Alex Foos is winding up an athletic career at DeSales High School that will see her win 12 letters, but she isn't slowing down.
The senior still has her eyes set on setting at least one school record and making a deep postseason run in at least one of her track and field events. Only after that quest is finished might she take some time to reflect on a career that has seen her letter in diving, gymnastics, tennis and track.
"She's one of the most underappreciated athletes in the entire building," track coach Ben McGinnis said. "Tennis, cross country, diving, gymnastics, track; she can do anything. She is tough as nails. If she were to play team-style sports, her name would be heard so much more. She is strong in her faith. She is strong in her convictions. She's a leader and it's been that way since she was a freshman."
Foos chuckled at and was flattered by her coach's comments.
"I feel like I do so many things, but I am busy all the time and I just don't think about it," Foos said. "I am running from one place to another. I appreciate that, but these are sports I love. I enjoy all of them. Take gymnastics. It's a hard sport to learn and do. I'm proud of that."
Foos earned four letters in gymnastics, three in tennis, three so far in track and one in diving, which she took up her sophomore year with three of her gymnastics teammates. She also ran a handful of cross country meets last fall as part of a pact with friend and classmate Abi DeBrosse, a veteran runner who held up her end of the deal by taking up gymnastics for the first time this past winter.
"It was just natural that I'd do those sports in high school," said Foos, who took up gymnastics and tennis as a youth and tennis during middle school. "I didn't expect to do diving or cross country, but I figured, 'Why not?'"
In track, Foos primarily participates in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and long jump, although she also has run the 1,600 relay this season. She set her personal-best times in both hurdles events at last year's CCL meet -- 16.55 in the 100 hurdles and 49.16 in the 300 hurdles -- and has leapt 15 feet, 6 3/4 inches in the long jump.
Foos finished third in both hurdles events at last year's CCL meet and hopes to improve on those performances in this season's league meet Tuesday, May 8, and May 10 at Hartley.
"I've carried long jump with me my whole (high school career), and I've done so many different events from relays to hurdles," Foos said. "I am definitely not a long-distance person, at least in my opinion. (McGinnis) might differ. I did an 800 in middle school, but not in high school. I just don't like distance races. Doing the 400 was even pushing it for me."
Teammate and longtime friend Stephanie Suh, also a long jumper, says Foos is perhaps her biggest cheerleader.
"I usually don't perform as well without her. I always get down on myself and she will bring me up again," Suh said, recalling when she ran the 1,600 relay during the Wildcat Invitational on April 20 at Westerville South. "I heard her voice twice, when I came around one curve and then again on the other side of the field, and I was wondering to myself how she did it and then I realized she had run all the way across the field to cheer me on twice. She's really a motivating person."
Faith is another staple of Foos' personality. She attended the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis in November, participated in a Kairos retreat in April and serves as a Eucharistic and liturgical minister both at DeSales and her home parish, St. Paul Catholic Church in Westerville.
Foos also is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Math Club, Spanish Club and Shatterproof, an anti-addiction nonprofit organization.
Foos will attend the University of Dayton. She is undecided on a major.
"I'm going to go in, get some classes out of the way and take some time to decide what I want to do," Foos said. "I like everything."
The boys track team will attempt to improve on last year's second-place finish in the CCL meet, and Angelo Ricci (long jump), A.J. Sallee (110 hurdles) and Art Williams (400) will seek to defend their individual championships. DeSales scored 153 points last year to finish behind St. Charles (173) and ahead of Watterson (89), Hartley (56) and Ready (17).
The girls team finished third (89.5) in last year's CCL meet, behind Watterson (159) and Hartley (125) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (73.5) and Ready (45).
Volleyball coach seeing progress
Despite the fact that his team was just 4-9 before playing Mount Vernon on May 2, boys volleyball coach Andy Feltz said he has seen considerable improvement during the season – just not always when he wants to see it.
“We’re definitely playing better, just not in the mode of winning,” Feltz said. “We’ve had a few matches where we’ve been at 20-20 and just not been able to finish it off. We’ve had a tough time performing under pressure at the end of matches. Maybe we’ve been too cautious and been trying not to make mistakes. We need to play like it’s 1-all instead of 20-all and not get too wrapped up in the situation.
“We have some athletes. The kids have skill and they’ve gotten better. They just have to be more willing to swing hard and go for that kill in a big situation.”
