When it came to postseason girls competitions held on the last Saturday of October, no central Ohio high school did it better than Gahanna Lincoln.

When it came to postseason girls competitions held on the last Saturday of October, no central Ohio high school did it better than Gahanna Lincoln.

On Oct. 29, the Lions earned Division I district championships in girls volleyball and girls soccer and a Division I regional title in girls cross country.

The girls soccer team played Olentangy Liberty in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Dublin Jerome.

In girls volleyball, the Lions will play Olentangy Orange in a regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at Worthington Kilbourne.

Then on Saturday, Nov. 5, the girls cross country team will compete for the state championship at 3 p.m. at National Trail Raceway.

Girls runners easily earn regional title

The only other time the girls cross country team qualified for state was in 2013 when it also won a regional title and then finished seventh at National Trail Raceway.

In this year's regional, the Lions scored 97 points to top a 16-team field that saw runner-up Thomas Worthington (121) finish well behind as the top five teams advanced.

"This is only the second time in Gahanna history that we've done this, so it's pretty cool to be with these girls," freshman Natalie Clay said.

Clay turned in a fifth-place finish (19 minutes, 18.49 seconds). Just ahead of her was teammate Claire Steigerwald (fourth, 19:16.02), while Gahanna's Maddie Larick (eighth, 19:42.92) joined them in the top 10.

Also competing were Sara Buckner (22nd, 20:17.82), Valerie Cooke (67th, 21:23.65), Ari Redmond (74th, 21:42.92) and Allison Groves (83rd, 22:03.33).

"We had projected times and places of what we were (hoping) to do and everything just came together," Steigerwald said.

Girls soccer team earns second title

For the second time, the girls soccer team captured a Division I district championship.

The Lions were the district's top seed and beat fifth-seeded Thomas 2-0 on Oct. 29 in a district final at Westerville North.

The winner of the Gahanna-Liberty regional semifinal plays Jerome or Pickerington North in a regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at a site to be announced.

The regional champion plays Springboro, Beavercreek, Cincinnati St. Ursula Academy or Loveland in a state semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 8, at a site to be announced.

The state final is Nov. 12 at Mapfre Stadium.

Gahanna, which beat 18th-seeded Westerville North 1-0 on Oct. 25 in a district semifinal, was 18-0-2 before playing Liberty.

During the regular season, the Lions beat the Patriots 1-0 on Sept. 6 and Pickerington North 2-1 on Sept. 20 but did not play Jerome.

Gahanna had given up just four goals all season heading into the regional tournament.

"For me it's exciting, because usually it takes a couple years to get kids to buy in when you're a new coach," said Bob McGee, who is in his first season at Gahanna but has won more than 300 games, including state titles in 1995 and 2011 at DeSales. "We have great practices every day."

Alison Smitley scored the only goal against Westerville North and Katie Stafford and Peyton Marquez had goals against Thomas.

Volleyball team again wins district final

With a 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 victory over second-seeded Hilliard Davidson on Oct. 29 at Franklin Heights, the third-seeded girls volleyball team won its second consecutive district championship.

If the Lions beat Orange in the regional semifinal, they will play DeSales or Dublin Coffman in a regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Kilbourne.

The regional champion will play Loveland, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati Mother of Mercy or Cincinnati Ursuline Academy in a state semifinal Nov. 10 at Wright State. The state final is Nov. 12 at Wright State.

"It's something that we've been coaching, the idea of how do you survive," coach Alisa Franklin said. "It's huge for the program. It tells us we're moving in the right direction in what we're doing in season and offseason and the desire that the kids have to play volleyball and play at a very high level."

The Lions entered the regional with a 21-4 record that included a 25-21, 26-24, 25-16 win Oct. 25 over seventh-seeded Olentangy in a district semifinal at Franklin Heights.

A season ago, Gahanna won its first district title since 2006.

"Last year it was a really big deal because we were not expected to do as well," senior Dasha Bruyako said. "This year we won, but we still expect more."

Boys runners fall just short of state

The boys cross country team nearly joined the girls at state.

