The Worthington Kilbourne High School boys lacrosse team bounced back from a subpar 2017 season by reaching a Division I state semifinal.
The Wolves finished 17-6 overall after losing to eventual state champion Cincinnati St. Xavier 18-8 in a semifinal May 30 at Dayton Chaminade Julienne. Kilbourne went 11-11 last season.
"I think this kind of puts us back on the map some," first-year coach Mike Lippert said. "It was a great season and we had a great senior class that felt like they had something to prove after last season. We were definitely a more experienced team this year."
In the semifinal, Kilbourne fell behind early, as St. Xavier scored on its first two possessions. Trailing 2-1, the Wolves were unable to score with a man-up advantage as a turnover led to a goal by the Bombers, who led 7-2 after the first quarter.
St. Xavier went on to beat Cleveland St. Ignatius 10-9 in the state final to finish 19-3.
"That was a big play at the time, but I'm not sure that play was a turning point," Lippert said. "They beat us in transition all night and they beat us in getting ground balls. They have two guys who are exceptional faceoff guys who both will play Division I college lacrosse. We also weren't able to execute our clear the way we typically do.
"Kudos to (St. Xavier). They are a great team. They've got a lot of dudes who are big, fast and athletic."
Senior attacker Nick Clay, senior midfielder Ryan Wesolowski and junior attacker Jake LeVette all scored two goals for the Wolves, who advanced to state by beating top-seeded Upper Arlington 8-7 in the Region 3 final May 25 at Fortress Obetz.
Seeded second, Kilbourne opened the regional tournament by beating 14th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 18-2 on May 15 and beat eighth-seeded Thomas 15-3 in a quarterfinal May 18 and third-seeded New Albany 7-3 in a semifinal May 22.
The Wolves won the OCC-Cardinal Division championship by going 6-0, finishing ahead of Dub-lin Jerome (5-1), Delaware (4-2), Thomas (3-3), Hilliard Darby (2-4), Bradley (1-5) and Dublin Scioto (0-6).
Kilbourne is losing 10 seniors, including Clay, Wesolowski, midfielders Sam Biglin and Ryan Hester and long-stick midfielder Joe Wasik.
Clay was named first-team all-region, while Biglin, Hester, Wasik and Wesolowski were second team. In the league, Clay, Wasik and Wesolowski were on the first team and Biglin and Hester made the second team.
"We had a very strong season and I'm proud of our guys," said Lippert, who was named co-Coach of the Year in the region with UA's Kyle Olson. "We had so many seniors step up and contribute and we've got a lot of young guys coming back who gained valuable experience and saw what it takes to compete at a high level."
Among the expected return-ees are LeVette, juniors Aidan Cameron (midfielder), Adam Clay (defender), Jack Ellis (attacker), Dane Jackson (goalkeeper) and Hayden Sydnor (defender) and sophomores William Alban (attacker) and Carson Kott (attacker).
Jackson was first-team all-region and Adam Clay and Kott were second team. In the league, Jackson and Clay made first team, Cameron, Kott and Sydnor were on the second team and LeVette made honorable mention.
Lippert was league Coach of the Year.
Young finishes 13th at state track meet
Junior Elijah Young represented the boys track and field team in the Division I state meet June 2 at Ohio State, finishing 13th in the long jump (21 feet, 1 3/4 inches).
"I'm a little disappointed because my PR last year as a sophomore was 21-10," Young said. "This year, it was only like 21-6. I'm a little disappointed, but I'm not that worried. I'm going to try and get the school record next year in my senior year."
Young, who placed fourth (21-4) in the regional meet May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North, had finished 16th in the pole vault (12-6) at state last season.
"The jumping aspect is similar, but technique-wise, pole vault is a lot more like technique and more technical and long jump, you just go out there and jump."
"The field in the long jump was pretty tough," coach Josh Stegman said. "Eli had been experiencing some hamstring tightness coming into the day and had been resting the week leading up. He felt good, though. His first jump was a questionable foul."
Assistant coach Tom Wisard, who specializes in jumps, said the foul affected Young's second attempt.
"The first jump was really, really good, but he fouled it by just a quarter of an inch," Wisard said. "His second jump, he was a little nervous about fouling and he wanted to get it measured and that was only (20-8). His goal was to get 22 feet and then get our school record, which is 22-7. But even so, that wouldn't have made finals.
"He's been fighting shin splints and a really tight hamstring for the last three weeks. He's just been fighting himself down the runway. He did what he needed to do to warm up and gave it his best shot, but today it wasn't enough to get him to finals."
Stegman expects the school record in the long jump to fall next season.
"Obviously, Eli was disappointed with not being able to make finals nor achieve the school record, but he is driven and looking forward to working to achieve his goals in both the pole vault and long jump next season," Stegman said.