Always a team player, shortstop Tegan Cortelletti has been disappointed with her senior season with the Hilliard Darby High School softball team despite the fact that she is having a stellar season.
The Panthers defeated Thomas Worthington 15-3 on April 29 and were 11-11 overall and 8-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Olentangy Berlin on April 30 and Bradley in the regular-season finale May 1.
"I'm having my best season individually, but it just hasn't felt the same because we're not having the team success we've had before," Cortelletti said. "We went into the season hungry to win the (OCC-Cardinal) championship after coming so close last year. But injuries really took their toll on us. I wouldn't say I'm frustrated because I know every girl on this team is doing her best and working hard. I'm just disappointed."
Last season, Cortelletti batted .607 with 38 runs scored, 26 RBI and 18 stolen bases and earned first-team all-state honors when the Panthers went 14-9 overall and placed third in the league at 9-3, behind co-champions Bradley and Delaware (both 10-2).
Through 21 games this season, the Ohio State signee was hitting .639 with 32 runs, 22 RBI, eight doubles, eight triples, one home run and eight stolen bases. She had struck out only once in 82 plate appearances.
"She's going to own nearly every career offensive record in our program, although her stolen bases are down somewhat this season because she has added some strength and is producing more extra-base hits than past seasons," coach Shawn Papp said. "She is just the ultimate competitor.
"As good as she is, she comes to practice every day wanting to get better She loves to face the best pitching out there, too. She's just an elite athlete and person."
Darby's top two pitchers, senior Maddi Clark and sophomore Jordyn Anderson, and senior center fielder Molly Holdren, a third-year starter, have been dealing with injuries. Anderson recently returned to action, but Clark and Holdren are expected to miss the remainder of the season.
"We're playing better ball right now, so I still have hope that we can finish the regular season strong and make a tournament run," Cortelletti said. "I think we've adjusted to things and that's something you need to do in athletics as well as in life. You've got to move on and push forward."
The Panthers are seeded 20th of 45 teams in the Division I district tournament and have a first-round bye. They will play host to 23rd-seeded Davidson or 35th-seeded Hartley in the second round Wednesday, May 8. That winner likely will face top-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal May 13.
Track athletes setting records
Members of the track and field teams have been setting school and personal records earlier than anticipated this season, which could point to a big postseason.
"We're definitely ahead of pace right now, because we're still more than two weeks ahead of when the training is slowed and the kids are fresh," boys coach Matthew Fox said. "To do what we've done recently is pretty impressive."
The teams will compete Friday, May 3, in the Bradley Invitational as a final tune-up for the OCC-Cardinal meet on May 9 and 11 at Davidson.
The Panthers split their workload last week when they competed in the Wildcat Premier on April 25 at Davidson and the Olentangy Invitational on April 26. In addition, Sean Carney of the boys team and Daniella Santos of the girls squad competed in the Huber Heights Wayne Invitational on April 26.
Then on April 28, the Panthers had a small group of athletes compete in the Criss and Rita Somerlot Field Event Classic at Centerville.
"Everybody got some work and experience and it's a good way to make sure they are all ready to go down the stretch," Fox said.
In the Wayne Invitational, Carney won the 3,200 meters in a school-record 9 minutes, 22.78 seconds and Santos finished sixth in the 3,200 (11:01.57), just missing the school record she set April 5 when she ran 11:01.14 in the Panther Invitational on her home track.
"Joe Jackson coaches distance for us and he had our program record ever since he graduated in 2008," girls coach Don Seymour said. "For Sean to break his coach's record is a pretty special moment for both of them. He's doing a great job with our boys and girls distance runners. Daniella is really running strong consistently."
Fox, who specializes as the throws coach, accompanied the Darby athletes to Centerville, where Chris Burkhart won the discus in a school-record 170 feet, 8 inches and placed second in the hammer throw (187-3).
Michael McCornathan placed second in the shot put (school-record 55-1/4), fifth in the hammer throw (159-3) and sixth in the discus (135-4).
On the girls side, Emma Kowalski won both the discus (138-8) and hammer throw (151-5) and placed third in the shot put (36-5 3/4) at Centerville. She owns the school records in the discus (139-4, set in the Panther Invitational) and hammer throw (164-3, set in the Fulton Relays on April 18 at Lancaster).
"We're still in the midst of training and our kids aren't trying to set school records, yet it's just happening when they're out there trying their best," Seymour said. "That's what has us all excited about the OCC meet and then the postseason."
Boys volleyball team continues to shine
The boys volleyball team finished first in the Centerville Elite tournament on April 27 to remain unbeaten against Ohio opponents.
The Panthers were 17-2 overall and 11-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Olentangy Berlin on April 30. They will visit Thomas Worthington on Thursday, May 2, and Cleveland St. Ignatius on Saturday, May 4, before closing the regular season Tuesday, May 7, at home against Bradley.
Darby defeated Thomas 25-10, 25-9, 25-17 on April 11 and Bradley 25-15, 23-25, 30-28, 25-16 on April 16. The Panthers' only losses came on their annual trip to Wheaton (Illinois) Warrenville South, where they went 3-2 in the Tiger Classic on March 29 and 30.
At Centerville, Darby defeated the host Elks 25-11, 25-20, 25-18, Cincinnati Elder 25-17, 25-13, 23-25, 25-21 and Cincinnati St. Xavier 25-16, 25-21, 25-15.
Below are the coming schedules for the Darby baseball, boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse teams:
*May 3 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
May 4 -- At Lakewood
*May 6 -- At Thomas Worthington
*May 8 -- At Bradley
May 2 -- Home vs. Bexley
May 7 -- At Davidson
May 7 -- At Davidson