The DeSales High School boys track and field team's sprinters accounted for two championships and seven top-three finishes in the CCL meet that concluded May 10 at Hartley, and one of the Stallions' standouts couldn't have been less surprised even though he did not compete.
As senior Art Williams watched DeSales score 138 points to win its second league championship in three years, he credited co-coach Tim Jewett for pushing the unit and helping the team to more prominence.
"It's been harder work, but it's really shown in the results," said Williams, a Wheeling Jesuit recruit who was nursing a sore left hamstring but was expected to compete in the Division II, district 1 meet that began May 15 at Westerville North. "(Jewett) holds us to a higher standard and expects more from us. You have to put everything aside when you are on the track. The workouts are more brutal, but it's rewarding. The intensity is different. The breaks are longer, but there's more intensity."
A.J. Sallee won the 110-meter hurdles (15.25 seconds) and was on the first-place 400 relay (43.79) with Jaylen Ball, Angelo Ricci and Isaiah Thomas as DeSales finished ahead of St. Charles (126), Hartley (113), Watterson (78) and Ready (33) to secure the program's 26th league championship.
Other winners for the Stallions were Mitchell Mayerchak in the discus (135 feet, 4 inches), Ian McCandlish in the 800 (1:58.4), Ben Towler in the 1,600 (4:35) and the 3,200 relay (8:11.39).
Brian Asamoah placed second in the shot put (41-2 3/4), Ricci was runner-up in the long jump (20-6 3/4) and the 1,600 relay was second (3:29.13).
"We scored (May 10) with only one 100 boy and only one 200 boy," co-coach Ben McGinnis said. "We're very happy with the results, and this team has a lot of younger guys contributing."
Thomas, a sophomore who called Sallee and Williams the leaders of the team, also placed third in the 100 in a personal-best 11.27 and third in the 200 (22.86). He called sprinting "peaceful" despite its frantic nature.
"We've had great camaraderie. We know how to finish," said Thomas, who also runs on the 400 and 800 relays. "I've done the 400 a few times, but I usually stay under it. It's the intensity and competition and I just like how it feels. It's the most peaceful thing I can do. It just gets to me. I love sprinting. It's one of my favorite things to do."
Led by wins from Cammy Bury in the 1,600 (5:35.09), Anna D'Andrea in the discus (92-0) and Alex Foos in the 100 hurdles (16.9) as well as the 400 relay (51.4) despite last-minute adjustments, the girls team finished third (107) in the CCL meet behind Watterson (175.5) and Hartley (116) and ahead of Ready (47.5) and Columbus School for Girls (45).
The girls competed in the finals without Jacqueline Scott, who was involved in a car crash earlier May 10. Her absence meant Foos ran anchor on the 400 relay, but Lexi Hall, who ran the third leg, said the transition was seamless.
"Every single handoff was perfect," said Hall, who also placed third in the high jump (4-8) and fourth in the 200 (27.81). "This year has been pretty tough. We've had some hard meets and good competition. It's good for us, though, to get ready for meets like this. This is the first time we've won (this race) this year."
Alexis Johnson and Aliyah Mitchell ran the first two legs of the 400 relay.
Runners-up for the Stallions were Johnson in the 300 hurdles (48.23), Ayannah Mabry in the shot put (32-11 1/2) and the 3,200 relay (10:19.13).
The boys and girls teams began their respective district meets earlier this week.
The girls team is in Division I, district 1 at Hilliard Darby. Preliminaries for the running events were May 15, followed by field events Thursday, May 17 and running finals Saturday, May 19.
In Division II, district 2, field events took place May 15, running preliminaries were May 16 and running finals are May 19.
The top four finishers in each event at both meets advance to regional. The Division I regional is Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North, while the Division II regional is May 24 and 26 at Lexington.
At both regionals, the top four finishers in each event advance to state June 1 and 2 at Ohio State.
Girls lacrosse team wins another title
The girls lacrosse team clinched its third consecutive Central Independent League championship May 10 with a 10-4 win at Granville, completing a 7-0 run through the league.
Abbey Dop and Sophia Finotti each scored three goals to lead DeSales, which has won both the CCL and CIL each of the last three seasons and clinched its fourth consecutive CCL title in April.
The Stallions were 14-3 overall before playing host to 16th-seeded Centennial in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 16. DeSales was seeded first of 16 teams.
The winner plays host to eighth-seeded Dayton Oakwood or ninth-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne in a regional quarterfinal Saturday, May 19. That winner will play host to fourth-seeded Granville, fifth-seeded CSG, 12th-seeded Wellington or 14th-seeded Chillicothe in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22.
The regional final is May 25. The Stallions defeated CSG 14-7 on April 10 and Wellington 21-1 on April 19.
