Senior Jordan Phelps and junior Alex Heiden will be the second doubles team to compete in the Division I state tournament for the Olentangy Orange High School boys tennis program.
Heiden and Phelps finished fourth in the district tournament that concluded May 19 at Olympic Indoor Tennis Club, securing the final berth to state Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Phelps went 1-1 at state two years ago with 2017 graduate Jonathan Zhuravel.
"At state it means a little more because if you lose, it's your last match of the season so you have to put it all out there," Phelps said. "You have to go out and play well together. We have to serve well, volley well and the most important thing is staying positive."
On May 17 at Hilliard Bradley, Phelps and Heiden opened district by defeating Gahanna's Colin Jordan and Daniel Shtein 6-1, 6-2 and then beat Upper Arlington's Paige Kompa and Nathan Yu 6-1, 6-4 in a state-qualifying match. On May 19, they lost to eventual champions Jack Dabek and Reese Yakubov of St. Charles 6-2, 6-3 in a semifinal and fell to UA's Josh Cole and Will Reynolds 6-4, 6-4 in the third-place match.
"I was excited about getting there, but making state wasn't our main goal," Heiden said. "We want to win matches at state."
Heiden and Phelps played singles during the regular season. Coach Matt Rutherford said they're ready for state, but still need to tweak their games.
"We need to manage two things better and that's the mental aspect of the game and our volleys," Rutherford said. "We didn't play enough at the net and we didn't keep (opponents) guessing enough. We serve fine and return well, but we need to keep (opponents) off-balance.
"This week (at state), if you keep a laser-sharp mental focus, you can do well. Any of our four (Central) District doubles teams can beat anyone in the draw. It's not so much about the number of the seed but how prepared you are when you take the court."
Senior David Cavote and junior Ben Thompson also competed at district, finishing 1-1. They defeated Thomas Worthington's Daniel Gupta and Aaron Zeller 6-3, 6-1 before losing 6-0, 6-1 to eventual runners-up Devin Boyer and Nathan Jose of New Albany in a state-qualifying match.
Boys track team wins district title
Tyler King and Tommy Wintering won individual titles, leading the boys track and field team to its second consecutive Division I district championship.
King won the 800 meters (1 minute, 56.26 seconds) and Wintering was first in the 3,200 (9:44.45) in the 14-team district 3 meet, which concluded May 19 rdles (14.57) and 300 hurdles (40.06) and third in the high jump (6 feet). Jaeschal Acheampong was runner-up in the long jump (21-9 1/4).
Also placing second were Schroff in the 1,600 (4:21.01) and Wright in the 400 (51.08), and Ransom was third in the 100 (11.51). Zach Harrison was fourth in the 200 (23.01) and Jake Lawrence was fourth in the pole vault (12-8).
Grace Frye won the 300 hurdles (45.26) and discus (134-7) to lead the girls team, which was fourth (87) in district 3 behind champion Pickerington North (109).
Frye also ran on the first-place 400 relay (47.93) with Brenda Agyekum, Maya Patterson and Mackenzie Blendick and the third-place 800 relay (1:44.58) with Alana Gibson, Blendick and Elizabeth Schneider.
Agyekum won the 100 (12.37), Blendick was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (15.2) and Celia Ritchie was third in the high jump (5-1).
Allie Guagenti, Lindsay Ott, Brooklyn Miller and Zoe Bond were fourth in the 3,200 relay (9:33.74). Guagenti was fourth in the 800 (2:15.59) and Katie Priest was fourth in the 300 hurdles (46.58).
Baseball team falls short in district semi
The baseball team fell short of advancing to a second consecutive Division I district final, losing to top-seeded Liberty 2-1 in a semifinal at Ohio Wesleyan.
The 23rd-seeded Pioneers, who finished 16-12, led 1-0 after four innings May 15 when the game was suspended because of bad weather. The contest was resumed May 16, and Liberty scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to secure the victory.
Zach Beatty tossed four innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts and three walks before the rain came. Hunter Andress threw a scoreless fifth before surrendering runs in the sixth and seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, he hit a batter on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
The Pioneers scored in the second inning. Beatty reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a single by Grant Ogden and scored on a single by Cole Callaghan.
Boys lacrosse team loses to Patriots
The boys lacrosse team lost at second-seeded Liberty 11-6 in a Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal May 18.
Jack Applegate and Mason Handa both scored twice for the eighth-seeded Pioneers, who finished 10-10. Tanner Davidson had nine saves.
Orange won its postseason opener, 15-5 at seventh-seeded Medina on May 15. Cooper Durst and Handa both had four goals and Applegate scored three times.
Girls lacrosse team ousted by Liberty
The girls lacrosse team lost at second-seeded Liberty 13-5 in the second round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament May 18.
Kailee O'Brien had four goals for the fifth-seeded Pioneers, who finished 11-8. Grace McAninch had eight saves.
Jerome ends season for boys volleyball team
The boys volleyball team lost to fifth-seeded Dublin Jerome 25-19, 27-25, 25-21 in a Division I East Region quarterfinal May 19 at Darby.
The 14th-seeded Pioneers finished 12-11 in their inaugural season.
Softball coach leaving for Berlin
Softball coach Jenna Haskins is leaving Orange after two seasons to take the same role at Berlin.
The Pioneers finished 10-18 overall this spring and tied Westerville North and Westerville South for fourth (3-7) in the OCC-Buckeye Division behind Olentangy (8-2), Westerville Central (7-3) and Liberty (6-4).
"From day one our team has grown tremendously, and we proved throughout the year a number of times that we were a great team and that each player has an individual role," Haskins said. "We had some great younger girls join our varsity team this year and they pushed our upperclassmen to perform to their best potential."
The 26th-seeded Pioneers lost at home to 31st-seeded DeSales 6-0 on May 7 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Senior catcher Alyssa Laisure (honorable mention all-district, first-team all-league) led Orange in batting average (.477), home runs (3), RBI (25), doubles (6) and on-base percentage (.530) and scored 13 runs.
Senior shortstop Cami Clarkson (second-team all-league) batted .347 with 13 RBI and 13 runs, and senior outfielder Jen Rubal hit .303 with seven RBI and nine runs.
Abby Achevich (3B/OF), Katie Achevich (OF) and Alex Ronk (OF; .265, 10 RBI, 8 runs) rounded out the senior class.
The Pioneers expect to return their two pitchers in junior Brenna Oliver (honorable mention all-league) and freshman Ali Rubal (special mention all-league). Oliver was 4-7 with a 4.47 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 23 walks in 89 1/3 innings and batted .303 with 10 RBI.
Ali Rubal was 5-8 with a 4.69 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 41 walks in 85 innings. She batted .341 with six RBI and led Orange in runs (22) and stolen bases (5).