Here are ThisWeek's Athletes of the Year for the fall season:Cassie Alcala
The Pickerington North sophomore further solidified her place in program history -- despite being only halfway through her high school career -- when she finished second in singles in the Division I state tournament held Oct. 20 and 21 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Alcala, who as a freshman was the Panthers' first state qualifier and this year was their first district champion, lost to Rocky River Magnificat's Anna Roggenburk 6-0, 6-0 in the state final to finish 25-3 for the second consecutive season.
Alcala's other losses came against Division II singles champion Nicole Gillinov of Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown (6-2, 6-1 on Aug. 18) and Centennial's Zoey Weil (6-2, 6-1 in a sectional final Oct. 7). Weil finished third in singles in Division I.
"Cassie is a battler on the court. She fights for every point and never gives up no matter how the match is going," coach Brian Hoff said. "This year, Cassie worked hard on having a more positive attitude. Cassie can be very tough on herself. (She) wants to win every point, and when she losses a point, she could be negative at times. But she was much better this year at putting the bad points behind her and moving on."
Claire Ghidotti, Watterson, Sr.; Kathleen Jones, Olentangy, Sr.; Sydni Ratliff, Columbus Academy, Fr.; Zoey Weil, Centennial, Jr.
Zoey Weil, Centennial (2016); Ellee Bullock, Dublin Jerome (2014-15); Lauren Ghidotti, Watterson (2013); Rachael Morales, Hartley (2012)
This junior attacker helped lead Thomas Worthington to its third consecutive state championship.
Already possessing a dominating defense, the Cardinals unleashed a more potent offense this season. Led by Charley, who plays on the right wing, Thomas outscored its opponents 117-6 on the season, including its five postseason opponents 32-1.
Charley totaled 28 goals and 24 assists for the Cardinals, who finished 21-0 overall after beating Columbus Academy 1-0 in the state final Nov. 4 at Upper Arlington and went 7-0 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division.
Last season, Thomas outscored its opponents 79-9 and finished 18-3.
Charley, who scored three goals in a 7-1 victory over Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame in a state semifinal Nov. 3, has 67 goals and 50 assists for her career.
"Sarah has tremendous speed and is a very dynamic player," coach Terri Simonetti Frost said. "She can beat anyone one-on-one and has great touches on the ball. She is very confident with her stick skills and works extremely well with other attackers.
"Sarah is one of four all-Ohio players on our team and helped us become more explosive on offense. She is aggressive and has excellent vision."
Emma Brown, Olentangy, Sr., F; Mollie McCormack, Olentangy Liberty, Sr., M; Isabelle Perese, Thomas Worthington, Jr., G; Kiersten Thomassey, Columbus Academy, So., M
Isabelle Perese, Thomas Worthington (2016); Hana Sinno, Thomas Worthington (2015); Grace Geiger, Columbus Academy (2014); Nina Devin, Thomas Worthington (2013); Courtney Deena, Columbus Academy (2012)
BOYS WATER POLO
The senior helped lead Thomas Worthington to its first state title since 2004 and third overall.
King flourished in what essentially was a point-guard role in the Cardinals' all-senior starting lineup.
"Jack was our point guard in the pool and just set things up on offense and was spectacular on defense," coach Rick Yurich said. "If there was such an award, he would've been the MVP in the (state) championship (match)."
Thomas defeated St. Charles 15-13 in overtime in the state final Oct. 28 at Mason. King had eight steals in the final and defended St. Charles' top scorer. He scored nine goals and made 19 steals as Thomas went 3-0 in the state tournament to finish the season 32-9.
On the season, King had 86 goals and 39 assists and won 88 swim-offs.
"Jack had an outstanding senior season, winning spots on the Ohio Cup first team, the all-state first team and the all-state tournament first team, and was the Ohio Field Player of the Year," Yurich said. "He was a captain and he became (the program's) all-time steals record holder with 138.
"Depending on the game, Jack might score six or seven goals, or he might attach himself to the other team's best player and take him out of the game."
Michael Gutman, St. Charles, Sr.
Drew Wilson, Upper Arlington (2016); Alex Rabe, Upper Arlington (2015); Brady Roesch, Thomas Worthington (2014); Andrew Hoffman, St. Charles (2013); Thomas Trace, Upper Arlington (2012)
With this senior leading the way, the Olentangy Liberty boys golf team finished as Division I state runner-up.
