The last time the Watterson High School girls volleyball team won a district championship was in 2011.
That was the driving force for the eighth-seeded Eagles heading into this year's postseason, which continued with a Division I district semifinal against sixth-seeded Pickerington Central on Oct. 23 at Whitehall.
The winner plays third-seeded Olentangy or 12th-seeded Dublin Jerome in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Whitehall. The district champion faces Olentangy Orange, Delaware, Grove City or Watkins Memorial in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Worthington Kilbourne.
"I'm really excited," senior outside hitter Grace Jenkins said. "Our team has a lot of potential, and from where we started to where we are now, the growth is incredible. I trust every one of my teammates."
After opening the district tournament Oct. 15 with a 25-12, 25-10, 25-8 win over 39th-seeded Westerville South, the host Eagles beat 16th-seeded Gahanna 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16 in a second-round match Oct. 17 to improve to 17-7.
Against Gahanna, Olyvia Kennedy had 17 kills, Jenkins had 10 kills, Sydney Taylor had eight kills, 14 digs and 21 serves received and Kate Griffin had 13 digs and 23 assists.
While Watterson shared the CCL title with Hartley and DeSales, Pickerington Central tied Grove City for the OCC-Ohio championship and Gahanna finished third in that league.
"(Gahanna) almost (won) their league," coach Stephanie Grieshop said. "The thing about Gahanna is that they don't give up. With the seeds in between, really in that middle group of seeding, anybody can beat anybody and everybody's beatable. When Gahanna chose this spot, I knew it would be a tough match, and we thought Pickerington Central would be a very similar match."
Girls soccer team wins tourney opener
Also advancing to a Division I district semifinal was the girls soccer team.
The top-seeded Eagles played 14th-seeded Marysville in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at Otterbein, with the winner playing seventh-seeded Gahanna or 20th-seeded Westerville North in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a neutral site.
The district champion plays Jerome, Olentangy Liberty, Hilliard Darby or Upper Arlington in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Jerome. The regional final is Nov. 3.
The Eagles beat 35th-seeded Hartley 6-0 on Oct. 18 in the second round of the district tournament to improve to 14-1-2. Emma Schossler had three goals and Erin Connors, Becca Marino and Gabriella Rotolo each scored one.
Grim, boys runners advance to regional
The cross country program advanced one girls individual and the boys team to regional competition Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
The boys finished fourth (113 points) in the 11-team Division II, district 2 meet Oct. 20 at Darby, behind champion Jonathan Alder (46), as the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced.
Senior Dylan Tucker placed ninth (17 minutes, 25.8 seconds) to lead the Eagles, followed by freshman Cris Kubatko (12th, 17:30.8), sophomore Will Garey (29th, 18:12.3), freshmen Max Latshaw (30th, 18:15.8), David Druhan (33rd, 18:22.3) and Jake Vanausdle (51st, 20:05.2) and junior Jimmy Racher (57th, 20:20.6).
The girls finished eighth (229) in the 15-team Division I, district 3 meet Oct. 20 at Darby, as the top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced.
Sophomore Danielle Grim was 24th (20:13.2) to earn the final individual regional berth. She was followed by senior Emily Latshaw (35th, 20:39.6), sophomore Brooklyn Brush (52nd, 21:14.8), junior Sarah Heink (58th, 21:26.6), freshman Riley Connors (60th, 21:34.1), junior Bridget Dougherty (64th, 21:43) and sophomore Emily Vais (66th, 21:46.9).
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals in the Division I girls race and the top seven teams and top 28 individuals in the Division II boys race advance to state Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
Field hockey team plays in semifinal
The fourth-seeded field hockey team played at sixth-seeded Orange in a district semifinal Oct. 23.
The winner faces top-seeded Columbus Academy or ninth-seeded Bexley in a district final at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Liberty, with the winner advancing to a state semifinal Nov. 2 at UA.
Watterson, which lost to Academy 1-0 on Oct. 2, beat 16th-seeded Dublin Scioto 4-0 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 15 to improve to 13-3-1. Julianna DiSabato, Emily Dixon, Lindsay Hull and Bella Pardi scored for the Eagles.
The Eagles were district runners-up each of the past three seasons.
Boys soccer team falls to Celtics
The 40th-seeded boys soccer team saw its season end with a 3-1 loss at 11th-seeded Jerome in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 20.
The Eagles, who had a first-round bye, opened the season with a 4-0 win over Jonathan Alder on Aug. 17, but their only other wins came against Ready (7-0 on Sept. 25) and Worthington Christian (3-2 on Oct. 1) as they finished 3-10-4.
Watterson is losing 11 seniors, led by forward Peter Ganz and center midfielder Kyle Hanley, who scored six and five goals, respectively.
Juniors Max Graham (center back), Colin McKay (left midfielder) and Grant Twombly (outside back), sophomores Liam Brockman (goalkeeper), Colin Robinson (midfielder) and Michael Segreto (goalie) and freshmen Trent Maisano (midfielder) and Sean Nyhus (defender) are among the expected returnees.