Austin Bealer takes direction off the field and gives direction on it with the Westerville North High School boys soccer team.
The sophomore defender believes his ability to be vocal on the field comes from his experience in theater. Bealer said his brother, 2016 graduate Ty Bealer, piqued his interest in theater and the experience has made him more at ease in everything he does.
"I'm not a captain, but I look at myself as a leader because I talk a lot on the field," said Bealer, whose team was 1-13-1 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Olentangy Orange on Oct. 10. "Once you do theater, you're more outgoing and you're better in public surroundings.
"I don't know how to describe it other than you feel more comfortable around people. When you're on stage, you can't really hide. You just have to go out and perform."
Coach Drew Buttermore believes the stage plays a role in Bealer's outgoing nature.
"Austin is a very vocal player and has excellent communication on the field, which is important for a defender," he said. "I have to believe that theater has helped him project his voice. A lot of players talk softly out on the field, but we can clearly hear Austin when he's out there."
Bealer had various roles in the Senior Shorts series at North last spring. In eighth grade, he played Seaweed J. Stubbs in a production of "Hairspray."
This spring, North will have "Mary Poppins" as its musical.
"My older brother got me into (theater) and I like to sing and dance, so I figured I would try out for it," Bealer said. "I kind of like performing and picking up a new character. It's like taking it from paper, the script, and kind of making it into my own kind of thing. I guess it's bringing a character to life."
Bealer is in his first season of prep soccer after having a series of problems with his left knee since the fifth grade. He had a knee procedure performed just before his freshman season, forcing him to miss last fall.
"At first, doctors said it was just wear and tear because I was playing football and soccer at the same time," Bealer said. "Then they said it was growing pains. I went back in the eighth grade and they said it was bone bruises and they said they had to go drill holes in my knee to create blood flow. It seems to have helped."
The Warriors are seeded 34th for the Division I district tournament and have a first-round bye. They open with a second-round game Oct. 21 at 14th-seeded Grove City or 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley.
"I think we're doing pretty well and we have a good team, but we're struggling to win games," Bealer said. "We're really young, but we're getting better."
North defeated Pickerington Central 3-1 on Sept. 28 and tied Canal Winchester at 2 on Sept. 14.
"We have an extremely young team with only three seniors on the roster," Buttermore said. "We only had five returning letterwinners with any real varsity experience, so it's been a growth opportunity."
Southibounnorath falls short in golf playoff
Pierre Southibounnorath of the boys golf team just missed qualifying for the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.
The junior shot an 80 in a sectional Oct. 3 at Clover Valley, but he lost a one-hole playoff with Big Walnut's Kenny Schneider for the fourth and final district-qualifying spot. Other individual qualifiers were Big Walnut's Michael Ford (75), Watkins Memorial's Cody Codgill (79) and Groveport's Preston Nanthavong (79).
North finished ninth (373) as St. Charles (300), Upper Arlington (311), New Albany (319) and Dublin Coffman (328) advanced to district.
Also playing at sectional were junior Parker Degler (91), senior Josh Brown (93) and juniors Preston McCallum (109) and Bentley Corson (112).
In the OCC-Buckeye, North finished fifth (4-16) behind Olentangy Liberty (20-0), Olentangy (14-6), Westerville Central (12-8) and Orange (10-10) and ahead of Westerville South (0-20).
Southibounnorath was first-team all-league with a 75.0 average.
The Warriors were led by fifth-year coach Bob Markin.
Tennis team ends season at sectional
The girls tennis team had its season end in a Division I sectional Oct. 6 and 7 at Bradley.
Senior Tatiana Slesnick and junior Maddie Jones reached a district-qualifying match in doubles before losing to eventual runners-up Arya Dudipala and Katherine Wang of Dublin Jerome 6-0, 6-0. They defeated Westland's Isabella Aldridge and Anais Fernandez 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.
Senior Arianna Guerra and freshman Aubrey McMahon went 0-1 in doubles.
Three seniors competed in singles, with Gabrielle Cochran finishing 1-1 and Reilly Cochran and Kaley Cossette both going 0-1.
The Warriors finished 6-10 overall and were fifth (1-4) in the OCC-Buckeye behind Liberty (5-0), Orange (4-1), Olentangy (3-2) and Central (2-3) and ahead of South (0-5).
North was led by fifth-year coach Rob Carlson.
Season ends for girls golfers at sectional
The girls golf team finished 10th (456) in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Westchester as UA (307), New Albany (328) and Pickerington North (347) advanced to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
Sophomore Paige Miller (105) led the Warriors. Also competing were juniors Lauren Jett (114), Amelia Bernard (117) and Jessica Huffman (120).
In the OCC-Buckeye, North finished fifth (4-16) behind Orange (19-1), Liberty (17-3), Central (12-8) and Olentangy (8-12) and ahead of South (0-20).
Miller was honorable mention all-league with an average of 103.25.
The Warriors were led by third-year coach Betsy Beaver.
Below are the coming schedules for the North cross country, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 14 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Darby
Oct. 14 -- At Watkins Memorial
Oct. 19 -- Home vs. 38th-seeded Mount Vernon in second round of Division I district tournament. The Warriors are seeded 18th.
Oct. 12 -- At Delaware
Oct. 17 -- At 20th-seeded Watkins Memorial in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 14th-seeded Delaware in second round Oct. 19. The Warriors are seeded 40th.