Rath, who has committed to Xavier University, tied for second in the state tournament held Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course with a 147.
"Experience is a great asset of Trey's game," coach Ryan Snivley said. "He has great course-management skills and the mental toughness to not let a bad shot throw him off."
Rath averaged 74.5 in the four-round OCC-Buckeye Division tournament to finish second and then tied for second (75) in a sectional Oct. 3 at Turnberry.
In the district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley, Rath tied Central Crossing's Caleb Davern for first but earned medalist honors by winning a playoff.
Rath finished seventh to earn second-team all-state honors as a sophomore. As a junior, he lost in a playoff at district for the final state berth.
"Trey was successful throughout his career because of his passion for the game and his drive to be a winner," Snivley said. "He's the hardest-working kid I've had come through the Liberty program. If a round didn't end to his liking, he would be motivated even more to spend the time practicing to fix the issue."
Caleb Davern, Central Crossing, Jr.; Blake Solomon, Dublin Jerome, Sr.; Troy Taylor, Westerville South, Sr.; Trent Tipton, Hartley, Jr.
Evan Yakubov, St. Charles (2016); Cameron Karmia, Bexley (2015); Eddie O'Brien, St. Charles (2014); Nick Sparling, Dublin Coffman (2012-13)
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
The Pickerington Central senior capped a record-setting career with his third Division I state meet appearance.
The Syracuse University commit placed third (15 minutes, 20.9 seconds) of 183 runners in the meet Nov. 4 at National Trail Raceway.
Scrape, who placed second at state as a junior and 22nd as a sophomore, set the school record of 14:59.54 in the district 2 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial. That bettered the previous record of 15:07.9, which he set last year.
Scrape also won the OCC-Ohio, district 2 and regional titles. Last spring in the state track and field meet, he placed second in the 3,200 meters and helped the 3,200 relay to a 14th-place finish.
He entered the season without a college offer but committed to Syracuse in October, choosing the Orange over Georgetown and Wisconsin.
"Matt is humble as an elite athlete," coach Andy Fischer said. "He knows that he is good (and) aware that he is improving as an athlete. ... He loves running and has goals that motivate him to a higher level. As a coach, I have had other athletes that were just as talented or athletes that were just as motivated, but he is the only one so far to have both qualities in high levels at the same time."
Cesar Arellano, Dublin Scioto, Sr.; Lucas Bons, Dublin Coffman, Sr.; Arjun Jha, Thomas Worthington, Sr.; Andy Payne, Thomas Worthington, Sr.
Hunter Moore, Olentangy Orange (2016); Andrew Jordan, Watkins Memorial (2015); Dennis Maloney, New Albany (2014); Toby Hardwick, Newark (2013); Jacob Brumford, Westerville North (2012)
GIRLS WATER POLO
The Upper Arlington senior scored 99 goals and added 65 steals and 32 assists as the Golden Bears went 19-9 and finished as state runners-up.
Sheehan, who was named first-team all-state and has committed to swim at Ohio University, had 79 goals as a junior to help UA win the state championship.
This season, the Bears lost to Napoleon 10-9 in the state final Oct. 21 at Cincinnati Princeton.
In swimming, Sheehan is a three-time individual Division I state qualifier and helped UA's 200-yard medley relay set a state-record time of 1:41.88 last season. She also finished eighth in both the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle last year.
"Kendra is the model athlete from a coach's perspective," coach Dan Peterkoski said. "She works hard, responds to criticism and works on correcting her mistakes. ... At this year's banquet, I pointed to her and told her teammates that she is the model of how to be successful in our program. We have a lot of success with getting kids to work hard. Kendra just did it better than most.
"This year, she was able to take a step from simply working hard to implementing that work into game situations. That's why she was much more dominant as a senior."
Elaine Miller, Thomas Worthington, Sr.
Julie Trace, Upper Arlington (2016); Chloe Magyari, Upper Arlington (2015); Gracie Long, Upper Arlington (2014); Betsy Trace, Upper Arlington (2012-13)
The New Albany freshman recorded seven rounds in the 60s this season and became the Eagles' first state qualifier.
