Despite a disappointing record, Mike Schwarten is proud of the development of the Westland High School girls soccer program during his two seasons as coach.
After a 12-0 loss at 12th-seeded Hilliard Darby in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18, Schwarten informed the Cougars that he was stepping down to pursue educational opportunities.
"The last two years have been a pleasure and while I wasn't able to get as many wins as I wanted, the girls still learned valuable lessons about hard work, sportsmanship and resilience," Schwarten said. "I know the team understands the sport better than before I took over and if they keep working hard through the offseason, they will see their efforts pay off as they continue to improve."
Westland went 3-30-1 under Schwarten, including 1-15-1 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Central Division this season. He was the team's third coach in four years.
The 44th-seeded Cougars had a first-round bye in the district tournament. They defeated Whitehall 3-1 on Oct. 6 and tied Heath at 3 on Sept. 18.
Forward/midfielder Shelbey Barnhill led a six-player senior class and was named first-team all-league. Freshman forward Bella Garner was second-team all-league and senior midfielder Litzy Lopez was special mention all-league.
"(The seniors) will be missed and worked hard to create positive change on the team," Schwarten said.
Athletics director Mike George said the search for a new coach will begin soon.
"Coach Schwarten has devoted the last two years to the development of our girls soccer program," George said. "He has spent countless hours along with (assistant) coach (Autumn) Harris throughout each summer implementing a strength-and-conditioning program as well as working on skill development. The parents have been outstanding with their support of the program and that must continue as we move forward. The program has made gains."
Other players eligible to return include juniors Mackenzie Hall (defender), Jessica Hurley (defender) and Laura Ornelas (midfielder/def-ender), sophomores Jennifer Guerra (midfielder), Andrea Lopez-Garcia (midfielder), Heaven Manbevers (defender), Isis Ventura Pablo (defender/midfielder) and Lisette Sevilla-Robles (midfielder) and freshmen Alex Carlton (defender), Cat Gesling (defender) and Becky Paul (goalkeeper).
Cross country teams close season at district
The boys and girls cross country teams concluded their seasons in the Division I district meet Oct. 20 at Darby.
The boys finished 15th (412 points) in the 16-team district 2 race behind champion Hilliard Davidson (30).
Senior Jacob Carpenter was 79th in 19 minutes, 20.6 seconds to lead the Cougars. He was followed by sophomore Christian Placencia (80th, 19:22), seniors Billy Holland (86th, 19:49.7) and Kevin Reyes (87th, 19:51.6), sophomore Drew Hutchinson (88th, 19:52.4), freshman Tyler Aiken (90th, 20:05.4) and sophomore Norman Hendricks (95th, 20:21.7).
The girls finished 14th (401) in the 15-team district 1 race behind champion Thomas Worthington (36).
Senior Aja Nathans was 45th (22:05.4), followed by freshmen Jordyn Anderson (62nd, 23:12.9) and Allison Chapin (94th, 25:45.5), sophomore Maya Suarez (98th, 26:41.7) and junior Bethony Fay (102nd, 29:03.1).
The top five teams and top 20 individuals in both races advanced to regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
"I asked the kids to go into the season with a growth mindset and they really took it to heart," coach Josh Barkeloo said. "I had great leadership from my seniors as they helped the younger runners through the learning process that comes along with being a young runner. We emphasized pack-running this year and that allowed some of our younger runners to gain some experience racing near the front of the pack."
Football team loses to Coffman
The football team was 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Central before closing the season Oct. 26 against Davidson.
The Cougars lost to visiting Coffman 51-6 on Oct. 19. Robert Clark caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from DeShawn Evans, who finished 11-for-26 for 111 yards.
Coffman outgained Westland 514-142 in total yards.
Girls volleyball team concludes season
The girls volleyball team lost at fifth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 25-15, 25-6, 25-14 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 to finish 5-18.
The Cougars had a first-round bye and were seeded 46th.