A junior on the Hilliard Davidson High School girls track and field team, Sophie Lewis takes pride in the program's commitment to excellence.
One of the area's top programs, the Wildcats continued their success in the Division I regional meet May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North, as eight athletes, including Lewis, qualified for the state meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.
"We put in all the work and it shows in the postseason," Lewis said. "It's great to see how our team does and see how we perform. It's exciting to see what can happen."
Lewis won the 1,600 meters in a personal-best 4 minutes, 57.56 seconds, edging runner-up McKenna Fry of Westerville Central (4:58.38).
Lewis also qualified for state on two relays. She teamed with Lindsay Stull, Meghan Sculli and Ellie Tighe to place second in the 3,200 relay (9:01.79) and joined Sculli, Stull and Kristina Hoefler on the fourth-place 1,600 relay (program-record 3:54.73).
"I'm really looking forward to the state meet," said Lewis, who was recognized as one of the area's top five female track and field athletes during the ThisWeek Sports Awards banquet May 24. "I've never made it to state in an individual event, so I'm really excited and proud for how far I've come."
Stull placed fourth in the 800 (2:11.14), as the top four finishers in each regional event qualified for state.
In addition, for the first time, two at-large state berths were awarded for each running event based on regional times statewide, and earning at-large berths were the 800 relay of Hoefler, Lydia Baumgartner, Klaire Kazmerzak and Sydney Ryan (fifth, program-record 1:42.32) and Sculli in the 800 (sixth, 2:15.24).
Also competing at regional were the 400 relay of Baumgartner, Kazmerzak, Ryan and Alyssa Markarian (sixth, 49.67), Emma Conrad in the 100 hurdles (ninth, 15.4), Sarah Shevelow in the discus (10th, 104 feet, 6 inches) and Emilee Fecht in the shot put (12th, 34-2).
The Wildcats scored 38 points to finish sixth behind champion Gahanna (84) as 32 teams scored.
Four members of the boys team qualified for state, led by Andrew Tighe, who was runner-up in the 1,600 (4:14.08).
"We have a great corps of guys that all know what they want to do and we're fortunate enough to have a great coaching staff that helps us execute those goals and get us to where we want to go," Tighe said.
Christian Gillilan, who missed part of the season with a sprained left ankle, earned his first state berth by finishing third in the high jump (6-6).
"It was pretty badly sprained and the doctors thought I'd be out the rest of the season, but I ended up coming back early," Gillilan said.
Max LeClair finished fourth in the 1,600 (4:17.82) and Conner Johanssen was sixth in the 3,200 (9:25.6) to earn an at-large berth.
"I'm just happy, blessed to be able to go (to state), especially with one of my best friends, my training partner (Tighe)," LeClair said. "It's an honor since Ohio is such a good state in track to be able to compete (this) week."
Also competing at regional were the 1,600 relay of LeClair, Tighe, Jacob Bauer and Joshua Burton (ninth, 3:26.09), Burton in the 400 (10th, 50.63), Andrew Taylor in the 3,200 (13th, 9:56:42), James Keen in the pole vault (no height) and the 3,200 relay of LeClair, Tighe, Johanssen and Taylor (disqualified).
The Wildcats finished 10th (22) behind champion Pickerington Central (97) as 41 teams scored.
Boys volleyball team falls in regional semi
The boys volleyball team saw its season end with a 17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 loss to fifth-seeded Dublin Jerome in a Division I East Region semifinal May 22 at Darby.
The third-seeded Wildcats, who had defeated 18th-seeded Westerville South 25-23, 28-26, 25-22 in a regional quarterfinal May 19 at Darby to open the postseason, finished 16-10 overall.
Davidson won its second consecutive OCC-Central Division title, going 10-2 to finish ahead of Gahanna (9-3), Dublin Coffman, Pickerington North and Upper Arlington (all 6-6), Pickerington Central (5-7) and Reynoldsburg (0-12).
"Going 10-2 in the league and battling tough competition to win an outright OCC title is a great team accomplishment," coach Rusty Herring said.
The Wildcats are losing 10 seniors, including defensive specialist and libero Luke Petersen, who was named first-team all-region and all-league and honorable mention all-state.
Senior outside hitter Nathan Cassell was first-team all-league and second-team all-region, while senior middle blocker D'Angelo Boehner was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region.
Senior setter Owen Fetty was special mention all-league and senior opposite hitter Ataa Carrol was honorable mention all-league.
Expected to return are sophomores Sean Hall (defensive specialist), Jackson Lightfoot (outside hitter) and Armand Sherzai (setter).
Boys lacrosse team edged by Bears
The boys lacrosse team rallied to force overtime against host and top-seeded UA before losing 9-8 in double overtime in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal May 22.
Fifth-seeded Davidson, which finished 12-9, trailed 8-5 in the fourth quarter before rallying to tie the game on A.J. Van Voorhis' goal in the final minute.
Van Voorhis finished the game with five goals and Alex Van Voorhis scored two. Goalkeeper Sam Backenstoe had 19 saves.
"We played the best lacrosse that Hilliard Davidson has played in 30 years," coach Adam Beasley said. "You can't fault our guys; we got it to one play. We had a chance to move to the regional final with one play and I'm proud of our guys."
UA lost to Worthington Kilbourne 8-7 in the regional final May 25.
Chilcote named wrestling coach
A familiar face is returning to lead the wrestling program.
Josh Chilcote has been named coach, pending school board approval. He replaces Dominic DiSabato, who stepped after 19 seasons.
"I love it," said Chilcote, an intervention specialist at Groveport. "When you have to fill big shoes, you make sure you step your game up and be ready to put your best foot forward every day. Coming in for Dom, that's a big deal, but also it's nice that Dom's not leaving (the school). He's just stepped away from wrestling, but he's been a great resource for me."
Chilcote, 36, was an assistant wrestling coach at Davidson from 2006-14 and an assistant football coach under Brian White from 2006-10.
"I'm really familiar with Davidson," Chilcote said. "It's a great place. I have a great relationship with coach White as well, so it's an exciting time for me."
Chilcote was an assistant wrestling coach at Lancaster the past three seasons. A 2000 graduate of Groveport, he was a three-time state qualifier in wrestling before going on to play football at Kent State.
Under DiSabato, the Wildcats won seven OCC titles and one district championship, posted two top-seven team finishes at state and had 24 state placers, including two champions in Chase Delande (145 pounds in 2011) and Travis Gusan (heavyweight in 2013) as well as five runners-up.