For Ian McCandlish of the DeSales High School boys track and field team, last week's CCL meet was as much, if not more, about continuing his progression into the postseason than finishing first in each of his four events.
That doesn't mean the senior didn't revel in the moment May 8 at Columbus School for Girls. He raised his arms in victory after anchoring the first-place 1,600-meter relay (3 minutes, 23.55 seconds), a win that came after he helped the 3,200 relay to first place (8:11.6) and won the 400 (50.33) and 800 (2:00.72).
Those victories were the latest in a solid season for McCandlish, a Wittenberg recruit who last week ranked eighth in the area in the 800 (1:57) and 16th in the 400 (50.15). He recorded that time in the 800 during the Larkin/Crosten Invitational on May 3 at Thomas Worthington and hoped to reach 1:56 or better in the postseason, which began with the Division II, district 1 meet this week at Westerville South.
The district meet opened May 14 with preliminaries for the running events, continued May 15 with field event finals and concludes Saturday, May 18, with the running finals.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Lexington.
"I didn't go sub-2 (minutes) last year until the beginning of May. I went 1:59 and then 1:58 at (the CCL meet)," McCandlish said. "I got down to 1:57 in one race and with one more step, I could have been (at) 1:56. Once we start tapering, I can hit sub-1:55, which would be amazing."
The boys team won six events at the league meet, scoring 154 points to finish second behind St. Charles (174) and ahead of Hartley (83), Watterson (72) and Ready (9).
Other winners were Gavin Brown in the discus (128 feet, 6 inches) and Angelo Ricci in the long jump (20-3). Runner-up finishes from Jack Laugherty in the discus (121-0), Jonathan Pusateri in the 400 (51.72), John Shoemaker in the 1,600 (4:35.29), Isaiah Thomas in the 200 (22.52), Noah Thompson in the high jump (5-8), Caden Zellner in the 800 (2:02.41) and the 400 relay (44.13) boosted the Stallions' point total.
"We put some new challenges in front of the kids and they responded well," coach Tim Jewett said. "We put an emphasis on some kids stepping up and they did that. Ian winning the (400 and 800) with a short turnaround was a great response to that challenge. We saw some strong performances and we know we can keep improving."
Maryanna Boyle won the high jump (4-11) to lead the girls team to 93.33 points and third place behind Watterson (175) and CSG (102) and ahead of Hartley (63.33) and Ready (56.33).
Raina Jackson placed second in the shot put (31-10 1/2) and third in the discus (87-0) and Anya Vanasdale was second in the 1,600 (5:43.25) and third in the 3,200 (12:41.09). Alexis Johnson was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (16.2) and the 400 relay placed second (52.09).
"I was a little uneasy because I thought I was only doing the (3,200) here, but my distance coach told me (May 7) that I was in the (1,600) too, but everything went OK," Vanasdale said. "I like the (3,200) better because it reminds me of cross country, which I like. I felt pretty comfortable once I started running."
Ricci won the long jump despite a persistent left hamstring injury that has kept him out of running events.
"It would keep re-pulling itself, even after a week of light training," said Ricci, who is seeking his third consecutive state berth in the event. "For the majority of these jumps, I've been scooting up in my approach and not taking my full-length approach, not going 100 percent down the runway. I'm working on form more than actual distance."
The Stallions are competing in the Division I, district 3 meet this week at Hilliard Darby. The meet began May 15 with field events, continues Thursday, May 16, with preliminaries for the running events and concludes May 18 with the running finals.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional Wednesday, May 22, and May 24 at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event advance to state May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Baseball team shares CCL title
The baseball team split its last two CCL games but with some help managed to share the league championship with Hartley and Watterson.
DeSales lost to Hartley 12-6 on May 6 and beat St. Charles 11-6 on May 7 to finish 6-2 in the CCL. The next day, Watterson shut out Hartley 5-0, forcing the three-way tie.
Colin Doyle and Joey Velazquez each had three hits against the Cardinals, who led 6-0 after half an inning.
DeSales was 15-10 overall before playing Heath on May 14.
Seeded eighth in the Division II district tournament, the Stallions will play host to 20th-seeded Columbus East in a second-round game Thursday, May 16. The winner plays top-seeded Hartley, 12th-seeded Bexley or 15th-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at a neutral site, and that winner likely would face second-seeded Lakewood, fifth-seeded Licking Valley or 11th-seeded Olentangy Berlin in a district final Wednesday, May 22, at a neutral site.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at Ohio University.
