Coming off what it considered a rough OCC-Central Division meet, the Dublin Coffman High School boys track and field team put together a series of strong performances at the Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby.
The Shamrocks left with a runner-up finish (94 points) of 16 teams, behind Pickerington Central (158), and headed into the regional meet, which began May 23 and concludes Friday, May 25, at Pickerington North, after winning four district events.
Winning district titles were Derek Van Vlerah in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches), the 3,200-meter relay of Lucas Bons, Ryan Bosworth, Alex Dediu and Arnaldo Gonzalez Calero (8 minutes, 1.03 seconds) and Bons in both the 800 (1:53.91) and 1,600 (4:23.25).
Van Vlerah, who has been battling an injury, was a state qualifier last season.
"It felt especially great since I've been injured for most of the season," Van Vlerah said. "It felt really good (May 17), a lot better than it has been the past couple weeks. (I have to) stick to what I've been doing and jump high. It would mean a lot to be (at state) two years in a row."
Dediu placed second in the 1,600 (4:25.83), while the 400 relay of Keean Griffin, Cam Scott, Jameel Williamson and Takeru Yamaoka (44.15), the 800 relay of Dustin Drye, Kevin Sabath, Scott and Williamson (1:30.47) and the 1,600 relay of Bons, Ricky Pinney, Sabath and Williamson (3:23.49) all finished third.
Kaleb Holcomb placed third in the shot put (48-0) and fourth in the discus (133-1), as the top four finishers at district advanced to regional.
"It's really exciting to make it to regionals this year," Holcomb said. "I'm very fortunate to be able to go for both events, especially for my senior year. At district, I felt better with the way that I threw compared to the rest of the year. I've been on a relatively increasing path with my throws, so I hope that I can continue that.
"For me to do well at regionals, I'll have to be very explosive and fluid with my technique. To have the chance to make it to states, I'll have to really throw one out there and get a (personal best) for both events."
Finishing fifth to miss advancing to regional by one spot were Michael Messer in the discus (133-1), Trint Williams in the high jump (6-0) and Yamaoka in the 100 (11.69).
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Girls track team takes third at district
The girls track and field team finished third (102.5) in the 16-team Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 19 at Darby behind Pickerington Central (112) and Thomas Worthington (107.5).
The Shamrocks left with six district titles. Among the district champions was Karlee North, who cleared the pole vault in 11-0, two feet higher than any opponent at the meet.
"To win the district title was honestly astonishing," North said. "I never would have thought going into my sophomore season that I'd win the district meet.
"I feel that the way I'm vaulting heading into the regional meet is going well. ... Going to states would be a dream come true."
Abby Steiner earned her fourth district championships in both the 100 (11.75) and 200 (23.98) and joined Isabelle Angerman, Simone Rivard-Roberts and Jennifer Schulze on the first-place 800 relay (1:40.85).
Also winning were Angerman in the 300 hurdles (44.19) and Ellie Weber in the 3,200 (11:22.46).
Ashley Fitzgerald placed second in the high jump (5-2), while placing third were Lydia Ainsworth in the 800 (2:22.31), Rachel Hoadley in the pole vault (9-0) and the 1,600 relay of Angerman, Rivard-Roberts, Schulze and Steiner (4:01.63).
The 400 relay of SeRaye Bray, Hallie Mitchell, North and Rivard-Roberts (50.78) and the 3,200 relay of Ainsworth, Delaney Marsalek, Abigail Scherer and Weber (9:53.16) both were fourth.
Scherer finished fifth in the 1,600 (5:26.36), falling one spot shy of advancing.
Boys lacrosse team tangles with Celtics
The top-seeded boys lacrosse team played fourth-seeded Jerome in a Division I, Region 1 semifinal May 22.
The winner plays second-seeded Olentangy Liberty or third-seeded Olentangy in the regional final Friday, May 25, at a neutral site to be announced. The regional champion will play Cleveland St. Ignatius, North Canton Hoover, Hudson or Massillon Jackson in a state semifinal Wednesday, May 30, at a neutral site. The state final is June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.
The Shamrocks opened the postseason with a 23-1 win over 16th-seeded Berea-Midpark on May 15 and beat 11th-seeded Olmsted Falls 23-4 in a regional quarterfinal May 18.
Ethan Tyack had four goals and Luke Holland scored three against Berea-Midpark and Cam Bowdy had seven goals, Tyack scored five and Holland and Evan James both scored four against Olmsted Falls.
Coffman was 19-1 before facing Jerome, which it beat 16-6 on April 13. The Shamrocks defeated Olentangy 18-11 on April 23 and beat Hoover 16-9 on March 24 and Hudson 12-6 on April 7.
St. Ignatius lost to Cincinnati Moeller 9-8 in two overtimes in last year's state final and is the top seed in Region 2.
Girls lacrosse team falls to Cardinals
After rallying to within 7-6 on a goal by Delaney Murray, the girls lacrosse team ended up falling 10-6 at third-seeded Thomas Worthington in a Division I, Region 3 quarterfinal May 17 to finish 13-5.
Coffman also lost to the Cardinals 9-8 in overtime April 3.
In the tournament loss, Annamarie Guth had two goals and Amanda Bailey, Lexi Piekarski and Renae Tonon each scored one.
Boys volleyball team falls in second round
The 12th-seeded boys volleyball team lost to seventh-seeded Olentangy Liberty 25-14, 25-22, 25-27, 25-22 in the second round of the Division I, East Region tournament May 19 at Olentangy.
The Shamrocks, who beat Hilliard Bradley 25-15, 25-15 on May 15 in the OCC Challenge, finished 12-13.
All of softball team eligible to return
Despite having no seniors on its roster, the softball team improved by two wins compared to a year ago and reached the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Coffman finished 13-12 overall and went 4-6 in the OCC-Central to place fourth, behind Marysville (10-0), Central Crossing (8-2) and Upper Arlington (6-4) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (2-8) and Westland (0-10).
The Shamrocks opened the postseason by beating 44th-seeded Thomas Worthington 11-0 on May 7 before losing to fifth-seeded Delaware 17-1 in the second round May 9.
Last season, Coffman went 11-15 overall.
"We had four seniors (last year) and we had two juniors that didn't come back, so we had quite a few first-year starters," coach Scott Tillman said.
"We had a lot of talent but were just a little younger."
Coffman beat Scioto 13-10 and Jerome 10-9 on May 5 to win the Battle of Dublin despite losing sophomore Rylee Anspach (3B) to a season-ending injury against the Celtics. Anspach hit .500.
Maddi Luke (P), Sophia Maggs (1B), Marley McDonald (C), Sophie Mitchell (OF/3B) and Caroline Stukey (2B) were key juniors. Stukey batted .318 with a team-best 28 runs scored, Maggs hit .288 with two home runs, Mitchell batted .346 and McDonald hit .481 with 30 RBI.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsi Anderson went 10-9 with a 2.66 ERA and 129 strikeouts and batted .328, while sophomore Haley Newland (SS) hit .313.
Others eligible to return include juniors Avery Ketch (OF) and Anitra Starks (OF) and sophomores Olivia Castle (OF) and Lizzie Werth (P/1B).
"We were 11-15 last year, so it was definitely an improvement," Tillman said. "As a team, we hit well, and I liked our pitching."