The Columbus Academy girls lacrosse team has fond memories of last year's state title run.

The Columbus Academy girls lacrosse team has fond memories of last year's state title run.

This season's squad is hoping to form new memories that will prove to be just as special.

Although the Vikings have been battling injuries and were out to a 2-3 start before playing Hartley on April 13, coach Anne Horton expects them to return to full strength soon, giving them time to prepare for the postseason.

Last season, Academy rallied for a 9-8 win over Chagrin Falls in the Division II state final for its first state championship since 2011 and fourth overall. The Vikings also won titles in 1998 and 2000.

"It was a dream ending ... that none of us really knew was coming," said Horton, whose team finished 16-1. "The celebration was super sweet and the girls have impressed on me that was last year and they need to start again. They're trying to look forward."

The Vikings return a solid nucleus led by senior midfielders Katie Boeckman and Lily Rizk, who were named first-team all-state and all-region a year ago. Other top returnees include senior midfielder Julia Chester (first-team all-region, second-team all-state) and senior attacker Lottie Smith (second-team all-region).

Senior Lawson Sadler returns as the starting goalkeeper.

Other returnees are seniors Alyssa Edwards (midfielder), Grace Geiger (attacker) and Makela Hughes (attacker), juniors Sophie Carlin (attacker), Michelle Daoud (attacker), Natalie L'Hommedieu (defen-der), Baylee Mueller (attacker), Kennedy Sulton (midfielder) and Karina Walter (midfielder) and sophomores Kelley Marie Antoine (goalie) and Maddie DeAscentis.

Rounding out the roster are senior Caroline Aronowitz (defender), sophomores Sarah Bedford and Shenique Lewis (defender) and freshmen Sydney Hill (midfielder), Lexie Leader (midfielder), Tani Obikunle (defender), Avie Smith (attacker) and Aiyana Taylor (defender).

Seeking its seventh consecutive league title, Academy opened Central Independent League play by defeating Bexley 15-4 on March 29.

"The kids want to win the league," said Horton, who is in her 22nd season. "We have some tough teams to face with DeSales and Watterson and CSG. We have some tough opponents who are always eager to take us down. We never get an easy game. Everybody wants to beat us and the kids have to learn to handle that."

The Vikings lost to Chagrin Falls 10-7 on April 2 at New Albany. Academy also defeated Granville 17-9 on April 5 in a league contest, lost to New Albany 11-5 on April 7 and fell to Garrison (Md.) Forest 15-8 on March 23 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Hammond guiding girls track team

Veteran coach Denny Hammond now is leading the girls track and field team.

He replaced Jen Bunker, who coached the team for one season and now is the coach at Columbus School for Girls.

Hammond led the Reynoldsburg girls team for 14 seasons and the boys team for 18 before stepping down in 2012. He also coached cross country at Reynoldsburg for 17 seasons.

Hammond coached the Academy cross country program last fall.

"The reason I took the job is because they're great kids and they work hard," he said. "If it gets a little bit warmer we'll be all right."

Academy returns several key athletes, including senior Louise Rosler (sprints, 300-meter hurdles) and juniors Audrey Grammel (middle distance) and Jacinta Crestanello (middle distance). They were members of the fifth-place 1,600 relay (4 minutes, 2.85 seconds) in the Division III state meet last season.

Senior Cobi Warstler (distance) and Grammel were part of the eighth-place 3,200 relay (9:42.97), and Grammel was 11th in the 1,600 (5:17.52).

Other key returnees are senior Jessica Hile (throws) and sophomores Khloe Dubenion (throws) and Lexis Hughes (throws).

Also looking to contribute are senior Savannah Cofer (long jump/sprints), juniors Rebecca Amonor (sprints/long jump), Susan Frankovich (1,600), Jessica Griffin (sprints), Lily Kaufman (middle distance) and Kami Tibbles (throws), sophomores Briyana Dragin (sprints), Muriel Goldfarb (sprints), Clare Neltner (sprints) and Yas Salon (long jump/1,600) and freshmen Ginnie Ma (hurdles/long jump), Ryan Milbourne (distance/800), Leah Louise Pierre (high jump/middle distance), Maddie Tuckerman (middle distance) and Haylee White (throws/sprints).

"Our numbers aren't where we'd like them, but we have a good group of girls. They work hard and have a great attitude," Hammond said. "It's going to take us awhile to figure out where we're going to put people, but that's OK."

Academy lost several athletes to graduation, including Julia Rizk, who capped her prep career by finishing second in the 400 (57.45) and anchoring the 1,600 relay at state. She now is competing at UCLA.

Boys track team battling injuries

Boys track coach Bob Kirk said his team is battling injuries, but he expects it to round into form.

"It's too early in the season to know how fast we can run," said Kirk, who is in his 42nd season. "It's been too cold. These guys are hurt and they're not running fast, but they will be. My sprint guys aren't ready for prime time yet."

Academy is coming off a season in which it finished third (28 points) at state behind Warren JFK (48) and Cortland Maplewood (37).

Senior Logan Baker won the 800 (1:54.02) and anchored the first-place 1,600 relay (3:21.53) that also included junior Kevin Boyce, sophomore Jerome Buckner and 2015 graduate Tim Leathery.

Also back are senior Jack Mills and junior Dylan Warren. Both competed at state last season.

Mills is battling a foot injury that forced him to miss most of the basketball season.

Other key contributors should include seniors Andrew Heermann (distance) and Atticus Lee (distance, middle distance), juniors Michael Kusi (sprints) and Jacob Taub (throws) and sophomores Nick Robie (distance) and Angus Soderberg (middle distance).

Kirk said the Vikings should receive a boost from the addition of several runners from the cross country team. "It's a work in progress," he said. "The guys who are on the team just aren't ready to run fast yet, but we have some new kids and that will be interesting to see."

Schedules

GIRLS LACROSSE

March 23 -- Garrison (Md.) Forest at St. Petersburg (Fla.)

*March 29 -- at Bexley

April 2 -- Chagrin Falls at New Albany

*April 5 -- at Granville

April 7 -- vs. New Albany

*April 13 -at Hartley

*April 14 -- at Wellington

April 16 -- Wooster and Cincinnati Summit Country Day in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington

April 19 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

*April 20 -- vs. Watterson

*April 26 -- vs. DeSales

*April 28 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls

May 5 -- vs. Upper Arlington

TRACK & FIELD

March 31 -- vs. Genoa Christian and Horizion Science

April 4 -- at Worthington Christian

April 12 -- vs. Beechcroft, Tree of Life and Worthington Christian

April 14 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut

April 15 -- Russ Owen Bexley Relays

April 19 -- vs. Fairfield Union and Patriot Prep

April 26 -- at Columbus School for Girls with Bexley and Grandview

April 29 -- Hamilton Township Invitational

May 3 -- vs. Northridge, Northside Christian and Ready

May 7 -- Mount Gilead Invitational

May 10, 13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Whitehall

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy baseball, boys lacrosse and boys tennis teams:

BASEBALL

*April 15 -- Home vs. London

April 16 -- At St. Charles (DH)

*April 18 -- At Bexley

*April 20 -- Home vs. Whitehall

BOYS LACROSSE

April 14 -- At Wellington

April 15 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

April 20 -- Home vs. DeSales

BOYS TENNIS

April 14 -- At St. Charles

April 16 -- Home vs. Cincinnati St. Xavier and Hunting Valley University School

*April 19 -- Home vs. Grandview

April 20 -- Home vs. Granville

*League contest