Weather-related delays have forced Bexley High School to move the football team's home opener to Fortress Obetz.

The track around the football field is being resurfaced. Athletics director Eli Goldberger said the work fell behind because of a rainy stretch during the summer.

The Lions will play Hamilton Township on Friday, Sept. 7, at the home field for Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine. Bexley closed last season at Fortress Obetz with a 35-7 loss to Ready.

"We got backed up with the track after a very wet summer," Goldberger said. "The hope was that we would have this done by Sept. 1, but that didn't happen."

Goldberger said the delay hasn't had much of an effect on the other fall sports. Football, however, draws bigger crowds and requires more seating.

"We don't have the visiting bleachers, which doesn't come into play as much in soccer and field hockey because all the fans can sit on the (home) side (of the field)," he said. "We had to move (the home opener) because we wouldn't have the seating capacity for football."

The goal is to have the stadium ready to accommodate fans for the Sept. 21 MSL-Ohio Division contest against Grandview. The Lions play their league opener Sept. 14 at Columbus Academy.

"The track should be done by mid-September, but we will probably have to rent some portable bleachers and put them behind the end zones," Goldberger said. "We want to make sure that we're not putting the big, heavy bleachers we have for the visitors' side on the track. It needs time to cure and settle, and if you put that kind of weight on there, it will damage it. If you put in the money to redo a track, you don't want to damage it before it is even run on.

"The idea is that we will host that (Grandview game) but we will have some portable bleachers. Then by the next (home) game on Oct. 5 (against Teays Valley), we should be able to have the regular (visitors) bleachers out there."

When the Lions faced Hamilton Township last fall, they lost 44-28.

"We lost, but that was also our highest offensive production of the season," said coach Nathan Castorena, whose team lost its opener 32-21 at Harvest Prep on Aug. 24 and played Campbell Memorial on Aug. 31. "It was a coming out party for (quarterback) Anthony Welsh. He had a great game."

Welsh was 13-for-18 passing for 204 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for two scores.

The Rangers lost their opener to Granville 35-7 on Aug. 24 before losing to Groveport 28-14 on Aug 30.

Cross country teams have high expectations

Coach Eric Acton likes what he has seen from his cross country teams.

The girls team has six returnees from its lineup last season, when it won MSL-Ohio and district titles and finished 18th (352 points) of 20 teams in the Division II state meet behind champion Lexington (137). They are senior Annie Politi and sophomores Ally Grieshop, Hannah Hayden, Karleigh Place, Maria Steinke and Leah Tadese.

The only loss from the lineup was 2018 graduate Molly Fagin, who now runs at Ohio State.

"They are a year older and a year wiser," said Acton, who is in his 31st season. "They all ran this summer and they are stronger than they were last year."

The girls were unbeaten through two races. They won the five-team Dan Reid Invitational on Aug. 25 at Whitehall Community Park with 24 points, ahead of runner-up Reynoldsburg (59).

They also won the 16-team Canal Winchester Invitational on Aug. 29 with 40 points, ahead of second-place New Albany (86).

Freshman Claire MacDonald led the girls at Canal Winchester, finishing second in 20 minutes, 23.0 seconds. Steinke was fifth (20:34.3), followed by Hayden (eighth, 20:54.7), Grieshop (10th, 21:06.2), Place (15th, 21:43.7), junior Ella Jaede Hayden (24th, 22:11.8) and Tadese (31st, 22:34.7).

"A surprise on the girls team is Claire MacDonald," Acton said. "She has been running with the sophomores and has gained the confidence to go after the leaders in races."

The girls started the New Albany Invitational on Aug. 20, but the race was stopped because of bad weather.

The boys placed fourth (88) of 10 teams at New Albany behind the champion and host Eagles (44) before finishing second (47) of seven teams at Whitehall behind Canal Winchester (36).

The Lions were third (89) of 16 teams at Canal Winchester behind New Albany (69) and the host Indians (74). Senior Theo Snowdon was 10th (18:08.6), followed by sophomore Spencer Stevenson (14th, 18:21.6), junior Dylan Abel (19th, 18:30.0), freshman Miller MacDonald (22nd, 18:37.5), junior Miles Feinknopf (24th, 18:42.1), sophomore Elliot Roe (38th, 19:18.8) and sophomore Rob Donahey (39th, 19:20.1).

"Dylan, Miles, Theo and Spencer are all good runners and they are training really well," Acton said. "We have some younger new faces that have helped quite a bit. They are all starting to get to know each other and how they are as runners. They are starting to get close."

Millard brings love of volleyball to program

The girls volleyball team has a new coach in Mindy Millard, the daughter of Lions boys basketball coaching legend Gene Millard.

She replaced Cathie Ward after three seasons and will try to help the Lions improve on last fall's finish of 4-18 overall and 2-8 in the MSL-Ohio.

"I wanted to give back to the Bexley community," said Millard, whose team was 2-5 overall and 2-1 in the league after defeating Grandview 25-18, 25-15, 25-11 on Aug. 30. "I went to school here, my children went to school here, and volleyball is a sport that I loved very much when I played. I want to share what I know about the game and my love for the game."

The Lions have seven seniors in Eva Brady (middle blocker/outside hitter), Freddie Collins (defensive specialist/outside hitter), Erin Fetters (defensive specialist), Sierra Rogers (libero), Savannah Schwallie (outside hitter), Kaia Woodford (defensive specialist) and Josie Zox (outside hitter/middle blocker/opposite hitter).

Sophomores Anna Appling (setter/outside hitter), Grace Grasser (middle hitter/outside hitter), Hayley Heideman (setter), Katie Huefner (middle hitter) and Jess Levitt (libero) and freshman Giulia Viglietta (outside hitter) complete the roster.

"They have embraced their roles and have put their best foot forward with the idea of one program, one team," Millard said. "I'm a fundamentalist, so we're back to the basics.

"You can never practice passing enough, you can never practice serving enough, you can never practice setting enough. Everything we do is meant to build on another skill. I'm trying to build their confidence and teach them how to win."

Senior class to lead field hockey team

Led by nine seniors, the field hockey team won three of its first four contests after finishing last season 9-9 overall and 4-4 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East.

"Most of the nine seniors have started for four years and they know how the people beside them play and what they are going to do," said coach Kara Whitlatch, who is in her 16th season. "They bring a lot of experience and cohesion on the field."

Senior forward Meredith Eddy (7 goals, 3 assists) is the top scorer back from last season. Sophomore forward Eimear McCann (4 goals, 3 assists), senior defender Ailbhe McCann (3 goals, 4 assists) and senior midfielder Annie Walker (2 goals, 4 assists) also are top returning scoring threats.

Rounding out the senior class are midfielder/forward Tess Baker, defender Mackenzie Cory, defender Emma Easley, defender Annie Elliott, midfielder/defender Margaux Harding and forward Maddy Vincent.

Freshman Sally Sauer has taken over in goal after junior Tal Mars did not return to the team.

The Lions lost to Olentangy Orange 3-0 on Aug. 20 in their opener before winning three consecutive games. Vincent had two goals in a 5-0 win over Olentangy Berlin on Aug. 22 and two more in a 5-0 win over Lancaster on Aug. 27 in the COFHL-East opener.

Ailbhe McCann and Vincent both scored in a 2-0 win over Dublin Coffman on Aug. 29.

"Maddy Vincent has not played for two years because of injuries, but she's back and playing well for us," Whitlatch said. "She is fast and aggressive and it's like getting a new player."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 20 -- New Albany Invitational

Aug. 25 -- Dan Reid Invitational at Whitehall Community Park

Aug. 29 -- Canal Winchester Invitational

Sept. 8 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 15 -- Galion Festival

Sept. 29 -- Pickerington North Invitational

Oct. 3 -- Hartley at Jeffrey Mansion

Oct. 13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Camp Bobcat in Chillicothe

FIELD HOCKEY

Aug. 20 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Aug. 22 -- at Olentangy Berlin

*Aug. 27 -- vs. Lancaster

Aug. 29 -- at Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 11 -- vs. Watterson

*Sept. 13 -- vs. New Albany

Sept. 15 -- at Dayton Oakwood

*Sept. 17 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*Sept. 20 -- at Granville

Sept. 22 -- vs. Cincinnati Indian Hill

*Sept. 24 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls

Sept. 29 -- at Kettering Fairmont

Oct. 1 -- at Dublin Scioto

Oct. 3 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

*Oct. 8 -- vs. Columbus Academy

*Oct. 11 -- at Hartley

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 18 -- at Bloom-Carroll with Granville

Aug. 20 -- at Teays Valley

*Aug. 21 -- at Columbus Academy

*Aug. 23 -- vs. Whitehall

Aug. 27 -- at Columbus School for Girls

*Aug. 30 -- vs. Grandview

Sept. 1 -- Heath Invitational

Sept. 5 -- vs. Columbus West

Sept. 11 -- at Groveport

Sept. 15 -- vs. Harvest Prep

Sept. 17 -- vs. Marion-Franklin

*Sept. 20 -- vs. Worthington Christian

Sept. 25 -- vs. Grove City Christian

*Sept. 27 -- at Whitehall

*Oct. 2 -- at Grandview

*Oct. 4 -- vs. Columbus Academy

Oct. 8 -- vs. Ready

Oct. 10 -- at Westland

*Oct. 11 -- at Worthington Christian

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry

Sept. 11 -- Watterson at Westchester

Sept. 12 -- Heath at Westchester

GIRLS GOLF

*Sept. 6 -- Worthington Christian at Blacklick Woods

Sept. 11 -- Hartley at Jefferson

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Hartley

Sept. 8 -- At Olentangy

*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 8 -- At Zanesville Rosecrans

*Sept. 12 -- At Worthington Christian

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 6 -- At Grandview

Sept. 11 -- At Olentangy Berlin

Sept. 12 -- At Hilliard Darby

*League contest