Despite having only two seniors last season, the Dublin Jerome High School girls lacrosse team came up just short of reaching the Division I, Region 3 championship game.
The Celtics' roster is filled with a larger number of veterans this season even though some of the top players in the program are sophomores and juniors.
Having a year of experience under coach Kendall Gordon also helps.
"Last year with it being my first year, a lot of them were just learning plays and my way of doing things," Gordon said. "It's been way easier, and we've been able to hit the ground running."
Jerome, which went 13-5 overall and 6-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division and fell 10-9 in overtime to Thomas Worthington in a regional semifinal last season, opened March 17 with a 19-2 victory over Hartley at Fortress Obetz. The Celtics return to action April 4 with their league opener at Olentangy Berlin.
The top returnee is senior Gabby Rothermund, a first-team all-state honoree last season who will see time at both attacker and midfielder and is strong on draw control. She has committed to play for Regis University.
The other seniors are defenders Kate Edwards and Mary Grace Zamary and goalkeeper Mackenzie Potts.
Also expected to play key roles at midfielder are juniors Emmy Peele and Sydney Stone, with junior Izzy Francati seeing time at both midfielder and attacker. Junior Katie McKibben and sophomores Kara Gosnell and Izzy Seikel are other key attackers.
Sophomore Olivia Brooks will split time between attacker and defender, and sophomore Katelyn Root will see action at both defender and midfielder.
Others looking to contribute include juniors Olivia Chandler (defender), Jamie Cline (midfielder), Hannah Lim (defender), Kelly Mamula (attacker), Karleigh McGuire (goalie) and Liv Sivak (attacker), sophomores Catie Berniger (attacker), Ava Czechajewski (defender), Janelle Emmett (goalie), Anna Speeney (midfielder/defender) and Brooke Wheeler (attacker) and freshman Ida Modin (midfielder).
"We still do have quite a bit of youth on our team, but they all have experience," Gordon said. "(Our players) did not take the offseason off. It's obvious."
Boys lacrosse team has veteran unit
Of the 30 players on the boys lacrosse team's roster, 14 gained experience a season ago when it went 15-6 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal and reached a Division I, Region 1 semifinal.
Among that group are senior defender Brandon Infante, who was second-team all-state last season, and junior defender Zach Dubois and senior attacker Andrew Brim, both of whom were honorable mention all-state.
"It's been great," second-year coach Andy Asmo said. "We feel like we have a really great opportunity this year."
Jerome opened March 15 with a 16-4 victory over Hilliard Davidson but followed with losses to Mason (8-7 on March 17) and Coffman (10-1 on March 21) before beating St. Charles 6-5 on March 23.
The Celtics open OCC-Cardinal action April 4 at home against Berlin.
Brim led the offense last season with 38 goals and 34 assists and has committed to Denison.
Senior attacker Reid McCrabb, junior midfielder Peter Albright and sophomore midfielder Jack Donahue all are seeing time at faceoff.
Other attackers are senior Zandy McCormick, junior Brock Izzo and sophomores Hunter Barco and Jackson Byrne.
Seniors Ray Prochko and Trey Welch are other key midfielders. Others at that position include senior Cam Ewing, juniors Julian Hammond, Dominic Nardone, Ryan Rhodes and Peyton Rosier and sophomores Ian Dean and Spencer Rubel.
Infante has committed to play for Robert Morris and Dubois has committed to Mercer.
Others on defense include senior Gavin Monaghan, juniors Thomas Gruber, Howard Schwarz, Mac Smith and Nathan Wallschlaeger, sophomores Seth Martin and K.J. Robinette and freshman Anthony Monte.
Sophomore Will Ackert is at long-stick midfielder and junior Evan Wieklinski is the starting goalie.
Jerome has two new assistants in former Coffman coach and Kilbourne assistant Jon Ewert and former Coffman player Bart Sullivan.
"We don't have a ton of seniors, but we feel like we have a very experienced group of seniors," Asmo said. "I have a new varsity (coaching) staff, and it's like we have three varsity head coaches."
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome baseball, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
April 1 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
April 2 -- Home vs. Johnstown
April 3 -- At Big Walnut
April 1 -- At Upper Arlington
April 2 -- At Marysville
*April 3 -- At Thomas Worthington
*April 2 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
April 3 -- At Hilliard Davidson
TRACK & FIELD
April 2 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby and Pickerington Central
*April 2 -- At Thomas Worthington