Spiess averaged 36.15 strokes per nine holes and 72.11 in 18-hole play. She set the program record of 67 in her first tournament, the Olentangy Invitational on Aug. 11 at Oakhaven, and matched it twice. She also won or shared medalist honors 12 times.
Spiess shot a 142 in the two-round Division I state tournament held Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Gray Course, including a 67 in the final round, to place third of 72 golfers. She shot a 73 in a sectional Oct. 3 at Westchester and carded a 72 in the district tournament Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
New Albany finished second at sectional and fifth at district.
"Madison's performance was exceptional," coach Rich Ritter said. "It is also more than worth noting that while Madison's scoring and results were impressive and valuable to the team, her contributions to the (program) are greater than that. At all times, she exemplified our team's core values of respect for teammates and competitors, conducted herself at all times with a high sense of honor and demonstrated mental toughness through persistence no matter the difficulties."
Ashley Au, Olentangy Orange, Jr.; Kayla Davis, Gahanna, Jr.; Riley Dean, Olentangy Orange, Jr.; Taby Robinson, Dublin Jerome, Sr.
Ashley Au, Olentangy Orange (2016); Liza Weisman, Bexley (2015); Lexie Long, Dublin Coffman (2014); Erin Harper, Watterson (2013); Lexie Toth, Dublin Jerome (2012)
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Olentangy Liberty junior Gracie Sprankle finished third overall of 339 runners and was first among Ohio runners in the Nike Midwest Regional on Nov. 12 in Terra Haute, Indiana, in 17:36.1.
That performance came eight days after she placed fourth (17:35.2) of 173 runners in the Division I state meet at National Trail Raceway. She was the top finisher among central Ohio runners.
Her best, according to coach Darrell Dewese, may be still to come.
"I knew she was going to have a better season this fall than she did as a sophomore," Dewese said. "I didn't really know how good it would be until we got into the season. The times she was running during our intervals were better than anything I'd ever seen. I wasn't the only one that noticed."
Sprankle will compete in the Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 2 in Portland, Oregon.
She won OCC-Buckeye, district and regional championships and has run faster than 18 minutes six times this fall.
"It started with the confidence she gained last spring in track," Dewese said. "She trained incredibly hard this summer. She didn't really take vacations or go anywhere.
"Her work ethic is incredible. She carried that work ethic and determination into the season."
Emma Bower, Olentangy Liberty, Sr. ; Allison Guagenti, Olentangy Orange, Jr.; Sophie Lewis, Hilliard Davidson, Jr.; Danielle Santos, Hilliard Darby, So.
India Johnson, Hilliard Davidson (2015-16); Claire Wiles, Olentangy Liberty (2014); Julia Rizk, Columbus Academy (2013); Leah Wallace, Reynoldsburg (2012)
The latest in a long line of great players to come through Dublin Coffman's program is this 6-foot junior outside hitter, who was named first-team all-state and district Player of the Year in Division I.
Wagoner also was named OCC-Central Player of the Year after helping the Shamrocks win their 11th consecutive league championship and extend their winning streak in league play to 135 matches.
A University of Hawaii commit, Wagoner led the OCC-Central in kills with 456, led the Shamrocks in serves received with 375 and was second on the team in digs (300), hitting percentage (.383), serving aces (38) and blocks (18).
Coffman finished 25-3 and reached a state semifinal, where it lost to eventual champion Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 25-21, 25-27, 21-25, 25-21, 15-5 on Nov. 9.
Wagoner started as a freshman when Coffman finished as state runner-up and was named first-team all-state, all-district and all-league last season when the Shamrocks lost in a state semifinal.
"She just reads the court well," coach Mary Anne Souder said. "Her defense is incredible. She works all year round. She's a good six-rotation player, for sure. For us, she's a veteran leader and she's only a junior."
Diana Brown, DeSales, Sr., S; Maddie Fogg, Olentangy Liberty, Sr., S; Carrigan O'Reilly, Olentangy Orange, Jr., S; Julia Vermilion, Pickerington North, Sr., OH
Kendyl Paris, Hilliard Davidson (2016); Hunter Atherton, Dublin Coffman (2015); Emily Rahe, Hartley (2014); Kenya Cason, DeSales (2013); Megan Giardina, Pickerington North (2012)