As a four-year starter for the Ohio State men's lacrosse team and six-year veteran of Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine, not to mention serving as an assistant coach for three high school teams the past four seasons, new Olentangy boys coach Dominique Alexander hasn't had to deal with the off-the-field nuts and bolts of running a program.
"Just managing all of those issues is the biggest thing to get used to. The on-the-field duties, that stuff comes easier," said Alexander, whose team was 2-0 before playing Upper Arlington on March 28. "When you're in a meeting and decisions need to be made, everyone looks at you and you say 'oh, that's me.' It adds a little bit of pressure, but this is a nice change of pace. I'm excited."
Alexander replaced Zach Peterson, who coached the Braves for five seasons before resigning to become an assistant principal at Liberty. Alexander was an assistant at Olentangy the past two seasons, following stints at Dublin Scioto (2013) and New Albany (2014-15).
The Braves, who went 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division last year and lost to Liberty 13-6 in a Division I regional final, return three offensive leaders in seniors Riley Bruening (attacker), Kyle Milliron (attacker/midfielder) and Blake Profio (midfielder) as well as senior defender Sam Camacho and senior goalkeeper Charlie Harkin.
Olentangy opened March 17 with a 14-6 win over Hilliard Davidson in the Ohio Machine High School Showcase at Fortress Obetz and defeated Mason 7-6 on March 24.
Bruening and Milliron each scored four goals against Davidson, and junior midfielder Hassan Radda added three.
"Riley and Kyle both have good stick skills and see the field well," Alexander said. "Riley leads the charge and he's the coach on the field. Kyle has good change of direction. Riley can be sneaky shifty. He was such an important part of the football team as a quarterback (last fall) and that transitions to lacrosse."
Harkin, a three-year starter, was third-team all-state last season.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Danny Barstow (defender), Mitch Conway (attacker), Max Gutentag (defender/long-stick midfielder), Xavier Harrison (defender), Colin Higgenbottom (midfielder), Garrett Lowe (attacker), Pablo Merrell (defender), Sam Monastra (midfielder), Josh Petrone (midfielder), Nate Snopik (midfielder), Caden Spurlock (defender) and Antonio Tirado (defender/long stick midfielder), juniors Alex Adams (midfielder), Cody Helvey (midfielder), Sam McInturf (goalie) and Evan Parrott (attacker/midfielder) and sophomores Hunter Boehm (midfielder), Zach Kersherner (defender/long-stick midfielder), Jack Nebraska (midfielder), Nick Orndorf (midfielder) and Khairi Sears (midfielder).
Olentangy begins OCC-Buckeye play April 5 at Westerville South. The Braves tied New Albany and Orange for second place in the league last year behind Liberty (7-0).
"The expectations we've had will not change," Alexander said. "We'll adjust what we're doing on the field based on the personnel we have, but that's about it. We graduated a lot, but we have a lot returning. New guys are going to emerge."
Emery, Harder, Sklar lead girls lacrosse team
With two college recruits and another Division I commit leading the way, third-year girls lacrosse coach Amy McCormick likes her team's athleticism, speed and versatility as it tries to compete for the OCC-Buckeye championship and make a deeper postseason run.
Seniors Kat Emery (defen-der/midfielder) and Elise Harder (midfielder) and junior McKenzie Sklar (attacker/midfielder) return to pace Olentangy, which opened March 22 with a 12-5 win over Granville.
"Team chemistry, lacrosse I.Q. and exposure to a higher level of play (from many players competing in club over the summer) are better since last year," McCormick said. "I like our leadership and maturity from the upperclassmen.
"I want to see more consistency, confidence and composure regardless of the team we are playing."
Emery is a Wittenberg recruit. Harder has signed with Detroit Mercy and Sklar has committed to Kent State.
Olentangy's originally scheduled opener March 20 at Thomas Worthington was postponed because of bad weather.
The Braves went 13-6 overall and 5-2 in the league last year, finishing third behind champion New Albany (7-0).
Olentangy's league opener is April 5 at home against South.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Bri Allenstein (defender), Holly Galvin (defender) and Olivia Gamble (attacker), juniors Katie Berberick (attacker), Evie Bull (defender/midfielder), Abby Derick (goalie), Grace Ellis (defender), Maddie Garner (midfielder) and Brooklyn Morris (attacker), sophomores Izzy Conrad (attacker), Riley Doyle (attacker/midfielder), Andi Henry (attacker/midfielder), Sydney Semel (attacker) and Karlie Severance (defender) and freshman Jenna Brennan (defender/midfielder).
Girls basketball, swim teams seeking coaches
Mike Daniels recently resigned as girls basketball coach, and Dan Harris and Nick Ljubi stepped down from their boys and girls swimming positions after three and two seasons, respectively.
Daniels was 22-25 in two seasons with the Braves, who went 11-13 overall and 5-5 in the OCC-Buckeye this year, losing to Watterson 52-36 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
"With the new school (Olentangy Berlin) opening up next year, (the school's) culture was (about) wanting more players to participate because numbers are low, which meant play more girls and that doesn't fit into my philosophy," Daniels said in an email.
Harris said he is taking a step back from a swimming coaching career that dates to 2001, although he plans to remain as the football team's defensive coordinator.
"There is never a good time to walk away, but I have decided that time is now. This team has been great and will be great and, as a coach, all we really do is guide them in the right direction, apply some knowledge and hope they make the right choices," Harris said. "The legacy of this program is its swimmers, and that will continue. It is time for some young coach to step in and grow and learn with this program."
March 17 -- Hilliard Davidson at Fortress Obetz
March 24 -- vs. Mason
March 28 -- at Upper Arlington
March 30 -- vs. Medina
*April 5 -- at Westerville South
April 7 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
*April 10 -- vs. Westerville Central
*April 12 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*April 17 -- at New Albany
April 20 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
April 23 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
*April 24 -- vs. Big Walnut
*April 26 -- at Westerville North
*May 1 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
May 3 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
May 11-12 -- Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association tournament at Fortress Obetz
March 22 -- vs. Granville
*April 5 -- vs. Westerville South
April 7 -- vs. Uniontown Green
*April 10 -- at Westerville Central
*April 12 -- at Olentangy Orange
April 14 -- vs. Mason
*April 17 -- vs. New Albany
April 19 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
April 21 -- Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington
*April 24 -- at Big Walnut
*April 26 -- vs. Westerville North
April 28 -- vs. Springboro
*May 1 -- at Olentangy Liberty
May 3 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
May 8 -- at DeSales
May 10 -- vs. Pickerington Central
Below are the coming schedules for the Olentangy baseball, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
March 31 -- Home vs. Teays Valley
*April 3 -- At Westerville South
*April 4 -- Home vs. Westerville South
March 29 -- Liverpool (N.Y.) at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
March 30 -- Slippery Rock (Pa.) at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
April 2 -- Home vs. Big Walnut
April 3 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central
April 4 -- At Grove City
April 3 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
TRACK & FIELD
April 4 -- At Centennial
March 30 -- At Hilliard Davidson
March 31 -- At Kettering Fairmont
*April 3 -- At Westerville South