The Upper Arlington High School boys and girls rowing teams' minds are always on what they must do to qualify for the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Nationals in Camden, New Jersey.

Videos •Watch the Upper Arlington boys rowing team practice April 12 on the Scioto River. •Upper Arlington boys rowing coach Andy Wimmer instructs his team during practice.

Based on what the Golden Bears saw during the Cincinnati High School Invitational earlier this month, they like where they stand a little more than a month away from that ultimate goal.

The boys varsity 8 placed fifth overall April 8 at Harsha Lake in Clermont County in 6 minutes, 17.6 seconds, .9 of a second shy of advancing to the final but more importantly -- at least to UA -- 6.6 seconds behind the championship time recorded by the Cincinnati Juniors, a perennially successful club team.

The girls weren't quite that fast, finishing in 7:34.7 to place 10th, but they also had Cincinnati in their sights.

"We have done pretty well," boys senior Ben Saalman said. "We have been racing a lot of fast teams from all over. We did pretty well (at Harsha Lake). Looking at the times, we are already in pretty good shape for the end of the season.

"Our goal for the season is to make it to nationals, and to do that we have to get through some of the fast teams here in the Midwest."

Six rowers from last year's boys varsity 8 have returned in senior Griffin Burcham and juniors R.C. Brandes, Philip Chalmers, Cameron Hutchinson, Sangyoon Lee and Drew Weisberg. Saalman and junior Gaven Zou are the newcomers.

According to second-year boys coach Andy Wimmer, junior John Duhigg also is expected to make an impact this season.

"Our speed this year relative to our competitors, we are closing in on some of the top teams in the country," Wimmer said. "This varsity 8 group might be the hardest-working group I've ever had. We challenged them to just working harder. Will you outwork them or will they outwork you? It's a simple question. Do you take the days off when you are feeling bad or come show up and get the work done anyway? ...

"That drive these guys have to push is getting contagious and spreading to our younger guys."

The girls team also boasts several returnees, including seniors Felicity Gunn, Maggie Hitesman, Rachel Jackson, Paige MacNaughton and Madison Rose, juniors Sydney Badgeley, Julia Boyer, Jamie Holden, Audrey Holman, Addie Mitiska, Rose Saalman and Catherine Powell and sophomores Mikayla Messinger and Elena Moehring.

MacNaughton is a Hobart and William Smith Colleges recruit.

"I am excited, especially after the winter. A lot of girls put in a lot of good work," Gunn said.

"It will hold well for future regattas. Cincinnati should be our toughest competition for a while. We're excited for (the Dillon Lake Scholastic Sprints on Saturday, April 22) because we see a lot of school teams, and we should do well against them."

The SRAA Nationals are May 26 and 27 in Camden.

Jackson and Mitiska are coxswains, as are junior Clara Fix and sophomores Joey Boschert and Aurora Schrel.

The girls are coached by Amanda Jones, a 2009 UA graduate who is leading the team on an interim basis after Michael Rice stepped down during the winter. Rice coached UA for five seasons.

Jones did not row for the Bears, but instead was recruited as a coxswain while attending Connecticut College. She was UA's novice coach before replacing Rice.

"We have bigger numbers than we've had in a long time, and because of that we have an ability to put out a lot of competitive boats," Jones said.

Girls lacrosse team
gets chance to regroup

The girls lacrosse team is wrapping up a nine-day break from games after a rigorous stretch that included one of the better wins coach Wendy Pinta can remember.

UA takes a six-game winning streak into the Hannigan-Galipault Tournament on Saturday, April 22, at Thomas Worthington, in which it will play Chagrin Falls -- last year's Division II state runner-up -- and Gibsonia (Pennsylvania) Pine-Richland.

Pinta was able to get almost her entire roster playing time in two league wins last week, 21-0 over Marysville and 22-1 against Pickerington North on April 13. Those came on the heels of a 20-17 win over Wilmette (Illinois) Loyola Academy 20-17 on April 8 at the University of Notre Dame, a victory that elevated UA to No. 1 in the Midwest according to U.S. Lacrosse Magazine, one spot ahead of Loyola.

"We were down 7-2 (in the first half) and ended up having only 15 draw controls to their 22, but we played a really clean game (with only six turnovers)," Pinta said. "I am not sure I've ever been a part of a game with 37 goals scored, and I know we've never given up 17 and walked away with a win.

"Libby (Mislan) made some key saves and the defense had some great takeaways. If not for some tenacious defense by our low defense and our midfielders, that score could have been very different."

Megan Kozar had five goals against Loyola. Lauren Farber added four, and Anna Piscopo, Anna Schildmeyer and Olivia Schildmeyer each scored three.

The Bears are 7-2 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central Division.

"(This) week is a chance for us to regroup," Pinta said. "We've been going hard since February. The meat of our schedule in Ohio is still ahead of us. We've had a strong schedule so far, and we're pretty much where we want to be right now."

Boys lacrosse team
tries to stay perfect

The boys lacrosse team also cruised in two OCC-Central games last week, routing Marysville 21-0 on April 11 and Pickerington North 21-7 on April 13 to remain undefeated entering the week.

Twelve players scored against Marysville, led by three goals each from Sam Campbell, Alex Rankin and Ben Tjaden. Jack Dolan had a career-high six goals against North, and Matt Marsh, Rankin and Tjaden each added three goals.

UA was 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Newark, a first-year program, on April 18.

The Bears face longtime rival Dublin Jerome on Friday, April 21, at home before playing host to coach Kyle Olson's previous team, Hilliard Davidson, on Monday, April 24. Olson coached Davidson for four seasons before taking the UA job in August.

The Bears defeated Jerome in the Division I state final in 2012, 2013 and 2014.