In a season riddled by injuries, Dublin Scioto High School boys tennis player Joe Hill hopes he is rounding into top form at the right time.
The senior will be seeking his second Division I district tournament berth when he competes in singles play at sectional Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Upper Arlington.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 17 at Hilliard Bradley and May 19 at UA.
Hill has had an up-and-down season, as he aggravated a left hamstring injury during preseason conditioning after straining it last summer. He also has been bothered by tendonitis in his left knee and tightness in his right calf.
"It hasn't been the best season," Hill said. "I've been playing about three days a week. The rain also contributed. We had a bunch of rainouts. ... I'm slowly getting back to my best. I'm about 85 percent and hopefully I can get to 100 by sectional."
The injuries forced Hill to play sporadically during the regular season, but lately he has played on a more regular basis.
"Right now, he is trying to work on the consistency in his game," coach Mike Wrigley said. "That's going to be his secret if he can find his game. He was much more consistent as a player last year. It's really timing because of his injuries and the weather that have really hurt."
Hill opens sectional play against Chillicothe freshman Katie Conners, with the winner playing Hamilton Township freshman Elijah Taylor or Whetstone sophomore Colin Harmon-Ulmer in the second round.
The second-round winner will play fourth-seeded Emerson Dean of UA, Will Newberry of Thomas Worthington or Nathan Longstreth of Marion Harding in a district-qualifying match.
"I have a pretty good chance to get (to the district-qualifying match) and I know (Dean)," Hill said. "We go to the same club (Racquet Club of Columbus). He'll have home-court advantage."
Last season, Hill qualified for district in singles, losing to Thomas' Kai Britz 6-1, 6-3 in the first round. Britz is the top seed at the UA sectional.
"That experience will help me," Hill said. "I played some close matches (at sectional) and it helped me feel the pressure and not be too nervous. ... I want to go back (to district) and win at least one match."
Hill called a 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-4) win over Coffman's Robby Berling at first singles on April 30 a highlight of his season.
"We were on the same club tennis team last summer, so we're good friends," Hill said. "We were talking, it was a good time. It's fun to play people you know. I knew his style and he knew my style. That was definitely my favorite match."
Wrigley also expects a strong showing at sectional from senior Kunal Arya and junior Santhusht Prasad, who are seeded fourth in doubles.
Arya and Prasad have a first-round bye and will face UA's Paige Kompa and Nathan Yu in the second round.
Also competing at sectional will be Jonathan Steinke and Shivam Patel in singles and Dylan Mathess and Connor Page in doubles.
"I like our draw," Wrigley said. "We got the best draw we could possibly get."
The Irish dropped to 3-11 overall with a 3-2 loss to visiting Pickerington North on May 7 as Hill defeated Grant Schroeder 7-6, 6-2 at first singles. Scioto finished 2-4 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Baseball team wins tourney opener
The baseball team looked to build on its late-season momentum heading into the postseason.
The Irish improved to 14-11 overall with a 5-0 win at 29th-seeded Whetstone in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 7.
Seeded 30th, Scioto had won eight consecutive games before losing to Coffman 9-6 on May 6.
The Irish played at fifth-seeded UA in the second round May 9. The winner plays 12th-seeded Watkins Memorial or 20th-seeded Gahanna in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 15, at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is May 17.
Scioto finished 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal, capping league play with a pair of wins over Jerome (9-5 on April 30 and 3-2 on May 2).
Softball team falls to Celtics, 'Rocks
The softball team dropped a pair of games in the Dublin Battle for a Cure on May 5 at Jerome, losing to the Celtics 4-3 and Coffman 13-10.
"We played much better (May 5)," coach Larry Howell said.
"Pitching and defense have improved. We were able to get a couple timely hits to keep games close."
Seeded 25th, Scioto improved to 10-12 overall with a 1-0 win over 36th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the first round of the Division I district tournament May 7.
The Irish played 19th-seeded Westerville Central in the second round May 9, with the winner likely playing top-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal May 14 at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is May 18 or 19 at Pickerington Central.
Scioto finished 3-9 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Athletes announce college decisions
Scioto held its annual collegiate commitment ceremony May 2.
Cesar Arellano will compete in men's cross country at Bowling Green, Spencer Cogan will play men's lacrosse at Catholic University of America, Ben Gawronski will play men's lacrosse at Ohio Northern, Nick Hopper will play football at Otterbein, Edan Jones will play women's volleyball at Columbus State, Jacob Jones will play football at Findlay, Emily Jordan will play women's volleyball at Capital, Louis Lipthratt will play baseball at Earlham, Delia MacLaughlin will compete in women's swimming and diving at Wheaton, Matt Magno will play baseball at Northwood, Connor McClellan will play men's soccer at Mount Union, Taylor Nadal will play women's lacrosse at Baldwin Wallace, Yosola Olujide-Ajibade will compete in women's track and field at Ashland, Grace Scharte will play women's lacrosse at Capital, Will Stephens will play men's soccer at Wittenberg, Audrey Webb will play women's lacrosse at Limestone and Brooke Woolum will play women's soccer at Otterbein.
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 15 -- At second-seeded Olentangy Liberty in first round of Division I, Region 1 tournament. Winner plays seventh-seed Medina or eighth-seeded Olentangy Orange in second round May 18 at home of higher seed. Scioto is seeded 13th of 16 teams.
May 15 -- Home vs. 10th-seeded Hilliard Darby in second round of Division I, Region 3 tournament. Winner plays fourth-seeded Springboro or 13th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in quarterfinal May 18 at home of higher seed. Scioto is seeded sixth of 17 teams.
TRACK & FIELD
May 10, 12 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Coffman
May 15, 17, 19 -- Division I, district 1 meet at Darby. Top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North.
May 10 -- Home vs. St. Charles