Shortly before the Hilliard Bradley High School girls lacrosse team played visiting Delaware on April 24, Callie Rogers sat behind teammate Casey Mignery in the stands and braided her hair.
Braiding hair has become a pregame ritual for Rogers. It's an example of the hands-on approach that the senior defender and Mignery, a senior midfielder, have adopted in an effort to lead a young team.
"I braided my own hair for the first game and Casey asked me to do hers and then Samy (Vawter) and Mallory (Mauracher) wanted me to do theirs," Rogers said before the Jaguars defeated Delaware 15-13 in an OCC-Cardinal Division game. "I have been pretty much braiding everyone's hair since then.
"I feel like I'm getting to know new people playing with a young team like this. They bring a new perspective. They have been coached by different people and have different experiences, so we can learn as much from them as they do from us."
The Jaguars had won four of six games and were 4-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Darby on May 1. They picked up their first win by defeating Chillicothe 22-5 on April 21 in the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington, and won their second game later that day against Mentor, 10-6.
"We connected more as a team and hopefully that will give us more confidence," said Mignery, a fourth-year varsity player. "Getting the team to work together is the toughest thing about lacrosse. Getting everyone else on the team to see what I see and see it from my perspective can be difficult."
First-year coach Courtney Johnson appreciates that Mignery and Rogers, both of whom scored in a 12-9 loss to Davidson on April 25, took the leadership reins at the start of the season.
"They lead the team overall," Johnson said. "I can rely on them to run things for me in practice and they will chime in during huddles. They are very engaged and keep the team connected.
"As seniors, they help lead us, especially since we had a rough start. Once we got the first win, it would have been easy to get ahead of ourselves, but they kept the team grounded and made sure we pulled off the second win."
Johnson said Mignery and Rogers are anchors for the Jaguars on both ends of the field.
"Casey is probably one of our most experienced players on the attack," Johnson said. "She is very good at seeing the open players, so she's good on the assist. She also is good at making sure the team keeps moving and keeps spread out, and she's also one of our leading scorers.
"Callie is one of our toughest players and she makes sure the team keeps communicating on defense. She's a good vocal leader."
Mignery has played lacrosse since she was 11 years old, but Rogers didn't come out for the sport until she was a freshman.
"I fell in love with it because it's a mixture of every sport I have ever played," said Rogers, who plans to major in speech pathology at the University of Toledo but not play any sport. "There are the positions of field hockey and soccer and the field sense of those sports. It also has a lot in common with basketball because of the ball movement and setting picks and cuts and those type of things.
"I started as a midfielder and got to have a sense of the whole field and what they do on attack. I think that was a big help as a defender because I kind of know what the offensive players are thinking and what they want to do."
Mignery also is not going to continue her athletic career in college. She plans to attend Columbus State before transferring to Ohio State, where she will major in early childhood development.
"This sport isn't like anything else," she said. "I thought I would try it when I was 11 and it stuck with me."
Softball team vying for league title
The softball team remained in the hunt for the OCC-Cardinal title despite a 9-0 loss to Delaware on April 25.
Bradley was 12-3 overall and 7-2 in the league after defeating Dublin Scioto 14-0 in five innings April 30.
The Jaguars also had league games May 1 against Worthington Kilbourne and May 2 against Darby. They finish league play Thursday, May 3, at Darby.
Darby entered the week unbeaten in the OCC-Cardinal at 9-0 and was scheduled to play a league game against Delaware on May 1 before the back-to-back games with the Jaguars.
Bradley is seeded seventh of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye. The Jaguars open in the second round at home Wednesday, May 9, against 20th-seeded Newark or 46th-seeded Marion Harding.
The winner will face 13th-seeded Olentangy, 17th-seeded Dublin Jerome or 21st-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal May 14 at a neutral site to be determined.
Lexie Hilling has been leading the Jaguars at the plate and in the circle. Through 14 games, the senior had a team-high .520 batting average with two home runs, 22 RBI and an .593 on-base percentage. In the circle, she was 8-2 with a 2.36 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 22 walks in 65 2/3 innings.
Jaiden Bryant led the team in RBI (23), runs scored (28), doubles (9), triples (4), stolen bases (8) and on-base percentage (.603). The junior outfielder also was batting .468 with four home runs, which is tied for the team lead with Amanda Nashalsky.
Annika Murray was batting .462 with four RBI and 18 runs, and Nashalsky was hitting .400 with four homers, 13 RBI and nine runs.
Baseball team gets 15th seed in district
The baseball team was 13-9 overall and 6-4 in the OCC-Cardinal after defeating Darby 7-6 in 10 innings April 30 and before playing Jerome on May 1.
The Jaguars are seeded 15th of 48 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 45th-seeded Westland in the first round Monday, May 7. The winner plays at seventh seeded Kilbourne in a second-round game Wednesday, May 9.
Bradley swept the Wolves in OCC-Cardinal play, winning 8-2 on April 11 and 4-3 on April 13.
The second-round winner will face 10th-seeded Pickerington Central, 24th-seeded Westerville Central or 48th-seeded Whitehall in a district semifinal May 14 at a neutral site to be determined.
Through 21 games, Pat Day led the Jaguars with a .387 batting average and 11 stolen bases and had eight RBI and 12 runs.
Trey Yoder was hitting .354 with 10 RBI and 16 runs, and Jack Rasmussen was batting .333 with one home run and team-highs in RBI (17) and doubles (8). Drew Donaldson led the team with 17 runs while batting .326 with nine RBI.
On the mound, Luke Barren was 4-0 with a 0.18 ERA, 16 strikeouts and four walks in 39 2/3 innings, and Enrique Ozoa was 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 12 walks in 29 innings.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 4 -- At Davidson
May 7 -- At Gahanna
May 8 -- Watterson at Dublin Jerome
May 8 -- Home vs. Beavercreek
May 4 -- Home vs. DeSales
May 7 -- Home vs. London
May 8 -- Home vs. Gahanna
TRACK & FIELD
May 4 -- Bradley Invitational
*May 8 -- Home vs. Darby. The Jaguars lost to the Panthers 25-13, 25-11, 25-20 on April 17.
May 9 -- At DeSales