Upper Arlington High School boys lacrosse coach Ted Wolford believes his team's loss in the North American Lacrosse Invitational couldn't have come at a better time.

Upper Arlington High School boys lacrosse coach Ted Wolford believes his team's loss in the North American Lacrosse Invitational couldn't have come at a better time.

The Golden Bears, who entered the week four wins from their second consecutive Division I state championship, lost to Culver (Ind.) Academy 17-5 on May 18 in the tournament before defeating host Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice 8-6 the next day.

According to Wolford, the lopsided loss helped UA refocus for its Division I Central Region tournament run, which began May 24 with a 15-2 win over visiting Westerville North in a first-round game.

Culver Academy, Brother Rice and UA are the top-rated teams in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, respectively, according to laxpower.com. The Bears' win over Brother Rice was their second this season against the eight-time defending Division I state champion from Michigan. UA also beat Brother Rice 9-4 in the A bracket championship game of the Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association Tournament on May 4.

"We were disappointed against Culver, then we came back (against Bother Rice) and played a very competitive game on a hot day," said Wolford, whose team was tied with Brother Rice at 6 entering the fourth quarter of the May 19 game. "The fact our kids played very hard through that second half and did a lot of good things in the second half with ball control, defense, all those kinds of things, that's what was very encouraging to see. All those things helped us rebound. When we got knocked down, the most important thing was we got back up."

UA, which is seeking its third state title in four years and its 12th overall, improved to 16-2 with the win over North and faced OCC-Buckeye Division rival Thomas Worthington in a regional semifinal May 29 at home.

The semifinal winner plays host to St. Charles or Worthington Kilbourne in a regional final Saturday, June 1, with the regional champion advancing to play Cincinnati Moeller, Cincinnati St. Xavier, Cincinnati Sycamore or Mason in a state semifinal Wednesday, June 5, at a neutral site.

The state final will be played June 8 at UA.

"At this point, we're in a situation where we just have to get it done," Wolford said. "The importance of what we do every day and every play, the importance of playing together and working hard for each other is what's important."

Against North, senior attacker Zac Stowe scored four goals and senior attacker Gus Ackley scored three to lead the Bears. Attacker Peter Sandvik scored both goals for North, with the second coming with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half.

Boys tennis teamcontinues state streak

Three members of the boys tennis team advanced to the Division I state tournament Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State, marking the 55th consecutive season in which UA has had at least one state qualifier.

Senior Stu Little won his second consecutive singles championship in the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Hilliard Davidson and junior Jeffrey Melvin and senior Nate Wallace won the doubles title.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district advanced to state.

Little went 4-0, defeating Groveport's Forrest Baldwin 6-0, 6-1 in the second round to clinch his berth. He defeated Reynoldsburg's Cameron Raglin 6-1, 6-0 in a semifinal and beat previously unbeaten Canyon Teague of Gahanna 7-5, 6-3 in the final.

"I was lucky to come out with a (No.) 1 seed (from the sectional May 16 and 18 at UA), which is a big thing no matter what tournament you're in. It really opens up your draw," said Little, who will continue his career at the University of Pennsylvania. "I was able to get out and swing loose and get a feel for the courts and just pound away."

Melvin and Wallace clinched their state berth by defeating Pickerington North's Matt Barry and Patrick Yen 6-2, 6-1 in the second round. They defeated Dublin Jerome's Adam Seitz and Kent Seitz 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a semifinal and beat Dublin Coffman's Jack Buchan and Leon Cai 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

Buchan and Cai advanced to state at the expense of seniors Ben Minton and Peter Pema, winning their second-round match 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Also competing at district were senior Brandon Griffin and freshman Eric Hunter, both of whom went 1-1 in singles.

UA sought an OTCA Division I district championship when it played host to New Albany in a district final May 28. The winner advances to the state tournament Sunday, June 2, at Reynoldsburg. The Bears defeated Springboro 3-0 in last year's state final.

Jaffe, Bayer leadgirls track team

Junior Dorrian Jaffe of the girls track and field team won the 3,200 meters (11:27.13) and helped the winning 3,200 relay (9:37.92) in the 16-team Division I, district 3 meet held May 22, 23 and 25 at Hilliard Darby.

Jaffe was joined on the relay by sophomores Sarah Shroyer and Hannah Peale and junior Betsy Trace, as UA scored 85 points to place third behind champion Coffman (141).

The top four finishers in each district event qualified for the regional meet, which began May 29 and concludes Friday, May 31, at Pickerington North.

Also advancing from the girls team were senior Natalie Bayer in the 300 hurdles (second, 47.05), 100 hurdles (third, 15.44) and pole vault (fourth, 9 feet, 6 inches), junior D'Nae Reese in the discus (second, 114-8), freshman Ann Heuerman in the 3,200 (third, 11:29.69), Peale in the 800 (fourth, 2:19.47) and the 1,600 relay of junior Hallie Trabue, freshman Anna Collette Young, Trace and Peale (fourth, 4:06.99).

Two members of the boys team -- senior Ben Kompa in the discus (third, 144-0) and senior Nathan Perry in the 800 (fourth, 1:59.18) -- advanced to regional as UA scored 26 points in district 3 to place ninth behind champion Granville (117).

The top four finishers in each regional event qualify for the state meet June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.

Baseball team's runends in district semi

The baseball team came within four innings of pulling its third consecutive Division I district tournament upset but couldn't hold a one-run lead and lost to sixth-seeded Gahanna 7-2 in a semifinal May 20.

Gahanna, which went on to defeat second-seeded Olentangy Orange 15-8 in a district final May 22, scored three runs in the fourth inning and three in the fifth to erase a 2-1 deficit and pull away from the Bears, who were seeded 26th of 41 teams.

UA, which defeated 23rd-seeded Hilliard Bradley 6-4 in nine innings in the first round May 13 and beat 15th-seeded Westerville South 12-6 in the second round May 15 before falling to Gahanna, finished 15-15 overall.

Fourth-year coach Matt Middleton lauded his team for winning nine of its final 12 games.

"I won't sit here and say our schedule got easier, because by all means it didn't," he said. "In my 11 years of coaching, my teams have always played better at the end. It takes us a little while. I can't put my finger on why. You do want to be playing better at the end, and most of the time we are. Maybe we have to look at different things in the offseason, I don't know. We wish we would start stronger, but you never know what can happen in a baseball season."

UA went 8-6 in the OCC-Central to tie Coffman for fourth, behind Thomas Worthington (11-3), Marysville (9-5) and Olentangy Liberty (9-5) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (6-8), Central Crossing (5-9) and Westland (0-14).

UA loses four seniors, including pitcher Sam Thompson, who was 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 14 walks in 44 1/3 innings.

Among those expected to return are juniors Haakon Borstad (1B/P/DH), Corbin Dennis (P/1B), Will Marable (SS/P), Mathis Newman (P/OF) and Mitch Nini (2B/SS) and sophomore Davis Robeson (P/OF).

Marable had a team-best .385 batting average with a team-high 35 hits. He also led the pitching staff, going 6-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 44 strikeouts and 10 walks in 47 innings.

Nini batted .349 with 30 hits, including a home run.