The Big Walnut High School boys and girls track and field teams had plenty of momentum entering last week's Division I district meet at Hilliard Darby, as both were coming off OCC-Capital Division championships.
The boys team dominated the league meet May 10 and 12 at Olentangy Orange, scoring 164 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Canal Winchester (120) as well as Newark (76), New Albany (75), Groveport (60) and Franklin Heights (26).
"Our field-event guys did an incredible job setting the table for the win by scoring 81 points," coach Eric Myers said.
Brandon Mosher won the discus (166 feet, 4 inches) and set a school and league record in winning the shot put (59-5 3/4), while Josh Halbakken finished first in the pole vault (13-0), as teammates Nick Spangenberg (11-6) and Mitchell Truax (11-6) tied for second.
Caleb Ramey was runner-up in the long jump (21-3), and Brandt Ebright placed second in the shot put (49-1).
Mosher followed up his league performance by earning titles in the discus (168-9) and shot put (55-8) in the 17-team district 3 meet May 16. The meet continued with running preliminaries May 17 and concluded with running finals May 19.
The girls team competed in the 16-team district 1 meet. Running preliminaries were May 15, followed by field events May 17 and running finals May 19.
The top four finishers in each district event qualified for the regional meet Wednesday, May 23, and Friday, May 25, at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Three others from the boys team will join Mosher at regional in field events. Jackson Podraza placed second at district in the high jump (6-0), while Ramey finished third in the long jump (21-5 3/4) and Ebright was fourth in the shot put (46-7 1/2).
In the league meet, the boys team also produced double-event winners on the track.
Tim Rumas set school and league records in winning the 200 meters in 21.81 seconds and also finished first in the 100 (10.83), while Colin White won both the 110 hurdles (15.21) and 300 hurdles (41.44).
Also finishing first was Will Hefner in the 800 (2:01.48).
The girls team successfully defended its OCC-Capital title by scoring 137 points to edge runner-up Canal Winchester (126). New Albany (113) was third, followed by Groveport (81), Newark (50) and Franklin Heights (16).
"Both Canal Winchester and New Albany were primed to take us out, but the girls did what great teams do -- they stood together, supported each other and overcame obstacles," coach Joe Evener said.
Kaley Rammelsberg set a meet record in winning the high jump (5-6), while Colbi Borland won both the 1,600 (5:20.28) and 3,200 (12:33.41).
The 3,200 relay of Kaitlin Meade, Becca Bogantz, Adelee Gartner and Borland defended its league title, capturing the event in 9:47.5, just two seconds shy of a school record that has stood for 23 years.
Softball team reaches district final
Stacie Walters was one of three players for the softball team to hit a home run in a 7-6 victory over fourth-seeded Sparta Highland in a Division II district semifinal May 16 at Pickerington Central.
Walters also picked up the complete-game win in the circle for the fifth-seeded Golden Eagles, who improved to 12-12 and advanced to a district final against second-seeded Jonathan Alder on May 18 at Pickerington Central.
The district champion plays Kenton Ridge or Monroe in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 23, at Mason. That winner plays Hamilton Ross, Greenville, Clarksville Clinton-Massie or Eaton in a regional final Saturday, May 26, at Mason.
The regional champion advances to a state semifinal May 31 at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
Walters' home run in the top of the seventh inning against Highland broke a 6-all tie. She went 3-for-4 with three RBI and had a double in addition to the homer.
Hailey Krinn homered to open the game and Molly Sharpe hit a two-run home run as part of a four-run fourth inning for the Golden Eagles, who held a 6-2 lead before the Fighting Scots rallied to tie the score.
Big Walnut opened the district tournament with a 10-0, five-inning win over 10th-seeded Hartley in the second round May 10.
Girls lacrosse team opens postseason
The 10th-seeded girls lacrosse team opened the Division II, Region 7 tournament at seventh-seeded Watterson on May 17.
The winner played second-seeded Columbus Academy or 13th-seeded Bexley in a regional quarterfinal May 19. That winner faces third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, sixth-seeded Hartley, 11th-seeded Dayton Carroll or 15th-seeded Dayton Miami Valley in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22.
The semifinal winner plays top-seeded DeSales, fourth-seeded Granville, fifth-seeded Columbus School for Girls or ninth-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne in the regional final Friday, May 25, at a neutral site. The regional champion advances to a state semifinal May 30.
Big Walnut was 7-10 before playing Watterson.
