Despite its top runner competing at less than full strength, the Columbus Academy boys cross country team capped a strong season by finishing third in the Division III state meet Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.
The Vikings achieved the finish even though senior Nick Robie ran with just one shoe for part of the race. He finished 39th of 183 runners in 16 minutes, 49.3 seconds.
Coach Denny Hammond said Robie lost a shoe about 1.5 miles into the race.
"I tried to go with my original game plan and I didn't want it to affect me that much," Robie said. "It got really slippery. The gravel really got to me. I just tried to finish the best I could. The whole team really stepped up."
Academy (144) finished behind East Canton (120) and McDonald (140) in the 20-team race.
"If you would have told me Robie would lose his shoe and we finished third, I'd be really happy," Hammond said. "We were four points away from second. From where we started three years ago, we were 15th (at state) the first year, 12th last year, finished third today, I'm proud of these guys. They battled. We ran hard."
Freshman Luke Nester finished 30th (16:44.2) to lead the Vikings. Senior Nick Watson was 38th (16:48.7), followed by Robie, senior Chris Heermann (73rd, 17:10.9), juniors Liam McCann (82nd, 17:17.9) and Abhi Ramesh (124th, 17:54.4) and sophomore Charlie Sabgir (133rd, 18:12.8).
The Vikings finished second (84) behind Leesburg Fairfield (75) at regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North as Robie was third (16:34.69) of 129 runners.
Academy (42) won the district 2 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial, ahead of runner-up Grandview (84), as Robie was third (16:06.34) of 84 runners.
The Vikings (40) also won the MSL-Ohio Division meet Oct. 14, ahead of Grandview (50), Bexley (72), Worthington Christian (91), host London (110) and Whitehall (157). Robie was third (16:42) of 42 runners.
Grammel, Cornelius compete at state
Sophomore Annalise Grammel and freshman Regan Cornelius represented the girls cross country team in the Division III state meet.
Grammel earned all-state honors by placing 17th of 183 runners in 19:19.2.
"I wanted to possibly improve my time from last year," said Grammel, who finished 15th in 18:59 last season. "It's been super exciting. I wish we could have made it as a team, but Regan has been like a little sister to me, so it's been a lot of fun to have her to train with this year."
Cornelius finished 44th (20:05.9) and then traveled to Upper Arlington to join her field hockey teammates for the state championship game against Thomas Worthington.
Academy finished 10th (252) of 16 teams at regional behind champion Mount Gilead (40) as Grammel was third (19:31.19) of 133 runners.
The Vikings finished fourth (98) in the district 2 meet behind champion Mount Gilead (28) as Grammel (19:11.37) and Cornelius (19:34.09) were third and fourth, respectively, of 69 runners.
Academy was third (79) in the league meet behind Bexley (31) and Grandview (54) and ahead of Whitehall (105), London (124) and Worthington Christian (133). Grammel (19:36.8) and Cornelius (20:13.7) were second and third, respectively, of 34 runners.
Field hockey team falls in state final
The field hockey team lost to Thomas 1-0 in the state final to finish 18-3 overall.
It was the Cardinals' third consecutive state title and sixth overall.
The only team with more state titles is Academy, which has 10. The Vikings' last title came in 2013.
Thomas freshman Bella Avila scored the game's lone goal with 15:32 left in the first half. The goal came off a penalty corner, as Emily Huber's shot was deflected to Avila, who was standing along the goal line.
"We actually match up with them fairly well," coach Anne Horton said. "We knew we could battle with them and stay with them. We had an unfortunate restart that led to the setup of that corner that led to their goal. We just couldn't finish at the goal when the opportunities were there. Overall, we played a great game and I'm really proud of the girls. They gave a valiant effort."
Academy advanced to the final with a 2-0 win over Shaker Heights in a state semifinal Nov. 3 at UA. Senior attacker Maddie DeAscentis and sophomore midfielder Kiersten Thomassey scored, and sophomore goalkeeper Alex Phelps had one save.
After a first-round bye in the district tournament, the second-seeded Vikings defeated 15th-seeded Dublin Coffman 8-0 on Oct. 17, seventh-seeded UA 3-0 on Oct. 24 and fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty 5-0 in a district final Oct. 28.
Academy went 7-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East to finish second behind Granville (8-0) and ahead of Watterson (6-2), Worthington Kilbourne (5-3), Bexley (4-4), New Albany (2-5-1), Columbus School for Girls (1-5-2), Hartley (1-6-1) and Lancaster (0-8).
Other players eligible to return are juniors Carolyn Bowman (attacker), Mercedes Crestanello (attacker), Sydney Hill (midfielder), Samantha Kass (midfielder), Lexie Leader (defender/midfielder), Jenny L'Hommedieu (defender), Callista Popp (attacker) and Avie Smith (attacker), sophomores Lauren Bernacki (midfielder/defender), Helene Duebel (defender), Annie Wimsatt (midfielder/defender) and Abby Yakam (attacker) and freshmen Charlotte Adams (attacker) and Cornelius (midfielder).
Boys soccer team loses regional semi
The boys soccer team saw its season end with a 4-1 loss to Tipp City Tippecanoe in a Division II regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Springfield.
Junior forward David Barren scored for the Vikings, who finished 13-5-3 overall.
"Credit goes to Tipp City, which aggressively attacked our goal space, and before we knew it we were three goals behind," coach Ron Leach said. "The rain took away any type of possession game. After we recovered, our boys played well, but it was not enough to turn the game around."
Fourth-seeded Academy won its first district title since 2015, when it competed in Division III, with a 2-1 win by shootout over third-seeded Granville on Oct. 28 at Gahanna.
The Vikings had lost to the Blue Aces 3-1 on Oct. 14.
Academy defeated 26th-seeded Lakewood 10-0 on Oct. 18, 11th-seeded Centennial 2-0 on Oct. 21 and second-seeded Bexley 3-2 on Oct. 25 in a district semifinal.
The Vikings won the MSL-Ohio title at 3-0-2, ahead of Grandview (2-0-3), Bexley (2-1-2), Whitehall (2-2-1), Worthington Christian (1-2-2) and London (0-5).
Seniors Jack Ostrowski (midfielder), Angus Soderberg (defender) and sophomore Charlie Mueller (defender) were named first-team all-league, and senior Connor Brown (forward) and junior Colin Sullivan (midfielder) were second-team all-league.
Senior Randy Yan (midfielder) and junior Tyler Schlonsky (midfielder) were honorable mention all-league.
"I'm proud of the boys for winning the MSL, for winning the district championship and for their effort and attitude this season," said Leach, who was league Coach of the Year.
Others eligible to return are juniors Aiden Macchia (midfielder), Alex McCullen (midfielder), Jacob Sardo (forward) and Evan Scott (midfielder), sophomore Elliott Simpson (goalie) and freshmen Jonah Huston (forward) and Jared Kass (midfielder).