Madison Spiess did not burden herself with expectations as she competed in her first Division I state tournament.
The New Albany High School freshman girls golfer shot a 75 in the first round Oct. 20 at Ohio State's Gray Course, then trimmed eight shots in the second round Oct. 21 to finish with a 142 and place third of 72 golfers.
"(It went) pretty well," Spiess said. "The first day wasn't my best, but I bounced back. That's all I was hoping to do. It was mostly about putting and hitting greens. I gave myself more chances than I did (in the opening round). This is my first state tournament, so I really just wanted to come out and compete. It was fun."
Spiess, who was the program's first state qualifier, finished five shots behind medalist Katie Hallinan of Cincinnati Walnut Hills.
Spiess' performance ended a season that first-year coach Rich Ritter considered the best in program history.
New Albany went 9-11 in the four-round OCC-Central Division tournament to finish third behind Upper Arlington (20-0) and Dublin Coffman (16-4) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (7-13), Canal Winchester (6-14) and Marysville (2-18).
Led by junior Morgan Pankow's round of 68, the Eagles finished second (328) in a sectional Oct. 3 at Westchester behind UA (307). Then at district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek, Spiess shot a 72 and Pankow had a 77 as New Albany finished fifth (327) behind champion Olentangy Orange (304).
Abby Wilcox is the Eagles' only loss to graduation.
While sophomore Gwynnie Lee was in the top five all season, other expected returnees who played varsity at least some of the time are junior Daley Juschka, sophomores Nina Molnar and Mimi Tanchevski and freshman Nora Bounemany.
"All we could ask of the girls was to do their best. Sometimes it's enough, sometimes it isn't," Ritter said. "We talked about playing loose and having fun. The girls have had a really good time as a team this year and that's been fun to watch. ... I am proud of the group. They have made great strides this year and I've reminded them they are the best team New Albany's ever had. That's truly the case. They have established a new direction for the program going forward."
Breuer heading to regional meet
Kane Breuer of the boys cross country team will compete in the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North.
Breuer, who will be New Albany's only runner in the meet, finished 17th (16 minutes, 33.64 seconds) in the district 2 race Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial. That led the Eagles to 183 points and seventh place behind champion North (56) as 17 teams scored.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Also scoring for the Eagles were Ethan McNichols (22nd, 16:51.07), Colin Swincicki (39th, 17:16.98), Victor Orsinelli (47th, 17:25.32) and Pedro Faerman (58th, 17:45.01).
The girls team's season came to an end when it finished 10th (234) in district 3 behind champion Davidson (25) as 18 teams scored. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to regional.
Scoring for New Albany were Catherine Ryan (28th, 20:20.78), Alyssa Painter (40th, 20:48.76), Simmi Diwanji (49th, 21:05.03), Lexi Vale (58th, 21:20.99) and Kate Golian (59th, 21:21.52).
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to state Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.
Girls soccer team wins tourney opener
Girls soccer coach Jared Dombrowski saw his team create solid scoring chances in several recent games but not finish.
In the 12th-seeded Eagles' 3-1 win over 13th-seeded UA in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 19 at Westerville South, Dombrowski saw his team finish despite not always being in prime scoring position.
Lydia Cornelius' 35-yard goal began the scoring. Sophie Matt and Lindsey Townsend added goals before halftime and Jordan Conley's 12 saves made the lead stand.
"We didn't play our best but sometimes you have to grind wins out," Dombrowski said.
"Lately, we've played excellent soccer but haven't finished. (Oct. 19) we didn't play spot-on but we finished. You do whatever you can to advance."
The game was moved to South because the track at New Albany's stadium was being rebuilt. Construction was expected to be finished by early this week.
The Eagles had to practice at Newark's facility several days last week.
New Albany improved to 10-1-6 and visited seventh-seeded Hilliard Darby for a district semifinal Oct. 24. The winner plays third-seeded Gahanna or 15th-seeded Watterson in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site, and that winner plays Coffman, Hilliard Bradley, Olentangy Liberty or Orange in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 31. The regional final is Nov. 4.
Of those teams, the Eagles tied Gahanna at 0 on Oct. 10 and tied Orange at 3 on Sept. 16.
Volleyball team loses to Gales
The girls volleyball team fell to visiting and 19th-seeded Lancaster 20-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-15, 15-12 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 to finish 12-11.
Micaylah Nash had 21 kills and Patty Rolwing added 13 for the Eagles, who were seeded 18th.
Boys soccer team falls in upset
The boys soccer team's quest for a second consecutive Division I district championship never got off the ground, as the fifth-seeded Eagles lost to 27th-seeded Worth-ington Kilbourne 2-1 in a second-round game Oct. 21 at Westerville Central.
Zach Short scored and Parker Selby made eight saves for New Albany, which finished 13-4.
The game was moved to Central because of the stadium construction at New Albany.
Field hockey team falls to Braves
The field hockey team's season came to an end Oct. 17 with a 2-1 overtime loss at eighth-seeded Olentangy in the second round of the district tournament.
New Albany, which was seeded 12th of 17 teams, went 5-11-1 overall under first-year coach Marissa Weldon and 2-5-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East to finish sixth behind Granville (8-0), Columbus Academy (7-1), Watterson (6-2), Kilbourne (5-3) and Bexley (4-4) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (1-5-2), Hartley (1-6-1) and Lancaster (0-8).
After a season-best three-game winning streak at midseason, the Eagles went 1-5-1 in their final seven games.
Expected returnees include juniors Amanda Boals (defender/midfielder) and Sunnie Fireman (midfielder), sophomore Brooke Mason (midfielder) and freshman Bella Thompson, who was the starting goalie the entire season.