Coming off a four-win season, the Hartley High School softball team is "trying to build from the ground up" according to first-year coach April Wooten.
The Hawks are hoping they have the talent, particularly in their younger classes, to speed up the process this spring.
In its opener March 26, Hartley led 2017 Division II state semifinalist Jonathan Alder 4-2 through six innings before losing 6-4.
The Hawks' game against Poland Seminary on March 28 was postponed because of bad weather.
"The whole motto for us this year: building a program and not a team," said Wooten, the wife of Hartley assistant football coach Randy Wooten. "We have the makings of remaking our entire program. We've got a lot of young girls who can play multiple positions and make an impact. It's definitely a good starting block."
Wooten, a 2002 Cuyahoga Falls graduate who played for Clarion University, is co-coaching the Hawks with 2008 Westerville Central graduate Ashley Hayes after Joe Plageman headed the squad last spring.
Hartley, which was seeded 13th in the Division II district tournament last year and upset 12th-seeded London 10-2 in a second-round game before losing in a district semifinal, has six seniors.
Senior Britney Golden is playing in center field and also will see time at shortstop.
The other seniors are Grace Cole (OF), Lindsay Dunlap (OF), April Finch (3B/OF), Carolynn Heinmiller (2B) and Abby Thompson (2B/OF). Dunlap is new to the program but figures to bring speed to the lineup.
Golden would like to see her team contend for the CCL title after going 0-6 in league play last season.
"Our team has put in the effort in the offseason in order to ensure success for this year," Golden said. "We'll have a promising future if we continue to grow throughout the season."
Freshman Kami Kortokrax, who has significant travel experience, is the shortstop but could see time at pitcher. She also bats cleanup.
Sophomore Sophia Cegledy is the team's No. 1 pitcher and also can play in the outfield. Her sister, 2016 Hartley graduate Maria Cegledy, is playing for Kent State.
Junior Lauren Barclay and sophomore Tori Garey should see most of the innings at catcher. Garey also can play third base.
Sophomore Bella Hoffman should contribute at second base.
Others looking to contribute include juniors Dayna Shoulders (1B) and Audrey Smith (OF), sophomores Aidan Poliseno (1B) and Allyssa Thompson (3B/1B) and freshman Malayna Williams (OF).
Hartley lost just two players from last season to graduation in pitcher Tatum Wise, who is now playing for Shawnee State, and utility player Abbi Vina, who is playing for Wittenberg.
Boys track team has veteran look
The boys track and field team should benefit this season from having just one senior in its a program a year ago.
Seniors Elijah Carter, Benjamin Ingraham Dwyer and Evan Vautour, juniors Ben Dankow, Chase Rawlins and Patrick Scurlock and sophomores Miles Fleming, Chase Orndoff and Myles Smith all were key contributors last season.
Hartley opened March 27 in the Hamilton Township Booster Invitational, scoring 68 points to finish fifth behind champion Whitehall (107.5) as 11 teams scored. Rawlins was the Hawks' only first-place finisher, winning the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
"The boys are a little bit more mature this year," sixth-year coach Reggie Osborne said. "We've got more seniors and have actually got more members to the team, so actually we're expecting them to do better than last year. We're hoping to get a few more people from districts to the regional this year."
Last season in the Division II regional meet, Scurlock placed 10th in the 110 hurdles (16.13) and was on the 1,600 relay along with Dankow, Rawlins and 2017 graduate Gabriel Levert that finished ninth (3:29.76).
Fleming, Smith, seniors Elijah Carter, Ben Ingraham Dwyer and James Reese III, junior T.J. Johnson and sophomores Angelo Evans, Jason Steward and Justin Steward are others in the sprint corps.
Orndoff and Vautour are part of the distance crew that also includes junior Christopher Wolf.
"We should have a pretty athletic team this year," Osborne said.
Jones to lead young girls track team
Senior Amaiah Jones is the top returnee for the girls track and field team.
Last season in the Division I state meet, Jones joined 2017 graduates London Ladd, Gana Lopez and Taneyza Robinson to place fifth in the 400 relay (47.71).
Hartley opened March 27 in the Hamilton Township Booster Invitational, scoring 101 points to finish third behind Watterson (165) and the host Rangers (118) as 12 teams scored.
Winning were freshman Ellie Kitsmiller in the 3,200 (12:15.07) and senior Liana Burk in the long jump (15 feet, 9 1/2 inches).