Tennis players heading to district
The doubles team of Dylan Benedict and Liam Verfurth will represent the boys tennis team in the Division II district tournament Thursday, May 17, at Columbus Academy, and Saturday, May 19, at Upper Arlington.
Benedict and Verfurth clinched their district berth May 10 with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Buckeye Valley's Mitchell Lucas and Max Rotonto in the third round of a sectional at Academy. They finished fourth, losing to Worthington Christian's Benjy Homoelle and Tommy Robinson 6-2, 6-3 in the third-place match May 12.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
Also competing but failing to advance were singles players Michael James (2-1 at sectional), Nate Stevens (1-1) and Sam Secrest (0-1) and the doubles team of Kevin Heil and Will McAfee-Weatherspoon (0-1).
At district, the top two finishers in singles and doubles advance to the state tournament May 25 and 26 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
DeSales wrapped up its best season as a team in seven years with a 4-1 win at Central Crossing on May 8. The Stallions finished 10-5 in dual matches, their most wins since 2011.
Boys lacrosse team opens postseason
The boys lacrosse team opened the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 14 by routing visiting and 14th-seeded Johnstown 18-0 in a first-round game.
Top-seeded DeSales improved to 14-3 and will play host to 10th-seeded Columbus Academy in a regional quarterfinal Thursday, May 17. The winner will play host to fourth-seeded Granville or fifth-seeded Kettering Alter in a regional semifinal Monday, May 21.
DeSales defeated Granville 13-9 on April 17.
The regional final is May 24 at a neutral site.
The Stallions split their final two regular-season games last week, losing 16-14 to New Albany on May 8 and defeating Olentangy Orange 13-5 on May 10.
Connor O’Brien scored four goals and Tommy Clayton and Mason Rickens each added three against the Eagles.
Baseball team romps in tourney opener
The baseball team played Heath in a Division II district semifinal May 15, needing two wins to capture its third consecutive district championship.
Second-seeded DeSales was 18-9 before playing the 10th-seeded Bulldogs.
Joey Velazquez's three hits and two hits from Christian Grube helped the Stallions rout 19th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek 10-0 in five innings in a second-round game May 10 at home. Greg Gilbert pitched a complete game, allowing only one hit and striking out eight.
The semifinal winner plays fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder or sixth-seeded Hartley in a district final Thursday, May 17, at a neutral site. The Stallions beat the Pioneers 14-11 on April 14 and split two CCL games with the Hawks, winning 10-0 in five innings April 18 and losing 14-10 on April 30 en route to splitting the league championship with Hartley.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 24 at Mason.
Boys volleyball team prepping for tourney
The boys volleyball team finished its regular season May 15 at home against Whetstone, hoping to gain some momentum entering the Division II East Region tournament this weekend. DeSales was 6-12 before May 15.
The Stallions began last week with a 22-25, 25-15, 25-10, 25-17 win at UA on May 7, knocking off a Golden Bears team that had 11 wins entering the match. DeSales then lost to Hilliard Bradley 25-16, 25-23, 25-14 on May 9 and defeated Licking Heights 25-12, 25-11, 25-22 on May 10.
The Stallions are the fifth seed in the 10-team regional tournament and will play third-seeded Watterson in a second-round match Saturday, May 19, at Worthington Kilbourne. The winner will face second-seeded Kilbourne, sixth-seeded Licking Heights or ninth-seeded Whetstone in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22, at Kilbourne.
The regional final is May 25 at Westerville Central.
DeSales lost to Watterson 21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-11 on April 10 and 25-15, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22 on April 20 and fell to Kilbourne 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 on April 18.
Softball team looks to next season
Softball coach Julie Barber hopes to return her entire roster after the Stallions finished 7-13 overall, losing at fourth-seeded Groveport 19-5 in five innings May 9 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
Despite committing eight errors and being outhit 20-4 by the Cruisers, DeSales -- which had no seniors -- played its best late in the season. After going 4-11 in their first 15 games, the Stallions almost matched that win total in their next four games by going 3-1, including a 6-0 first-round win at 26th-seeded Orange on May 7.
DeSales was seeded 31st of 46 teams in the district tournament.
"Our goal (was) just to take it one pitch at a time and get better," Barber said.
The Stallions went 2-4 in the CCL to finish third behind Ready (5-1) and Watterson (4-2) and ahead of Hartley (1-5).
Among those eligible to return are juniors Kaitlin Murray (OF), Kyla Payne (SS), Faith Strapp (3B) and Aubrey Wilcox (OF), sophomores Jacqui Barber (P) and Megan Husslein (1B/P) and freshmen Kendall Gonya (C) and Lauren Mitevski (2B).