Despite the circumstances it was handed, the Dublin Jerome High School boys lacrosse team found itself back in familiar territory as a semifinalist in the Division I, Region 1 tournament.
The Celtics were the fourth seed heading into their matchup at top-seeded Coffman on May 22 even though they entered the season with just five seniors and have since lost two of those players to season-ending injuries.
"We've done an amazing job," junior attacker Andrew Brim said. "We've had a lot of injuries and just had a ton of people step up. That's a testament to how hard people have worked. We're a very youthful team with only two seniors who actually (play key roles) right now, but I think it's always an expectation no matter who's on the field."
The semifinal winner plays second-seeded Olentangy Liberty or third-seeded Olentangy in a 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.
Jerome lost to Coffman 11-10 in two overtimes in a regional semifinal last season and fell to the Shamrocks 16-6 on April 13.
The Celtics opened the postseason with a 21-3 victory over 15th-seeded Marysville on May 15 and beat sixth-seeded Delaware 11-6 in a regional quarterfinal May 18 as Chris Posacki had four goals and Brim scored three.
According to coach Andy Asmo, Vince Comfort, Zach Dubois and Brandon Infante led the defense against Delaware.
"It was a solid win," Asmo said. "They're a good team that had won nine out of 10 games since we (beat them 13-9 on April 10). (The tournament matchup) was 4-3 at halftime and the boys played really well defensively. To give up only three goals in the first half and six overall was great. Our strengths were our really good defense, really good faceoff play and really good transition."
Girls lacrosse team battles in tourney
The second-seeded girls lacrosse team completed a Division I, Region 3 semifinal May 22 at third-seeded Thomas Worthington after the game was suspended May 21 with the score tied at 5 with 18:26 remaining.
The winner plays top-seeded Upper Arlington in a regional final Thursday, May 24, at a neutral site. The regional champion will face Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame or Cincinnati Sycamore in a state semifinal Wednesday, May 30, at a neutral site.
The state final is June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.
The Celtics beat the Cardinals 15-7 on April 12. First-year coach Kendall Gordon is a Thomas graduate who served as an assistant at her alma mater the past two seasons.
"This game has a little emotion behind it," Gordon said. "It's where I came from last year and it's also who knocked Jerome out of the tournament last year. They've had some new players come in this year and they've tried to play to their strengths."
Jerome beat ninth-seeded Pickerington Central 17-7 in a regional quarterfinal May 18 as Gabby Rothermund had five goals, Mandy Menning scored three and Olivia Brooks, Katelyn Root and Izzy Seikel each scored two.
"Pickerington Central put up a tough fight," Gordon said. "Despite the score, we didn't feel safe the whole time, which I think was good for us going into the next game."
Boys volleyball team makes regional semi
The fifth-seeded boys volleyball team had won eight matches in a row and was 17-5 before playing third-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a Division I East Region semifinal May 22.
The winner plays top-seeded Hilliard Darby or 10th-seeded Pickerington North in a regional final Friday, May 25, at Westerville Central. The regional champion advances to the state tournament June 2 and 3 at Capital University.
The Celtics beat Gahanna 29-27, 25-19 on May 15 in the OCC Challenge and opened the postseason with a 25-19, 27-25, 25-21 win over 14th-seeded Olentangy Orange on May 19 at Darby.
Boys track squad competing at regional
Members of the boys track and field team are competing in the Division I regional meet, which began May 23 and concludes Friday, May 25, at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
In the Division I, district 3 meet that concluded May 19 at Darby, the Celtics scored 47.5 points to place seventh of 14 teams, behind champion Orange (133).
Leading the way was Elliott Cook, who won the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 20.63 seconds) and ran on the fourth-place 1,600 relay along with Anthony Alvarez, Frank Blair and Chris Viola (3:28.43).
Also advancing were Alec Scheurle in the discus (second, 149 feet) and Tony Gyimah in the shot put (third, 48-2 1/2).
The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional.
Falling short of advancing were Ezra Strickland in the high jump (fifth, 5-10), Ross Stevenson in the pole vault (fifth, 12-8), Carson DeCarlo in the pole vault (sixth, 12-4), Scott Sonnanstine in the 300 hurdles (sixth, 42.0) and the 3,200 relay of Cook, Arjun Dhankani, Alex Sanders and Viola (fifth, 8:14.85).
Strickland lost a jump-off with Olentangy Liberty's Jared Whitfield for the final regional-qualifying berth.
Girls track season ends at district
The girls track and field team had its season end at the Division I, district 3 meet as its highest finisher was Paige Elder, who placed fifth in the discus (100-6).
