Josh Cole of the Upper Arlington High School boys tennis team doesn't see too many similarities between current doubles partner Will Reynolds and former partner Jack Zelezny, with whom Cole won the Division I state championship last year.
But all that means to Cole is that they'll pursue another title this weekend in a different fashion.
"Jack and Will are different players," Cole said. "Will is more similar to me in that he's a 'go big or go home'-type of guy. (Zelezny) would just consistently never make a mistake. We make more mistakes this year, but we also hit more winners. It's a give-and-take thing."
Coming off a third-place finish in the district tournament that concluded May 19 at Olympic Indoor Tennis Club, Cole and Reynolds will participate at state Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. UA is being represented at state for the 60th consecutive season.
Cole and Reynolds qualified for state with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Olentangy's Alex Konstan and Sam Routzahn on May 17 at Hilliard Bradley. They went 3-1, defeating Olentangy Orange's Alex Heiden and Jordan Phelps 6-4, 6-4 in the third-place match.
"I bring a very good serve and (Reynolds) is able to put it away," Cole said. "If we can get a couple breaks per set, we're usually in a good position to win."
Cole and Reynolds often played first and second singles, respectively, during the regular season, but said they figured all along that they would be paired in the postseason.
"They did enough to get it done (secure a state berth)," coach Will Thieman said. "When they have fun, they can beat anybody in the state. They are both big. They hit the ball really hard and get it over the net. They're big presences up there."
Cole credited assistant coach Jeff Bibo for helping Reynolds with his serve.
"I had to get my nerves out, hit my strokes and do what I had to do to win," Reynolds said. "We both work well together. I just know where (Cole) is going to be and he's big, so I know what we'll do. We usually have it all planned out for us to work."
Also competing but failing to advance were Elliot Jones, who went 2-1 in singles and lost to New Albany's Ryan Mudre 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in a state-qualifying match, and the doubles team of Paige Kompa and Nathan Yu, who also fell one win short of state.
Kompa and Yu lost to Heiden and Phelps 6-1, 6-4 in a second-round match May 17.
The state tournament will mark the end of UA's season, as the Bears lost 3-1 to visiting New Albany in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district final May 21. The Bears' only win came at first doubles, where Yu and Emerson Dean beat Alek Jacoby and Alex Wagman 6-4, 6-2.
UA finished 11-4 in dual matches, but will have a chance to forget about falling short of the OTCA state tournament with a strong performance in Mason.
"My mindset right now is survive and advance. Even if we win 'ugly,' it's still winning," Cole said.
"(District) was a good gut-check to see what we have in us."
Rowers send eight boats to nationals
The boys and girls rowing teams combined to qualify eight boats to the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Nationals on Friday, May 25, and Saturday, May 26, in Camden, New Jersey, and boys coach Andy Wimmer said he considers whatever the Bears accomplish this weekend will be icing on an already successful season.
"Without a doubt, this is one of the most successful groups of rowers to ever come through Upper Arlington and I have no doubt we'll take even more steps forward (this weekend)," Wimmer said. "Whatever we do at nationals is gravy, pretty much. To keep our goal of medaling at nationals (placing in the top four), we're looking at only having to drop five seconds, maybe 10 at most, for most of our boats. If we do that, we could be looking at some very good finishes."
The boys and girls teams both qualified their varsity 8, varsity 4 and freshman 8 crews from the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship that concluded May 13 on Dillon Lake near Zanesville. Also advancing were the girls junior 8 and lightweight 4 boats.
UA advanced seven boats to nationals each of the past two years and five in 2015.
"For the most part, we haven't made many changes this season," Wimmer said.
"We might move one guy from the (second 8) to the varsity 8 and vice-versa, but we've mostly kept the same lineups. I think that stability has helped us."
Track athletes qualify for regional
Two first-place finishes led the boys track and field team to fourth place in the Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 19 at Hilliard Darby.
Avery Heath won the 100 meters (11.27 seconds) and Garegin Soghomonyan finished first in the pole vault (14 feet) to lead UA, which scored 57 points to finish behind champion Pickerington Central (158) as 16 teams scored.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional May 23 and Friday, May 25, at Pickerington North.
Heath also placed fourth in the 200 (22.93), and Christopher Schweisthal was fourth in the 100 (11.67).
In the shot put, Sean McRae was second (50-4 1/4) and Josh Castetter placed fourth (46-11 3/4).
Four girls qualified for regional in five events as the Bears placed sixth (56.5) in the district 3 meet behind champion Pickerington North (109) as 14 teams scored.
Adrienne Wachtman was second in the discus (117-8) and high jump (5-10), Emma Zid placed third in the 200 (26.12), Kaila Borgards was fourth in the shot put (35-8 1/2) and Heidi Heuerman was fourth in the 3,200 (11:05.51).
At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Boys lacrosse team cruises to semifinal
The boys lacrosse team played host to fifth-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal May 22 after winning its first two postseason games last week by a combined 29 goals.
Top-seeded UA routed 16th-seeded Miamisburg 22-2 in a second-round contest May 15 and beat 10th-seeded Pickerington North 10-1 in a regional quarterfinal May 18.
Fifteen players scored against Miamisburg, led by two goals each from Sam DeCapua, Nathan Junk, Charlie Little, Jack Mason, Anthony Pardi and Nik Schickram.
Sam Campbell and Pardi each had two goals against North.
UA was 18-2 before May 22.
The semifinal winner plays second-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or third-seeded New Albany in the regional final Friday, May 25, at a neutral site. The regional champion will play Cincinnati Moeller, Cincinnati St. Xavier, Loveland or Springboro in a state semifinal Wednesday, May 30, at a neutral site.
UA defeated St. Xavier 9-7 on April 6, edged Kilbourne 6-5 on April 14 and split two games with Moeller, winning 7-6 in overtime on May 5 and losing 6-3 on May 11 in the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association tournament. The state final is June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.
Girls lacrosse team dominating opponents
The girls lacrosse team improved to 21-0 with another playoff rout, defeating fourth-seeded Springboro 21-3 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal May 21 at home to draw within three wins of its fourth consecutive state championship.
Lauren Farber had five goals and Brenna Smith scored four against Springboro, as UA led 15-1 at halftime.
Top-seeded UA was not threatened in two tournament games last week, beating 12th-seeded Beavercreek 22-2 in the second round May 15 and 11th-seeded Centerville 23-1 in a quarterfinal three nights later.
Kileigh Casey and Farber each scored six goals against the Beavers, while Smith had a team-high four goals against Centerville.
UA will play second-seeded Dublin Jerome or third-seeded Thomas Worthington in the 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 31, at a neutral site to be determined.
The state final is June 2 at Ohio Wesleyan.
UA defeated Jerome 17-2 in its regular-season finale May 8 and beat Sycamore 21-6 on April 14.
Baseball team falls in district final
Despite getting two home runs and five RBI from Ben Krimm, the baseball team fell short of its first Division I district championship since 2010 as it lost to eighth-seeded Lancaster 8-5 in a district final May 16 at Grove City to finish 20-9.
Krimm's three-run homer in the sixth inning, his team-leading fifth of the season, brought the fifth-seeded Bears within 6-5, but the Golden Gales' Jake Richards had a two-run double in the seventh to close the scoring.
A day earlier, Krimm's two-run double gave the Bears an 8-7 win over 20th-seeded Gahanna in a district semifinal at Darby.
Volleyball team ousted by Panthers
The 11th-seeded boys volleyball team lost to 10th-seeded Pickerington North 18-25, 29-27, 27-25, 25-22 in a Division I East Region second-round match May 19 to finish 12-8.