In the regional, the Lions finished with 175 points to fall two points short of the fifth and final qualifying berth as it placed sixth of 15 teams behind champion Thomas (71).

The top 20 individuals also advanced, but the Lions' top finisher, Solomon Costa, finished 28th (16:54.73). Also competing were Taylor Belcastro (33rd, 16:59.68), Connor Ingram (43rd, 17:10.17), Tyler Story (48th, 17:13.64), Jason Mehalic (50th, 17:14.73), Oliver Cope (57th, 17:20.09) and Riley Jackson (77th, 17:40.77).

Football team falls to Pickerington North

With its hopes of making the Division I, Region 3 playoffs already ended heading into the final week of the regular season, the football team attempted to play a spoiler role against Pickerington North on Oct. 27.

With the Panthers needing a win to have hopes of making the Region 3 playoffs, the Lions got two 1-yard touchdown runs by David Miller and a 28-yard scoring run by Jayvonta Tolliver to take a 21-13 lead.

The Panthers, however, responded with a 4-yard touchdown run by Jimmy Weirick and a two-point conversion pass from Weirick to Ty Wiley to send the game to overtime tied at 21.

Weirick then found Hayden Maziarz for a 12-yard touchdown in overtime as the Panthers won 28-21.

The loss was the fifth in six games for the Lions, who finished 5-5 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Tolliver finished with 107 yards on 13 carries, Miller had 11 carries for 49 yards and Terone Gordon had five receptions for 37 yards.

"We've got to finish, and that's been one of the problems we've had all season that we have to work on for next year," coach Bruce Ward said.

Tennis lineup to have new look

The girls tennis team is eligible to return two of its top seven players and two others who saw varsity action.

Coach Chris Schwinnen also is optimistic that some junior varsity competitors can contribute next fall.

The Lions went 12-8 overall and finished third (3-2) in the OCC-Ohio behind Pickerington North (5-0) and Pickerington Central (4-1) and ahead of Lancaster (2-3), Grove City (1-4) and Reynoldsburg (0-5).

"It was a very, very positive season," Schwinnen said. "We'll have four players back that had significant varsity time. We're going to need (some players) to step up for next year."

Seniors Kathleen McGuff and Emily Ryan finished fourth in doubles in a Division I sectional that concluded Oct. 8 at Davidson and then had their season end in the first round of the district tournament Oct. 13 at Davidson.

McGuff spent most of the season at second singles behind senior Kristen Zink, who teamed with junior Natalie Chen to play doubles at sectional. Playing singles at sectional were seniors Allison Dickes and Rhea Gupta and junior Sammi Smith.

Chen and Smith are the top eligible returnees. Junior Reegan Pomponio and freshman Madi Herman also saw varsity action.

Boys soccer team gained experience

After losing 17 players to graduation, the boys soccer team focused mostly on improvement this fall.

"You look at our record, and that's not indicative of our growth this season," coach Matt Kovach said. "We lost five games by 1-0 scores and we (played) one of the toughest schedules in the area. We just lacked the ability to create good scoring chances. Our goal was to be a better team on the last day of the season than we were on the first day, and I think we accomplished that."

Gahanna was the 26th seed for the Division I district tournament and lost to 25th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 1-0 on Oct. 19 in the first round to finish 3-14 overall.

The Lions scored just 11 goals on the season.

Gahanna had a run of 12 consecutive seasons in which it earned at least a share of a league championship end as it went 3-2 in the OCC-Ohio to finish behind Pickerington North (4-1), Pickerington Central (3-1-1) and Grove City (3-1-1) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (1-4) and Lancaster (0-5).

Midfielder Evan Kokales, who had four assists and was first-team all-league, led a six-player senior class that also included goalkeeper Trevor Smith (55 saves).

Junior midfielder Sam Polonia had five goals and one assist while making first-team all-league, and junior midfielder Cole Tysinger had three goals and one assist and was second-team all-league. Junior midfielder/defender Harley Wheaton was honorable mention all-league.

Junior defender Seth Smith and freshman midfielder Jarrett Lukacsko both had one goal, and Lukacsko was special mention all-league.

Junior goalie Ryan Taylor finished with 29 saves.

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