A slight tear in her left knee nearly sidetracked Riley Welsheimer's senior season with the Westerville North High School girls soccer team.
The midfielder was getting pushed around and knocked down in the third game of the season, a 2-0 loss at Hilliard Darby on Aug. 23. Her knee started to bother her, but Welsheimer was able get through the game.
Then she received the bad news: a tear in her meniscus. Most of the time, an injury like that ends an athlete's season, but Welsheimer was able to forgo surgery and rehab her knee, getting back on the field at close to 100 percent.
"I never had a knee injury before, so it was pretty scary," she said. "I had been taken out a couple times (against Darby) and when they saw I was injured they kept coming at it."
Welsheimer wasn't ready to conclude her prep career so quickly. She started working with Dr. Selena Budge of Stability Enhancement Systems and saw positive results that allowed her to return in time for senior night, a 5-2 victory over Olentangy Berlin on Sept. 27.
"I had no range of motion, but Selena really knows what she's doing," Welsheimer said. "She has gotten me back here in just five weeks, which we didn't think was possible. (The return) was so much faster because of how intense her training is. She will push you but not too hard, and it's healed perfectly."
First-year coach Ricky Konkolewski said Welsheimer "came back in less than six weeks for an injury that normally takes three months. She really means a lot to us coming back for (the Division I district tournament), and we're starting to play really well."
The Warriors were 5-8-1 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Olentangy Orange on Oct. 9, and they had won all three contests since Welsheimer's return. After beating Berlin, they defeated Westerville South 3-1 on Oct. 1.
The victory over South gave the Warriors their first sweep of their Westerville rivals since 2011. They defeated Central 1-0 on Sept. 10.
North also beat Reynoldsburg 2-0 on Oct. 4.
"Riley was a primary scoring threat in the past and we really missed her, which showed in the results," said Konkolewski, whose team was 2-6 without Welsheimer. "We did create some depth, though, with her being out.
"We had her at outside midfield (Oct. 1) because Westerville South plays a lot to the left and would try to get the ball to Deja (Edwards) up top. We tried to have Riley over on that side and it completely shut down everything when we had her in for those moments."
The Warriors close the regular season Saturday, Oct. 13, at home against Watkins Memorial. They are seeded 20th for the district tournament and open Monday, Oct. 15, at home against 39th-seeded Groveport, with the winner playing a second-round game at 11th-seeded Canal Winchester on Oct. 18.
"I love soccer because of how competitive that it is and I love winning, especially being a part of this team," said Welsheimer, who plans to play at Ohio Wesleyan next year. "We started slow but we're picking up some wins right now. I think we're going to finish strong."
Southibounnorath plays in boys golf district
Pierre Southibounnorath of the boys golf team competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley. The top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams qualified for state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Southibounnorath, a senior, shot a 74 to share medalist honors with three other players in a sectional Oct. 2 at Darby Creek, as the top four teams and top four individuals not on those teams advanced to district.
North finished ninth (335) behind team-qualifiers Dublin Coffman (300), St. Charles (302), Central (311) and Upper Arlington (315).
Also playing for the Warriors were freshman Andrew Scurlock (85), senior Preston McCallum (88), freshman Rocco Thomas (88) and sophomore Jack Yancey (112).
Girls golf team falls short in sectional
The girls golf team finished 11th (497) in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Royal American as Orange (306), Dublin Jerome (335) and Hilliard Davidson (360) advanced to district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
Senior Jessica Huffman led the Warriors with a 108. Also competing were juniors Sydney Johnson (116), Ella Holtzmuller (132), Emma Diehl (141) and Alexyss Smith (149).
The Warriors, who were led by fourth-year coach Betsy Gegick, finished fifth (4-16) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Orange (20-0).
Girls tennis team ends season at sectional
The girls tennis team competed in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 5 at Upper Arlington, but did not advance anyone to district.
Junior Anyce Sewell and sophomore Kayla Cochran went 1-1 in singles, and junior Maddie Poling was 0-1. Both of North's doubles teams -- senior Madelyn Jones and sophomore Aubrey McMahon and juniors Emily Buss and Emylee Preston -- finished 1-1.
The Warriors were 2-15 overall and finished sixth (0-5) in the OCC-Buckeye behind champion Orange (5-0).
Below are the coming schedules for the North cross country, boys soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 13 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 11 -- At Big Walnut
Oct. 20 -- At 14th-seeded Canal Winchester or 19th-seeded Grove City in second round of Division I district tournament. The Warriors are seeded 31st.
*Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange. The Warriors lost to the Pioneers 25-15, 25-16, 25-6 on Sept. 25.
Oct. 16 -- At 32nd-seeded Marysville in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at fourth-seeded Orange in second round Oct. 18. The Warriors are seeded 34th.