Also scoring were Jessica Blake in the 300 hurdles (seventh, 4806), Lauren Scheurle in the discus (eighth, 95-1), Kathryn Willette in the 1,600 (sixth, 5:26) and the 3,200 relay of Lauren Metzger, Larkin Thomas, Madison Weigle and Willette (eighth, 10:02.47).
Jerome scored 11 points to place 12th of 14 teams, behind champion Pickerington North (109).
Tennis team concludes season at district
The boys tennis team had a singles player and a doubles team win one match in the Division I district tournament May 17 at Hilliard Bradley, but did not have any players advance to the state tournament.
The doubles team of seniors Nate Meadors and Pranav Murali beat New Albany's Ben Yan and Dev Vasani 6-1, 6-2 in the first round but lost to St. Charles' Jack Dabek and Reese Yakubov 6-2, 6-1 in a quarterfinal.
Junior Anish Patel opened district by beating Thomas' Will Newberry 6-2, 6-2 before falling to Olentangy's Stu Brdicka 6-1, 6-2 in a quarterfinal.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"(Meadors and Murali) played really, really well," coach Ken Berlin said. "In a match like that, you've got to be able to do the little things and capitalize and (St. Charles) did a better job of winning those points over us.
"Anish fought and opened up his game a little bit, which is what you have to do when you're an underdog. He battled and fought all the way to the last point."
Also at district, junior Daniel Utkin lost to Thomas' Kai Britz 6-2, 6-1 and sophomore Andrew Dvorkin lost to New Albany's Ryan Mudre 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 in first-round singles matches, while the doubles team of senior Dhruva Gurushankar and junior Dylan Cai lost to Upper Arlington's Josh Cole and Will Reynolds 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.
The Celtics finished 13-2 overall and won its fourth consecutive league title, going 6-0 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish ahead of Thomas (5-1), Delaware (3-3), Darby, Scioto and Worthington Kilbourne (all 2-4) and Bradley (1-5).
Jerome lost to Upper Arlington 3-1 on May 14 in a semifinal of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association district tournament.
At the sectional May 10 and 12 at Bradley, Patel finished runner-up, Dvorkin was third and Utkin placed fourth in singles, while Meadors and Murali beat Gurushankar and Cai in the consolation match.
Others eligible to return include sophomores Christopher Knight and Sahil Madan.
"It was a great season for us," Berlin said.
Several key baseball players set to return
The baseball team had its season end with a 5-4 loss to eighth-seeded and eventual district champion Lancaster in a Division I district semifinal May 15 at Hamilton Township.
The 17th-seeded Celtics, who opened the postseason by beating 28th-seeded Groveport 6-4 on May 7 and upset fourth-seeded Davidson 9-7 in a second-round game May 9, finished 15-15 overall.
Jerome is losing 10 seniors, led by Rob Cope (LF), Chase Gorman (INF), Cole Harris (INF/OF/DH), Zach Heins (P/OF/INF), Wil Intihar (P/OF/1B), Jacob Johnson (OF/DH) and Reed Mesaros (INF).
"Our seniors really set the tone for the last four years," coach Chris Huesman said. "They set a bar for the younger guys to reach and, for the most part, they did an awesome job. ... Wil Intihar really carried us on the mound in the tourney."
The Celtics went 4-8 in the OCC-Cardinal to place sixth, behind Darby (9-3), Scioto and Bradley (both 7-5) and Thomas and Kilbourne (both 6-6) and ahead of Delaware (3-9).
Intihar, who picked up the save against Groveport, was the winning pitcher against Davidson and started on the mound against Lancaster, finished 3-1 with 31 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.
Sophomore Dan Wilson went 4-4, junior Carson Rengel was 1-2 and seniors Zach Heins and Vik Doddi each won two games. Sophomore Ryan Callahan was 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 34 innings and junior Nate Davis was 1-3 with 28 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings.
Cope, who batted .395 with three home runs, 17 RBI and 34 runs scored, and junior Trent Belli (1B/P), who hit .361 with 25 RBI, both were named first-team all-district.
Callahan hit .351 with 14 runs, junior Luke Gearhart (OF) hit .333 with 11 runs and sophomore Will Piccin (P/DH/C) batted .333. Freshman Ryan Miller started much of the season at catcher.
Others eligible to return include juniors Ben Clouser (INF/OF/DH), Nate Davis (INF/P), Kyle Ebert (INF), Andy Kloss (OF), Dalton Miller (P/OF), Will Rigby (INF/P) and Hayden Schell (CF), sophomores Adam Booth (utility/P), Easton Gross (INF/P) and Nick Lapham (SS/P) and freshman Sammy Stoner (utility/P).