The Olentangy High School boys tennis team's celebration upon winning its first league championship was laid back, but the Braves still realized the importance of their achievement.
With their match April 23 at Liberty hinging on the outcome at first doubles, the Braves' Trevor Gerald and Roshan Sriram held off the Patriots' Marcelo Aguilar and Arvand Nair 7-6, 6-4 to give Olentangy a 3-2 win and the outright OCC-Buckeye Division title.
The Braves also won at second singles, where Nour Khayat beat Matt Bu 6-0, 6-0, and third singles, where Ayush Sunkad swept Nandha Srivenkateswaran 6-1, 6-0.
Olentangy was 10-3 overall before playing Gahanna on April 30 and finished 5-0 in the league, one match ahead of two-time defending champion Orange (4-1) and two in front of Liberty (3-2).
The Braves edged the Pioneers 3-2 on April 18 to set themselves up for the outright championship against the Patriots. Orange had not lost a league match since 2016.
"We were in the same (division, the OCC-Capital) with New Albany forever and more recently it's been with Orange and Liberty. Orange has always gotten us," coach Jeff Luxenburger said. "Winning that was huge for the program and (on top of that) the Liberty squad is extremely talented. They had a smart lineup against us and we knew it'd be close. It was. It usually comes down to the Olentangys and we've been on the short end of some close matches recently. We knew we had a deep squad this year and it's been nice to see different courts win some key matches."
Gerald, a freshman, has played doubles most of the season, while Sriram, a sophomore, has alternated between singles and doubles.
"It's thanks to great coaching," Sriram said. "They give us so many different techniques and strategies to use throughout the course of a match. We're always thinking about strategy and that's how we get better at doubles. We've grown a lot this season."
Olentangy was scheduled to play host to Marietta on April 25 in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district quarterfinal, but that match was postponed because of bad weather. The winner will play Delaware, Marysville, New Albany, Reynoldsburg or Thomas Worthington in a district semifinal on a date to be determined.
Track teams prepare for league meet
The boys and girls track and field teams will try to finish into the upper half of the OCC-Buckeye when they participate in the league meet Wednesday, May 8, at Westerville North and May 11 at Hilliard Davidson.
The girls finished fourth (61) last season behind champion Liberty (146). While most of the team's top finishers from last year either graduated or now compete at Berlin, three-quarters of the fourth-place 3,200-meter relay returned in Lex Brookshire, Katherine McCauley and Alice Pozzi.
Brookshire also was fourth in the 800.
The boys tied North for fifth (43) behind champion Orange (195.5). The 400 relay and 800 relay both placed third, and Luke Murdock was third in the high jump.
Led by wins from Sam Holt in the 3,200 (9 minutes, 48.59 seconds), Murdock in the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches), Zach Shiblaq in the pole vault (13-6), Mikey Worboy in the 1,600 (4:38.32) and Reilly Worthington in the discus (124-8), the boys finished second (82) of eight teams in the Olentangy Invitational on April 27 as Berlin won (85).
The girls placed third (98) of eight teams as Hilliard Darby won (138). Brookshire was first in the 800 (2:24.17) and 1,600 (5:14.7), and Muskan Arora won the 100 (12.76) and placed second in the 200 (16.31).
Olentangy's final tune-up for the OCC-Buckeye meet will be the Delaware County Elite 8 on Friday, May 3, at Orange.
Volleyball team still perfect in league
The boys volleyball team split two matches last week but remained undefeated in the OCC-Buckeye with three matches to play entering the week.
Olentangy was 12-4 overall and 5-0 in the league before playing Westerville Central on April 30. The Braves lost to defending Division II state champion St. Charles 16-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-17 on April 24 but swept league-foe North 25-17, 25-20, 25-11 the next night.
Olentangy, which was ranked 11th in last week's Division I state poll, finishes league play with matches Thursday, May 2, at Orange and Tuesday, May 7, at home against Liberty.
Below are the coming schedules for the Olentangy baseball, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis and boys volleyball teams:
*May 3 -- At Westerville North. The Braves defeated the Warriors 3-2 on April 10 and lost 8-6 on April 12.
May 4 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township
*May 6 -- Home vs. Westerville Central. The Braves defeated the Warhawks 13-7 on April 15 and lost 9-8 on April 17.
*May 8 -- Home vs. Orange. The Braves lost to the Pioneers 5-1 on April 22 and 2-1 on April 24.
May 4 -- At Mason
May 7 -- Home vs. Thomas Worth-ington
May 2 -- Home vs. Berlin in makeup from April 30
May 6 -- At 24th-seeded Hamilton Township in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner visits fourth-seeded Groveport in second round May 8. The Braves are seeded 25th.
May 4 -- New Albany Eagle Cup
May 6 -- At Wellington
*May 2 -- At Orange. The Braves defeated the Pioneers 25-22, 28-26, 25-17 on April 16.
*May 7 -- Home vs. Liberty. The Braves defeated the Patriots 25-18, 25-18, 12-25, 25-23 on April 18.