When Marc Wurtzman took over the Columbus Academy boys tennis team before this season, he scheduled several Division I programs to help his players prepare for top-tier Division II opponents during the regular season and postseason.
“I like to play the strongest teams to try to challenge the guys and give them some tough competition to get us ready for the important matches and the postseason,” Wurtzman said.
He hopes that strategy pays off when Academy plays host to Wellington on Thursday, May 3, in a key MSL-Ohio Division contest. It also will double as an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II team tournament match.
The teams were originally scheduled to meet April 17 at Wellington, but the match was postponed because of bad weather. Wurtzman said the match was moved to Academy because his program was scheduled to play host to the OTCA district semifinal.
The winner faces Bexley or Logan Elm in a district final on a date to be determined.
Wellington is led by senior Connor Biernat and sophomore Trevor Ball. Both competed at state last season.
“We’re very excited for that match,” Wurtzman said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”
The Vikings were 10-3 overall before playing Division I Upper Arlington on May 1 and 4-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Grandview on May 2. Academy lost to Division I New Albany 5-0 on April 30.
Academy prepared for its busy stretch by winning at Division I Olentangy Orange 3-2 on April 26. Winners for the Vikings were Jack Madison 6-1, 6-4 at third singles, Ryan Seneviratne and Drew Haffer 6-7, 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles and Sam Vogel and Ryan Wahl 7-5, 6-1 at second doubles.
Arie Tuckerman and Suriya Sundaram have been playing first and second singles, respectively.
“We still have a young team, so to go in and beat a D-I team on the road with a lot of upperclassmen, it was a great team effort and we’re very proud of them,” Wurtzman said. “It wasn’t guaranteed going in, but I knew we had the capability, so it was nice to pull through and win a good team match.”
Before losing to New Albany, the Vikings’ other losses came against a pair of Division I programs in Cincinnati St. Xavier (5-0 on April 13) and Toledo St. John’s (3-2 on April 7).
The Vikings also have matches coming up against three Division I programs in Dublin Coffman (Friday, May 4), Thomas Worthington (Monday, May 7) and Westerville Central (Tuesday, May 8).
Girls lacrosse team looks to bounce back
The girls lacrosse team will look to rebound from an 8-7 overtime loss to DeSales on April 25 when it plays host to Columbus School for Girls on Thursday, May 3.
The Vikings, who have lost two consecutive games, are 8-3 overall and 5-1 in the Central Independent League.
Academy led DeSales 6-4 in the second half before the Stallions rallied to force overtime. DeSales then pulled out the league win on Abbey Dop's goal.
Tani Obikunle scored four goals to lead Academy.
"The team played extremely hard and showed a lot of heart," coach Anne Horton said. "The defense was outstanding. I was super proud of their effort, (but) disappointed that we didn't finish. We had the opportunity to make the game ours and we didn't do it. These experiences will only make us stronger and we can learn from it."
DeSales, which is 5-0 in the CIL, won the previous two league titles after Academy had won six consecutive championships.
Track teams compete at Canal Winchester
The boys and girls track and field teams competed in the eight-team Milt Will Invitational on April 27 at Canal Winchester.
Karibi Hart led the boys, winning the 200 meters (22.77 seconds) and finishing second in the 100 (11.44).
Nicholas Watson was third (10:06.51) and Charlie Sabgir placed fifth (10:20.93) in the 3,200, and Christopher Heermann was fourth (4:47.4) and Luke Nester finished fifth (4:49.56) in the 1,600.
Jared Kass, Sam Massick, David Barren and Sam Huyghe were fourth in the 800 relay (1:37.45). Alex McClellan was fifth in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches).
The Vikings finished seventh (62 points) behind champion Pickerington North (143).
For the girls, Samantha Kass was second in the 800 (2:28.79), Annalise Grammel finished second in the 1,600 (5:28.4) and Mabry Nichols tied for second in the high jump (5-0).
Hannah Clay, Briyana Dragin, Muriel Goldfarb and Kass were fourth in the 800 relay (1:50), and Clay, Regan Cornelius, Goldfarb and Grammel were fourth in the 1,600 relay (4:21.65).
Academy finished eighth (46) behind champion North (154).
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys tennis and track & field teams:
May 3 -- At Granville
May 4 -- At Jonathan Alder
May 5 -- Home vs. Newark Catholic (DH)
May 8 -- Home vs. 15th-seeded Utica in first round of Division III district tournament. Winner plays at fifth-seeded Fairbanks in second round May 10. The Vikings are seeded 12th.
May 3 -- At Dublin Scioto
May 5 -- Home vs. Gahanna
May 8 -- Home vs. Delaware
*May 3 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls
May 8 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*May 3 -- Home vs. Wellington in makeup from April 17
May 4 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
May 7 -- At Thomas Worthington
May 8 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
TRACK & FIELD
May 4 -- Africentric Invitational
May 5 -- Mount Gilead Invitational
May 8, 11 -- MSL-Ohio meet at London