"The team is still very young," Osborne said. "We probably have more veteran sophomores than anything else, but on the girls side, we're still looking pretty good."
Jones (sprints), Burk (sprints/long jump/hurdles), Rachael LeMay (400) and Grace Murnane (distance) are the top seniors.
Kitsmiller, who finished 52nd in the regional cross country meet last fall, should be among the team's top distance runners along with juniors Emma Kitsmiller, Hannah Kitsmiller and Bailee Zacovic, sophomore Kate Sheely and freshmen Megan Luallen and Anna Woods. Junior Cara Luallen and freshman Pailyn Groene are competing in the middle-distance events.
Junior Hannah Thompson could be the top competitor in the hurdles, with sophomore Abby Rhodes expected to run the 400 and compete in the long jump and sophomore Bailey Smith and freshman England Ladd likely to lead the sprinters.
Sophomore Hope Matfield is competing in the shot put and discus.
"Our (1,600 and 3,200 relays) should be pretty strong," Osborne said.
"Traditionally, we've not run some of those races as strong, but we've got a team that's shaping up to be pretty good."
Tennis squad will build around Bender
After losing eight players from a year ago to graduation, the boys tennis team is comprised mostly of players who are competing in the sport for the first time at the prep level.
However, the Hawks do have an experienced player at the top of their lineup in senior Collin Bender, who is about to begin his fourth season at No. 1 singles.
Last season, he was seeded third in the Division II sectional at Columbus School for Girls but lost in a quarterfinal after being a district qualifier as a sophomore.
Eight of the Hawks' 11 players are seniors.
"We're senior-driven with a whole bunch coming out this year, but Collin Bender is head and shoulders above the rest," said first-year coach Dan Chun, who was an assistant last season under former coach Heath Goolsby.
Goolsby stepped down after four seasons.
The Hawks, who open Tuesday, April 10, with a CCL match at Ready, have two other returnees in senior Max Sauer and sophomore Andrew Croswell.
The other seniors are Evan Armstrong, Peyton Eads, Sean Garnick, Sulimaan Priest, Ryan Ruth and Mac Wieging.
Priest, Ruth and Wieging all should be among those seeing playing time in doubles.
Freshmen Nick Chovan and John Hooker also should contribute. Chovan's brother, Mark Chovan, is a 2017 Hartley graduate who competed for the Hawks.
Last season, the Hawks finished 5-11 overall and went 1-3 in the CCL to place fourth behind champion St. Charles (4-0).
"We have a lot of new guys playing tennis, but they're all solid athletes and they've been able to pick up a lot of things and run a lot of balls down," Chun said.
"We just want to improve every day with us having limited tennis experience. We just want to stay competitive and enjoy coming to play every day. We've got a good group of kids that just want to learn."
March 26 – vs. Jonathan Alder
March 28 – vs. Poland Seminary
April 3 – at Reynoldsburg
April 4 – at New Albany
April 5 – vs. Eastmoor Academy
April 7 – at Big Walnut with Dublin Coffman
*April 9 – at DeSales
April 10 – at Coffman
*April 11 – vs. Watterson
April 13 – vs. Whitehall
*April 16 – vs. Ready
April 20 – vs. Grandview
*April 23 – vs. DeSales
*April 25 – at Watterson
April 26 – vs. Centennial
*April 30 – at Ready
May 3 – at Olentangy
May 4 – at Olentangy Orange
May 7 – at Granville
*April 10 – at Ready
April 11 – at Buckeye Valley
April 12 – at Grandview
April 16 – vs. Groveport
April 18 – vs. Delaware
*April 24 – vs. DeSales
April 25 – vs. Fisher Catholic
April 27 – vs. Whetstone
*May 1 – at Watterson
May 2 – at Whitehall
TRACK & FIELD
March 27 – Hamilton Township Booster Invitational
April 13 – Hawks Invitational at home
April 18 – Gahanna Relays
April 20 – Lancaster Fulton Relays
April 21 – Kallner Invitational at Hamilton Township
April 25 – Braves Invitational at Whetstone
April 27 – Ranger Invitational at Hamilton Township
April 28 – Gary Smith Invitational at Thomas Worthington
May 4 – Larkin/Crosten Invitational at Upper Arlington
May 8, 10 – CCL meet at home
Below are the coming schedules for the Hartley baseball and girls lacrosse teams:
April 5 – At Canal Winchester
April 7 – At Columbus Academy (DH)
April 10 – At Dublin Jerome
*April 11 – Home vs. Ready
*April 10 – At Wellington