The Stallions won their first CCL meeting with Hartley, 6-3 on April 24. They defeated Bexley 7-6 on April 30 and lost to Berlin 19-8 in six innings on April 25.
Doubles team advances to district
The doubles team of Will McAfee-Weatherspoon and Liam Verfurth will represent the boys tennis team in the Division II district tournament that begins Thursday, May 16, at Columbus Academy and concludes Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg.
McAfee-Weatherspoon and Verfurth finished fourth in a sectional held May 9 and 11 at Academy, going 2-2 and losing 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 to Worthington Christian's Benjy Homoelle and Tommy Robinson in the third-place match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
Also competing but failing to advance were singles players Miguel Sanchez-Vazquez (1-1), Nate Stevens (1-1) and Michael James (0-1) and the doubles team of Kevin Heil and Ricci Kreuzer (1-1).
At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
DeSales was 10-5 overall before finishing the regular season May 13 at Big Walnut and went 2-2 in the CCL for the second consecutive season, defeating Hartley 5-0 on May 6 on Wolfe Park and Ready 5-0 the next day at Westgate Park.
Softball team routs Lions
The softball team had to wait more than 24 hours to finish its Division II district tournament opener because of a weather delay, but the Stallions picked up where they left off.
A 12-run second inning powered seventh-seeded DeSales to a 16-1, five-inning win over 11th-seeded Bexley in a second-round game that began May 9 at DeSales and concluded the next day at Bexley. Megan Husslein and Aubrey Wilcox both had three hits and Kyla Payne added a two-run home run for the Stallions, who were 14-10 before playing top-seeded Lakewood in a district semifinal May 14.
The semifinal winner will play third-seeded Big Walnut or fourth-seeded Bloom-Carroll in a district final Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central. The district champion will meet Cleves Taylor, Franklin, Goshen or Greenville in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 22, at Mason.
The regional final is May 25.
Girls lacrosse team begins tourney
Seeded first in the Division II, Region 7 tournament, the girls lacrosse team played host to 15th-seeded Wellington in a first-round game May 15, the first of what the Stallions hoped will be three consecutive home games to start the postseason.
DeSales took a 15-game winning streak into the postseason, having finished the regular season last week with a 15-8 win over Olentangy Liberty on May 6 and a 19-3 victory over Berlin on May 9. Sophia Finotti scored five goals against the Patriots and seven against the Bears as the Stallions improved to 15-1.
The DeSales-Wellington winner plays fourth-seeded Watterson or 14th-seeded Dayton Oakwood in a regional quarterfinal Saturday, May 18, at the home of the better seed. That winner will play fifth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, eighth-seeded Big Walnut, 10th-seeded Bexley or 12th-seeded Dayton Carroll in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at the home of the better seed.
The regional final will be May 24.
The Stallions defeated Kilbourne 17-12 on March 19 and beat Bexley 17-4 on May 2.
Boys lacrosse team opens postseason
Coming off back-to-back 11-4 wins last week to end the regular season, the second-seeded boys lacrosse team played host to 17th-seeded Lima Senior on May 13 in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament.
DeSales was 10-6 before May 13, having defeated Olentangy Orange and Hilliard Davidson by identical scores on May 7 and 10, respectively.
The DeSales-Lima Senior winner plays seventh-seeded Bellbrook or 14th-seeded Jonathan Alder in a regional quarterfinal Thursday, May 16, at the home of the better seed. That winner will meet third-seeded Columbus Academy, sixth-seeded Big Walnut, 11th-seeded Bexley or 15th-seeded Berlin in a regional semifinal Monday, May 20, at the home of the better seed.
The regional final is May 23.
The Stallions defeated Berlin 11-3 on March 26 and Bexley 15-1 on April 23.
Boys volleyball team closes regular season
The boys volleyball team was 7-10 overall before finishing the regular season May 15 at home against Whetstone, having won two home matches last week against Division I competition.
DeSales edged Upper Arlington 30-28, 25-23, 25-22 on May 6 and defeated Westerville Central 25-16, 26-24, 16-25, 25-20 two nights later.
The Stallions found out their postseason path during the Division II East Region tournament draw May 13. First-round matches will be Friday, May 17, followed by the second round the next day and regional semifinals Tuesday, May 20.