Celebrations began in the mid-afternoon and continued into the evening for Olentangy Liberty High School athletes in multiple sports Oct. 27.
At about 3:15 p.m., senior Gracie Sprankle won the Division I regional girls cross country championship at Pickerington North and the girls volleyball team began celebrating a Division I district title at Franklin Heights.
A few hours later, the boys soccer team earned a Division I district championship at Hartley.
The titles weren't unexpected. The volleyball and soccer teams both were the No. 1 seed, and Sprankle was the defending regional champion.
While the volleyball and soccer teams advanced to regional competition, Sprankle and her team advanced to the state meet Saturday, Nov. 3, at National Trail Raceway.
Volleyball squad cruises into regional
With a 25-11, 25-17, 25-18 victory over 11th-seeded DeSales, the girls volleyball team earned its second district title, with the other coming in 2015.
The Patriots, who beat 17th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 on Oct. 23 in a district semifinal, are 25-0 heading into a regional semifinal against three-time defending regional champion Dublin Coffman at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at Worthington Kilbourne.
The winner faces Watterson or Orange in a regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at Kilbourne.
The regional champion plays Cincinnati Mercy McAuley, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati St. Ursula or Cincinnati Ursuline in a state semifinal Nov. 9.
"We need to serve aggressively to get (Coffman) out of being able to run a fast offense," coach Jen Chapman said. "We have to stay scrappy on defense and get some hands in the face of the other hitters. They do have some decent size, so our hitters need to work up at the net."
In the district final, Maile Steckelberg had 25 digs and Claranne Fechter and Logan Flaugh each had 19. Fechter also had 12 kills.
"We didn't make a whole lot of errors on our side and played scrappy," Chapman said. "We did what we needed to do with our serving and just played consistent and had good energy going in."
Boys soccer team crushes Warhawks
With a 6-1 victory over eighth-seeded Westerville Central, the boys soccer team advanced to a regional semifinal against Pickerington North on Oct. 31 at Dublin Jerome. The winner plays Coffman or St. Charles in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 3, at a neutral site, and that winner plays Cincinnati Anderson, Cincinnati Moeller, Cincinnati St. Xavier or Cincinnati Turpin in a state semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 7, at a neutral site.
Liberty defeated 17th-seeded Bradley 3-0 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 before beating the Warhawks to improve to 16-2.
"We came out of halftime down 1-0 (against Central) and our motto was, 'we're not done yet,' so we came out and gave them the business a little bit," Ash Rajmahon said.
Rajmahon was joined in the second-half scoring column by Jaggar Brooker, Nathan Rothert, Ludwig Conrad, Liam Garcia and Tyler Harris.
"There were a lot of things we had to get off our backs from what happened in last year's (3-2 shootout loss to Westerville South in a district final)," coach Marc D'Auteuil said. "In the first half our effort was not where it needed to be, but we were going to go down fighting. Getting two quick (goals early in the second half) changed the momentum of the game."
Boys, girls runners set for state meet
Led by Sprankle, the cross country program qualified its girls and boys teams to the state meet.
Sprankle, who was fourth at state last season, ran 18 minutes, 23.1 seconds at regional to capture the title and help the Patriots finish fourth (131) behind champion Hilliard Davidson (38) as the top five teams moved on.
"It means a lot to win the regional title," Sprankle said. "There are so many talented runners. I wasn't really happy with the time, but I understand both the course and the conditions were tough, so overall I'm happy with how it went and how the team finished."
Sprankle was followed by Linnea Kunesh (29th, 20:07.7), Audrey Piero (33rd, 20:19.4), Lauren Woodruff (46th, 20:41), Madeline Ailes (47th, 20:42), Lauren Buddie (69th, 21:11.3) and Sarah Gilbert (97th, 21:47.6).
"We were ranked fifth going into this meet, right on the edge of making it (to state), and we'd been talking about it all season so we were extremely motivated," Sprankle said.
The boys team finished third (160) behind Davidson (95) and Gahanna (134) as Jack Humenay led with a 15th-place finish (16:27.5).
"It was really, really muddy so that was kind of tough, and we all kind of slipped up at the beginning because of the mud, but what got me through was thinking about my teammates and thinking about the goals that we have," Humenay said.
Joseph Johnson III was 30th (16:59.6), followed by Jacob Feldmaier (32nd, 17:01.4), Andrew Boggs (34th, 17:06.5), Caleb Ogle (78th, 17:32.7), Tanner Sutton (81st, 17:33.8) and Jake Zody (87th, 17:38.5).
"I felt like they ran with purpose and competed with heart," coach Jared Mills said.
Field hockey team falls in semifinal
The fifth-seeded field hockey team had its season end Oct. 23 with a 3-1 loss at third-seeded Kilbourne in a district semifinal.
The Patriots, who finished 14-4, lose a six-member senior class that was led by Rory Ball (defender), Addie Druckenbroad (forward), Haley Eckert (forward) and Sienna Sakich (forward). Sakich is an Ohio University commit.
Juniors Dani Worrell (forward), Keegan Grabow (goalkeeper) and Faith DiMantova (defender) and sophomore Reese McClelland (forward) should lead the returnees. Also eligible to return are juniors Anna Benton (midfielder), Sam Frantz (defender) and Maggie Quillin (midfielder/defender), sophomore Kelsey Eckert (midfielder) and freshmen Allie Hamilton (midfielder), Annie Pione (forward), Callie Tormasi (midfielder) and Janie Wagner (goalie).
Girls soccer season ends in district semi
The 16th-seeded girls soccer team had its season end Oct. 23 with a 4-2 loss to third-seeded Jerome in a Division I district semifinal. Last season, Liberty beat the Celtics 2-0 in a regional final before falling in a state semifinal.
The Patriots finished 6-10-2 and lose a seven-member senior class that included Laura Bichsel (forward/defender), Riley Cartwright (goalie), Mara Follmer (defender/midfielder), Gia Gaetano (midfielder), Jasmine Hauser (defender/midfielder) and Lyndsey Kijowski (midfielder).
Bichsel had six goals and four assists and Gaetano had three goals and five assists. Cartwright finished with 86 saves.
Juniors Caitlin Curmode (defender), Elise Koshan (midfielder), Emma Lindsey (midfielder/forward) and Addi Moeller (defender/midfielder) and sophomores Rachel Davidson (forward) and Quinn Casey (midfielder) should be among the top returnees.
Lindsey had six goals and two assists, and Davidson scored three goals.
Junior Maddie Kelley and sophomore Savannah Blessing also played in goal.