Fresh out of college, Maddie Goelz took on the tough task of building a high school field hockey program from the ground up.

After graduating from Wittenberg in the spring, Goelz is coaching the fledgling team at Olentangy Berlin. The Bears had not scored and were 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division before playing defending state champion Thomas Worthington on Sept. 5.

Despite the struggles on the field, Goelz is seeing the Bears bond and set a foundation for success.

"It's incredibly exciting to be a part of this new program, but it's also amazing to be a part of this new Bear family," said Goelz, a 2014 Thomas graduate. "We have grown closer and closer over the past few months, and you can definitely see that on and off the field.

"I think it's the excitement of starting a new team and making history. The more they realize how cool it is, the more they are on board. Piece by piece, it has started to make sense for them, and I am seeing improvement."

The Bears opened with a 1-0 loss to Lancaster on Aug. 20 before falling to Bexley 5-0 on Aug. 22 and Hartley 1-0 on Aug. 27. They lost their league opener to Orange 3-0 on Aug. 29.

"Starting the new program has really been a lot of fun," junior midfielder/defender Madison Morris said. "The whole team is like a family. The atmosphere here has been great."

Morris played j.v. last fall at Olentangy while junior goalkeeper Olivia Himes split time with the Braves' j.v. and varsity teams.

"I think communication is the key to playing well, so having a bond and being like a family is a very important part to playing well together," Himes said. "You can't play well together if you don't communicate, and (the program) really has become one big family."

Junior Tolan Cook (for-ward/midfielder), sophomore Jenna Brennan (forward/midfielder) and freshmen forwards Payton Aloi, Grace Bossetti and Sidney Schmaltz are key players on offense with sophomore Courtney Suchan in the midfield.

Joining Morris in the back are juniors Izzy Conrad (midfielder/defender), Bri Hibbitts (defender) Morgan McNevin (defender) and Molly Porter (defender).

"I think we are starting to see our passing options and starting to see the next play," Goelz said. "We are starting to see where everyone needs to be. Our vision of the field is good.

"I think we need to be having a little more connection on the field. That involves getting clean passes and having better understanding of where we need to be on the field."

Cross country coaches familiar with runners

The boys and girls cross country teams are led by coaches who have been working in the school district for several seasons.

Boys coach Anthony Beggrow has been an assistant in cross country and track and field at Olentangy, and girls coach Catherine Ubry coached at Berkshire Middle School before being an assistant at Orange.

"I think that (being at Olentangy) has helped me because I got to know quite a few of them when I was there," Beggrow said. "It's kind of neat because you don't often get a chance to build a program. The boys know that they are starting a tradition for something that will be around for a while. I'm just lucky enough to be able to facilitate that and help them along the way."

The Bears opened Aug. 25 by placing fourth (123 points) in the 24-team Bengal Division of the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North behind champion Mount Gilead (25). Sophomore Corey Rinehart was 13th (17 minutes, 41.92 seconds), followed by sophomore Jack Dunlop (18th, 18:50.82), juniors Grant Schrieber (23rd, 18:58.15), Pietro Pozzi (33rd, 18:21.61) and Jacob Reitz (36th, 18:24.81), freshman Wyatt Bednar (88th, 19:40.29) and junior Riyadh Ahmed (89th, 19:41.53).

Juniors Ethan Harsh and Ryan Slyh and freshman Calvin Davies also are expected to compete for varsity time.

The girls opened by winning the 27-team Bengal Division race at North with 102 points, ahead of runner-up Mount Gilead (138).

"(The opener) went really well and we're really excited about how we ran," Ubry said. "Most of our team is freshmen and sophomores that ran together before at Olentangy and at the middle school level. I know a lot of them from when I was at Berkshire.

"They all ran over the summer and have run together for a year. ... They have put in the hard work."

Junior Meghan Boggess (seventh, 20:41.73) led the Bears in the opener, followed by sophomore Katie Balthaser (12th, 20:57.87), juniors Rebecca Koppelman (15th, 21:02.41), Megan Schlabig (26th, 21:49.41) and Seville Davis (42nd, 22:15.0) and sophomores Taylor Stark (48th, 22:27.93) and Madison Lapid (61st, 23:02.14).

Also expected to run on varsity are juniors Claire Adams and Madison Vondersaar and sophomore Rachel Fillman.

Reed, Raines lead boys golf team in OCC

Through three rounds of OCC-Cardinal play in boys golf, Bryce Reed is third in league average (72.33) and Leila Raines is seventh (78.0).

The Bears are second (17-4) behind defending Division I state champion Dublin Jerome (21-0) entering the final round Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Denison Golf Club.

In the third round Aug. 29 at Darby Creek, Berlin was second (311) behind the first-place Celtics (293) as Reed shot 72 and Raines had a 74. Also competing were Tanner Shimp (81), Brady Casto (84) and Ethan Hegg (96).

Cardi keeps up with leaders in girls golf

In OCC-Cardinal girls golf, Sierra Cardi has an 85.67 average through three rounds of the league tournament, placing her fifth overall.

Michele Starner had an average of 105 entering the final round Sept. 5 at Mentel Memorial.

In the third round Aug. 30 at Cooks Creek, Cardi had an 85 and Starner shot 110.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 25 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Sept. 1 -- Westerville North Classic

Sept. 8 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

Sept. 15 -- Otterbein Invitational

Sept. 22 -- Celtic Clash at Dublin Jerome

Sept. 29 -- Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club

Oct. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Davidson

FIELD HOCKEY

Aug. 20 -- vs. Lancaster

Aug. 22 -- vs. Bexley

Aug. 27 -- vs. Hartley

*Aug.29 -- at Olentangy Orange

*Sept. 5 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*Sept. 12 -- vs. Olentangy

*Sept. 17 -- at Dublin Coffman

Sept. 24 -- vs. Hilliard Lynx

*Sept. 26 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

Sept. 28 -- at Granville

*Oct. 1 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*Oct. 3 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Oct. 6 -- vs. Dayton Oakwood

Oct. 8 -- at Columbus School for Girls

*Oct. 10 -- at Dublin Jerome

*League contest

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

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 6 -- Olentangy Orange at Bent Tree

Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry

Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Denison Golf Club

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Fairbanks

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 6 -- At Upper Arlington

Sept. 11 -- At Big Walnut

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Delaware

Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Bexley

Sept. 12 -- At Hilliard Davidson

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 6 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

Sept. 8 -- Home vs. Delaware Christian

Sept. 10 -- At Mount Vernon

*League contest