DeSales got its fourth win of the season by sweeping Westerville North 25-22, 25-18, 25-21 on April 30 and finished 0-4 in the CCL with a 25-18, 25-11, 25-17 loss to St. Charles on April 24. The Cardinals are ranked second in the state in Division II this week.
The Stallions have gone to four games in four of their losses, including in consecutive matches April 20 against Watterson (25-15, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22) and April 21 at Olentangy Orange (22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-23).
Although Feltz has used several different lineups, he said the team’s most consistent players have included middle hitters Zach Clarke and Will Durbin and setter Dominic Julian.
“We’ve been able to run some good middle attacks. Will is learning his position and running sets faster,” Feltz said. “Zach is our ‘steady Eddie.’ He’s consistently good with passing and attacking. Dominic is getting a better feel for the game. He’s improved with his technique and getting a feel for our offense and using his height (6-foot-2) more.
“I’m not sure we’ve consistently put our six best guys out there yet. We’re still trying to figure that out. We have a backloaded schedule and that’s good. We need to be playing.”
Young softball team seeks improvement
The softball team got its first CCL win April 30 by defeating Watterson 3-1, but coach Julie Barber reminded herself and her team that progress is measured in different ways.
With no seniors, an underclassman battery in sophomore pitcher Jacqui Barber and freshman catcher Kendall Gonya and seven players in all playing different positions than a year ago, DeSales was 5-11 overall and 1-4 in the league before playing Hartley on May 2.
Among the position changes this year are second baseman Faith Strapp coming in from the outfield and Aubrey Wilcox moving from left field to center.
“They are dedicated, hard-working players that we are seeing tremendous growth from,” coach Barber said. “Unfortunately, our youth comes through on some plays. We’ve kept some teams off balance with changeups and good play in the middle infield. We’re headed in a good direction. If it clicks for us next week, next month or next year, it doesn’t matter as long as they play the kind of the ball they committed to play when they joined the program.
“We’re still figuring it out.”
The Stallions were voted the 31st seed for the 46-team Division I district tournament and will visit 26th-seeded Orange for a first-round game Monday, May 7. The winner will visit fourth-seeded Groveport in the second round Wednesday, May 9, and that winner will advance to a district semifinal May 14.
DeSales has not played Groveport or Orange this season.
Baseball coach earns 300th win
Baseball coach Tom Neubert added another distinction to his successful career when he earned his 300th career win April 21 with a 6-4 victory at Hilliard Bradley.
Neubert is 303-165 with the Stallions, who lost their last two CCL games but still had a chance to win the outright league championship earlier this week.
Neubert, who coached seven seasons at Cardington before coming to DeSales in 2008 to serve as both athletics director and baseball coach, had a 209-102 record with the Stallions before April 27. Under his guidance, the Stallions have won five CCL championships, six Division II district titles, three regional championships and state titles in 2011 and 2012.
The Stallions are 15-7 overall and finished 6-2 in the CCL.
DeSales clinched at least a tie for the league championship April 26 by winning its 10th consecutive game, a 5-0 shutout of Watterson. Greg Gilbert struck out 11 and allowed three hits and Nick Renken homered, but the Stallions then lost 3-1 to St. Charles on April 27 and 14-10 to Hartley on April 30.
Hartley was 5-2 in the CCL before its league finale May 2 against Watterson.
Voted the second seed for the 23-team Division II district tournament, DeSales took a first-round bye and will play host to 17th-seeded Columbus South or 19th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in the second round May 10.
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 3 -- At Johnstown
May 4 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
May 5 -- At Lakewood
May 4 -- Home vs. Watterson
May 8 -- At New Albany
*May 3 -- Home vs. Bexley
May 5 -- At Cincinnati Indian Hill
May 8 -- Home vs. Olentangy
May 4 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
May 5 -- At Upper Arlington
*May 3 -- Hartley at Wolfe Park in makeup from April 24
May 4 -- At Hilliard Bradley in makeup from March 27
May 5 -- Teays Valley Invitational
May 7 -- At Worthington Christian
May 8 -- At Central Crossing
TRACK & FIELD
May 4 -- Africentric Classic
May 8, 10 -- CCL meet at Hartley
May 4 -- At Olentangy Liberty
May 7 -- At Upper Arlington
May 9 -- Home vs. Bradley