After suffering a right ACL injury during the first day of boys basketball practice in October, Columbus Academy junior Malcolm Klingbeil faced an unfortunate set of circumstances.
Not only would he miss basketball season but lacrosse season as well because he would need at least six months to recover after undergoing knee surgery in November.
Klingbeil, who enjoys basketball but says lacrosse is his favorite sport, underwent a rigorous rehabilitation process in hopes of returning to the boys lacrosse team this spring.
About five and a half months following surgery, he saw his first action of the season May 5 against visiting Gahanna. Although he was limited to playing in man-up situations, Klingbeil scored two goals in the Vikings’ 12-8 win.
“It was amazing to be back on the field,” said Klingbeil, a midfielder who lives in Powell. “It was by far the best thing this whole year. I felt like the whole year was leading up to that one game. It was really nice.”
The Academy-Gahanna matchup was the first North Hamilton Road Backyard Battle. A goalkeeper stick and plaque will be presented to the winner each year.
Klingbeil’s return was brief, as his physical therapists and doctor recommended he miss the remainder of the season to fully complete the six-month recovery process. However, there is a chance he could play again this season if the Vikings advance in the Division II, Region 7 tournament.
“I was quite disappointed at first, coming off that game I got to play in, but looking back, I was just glad I did get in one time,” Klingbeil said. “I felt guilty at first because I thought I could be helping and scoring goals. I was voted captain, so I have to really focus on my leadership and … helping younger guys out and acting as a non-official coach.”
Klingbeil’s importance to the program is clear given he was named a captain despite being projected to miss the entire season.
“To me that was expected going into the season and it says a lot about his character that he was selected,” first-year coach Derek Lichtfuss said. “He’s been awesome. Malcolm is one of the few kids that you never have to really coach. He just does everything right.”
Klingbeil had 37 goals and six assists last season and was named honorable mention all-region.
He also plays for Resolute Lacrosse.
“Malcolm is a guy that we expect to play at a pretty high level Division III (college) in two years,” Lichtfuss said.
During his rehabilitation, Klingbeil attended basketball and lacrosse games and practices to support his teammates.
“I went to every single practice and every single game,” he said.
“I did what I could. I was still part of the team, but I couldn’t play.”
Academy opened the postseason with an 11-8 win at ninth-seeded Dayton Oakwood on May 14 to improve to 5-8. The Vikings, who are seeded 10th, also defeated Oakwood 10-9 on April 11.
The Vikings play at top-seeded DeSales in a regional quarterfinal Thursday, May 17, and that winner plays fourth-seeded Granville, fifth-seeded Kettering Alter or 17th-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne on Monday, May 21, in a semifinal.
The regional final is May 24.
Klingbeil’s brother, Otis, also was a standout in the program. The 2016 graduate had 52 goals and 24 assists in his senior season and was second-team all-region.
Otis just recently returned to the lineup for Division III Bates College after undergoing left ACL surgery. He is a sophomore attacker.
Malcolm and Otis were teammates in Malcolm’s freshman season.
“That was awesome,” Malcolm said.
Girls lacrosse team to open postseason
The second-seeded girls lacrosse team opens the Division II, Region 7 tournament by playing host to 13th-seeded Bexley in the first round Thursday, May 17.
Academy defeated the Lions 17-3 on April 5.
The winner plays seventh-seeded Watterson or 10th-seeded Big Walnut on Saturday, May 19, with the winner playing third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, sixth-seeded Hartley, 11th-seeded Dayton Carroll or 15th-seeded Dayton Miami Valley in a semifinal Tuesday, May 22. The regional final is May 25.
The Vikings defeated Hartley 19-8 on April 12, Watterson 13-4 on April 19 and
Kilbourne 14-13 in overtime May 8.
Academy was 11-3 after beating Olentangy Orange 14-2 on May 11.
Baseball team upends Fairbanks
After being eliminated by Fairbanks the past two seasons in the Division III district tournament, the baseball team gained some revenge by defeating the fifth-seeded and host Panthers 11-0 in six innings in the second round May 10 to improve to 16-13.
“We played well as a team in all facets of the game,” coach Todd Dunkle said. “We had great pitching, excellent defense, stole eight bases and had timely hitting.”
Hayden Compton was the winning pitcher, allowing two hits while striking out 10 and walking five.
The 12th-seeded Vikings played ninth-seeded Johnstown in a semifinal May 15. The game was postponed May 14 because of bad weather.
The winner played fourth-seeded Northridge in a district final May 16. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 24.
In the first round, Academy defeated 15th-seeded Utica 8-7 on May 8 at home on Compton’s walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth.
Track teams compete in league meet
The boys and girls track and field teams turned in strong efforts in the MSL-Ohio meet May 8 and 11 at London.
The girls were led by Annalise Grammel, who won the 800 meters (2 minutes, 21.85 seconds) and joined Regan Cornelius, Samantha Kass and Maddie Tuckerman on the first-place 3,200 relay (9:55.42). Grammel also was second in the 1,600 (5:29.54).
Mercedes Crestanello, Hannah Clay, Cornelius and Kass won the 1,600 relay (4:09.04), Mabry Nichols won the high jump (5 feet) and Lexis Hughes finished first in the shot put (32-2).
Finishing second were Ginnie Ma in the 100 hurdles (17.49), Clay in the 400 (1:00.63) and Khloe Dubenion in the discus (111-8).
Academy finished second with 121 points, behind Bexley (128) and ahead of Grandview (116), Worthington Christian (68), London (61) and Whitehall (22).
For the boys, David Barren, Sam Massick, Dorrian Moultrie and Harry Mills won the 400 relay (44.13), and Karibi Hart won the 200 (22.1) and was second in the 100 (11.31).
Also finishing second were Nick Robie in the 800 (1:57.74), Barren, Hart, Mills and Kieran Law in the 800 relay (1:33.02) and Robie, Nicholas Watson, Christopher Heermann and Angus Soderberg in the 3,200 relay (8:10.31).
Academy finished third with 101 points, behind Worthington Christian (130) and London (121) and ahead of Whitehall (63), Grandview (57) and Bexley (48).
Both teams are competing in the Division III, district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial, which began May 15, continues Thursday, May 17, and concludes Saturday, May 19. The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Fairfield Union.
Boys tennis team excels at sectional
The boys tennis team qualified all seven players for the Division II district tournament, which begins Thursday, May 17, at Academy and concludes Saturday, May 19, at Upper Arlington.
The top two finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
In a sectional May 10 and 12 at home, Arie Tuckerman finished first in singles, defeating teammate Jack Madison 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Sam Vogel and Suriya Sundaram defeated teammates Drew Haffer and Rhian Seneviratne 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 the doubles final.
Also advancing to district was Ryan Wahl, who was third in singles.