As freshmen, Erin Simmons and Logan Berlet helped begin a rebuilding process for the Columbus Academy girls soccer team.

As freshmen, Erin Simmons and Logan Berlet helped begin a rebuilding process for the Columbus Academy girls soccer team.

As seniors, they've led the Vikings to the top seed in the Division III district tournament.

After a first-round bye, the Vikings defeated Tree of Life 9-2 in the second round Oct. 21 at home to improve to 15-1-1.

Academy played fourth-seeded Johnstown in a district semifinal Oct. 25. The winner plays third-seeded Grandview or sixth-seeded Ready in a district final Saturday, Oct. 29, at Hilliard Bradley.

The district champion will play Coshocton, Chillicothe Zane Trace or Sardinia Eastern in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Bradley. The regional final is Nov. 5 at Bradley.

Academy was ranked first in the final regular-season state poll, ahead of Gates Mills Hawken.

"It would be a storybook ending to come out on top (in the state)," Simmons said.

After finishing 8-7 in 2008, the program's first winning season, the Vikings were 11-6 in 2009 and 16-2-2 in coach Kelly Snead's first season last year. Academy reached the program's first district final last fall, losing to MSL-Cardinal/Ohio foe Bexley 2-0.

Led by Simmons and Berlet, Academy earned the program's first win over Bexley this season, 3-1 on Sept. 8.

Academy tied Bexley and Granville for first place in the league at 7-1.

"Both are extremely valuable to the team, and just as far as they've come from freshmen to now is just unbelievable," Snead said of Simmons and Berlet. "It's good that they are building the program up like they are."

"We have nine seniors in the program and seven on varsity," Berlet said. "Ever since freshman year, we've just all matured. Freshman year we were good, but as we matured as players we were able to get better and become better leaders on the team."

Both are expected to continue their soccer careers at Division I schools, as Simmons has verbally committed to Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., and Berlet has verbally committed to the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.

"I went to visit and I really liked the school," said Simmons, whose parents, Paul and Donna, graduated from Marshall. "I really like the coach (Kevin Long). I've been down there a few times to watch them play. It's exciting."

Simmons entered the week as the team's leading scorer with 30 goals and 26 assists. For her career, she has 82 goals and 76 assists.

She scored the team's 100th goal of the season against Tree of Life. It's the first time the Vikings have scored 100 goals in a season.

Simmons also was named Player of the Year in the league and in the district.

Berlet entered the week with nine goals and 22 assists. She was first-team all-league and all-district.

"We are both really different players, but we work really well together," Berlet said. "She scores all the goals and I try to set her up for all the goals."

•The boys cross country team won its first Division III district title since 2002, finishing first (62) ahead of second-place Galion Northmor (67) in the district 2 race Oct. 22 at Watkins Memorial.

Senior Jon Michael Hilsheimer won in 16 minutes, 55.9 seconds.

The Vikings will compete in the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 29, at Troy.

The girls team qualified for the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 29, at Pickerington North after finishing third (90) in the district 1 race at Watkins Memorial behind first-place Mount Gilead (33).

Freshman Abby Wilson was fifth in 21:05.26.

The top four teams and top 16 individuals at regional advance to the state meet Nov. 5 National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

"I want them to get that experience at the regionals and aspire to that," coach Mike Ramseyer said. "Our goals should be always to expect to qualify to regional and with some frequency to get to the state meet."

•The girls tennis team finished fourth in the OTCA Division II state tournament Oct. 23 at Hilliard Davidson.

The Vikings lost to eventual state champion Lexington 3-1 in a semifinal and to Gates Mills Hawken 3-0 in the third-place match.

Against Lexington, juniors Deepa Manda and Neela Nataraj won 6-1, 6-4 at second doubles.

Lexington defeated Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 3-2 in the title match.

It was Academy's sixth state semifinal appearance. The Vikings last won a state title in 2008.

"When you finish fourth, it's tough and they are down, but these kids have come a long way," coach Jeff Warstler said. "We were an underdog coming into this, we knew that. I'm proud of them. It's an accomplishment to get here. It's a disappointment to be fourth, but they have nothing to hang their heads about. They've worked extremely hard."

Academy finished 14-7 overall and won the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio with 28 points, ahead of Bexley (24), Grandview (16), Granville (12), Fisher Catholic (8) and Whitehall (0).

The league tournament was canceled because of bad weather.

The Vikings did not have any seniors.

Freshman Andrea Ballinger should return at first singles. Other returning players should be Manda, Nataraj, juniors Annie Lavin and Meera Gopinath, sophomores Meghana Vallabhaneni and Hannah Wexner and freshmen Katherine Guan and Libby Sirak.

•The football team will close the regular season at home against Granville on Friday, Oct. 28.

Granville is 6-0 in the MSL-Ohio and can clinch the league title with a win.

"Granville is undefeated in the league and they're good," coach Jim Collis said. "They can run and pass, and they're tough defensively. It will be a tough game, but it's our last game, so hopefully the kids will rise to the occasion."

Last season, Granville defeated Academy 28-13.

Academy is 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the league. The Vikings are looking to end a two-game losing streak that included a 27-20 loss at Whitehall on Oct. 21.