Kathleen Jones fell short of her biggest goal when it came to the Division I state tournament, but the Olentangy High School girls tennis team's senior ended her Braves career with few regrets.

Jones went 1-1 on Oct. 20 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, defeating Perrysburg's Emma Carter 6-0, 7-5 in the first round before losing to Mason's Ananya Aggarwal 6-0, 7-6 (5).

"Making it to the second day (in order to place) was the big goal," Jones said. "It feels great to be here. This (was) my first time here for state, although I went to a Nike camp over the summer and we would play here."

Jones, who was competing in her second state tournament and first as a singles player, was one of only two seniors in the Division I singles bracket along with Watterson's Claire Ghidotti.

Seven juniors, five sophomores and two freshmen rounded out the field.

Jones also made state as a freshman, when she and 2016 graduate Bri Brdicka advanced in doubles and went 1-1. That tournament was played at Ohio State and Elysium Tennis Center.

Although Jones felt she came up short of her goal, coach Jeff Luxenburger did not entirely agree.

"In the second set (against Aggarwal), she was able to come back from the first set and did a lot better of a job at the net and was almost able to pull out the set," Luxenburger said. "We're definitely happy she was able to make it to the second round, which makes her one of the top eight players in the state. To get here was a huge honor."

Olentangy went 7-8 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division, finishing third behind Liberty (5-0) and Orange (4-1) and ahead of Westerville Central (2-3), Westerville North (1-4) and Westerville South (0-5).

Jones finished third in a sectional tournament that concluded Oct. 7 at Reynoldsburg and fourth at district, which concluded Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington. She was the Braves' only district qualifier.

"We won a few tight matches and lost a few close ones," Luxenburger said. "It was a fun season. I had a great group of girls. We had no issues. The problem is we're losing some players, either by graduation or to Berlin, and we'll miss them."

Second-singles player Janie Miller is the other full-time player who will graduate. While Olentangy expects to return junior Amanda Jones and sophomore Priyanka Agochiya, who usually played doubles and singles, respectively, Luxenburger said sophomores Krista Graybill and Vidya Pittagunta are headed to Berlin when it opens next fall.

Girls runners heading to regional

The girls cross country team will compete in the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 28, at Pickerington North.

Olentangy finished fourth (134) in the 18-team district 3 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Hilliard Davidson (25).

Scoring for the Braves were Lex Brookshire (14th, 19:38.8), Kaite Balthaser (19th, 19:50.23), Meghan Boggess (27th, 20:16.89), Katie Slyh (35th, 20:32.76) and Megan Schlabig (39th, 20:43.7).

The boys team's season came to an end as it missed a regional berth by one spot.

Olentangy finished seventh (197) of 16 teams in district 3 behind champion Liberty (49).

The top six teams and top 24 individuals in both races advanced to regional.

Carter Schaefer was 30th in 16:52.5 to lead the Braves, followed by Sam Holt (31st, 16:54.13), Cullen Sainey (41st, 17:09.37), Mikey Worboy (44th, 17:12.7) and Chandler Moyer (51st, 17:21.45).

At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to state Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.

Boys soccer team rolls into semi

After outscoring its first two Division I district tournament opponents 16-1, the boys soccer team figured to have a much tougher test Oct. 25 when it played host to ninth-seeded Pickerington North in a district semifinal.

Eighth-seeded Olentangy began the postseason Oct. 18 with a 12-1 win over visiting and 45th-seeded Marion Harding, then beat 46th-seeded Whitehall 4-0 on Oct. 21 to improve to 10-3-5.

Drew Beck, Nick Miller, Justin Rehklau and Ryan Renner each scored against the Rams.

The Olentangy-North winner will play third-seeded Dublin Jerome or 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined. The district champion will play Canal Winchester, Liberty, Orange or Westerville South in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 1, at a neutral site, and that winner will advance to a regional final Nov. 4.

Of those teams, the Braves played to 1-all ties against Jerome on Aug. 22, South on Sept. 13 and Orange on Oct. 4, defeated Bradley 3-1 on Sept. 28 and lost to Liberty 3-0 on Oct. 10.

Girls soccer team cruises past Logan

Sydney Richards' three goals Oct. 19 powered the girls soccer team to a 7-0 win over visiting and 36th-seeded Logan in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Kylee Beinecke added two goals for sixth-seeded Olentangy, which improved to 10-4-3 and played host to 18th-seeded Westerville North in a district semifinal Oct. 24. The winner will play fourth-seeded Jerome or 16th-seeded Marysville in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at a neutral site to be determined.

The district champion will play Canal Winchester, Dublin Scioto, Grove City or Pickerington North in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 31, and that winner will advance to a regional semifinal Nov. 3. Of those teams, Olentangy defeated Marysville 6-0 on Sept. 30 and lost to North 3-2 on Aug. 31.

Dramatic win lifts field hockey team

The field hockey team played in its first district semifinal in seven years Oct. 24, but faced a stiff challenge on the road in top-seeded and two-time defending state champion Thomas Worthington.

Eighth-seeded Olentangy advanced with a 2-1 overtime win over visiting and 12th-seeded New Albany on Oct. 17. Elise Harder scored the game-winning goal, Joey Van Gorder scored in regulation and Emma Brown assisted on both as the Braves both avenged a 1-0 (4-2 on strokes) first-round loss to the Eagles last year and set a program record for wins.

Olentangy was 10-6-1 before playing Thomas.

The winner plays third-seeded Granville or fifth-seeded Watterson in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at Liberty. The district champion advances to a state semifinal Nov. 3.

Of those teams, Olentangy lost to Granville 3-0 on Oct. 2.

Volleyball team sweeps Monarchs

The girls volleyball team began pursuit of its first Division I district championship since 2008 with a sweep, defeating visiting and 34th-seeded Marysville 25-10, 26-24, 25-9 in a second-round match Oct. 19.

Eighth-seeded Olentangy improved to 15-8 and played sixth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district semifinal Oct. 25. The winner will play third-seeded DeSales or 23rd-seeded Westerville Central in a district final Saturday, Oct. 28, at Franklin Heights, and the district champion will advance a regional semifinal Nov. 2.

Olentangy swept Central in two OCC-Buckeye matches this season, winning 25-13, 25-21, 25-20 on Sept. 12 and 25-10, 25-19, 25-17 on Oct. 3.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

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