Baseball team falls in district semifinal
The baseball team had its sights set on a fourth consecutive appearance in a Division I district final, but it couldn't get past an OCC-Capital rival to get there.
Colten Lee's RBI double with two outs in the top of the seventh inning cut the 11th-seeded Golden Eagles' deficit to one run, but he was thrown out trying to reach third.
Sixth-seeded New Albany held on to win 6-5 in a district semifinal May 14 at Gahanna. Two days later, the Eagles edged Pickerington Central 2-1 to win a district championship.
"It was a huge disappointment for all of us," said coach Jack Schone, whose team finished 16-12 overall. "However, baseball is a game that has multiple life lessons. This game has a winner and a loser. This time, we came up short. Things don't always work out in your favor. What you do with that now becomes the life lesson."
Big Walnut went 2-1 against New Albany in OCC-Capital play, winning 6-4 on April 10 and 2-1 in nine innings April 27 and losing 6-3 in nine innings April 10.
The Golden Eagles secured the outright league title -- their first since 2012 -- with a 10-0 victory over Groveport on May 4. They finished 12-3 in the OCC-Capital, ahead of New Albany (11-4), Canal Winchester (9-5), Groveport (8-7), Newark (4-10) and Franklin Heights (0-15). A game between Canal Winchester and Newark was not completed.
Big Walnut is losing 12 seniors, including three first-team all-league selections in outfielder Connor Gerren and pitchers Austin Krinn and Lee. Gerren was voted OCC-Capital Player of the Year.
Senior pitcher Austin Becker and senior shortstop Noah Sprowls were second-team all-league, and senior outfielder Cale Sherbourne was honorable mention all-league.
Becker, a right-hander, has signed with Vanderbilt. However, if he is selected in the first three rounds of Major League Baseball's amateur draft that starts June 4, and if he approves of the signing bonus, he plans to turn professional.
Becker allowed only one hit and struck out 13 batters in the Golden Eagles' 4-0 win over 39th-seeded Licking Heights in the second round of the district tournament May 9. Big Walnut had a first-round bye.
Among the expected returnees are juniors Carson Becker (1B/P), Nathan Lawyer (INF) and Sam Medley (C). Lawyer was named second-team all-league and Medley was special mention all-league.
Boys tennis team gained experience
With just two players returning with varsity experience, boys tennis coach Ryan Balaz predicted his team would need time to gain assurance.
The Golden Eagles won four of their final five matches to finish 7-9 overall. They had five matches canceled because of bad weather.
"We struggled with the guys developing consistency and learning how to play at that level and be successful," Balaz said. "But the last quarter of the season, the kids started to find their roles. They got some confidence, which was a huge thing."
Big Walnut closed the season in a Division I sectional May 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg, where junior Gabe Mexicott won three singles matches before falling to Lancaster's Colten Clark 6-0, 6-1 in a district-qualifying match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to the district tournament May 17 at Hilliard Bradley and May 19 at Upper Arlington.
Also in singles, junior Matt Pushkin and sophomore Cameron Sutherland lost their opening matches. In doubles, seniors Tyler Shuster and Collin Bates lost in the opening round, as did sophomores Sebastian Kirkpatrick and Devon McCullough.
The Golden Eagles went 4-1 in the OCC-Capital to place second, behind New Albany (5-0) and ahead of Newark (3-2), Canal Winchester (2-3), Franklin Heights (1-4) and Groveport (0-5).
Season ends for boys lacrosse team
The 11th-seeded boys lacrosse team lost 16-5 to sixth-seeded Licking Valley in the opening round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 14 to finish 4-12.
Judah Lozano had three goals and Nathan McVeigh and Johnny Grumney each scored one for the Golden Eagles.
Renner named wrestling coach
Aaron Renner, an assistant with the wrestling team the past seven seasons, has been named coach, pending school board approval.
He replaces Luke Moore, who stepped down after 11 seasons.
"I am excited to begin the process of building relationships and helping our athletes be successful in all phases of their lives," Renner said in a statement posted on the athletics department's website.
Big Walnut had two state qualifiers this past season in seniors Bailey Munday, who finished 40-5 at 132 pounds, and Cole Foster, who was 41-10 at 132.
"A key piece to the equation of hiring coach Renner was to maintain stability in our wrestling program," athletics director Brian Shelton said. "One of coach Renner's main goals is to continue many of our unique wrestling traditions. Beyond that, coach Renner's focus will be on development and increasing participation numbers."