Derek Lichtfuss is embracing his latest challenge in lacrosse.
After spending the past two seasons as the boys coach at Thomas Worthington, Lichtfuss now is in the same role at Columbus Academy.
Lichtfuss replaced Jon Ewert, who guided the Vikings to a 10-9 record in his only season as head coach after serving as an assistant the previous two years.
"We've been very candid and very transparent with our guys that this is let's rebuild a little bit (and) let's retool," said Lichtfuss, who had an 11-28 record at Thomas. "We know we've got a really young group, but we really like that group and we've retooled our schedule a little bit. ... We're trying to get as many guys as many reps as possible."
Academy opened at Nashville (Tennessee) University School on March 28 and visits Nashville Ensworth on Saturday, March 31, before returning to central Ohio.
The Vikings are missing two key players from last season. Junior midfielder Malcolm Klingbeil is expected to miss the season after undergoing ACL surgery before basketball season, and junior attacker David Barren decided not to play this season.
Barren, who is competing in track and field this spring, led Academy in scoring last season with 45 goals and 27 assists, while Klingbeil had 37 goals and six assists.
Barren was named second-team all-region, and Klingbeil was honorable mention all-region.
"Malcolm is still a leader, the heart and soul of the team," Lichtfuss said. "He's taking it in stride and the coaching staff has as well."
Sophomore midfielder Andrew Swartz, who had 19 goals and seven assists last season, is expected to help fill the scoring void with the losses of Barren and Klingbeil.
"(Lichtfuss) has a good vision of the team," Swartz said. "He knows that we're a young team and not necessarily the most experienced, which is good to have as a new coach. I know coming in as a new coach is not always the easiest thing."
Junior faceoff specialist Gunnar Geiger was second-team all-region last season, and sophomore Philip Soderberg again will be in goal.
Other key returnees include seniors Michael Boeckman (attacker) and Josh Pearson (defender), juniors Keenan Bellisari (midfielder) and Dalyn DeCree (defender) and sophomore Charlie Yaw (midfielder).
Other players are junior Oscar Giller (midfielder), sophomore Ryan Hunker (defender) and freshmen Vassar Barney (midfielder/defender), Luke Budzik (attacker), Lakes Florey (midfielder), Campbell Gwin (midfielder), Sonari Hart (attacker/midfielder), Rowan Hennessy (midfielder/defender), Michael Hoffman (midfielder), Graham Mallory (midfielder), Robert Mills (midfielder), Ethan Rayburn (attacker), Cooper Schnitzer (attacker), Chris Sugar (midfielder) and Xander Wood (attacker).
"We want to finish with a winning record," Swartz said. "I know we're a young and less experienced team, and to come out 2-1 in our first three scrimmages is an encouraging thing for all of the young guys."
Girls lacrosse team looks for more success
The girls lacrosse team entered the season looking to take the next step after reaching last year's Division II, Region 7 final but losing to DeSales 14-4 to finish 11-5 overall.
Academy opened March 28 against Nashville (Tennessee) University School and visits Nashville Ensworth on Friday, March 30.
"It's all about trying to get going and figure out who you are and what we're about, teaching them the basics and see what happens," said coach Anne Horton, who is in her 24th season. "The girls have their eyes on wanting to take a step further than what they did last year. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for us this spring."
Junior midfielder Lexi Leader was named first-team all-state and all-region last season, and junior attacker Tani Obikunle was second-team all-region.
Senior Kelley Marie Antonine returns in goal. Other returnees are senior Shenique Lewis (defender), juniors Sydney Hill (midfielder), Jenny L'Hommedieu (midfielder/def-ender), Megan Schmitz (midfielder/attacker), Avie Smith (attacker) and Aiyana Taylor (defender) and sophomores Emma Belford (attacker), Lauren Bernacki (midfielder), Kiersten Thomassey (midfielder) and Abby Yakam (midfielder).
Other players are juniors Sidney Derzon (attacker) and Caroline Driggs (attacker), sophomores Alex Phelps (goalkeeper) and Mackenzie Smith (attacker) and freshmen Charlotte Adams (defender/midfielder), Suzy L'Hommedieu (defender/midfielder) and Ashley Reynolds (goalie).
"We definitely have some good youth coming through and that's exciting," Horton said.
DeSales also defeated Academy 9-8 during the regular season last spring and won the Central Independent League at 7-0, ahead of the second-place Vikings (5-2). Academy had won six consecutive league titles.
The teams meet April 25 at Academy.
"DeSales has a lot of girls that are lacrosse-only athletes and they're training year-round and doing a lot more and we have a lot of work to do to try to be competitive in the area," Horton said. "We're looking forward to the challenge."
March 28 -- at Nashville (Tenn.) University School
March 31 -- at Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth
April 7 -- at Westerville Central
April 11 -- vs. Dayton Oakwood
April 12 -- at Buckeye Valley
April 14 -- vs. Pickerington North
April 17 -- vs. Licking Valley
April 19 -- at Hilliard Darby
April 23 -- vs. St. Charles
April 28 -- at Wellington
May 3 -- at Dublin Scioto
May 5 -- vs. Gahanna
May 8 -- vs. Delaware
May 11 -- at Bexley
March 28 -- at Nashville (Tenn.) University School
March 30 -- at Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth
April 3 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*April 5 -- at Bexley
*April 10 -- at Granville
*April 12 -- at Hartley
*April 17 -- at Wellington
*April 19 -- vs. Watterson
April 21 -- Gates Mills Hawken and McMurray (Pa.) Peters Township in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington
April 23 -- vs. New Albany
*April 25 -- vs. DeSales
*May 3 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
May 8 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
May 11 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy baseball and track & field teams:
March 29 -- At Northridge
*April 2 -- At London
*April 4 -- Home vs. London
TRACK & FIELD
April 4 -- At Worthington Christian with Grandview