An offseason of working on its physical and technical skills, as well as building on some of the positives from last season, already has started to pay off for the Gahanna Lincoln High School hockey team.
The Lions, who went just 2-30 overall last season with an inexperienced roster, opened Nov. 17 with a 2-1 overtime loss to Centerville before beating Mason 7-2 the next day.
"We worked a lot harder this summer, and in our first few scrimmages we looked pretty good," senior defenseman/forward Zach Parsons said. "Considering where we were last year, it was pretty good. It's been a lot of fun. We have such a young team and it's a new opportunity."
Gahanna lost 2-0 to the Northeast Storm on Nov. 23, beat Brecksville-Broadview Heights 5-2 and Dublin Scioto 3-1 on Nov. 24 and beat DeSales 9-4 on Nov. 25 to finish second in its bracket of the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic.
The only other seniors are forward Andrew Lau and goaltender Brendan Holahan.
Junior Matt McElligott, who was the Lions' goalie as a freshman but competed for a travel team last winter, has returned to the program. He had 45 saves against Centerville.
Junior forward Hayden Sindledecker is a key returnee who had five goals and five assists last season.
Against Mason, freshman forward Brendan Phillips had three goals and sophomore forward and returnee Colton Heery scored two. Freshman forward Rohan Schmidt scored against Centerville.
Rounding out the roster are sophomores Thomas Giles (forward), Ashwin Kumar (defenseman), Austin Lampert (forward), Sincere Ruffin (forward) and John Warner (defenseman) and freshmen Noah Amos (forward), Ethan Brehm (defenseman), John Henry (forward), Nick Hoerig (defenseman), Josh Knuckles (forward), Chase Pry (forward) and Hayden Waara (defenseman).
Gahanna's biggest loss from last season was 2018 graduate Will Rhymer, a forward who had 26 goals and five assists. He was one of the few returnees last season after the Lions went 17-14-4 in 2016-17.
Gahanna went 0-16 in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division last season.
This winter, the teams in the CHC-Blue will not play teams in the CHC-Red but instead will face teams in the CHC-White once and CHC-Blue rivals twice.
"Being in my second year and having nine freshmen, we're a really young team, but we've got a lot of guys that are really hard workers," coach Kevin Schodorf said. "We've got 15 freshmen and sophomores, so we had a summer weight-lifting and conditioning program and it's showing up. We're setting up the program for the future really well. We knew we'd have a lot of freshmen coming in fighting for playing spots. I'm excited to see where we stack up."
McGee steps down as girls soccer coach
Bob McGee recently resigned after three seasons as girls soccer coach.
In what was the sixth program he's headed since beginning his coaching career in 1993, McGee led the Lions to a 40-6-11 record that included a Division I district title in 2016 and two OCC-Ohio championships.
This fall, Gahanna lost in a district semifinal to finish 10-3-5.
"If I'm going to leave a place, I try to make sure I put them in a good position," McGee said. "Basically, they're going to be returning 11 starters. I'm to the point where maybe I'd rather help someone out and be an assistant coach."
McGee, 57, retired as a probation officer for the Franklin County Municipal Court in 2015 but is expecting to start a new full-time job.
"To be a head coach, you have to put in all the extra scouting," said McGee, who has more than 300 career wins. "I think I'm going to be going back to a full-time job and the hours aren't going to work out. (Gahanna) will be an opportunity for them to get another coach. These were some of the greatest kids I've ever worked with, not only on the field but in the classroom. That was the most enjoyable part. There were only two seniors this year, so they'll be set up for success."
Athletes announce college decisions
On Nov. 14, a dozen student-athletes announced their college decisions.
Committing to play softball were Alaina Marcum (Sinclair Community College), Lauren Ringhiser (Towson) and Molly Troutman (Ohio University), while Dylan Swenson will play baseball at Miami University.
Madison Hensley committed to play women's basketball at Mount Union, Mallory Beach will play women's soccer at the University of Charleston and Kayla Davis will compete in women's golf for Bowling Green.
In swimming and diving, Maycey Vieta committed to the women's program at Purdue and Austin Wharton will compete for the men's program at Baldwin Wallace.
In track and field, LaCarr Trent committed to the Cincinnati men's program, Shynae Deas committed to the women's program at Indiana and Madison Martinez will compete for the women's program at Villanova.
Nov. 17 -- Centerville at South Metro Ice
Nov. 18 -- Mason at Chiller Springfield
Nov. 23 -- Northeast Storm in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Nov. 24 -- Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Dublin Scioto in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Nov. 25 -- DeSales in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
*Nov. 30 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 1 -- Springboro at South Metro Ice
Dec. 2 -- Cincinnati Sycamore at Cincinnati Sports Plus
*Dec. 8 -- Dublin Scioto at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 9 -- Olentangy at Chiller Easton
Dec. 14 -- Watterson in Kent Roosevelt tournament at Kent State
Dec. 15 -- Case Western Reserve and Kent Roosevelt in Kent Roosevelt tournament
Dec. 16 -- TBA at Kent Roosevelt tournament
*Dec. 20 -- Watterson at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 21 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 23 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 5 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller Easton
Jan. 6 -- Cincinnati Northwest at Bowling Green
*Jan. 11 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 12 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 13 -- Olentangy Berlin at Chiller North
*Jan. 25 -- Dublin Coffman at Chiller Dublin
*Feb. 1 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller North
*Feb. 2 -- Dublin Scioto at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 3 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller North
Feb. 7-10 -- Blue Jackets Cup
Feb. 12 -- Beavercreek at Nationwide Arena
Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln boys basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
Nov. 30 -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial in opener
Dec. 1 -- Home vs. Richmond Heights in All-Ohio Nike Hoops Showcase
Dec. 1 -- Invitational State Kickoff at Columbus Square Bowling Palace
*Dec. 5 -- Groveport at Gahanna Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- Grove City at Gahanna YMCA
Dec. 1 -- Columbus Academy Relays