Considering that his new team advanced to a Division I, Region 1 semifinal last season after finishing as regional runner-up the year before, Olentangy High School boys lacrosse coach Daniel Warren wasn't eager to overhaul the program when he took over in July.
Instead, Warren set out about combining his own philosophies with certain things that had worked for the Braves in recent seasons.
"I wanted to find roles for as many guys as possible to create depth," he said. "The returning players have done a great job sharing terms and schemes they used last year. This has allowed the coaching staff to find ways to incorporate these as well as adapt them into our own scheme."
Olentangy hoped to shake a slow start this week, as it was 0-3 before playing Hilliard Davidson on March 27. The Braves opened with a 14-5 loss to Cincinnati Moeller on March 16 in the Ohio Machine High School Showcase at Fortress Obetz and lost to Worthington Kilbourne 9-3 in their home opener March 19 and 16-4 at Mason on March 23.
Warren, an assistant at Davidson last season who has coached in the sport for more than a decade, succeeded Dominique Alexander, who took over the program at Berlin.
Among Olentangy's losses to graduation was midfielder Kyle Milliron, a first-team all-state honoree.
Warren hopes that a deep group of midfielders led by juniors Hunter Boehm and Nick Orndorf and freshman Michael Parsio, as well as junior attacker Khairi Sears, will produce enough to compensate for the loss of Milliron.
Seniors Lucas Ayers (midfielder) and Sam McInturf (goalkeeper) are Capital recruits.
"The midfield will be a strength with most of the returning varsity players being midfielders," Warren said. "Even though we lost 17 seniors and opened a fourth high school, we still have a lot of talent on our roster. We have guys who have very good skill and also some really good athletes."
Olentangy went 16-4 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division last year, losing 13-10 to Liberty in a regional semifinal. That was the Braves' best record since going 16-5 in 2014.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Alex Adams (midfielder), Ty Blackburn (defender), Brandon Hibbitts (defender), Ryan Hume (midfielder), Evan Parrott (attacker) and Jack Parsio (defender), juniors Joey Durecki (goalie), Cameron Everson (goalie), James Everson (midfielder), Jack Hewitt (defender), Zach Kershner (defender), Aidan Moore (attacker) and Adam Orndorf (defender), sophomores T.J. Gadd (defender), Dan Kelley (midfielder), Brady Ramsey (midfielder) and Benjamin Wilch (defender) and freshmen Austin English (attacker) and Tommy Kipfer (defender).
Olentangy begins defense of its league championship April 4 against Westerville South. The Braves finished a game ahead of New Albany (6-1) last year.
Girls lacrosse team splits early games
The girls lacrosse team takes a 1-1 record into a Tuesday, April 2, home game against Berlin, its first contest in two weeks.
Olentangy defeated visiting Hartley 14-3 on March 16 and fell 10-9 at Granville three nights later.
Four college recruits are expected to be among the team's leaders in seniors Grace Cory (defender, Otterbein), Abby Derick (goalie, Elmhurst) and McKenzie Sklar (midfielder, Kent State) and junior Sydney Semel (attacker/midfielder, Winthrop).
"We are a completely different team than last year given that we graduated four starters and lost a lot of kids to the Olentangy Berlin split. New players have stepped up to help lead the team all over the field," fourth-year coach Amy McCormick said. "The team has a lot of hustle and never gives up. Our midfielders have played together for four years, so we have a lot of confidence and experience working together in that area."
The Braves went 14-7 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Buckeye last year, finishing third behind eventual Division I state runner-up New Albany (7-0). Olentangy lost to Liberty 14-11 in a Division I, Region 1 semifinal.
The Braves begin league play April 4 at South.
Other returnees include seniors Katie Berberick (attacker), Evie Bull (defender/midfielder), Maddie Garner (midfielder) and Brooklyn Morris (attacker) and junior Karlie Severance (defender).
Rounding out the roster are seniors Rithika Charles (defen-der/midfielder) and Grace Ellis (defender), juniors Erin Goodburn (defender/midfielder) and Riley Doyle (attacker), sophomore Maddie Richeson (attacker/midfielder) and freshmen Katie Gatteri (goalie), Megan Haddow (defender/midfielder), Caroline Holland (defender), Grace Maddox (attacker/midfielder) and Megan Miller (attacker/midfielder).
"We are finding our chemistry," McCormick said. "We have a lot of new faces on varsity, so we are working on figuring out how everyone will contribute."
Below are the coming schedules for the Olentangy baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
March 28 -- Lewisburg (W.Va.) Greenbrier East at Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
March 29 -- Coal City (W.Va.) Independence and Hendersonville (N.C.) West Henderson at Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
March 30 -- Powell (Tenn.) at Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
April 1 -- Home vs. Gahanna
April 3 -- Home vs. New Albany
March 30 -- At Medina
April 2 -- At Berlin
April 2 -- Home vs. Berlin
April 1 -- At Big Walnut
April 2 -- At Pickerington Central
April 1 -- Home vs. New Albany
April 2 -- At Big Walnut
April 3 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
TRACK & FIELD
April 3 -- Home vs. Marion Harding
April 3 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central