidotti resigned in early September.

Despite that transition, UA still won its second consecutive league title by going 20-0 in the four-round OCC-Central tournament, ahead of Coffman (16-4), New Albany (9-11), Davidson (7-13), Canal Winchester (6-14) and Marysville (2-18).

At a sectional Oct. 3 at Westchester, Hummer shot a 69 and the Bears finished first (307) ahead of runner-up New Albany (328) as 11 teams scored.

Top boys golfers expected back

Juniors Matt Cramer and Quinn Patterson were the boys golf team's top two scorers in its final two tournaments of the year, and they are the only projected returnees from this year's team that won the OCC-Central championship and came up eight shots shy of a Division I state tournament berth.

Cramer shot a 75 and Patterson carded a 76 at district Oct. 10 at Apple Valley, leading UA to a fifth-place finish (314) behind champion Jerome (294) as 12 teams scored. The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

Liberty (307) finished second.

Also scoring for the Bears were seniors Cole Muldoon (81) and Dane Goodwin (82). Classmate Nathan Kelley shot a 93.

UA went 20-0 in the four-round OCC-Central tournament to finish ahead of Coffman (16-4), Davidson (14-6), Marysville (8-12), Central Crossing (4-16) and Westland (0-20).

In a sectional Oct. 3 at Clover Valley, Cramer and Patterson both shot a 75 and the Bears finished second (311) behind St. Charles (300) as 12 teams scored.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave