The Dublin Jerome High School field hockey team won two more games a season ago than it did in 2016, and new coach Cara Wolfgram Evans expects that trend to continue this fall.
What transpired during the preseason backs up her assertion that the program has continued to improve as a whole.
"The program keeps building," Wolfgram Evans said. "This is the second year in a row we had to actually make cuts, which is the first time they've had to do that in Jerome history. It's just building your team stronger. We could have had a third team (in addition to varsity and junior varsity teams), but there's not enough (programs) in this area that could have provided another j.v. game."
Jerome was 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division before facing Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 5.
Wolfgram Evans has taken over for Colleen Bender, who headed the program for its first 14 seasons. Wolfgram Evans is a 1992 Coffman graduate who coached the Hilliard Lynx club team the past five seasons.
The top returnees are seniors Jaqueline McCully (forward) and Brynna Pope (forward), junior Jane Goodstein (midfielder) and sophomores Olivia Brooks (midfielder), Lauren Finley (goalkeeper) and Katelyn Root (midfielder).
Others on the team include seniors Aleyah Bonaventura (defender), Kendall Mabee (goalie), Iman Metzger (forward) and Ishika Puri (forward) and juniors Audrey Evans (defender), Olivia Spencer (defender), Sydney Stone (midfielder) and Yuna Takahashi (forward).
"I'm really anticipating having an even better outcome than we did last year," Wolfgram Evans said. "I think we're going to win a lot more games."
Boys runners hope to continue recent run
In seven of the past eight seasons, the boys cross country program has either reached the Division I state meet as a team or had an individual get there.
Odds are in the Celtics' favor that they'll continue that trend a couple months from now considering the group they have returned.
Junior Elliott Cook, a two-time state qualifier who placed 43rd (16 minutes, 19.9 seconds) last fall, and junior Arjun Dhankani, who was the team's No. 3 runner late last season, give Jerome a strong base with which to work.
Senior Sahil Ambardekar and sophomore Kyle Von Cannon also have returned after being key runners last fall.
Other top runners are senior Andrew McPherson, juniors Jack Rozich and Nik Wagner and sophomore Travis Cline.
Cook ran 15:34.59 on Sept. 1 to win the Asics Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson as Jerome finished eighth (215) of 14 teams behind the champion and host Wildcats (65).
Last season, Jerome was seventh at regional as the top five teams advanced to state.
Kellen Posacki, who finished 26th at state last fall, was the biggest loss to graduation.
"We're looking to keep (our recent postseason success) going with the ultimate goal of qualifying as a team (to state) this season," seventh-year coach Dave Wadenstierna said. "I'm excited about this team because we have a large number of guys who are vying for a varsity spot for the first time this year. There should be great competition throughout our whole roster, but especially at the top. Our focus is the process, attention to detail, building character and getting one percent better every day."
Girls runners feeling optimistic
The girls cross country team finished seventh (180) in the 11-team Hot Summer Bash behind champion and host Davidson (30), with less than two minutes separating its first and seventh runners.
Sophomore Lauren Metzger, who was the team's top runner much of last season, is leading the way along with junior Madison Weigle and freshmen Audrey Cook and Ava DiMasi.
Seniors Nicole Bowen, Abby Lenz and Larkin Thomas, sophomore Anna Speeney and freshman Gwyn Lai are other key runners.
Last season, Weigle finished 73rd (20:39.23) in the Division I regional meet as the team's No. 2 runner behind 2018 graduate Jessica Blake.
"I've got 51 girls, which is the biggest we've had since I've been at the school, which is exciting," second-year coach Megan Brar said. "They're good with each other and the upperclassmen help a lot. (We're trying to) tighten up that front pack, step up every weekend and see what can happen with that. We're excited."
Golf teams battle for league titles
The boys and girls golf teams both entered the week with comfortable leads in their respective OCC-Cardinal Division title races.
In the third round of the boys league tournament Aug. 29 at Darby Creek, Ethan Snyder shot a 67 to earn medalist honors as the Celtics shot a 293 to easily take first. Jackson Chandler shot a 72 and Mason Wagner a 73 for the Celtics, who are 21-0 in the league entering the final round Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Denison Golf Club.
Snyder is leading the league in average at 69.3, while Wagner is second (72.0) and Chandler is fourth (74.0).
The girls team was 15-0 in the league, ahead of second-place Delaware (12-3), heading into the final round Sept. 5 at Mentel Memorial.
In the third round Aug. 30 at Cooks Creek, the Celtics shot a 325 to take first as the Pacers were runners-up (368).
Caitlin Yant was medalist (76) and Ash Abhang tied for second (78) in the third round. Yant is second overall in the league with a 77.0 average behind Delaware's Hayley Dye (75.3) and Abhang is third (79.0).
Aug. 22 -- Dublin Preview at home
Aug. 25 -- Run for a Dream 5K at Columbus State
Sept. 1 -- Asics Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 8 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 15 -- Valkyrie Invitational in Louisville, Ky.
Sept. 22 -- Celtic Clash at home
Oct. 6 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Davidson
Aug. 18 -- vs. Hartley
*Aug. 22 -- at Thomas Worthington
Aug. 25 -- vs. Lancaster
Aug. 27 -- at Granville
Aug. 29 -- at New Albany
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 10 -- vs. Scioto
*Sept. 12 -- at Coffman
*Sept. 17 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 19 -- vs. Hilliard club team
*Sept. 25 -- at Olentangy
*Sept. 26 -- at Upper Arlington
Oct. 1 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
Oct. 3 -- at Bexley
Oct. 6 -- at Rocky River Magnificat
*Oct. 10 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 8 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 9-10 -- Kiely Cup at Canteberry Country Club
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 8 -- Eagle-Panther Invitational at Cooks Creek
Sept. 6 -- At Westerville Central
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Sept. 6 -- Home vs. New Albany
Sept. 11 -- At Coffman
*Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Scioto
Sept. 8 -- At Pickerington North with Mason and Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown
Sept. 10 -- At Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 6 -- At Delaware
Sept. 11 -- At Westerville Central