Beechcroft High School boys tennis coach Daphne Hess believes she got to see the character of her team firsthand early this season.

Beechcroft High School boys tennis coach Daphne Hess believes she got to see the character of her team firsthand early this season.

On March 31 after practice, seniors Daniel Bishoff, Victor Guerrero, Mario Lopez-Gomez and Ibrahim Sesay videotaped themselves baking a cake that they then presented to Hess as a surprise on her birthday the next day at school.

"They brought me to tears with their video, which was so very funny and incredibly touching," Hess said. "I won't always remember our match scores, but I will always remember the memories we make as a team.

"Through the character of our upperclassmen, my guys step up. When a player joins the team, they are part of a family. ... We are here for each other."

Having that philosophy is something she believes has helped the Cougars field one of the City League's better teams during recent seasons.

Beechcroft went 7-5 overall and finished second (4-1) in the City-North Division a year ago behind Whetstone (5-0).

The Cougars were 1-1 in the league before playing Northland on April 15. They opened with a 5-0 loss to Whetstone on March 30 but beat Centennial 4-1 on April 1.

Bishoff is playing first singles and Lopez-Gomez is at third singles, with junior Branden Matney at second singles.

Sesay is at first doubles with junior Damian Echols and Guerrero is playing with freshman Prabesh Acharya at second doubles.

"I'm pleased with how my guys are playing this early in the season," Hess said. "We've had some great matches. We still have some polishing of the strokes to work on as well as some work on smarter playing (and) using more of the strategies we talk about.

"We should fare very well in the rest of our City League matches as long as we don't slack off. We have a number of matches against non-City League teams. I want to give our returning players some good competition and to expose our new players to more variety throughout central Ohio."

Northland was scheduled to play its opener April 13 against Independence after not fielding a team last season.

Sean Taylor, who has been the school's boys basketball coach the last four seasons, is coaching the team. He was a league runner-up in doubles at Dayton Meadowdale in the early 1990s.

"We've increased (in numbers) every day," Taylor said.

Junior Andy Breckenridge was expected to be at first singles, with senior Dezjuan Wright and sophomore Shaylin Waugh also looking to be key players. All three played for the boys basketball team.

Softball teamsbegin season

The Northland and Beech-croft softball teams got their seasons started during the final week of March.

The Vikings beat Columbus East 21-0 on April 1 and were 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the City-North before playing Columbus International on April 13.

Back from the team that went 7-11 overall a year ago are seniors Joelle Freeman (1B/SS) and Johely Martin (3B), junior NaTaysia Edmonds (P) and sophomore Skyler Babcock (CF).

Juniors Cheyenne Malone (1B), Julia McFall (LF), Lucy Ndive (OF) and August Polson (RF) and freshman Lennette Butler (2B/P) are other key players.

"We're not satisfied with the losses, but hopefully we'll keep getting better," coach Dan Zedeker said. "We've got some great kids."

Beechcroft, which went 7-6 overall a year ago, has a new coach in Rachelle Salyers. She replaced Mandy Cox, who stepped down after three seasons.

The Cougars opened with an 18-7 win over Linden-McKinley on March 30, lost to Centennial 16-0 on April 1 and played East on April 13.

Seniors Aarianna Holmes (3B), Tajounna Valentine (1B) and Te'a Wade (SS) are the top returnees.

Senior Elizabeth Bell (2B/P) previously played for Brookhaven. Senior Cierra Schuford also is pitching.

Other key players are juniors Angie Gonzalez (C), Faith Hay (OF) and Makyla Walker (OF) and freshman Devionne Camara (OF).

Salyers also was Beech-croft's coach in 2003.

"I hope to see our seniors lead us through the season," she said. "I feel like we're comparable to previous years, so hopefully we can have more wins than losses."

Northland startsboys volleyball team

After completing his seventh consecutive season and his 11th overall as Northland's girls volleyball coach last fall, J. Sanchez has put together a boys volleyball team at the school this spring.

Northland, which fielded a boys team about 10 years ago under Sanchez that then was disbanded, beat Whetstone 25-21, 25-17, 25-17 on April 1 in its opening match.

"We got all of these kids from Nepal and a couple from Ghana," Sanchez said. "I'm sure excited about having a team and am looking forward to the challenge of taking on a new program."

His team is led by senior Mahindra Adhikari and juniors Jeevan Adhikari, Kul Adhikari and Less Fall.

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Beechcroft baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams and the Northland baseball, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:

BEECHCROFT BASEBALL

April 16 -- At Amanda-Clearcreek

*April 17 -- Home vs. Whetstone

*April 20 -- At Northland

*April 22 -- Home vs. Mifflin

BEECHCROFT SOFTBALL

*April 17 -- Home vs. Whetstone

*April 20 -- At Northland

*April 22 -- Home vs. Mifflin

BEECHCROFT BOYS TENNIS

April 16 -- Home vs. Briggs

*April 17 -- At Linden-McKinley

April 20 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights

April 21 -- Home vs. Africentric

*April 22 -- At Mifflin

BEECHCROFT TRACK & FIELD

April 21 -- Home vs. Grove City

NORTHLAND BASEBALL

*April 17 -- At Mifflin

*April 20 -- Home vs. Beechcroft

*April 22 -- Home vs. Whetstone

NORTHLAND SOFTBALL

April 16 -- Home vs. Africentric

*April 17 -- At Mifflin

*April 20 -- Home vs. Beechcroft

April 21 -- At Tree of Life

*April 22 -- Home vs. Whetstone

NORTHLAND BOYS TENNIS

*April 17 -- At Centennial

April 20 -- Home vs. Africentric

*April 22 -- Home vs. Whetstone

NORTHLAND TRACK & FIELD

April 18 -- Pat McMillin Invitational at Whitehall

NORTHLAND BOYS VOLLEYBALL

April 20 -- Home vs. DeSales and Delaware

April 21 -- Home vs. Licking Heights

*League contest