From a physical standpoint, Watterson High School senior hockey player Ryan Roark is getting used to the rigors of being the Eagles' full-time goaltender for the first time this winter.
Roark split time in goal with junior Max Graham last season, but Graham is playing as a forward this season and, according to his father and coach, Jay Graham, might not return to the net in the future.
Max Graham isn't the only Watterson player to switch positions this season. Brothers Ian Simone, a junior, and Luke Simone, a freshman, previously were defensemen but have settled into roles as forwards.
According to coach Graham, other players on the roster have similar stories, which he believes demonstrates the character of his team this winter.
"I really like the direction we're going in, and we're working hard," coach Graham said. "Like with my son, he's found a goal-scorer's touch. I keep threatening to put him back in the net and he's like, 'No.' He's having a ball, and that's what we want the guys to have this year. We realize we aren't the team we were last year, but we're going to work as hard as anybody else and we're going to battle. The guys are going to bring it every night and the guys are enjoying themselves, saying they're not going to quit."
The Eagles have started to see positive results as the season has progressed.
They were 5-13 overall and 4-7 in the Capital Hockey Conference after losing to Columbus Academy 5-4 on Jan. 12 at Chiller Dublin and beating DeSales 6-2 on Jan. 13 at Chiller Dublin.
Watterson beat Dublin Scioto 11-0 on Dec. 23 and began the 2019 portion of its schedule with wins over Gahanna (3-0 on Jan. 4) and Dublin Coffman (4-3 on Jan. 5).
Through 16 games, Adam Pavliga had six goals and two assists, Graham had five goals and four assists and Danny Kraft had one goal and five assists to lead the offense.
Roark, who posted the shutouts against Scioto and Gahanna, began playing hockey his freshman year.
His older brother, 2015 graduate Sean Roark, also was a goalie for the Eagles. Their father, Mike Roark, served as the Eagles' athletics director for eight years and currently is a teacher and assistant AD at the school.
"We've always watched hockey and been into it," Ryan Roark said. "My brother, Sean, was a goalie, so we had the pads already.
"It feels pretty good (to start seeing positive results). We've put in a lot of hard work, and hopefully we can keep it up. We're a little over halfway through the season and hopefully we can take it into the (district) tournament."
Swimmers enter second half of season
The swimming and diving teams have just nine days of preparation before the CCL meet Jan. 26 at Columbus School for Girls.
The three divers in the program, seniors Mara Ohlin and Kathryn Schreiber and freshman Mary Heink from the girls team, will compete in a meet Saturday, Jan. 19, at CSG and in a meet Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Thomas Worthington.
On Jan. 5, the girls team earned a runner-up finish (350 points) in the six-team Delaware Invitational at Ohio Wesleyan behind the host Pacers (429), while and the boys were last (61) of six teams, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (350).
Senior Elizabeth Intihar was named the female performer of the meet after winning the 100-yard butterfly in 1 minute, 1.02 seconds.
Also finishing first for the girls were Mia Brown in the 200 freestyle (2:04.7), Lucia Cherok in the 100 free (56.3) and Alyssa O'Sullivan in the 200 individual medley (2:23.02).
The boys team has four swimmers and has been led by junior Michael Vondran and freshman Max Latshaw. On Dec. 15 in a 116-39 loss to Westerville Central, Latshaw won the 200 IM (2:20.3) and 100 backstroke (1:06.11) and Vondran finished first in the 50 free (23.78).
Weis resigns as girls golf coach
Debbie Weis recently stepped down after four seasons as coach of the girls golf team.
The 1979 Watterson graduate guided the program to its 13th consecutive Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League title during her first season in 2015.
The Eagles then left the MOGGL and didn't compete in a league the next two seasons before the CCL had a league for the first time last fall. Watterson went 4-4 to finish behind co-champions DeSales and Columbus School for Girls (both 7-1).
Watterson qualified for the district tournament in each of Weis' first three seasons before coming up short by one spot last fall.
Among the Eagles' key players was senior Lizzy Steffensmeier, who missed advancing to district by one stroke.
"(Weis) did a terrific job for us the four years she served as coach," athletics director Doug Etgen said.
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 18 -- At Hartley. The Eagles beat the Hawks 41-27 on Dec. 7.
*Jan. 19 -- Home vs. Ready
*Jan. 18 -- Eastmoor Academy at Eastland Lanes
*Jan. 23 -- St. Charles at HP Lanes
Jan. 18-21 -- Toledo Walleye Winterfest Tournament at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 19 -- At Columbus School for Girls (diving only)
Jan. 23 -- At Thomas Worthington (diving only)
Jan. 19 -- Ron Thomas Sr. Invitational at Jonathan Alder