Seven proved to be a significant number for the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls track and field team at the OCC-Ohio Division meet May 9 and 11 at Groveport.
That number not only represents how many events the Lions won at this year's league meet, but also how many consecutive league championships Gahanna has won.
The Lions scored 176 points to easily top the OCC-Ohio field, ahead of Lancaster (125), Pickerington North (79), Pickerington Central (72), Reynoldsburg (51) and Grove City (20).
"Getting out of OCC healthy was the name of the game and winning it for the seniors and for the seventh straight time was big," coach Roger Whittaker said. "It's incredible. For the people that don't know track, they think it's easy. Those who know track know it's extremely difficult."
Senior Madison Martinez won three events, marking the third consecutive season she accomplished that feat in the league meet. She earned 10 league titles for her career, including relays.
At this year's league meet, Martinez won the 800 meters (2 minutes, 13.83 seconds) and 1,600 (5:11.32) and joined Alexis Thigpen, Shynae Deas and Meghan Massman on the winning 3,200 relay (9:26.42).
"It's really special knowing that all of our hard work is paying off, and I think it's a good confidence booster, too, for some girls that haven't been running very well to know that we've still got it," Martinez said. "We're all here for each other."
Martinez, who is the defending state champion in the 800, and the Lions opened the postseason with the Division I, district 2 meet, which began May 14, continued May 15 and concludes Saturday, May 18, at Hilliard Darby.
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.
"I'm excited and really looking forward to districts, regionals and all that," junior Trinity Houpe said.
Houpe won the 300 hurdles (46.43) and joined Massman, Brianna Plummer and Thigpen on the winning 1,600 relay (4:00.67).
Brooke Johnson won the shot put in a league-record 44 feet, 6 inches.
The other league champion was the 800 relay of Shaina Rutledge, Thigpen, Joi Bradley and Deas (1:43.03).
Placing second were Lacey Stringer in the shot put (40-8), Amanda Lee in the long jump (17-2), Massman in the 800 (2:18.92), Thigpen in the 400 (56.67) and Lauren Stringer in the 300 hurdles (47.23).
Finishing third were Rutledge in the 100 (12.61), Camryn Nelson in both the 100 hurdles (15.62) and 300 hurdles (47.75), Joi Bradley in the 400 (57.87), Bronte Johnson in the discus (104-7) and the 400 relay of Kaylan Hairston, Houpe, Nya Bailey and Rutledge (50.32).
The boys team scored 59 points in the league meet to place fifth behind Pickerington Central (158), Lancaster (108), Pickerington North (97) and Reynoldsburg (72) and ahead of Grove City (29).
Winning titles were Dylan Kaylor in the high jump (6-1) and the 3,200 relay of Donovan Hight, Riley Jackson, Caleb Shovlin and Ben Towler (8:02.48).
LaCarr Trent had the second-best times in preliminaries of both the 100 and 200 but felt tightness while running the final of the 100, according to coach Shawn Johnston, and finished fourth (10.93). He was scratched from the 200 final.
The 800 relay of Kish McCray, Kevin Blackwell, Mateo Jones and Blaiden Kirk placed third (1:34.44).
"(Trent has) been fine and his workouts have been fine, and even in that 100 (in the final) he looked good from the start and led halfway but just kind of tightened up," said Johnston, whose team also is competing in district 2. "Jayden (Hill) kind of tweaked his hamstring and Derrick (Bradley) hit the last hurdle of the 300 hurdles kind of funky, so we've got all of these little things going on."
Doubles team wins title at sectional
For the first time since coach Chris Schwinnen took over as coach in 2010, the boys tennis team has a sectional champion in doubles.
Kyle Fout and Aoi Higuchi beat Pickerington Central's Stevan Klein and Karson Stanley 6-4, 6-1 in a semifinal and Worthington Kilbourne's Jacob Lindaman and William Weit 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 for the title May 11 at Pickerington Central.
The duo advanced to the district tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg, where the top four finishers advance to the state tournament May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"They had a little bit of a down second set against Worthington Kilbourne, but other than that, they played really, really well," Schwinnen said. "The district is really going to be tough. There are three really, really good teams and we'll have to beat one of those."
Also competing in doubles at sectional, which began May 9, were Pierre Christiaen and Zach Wunderlin, who lost in the second round.
In singles, Nick Wunderlin reached a quarterfinal before losing to top-seeded Kyle Klumpp of Delaware 6-1, 6-1. Thomas Giles lost to second-seeded Raleigh Conway of Granville 6-0, 6-0 in the first round and Shawn Ugbana lost to Big Walnut's Grant Mudre 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.
"All of my guys just ran into teams that were a little bit better," Schwinnen said. "They all played well and did a good job for us."
Softball team reaches district semifinal
The ninth-seeded softball team was 15-9 before playing 18th-seeded Newark in a Division I district semifinal May 13 at Pickerington North.
The winner faces fifth-seeded Marysville or 15th-seeded Watterson in a district final Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion will face Mount Vernon, Pickerington Central, Pickerington North or Teays Valley in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 22, at Ohio State. The regional final is May 25 at the same site.
After routing 43rd-seeded Mifflin 26-0 in five innings in the first round May 6 at home, the Lions edged host and seventh-seeded Watkins Memorial 9-8 in eight innings in the second round May 8.
Gahanna led Watkins Memorial 8-6 in the bottom of the seventh until the Warriors' Hannah Moore hit a two-run home run to force extra innings.
Then in the top of the eighth, Lauren Ringhiser led off with a double and later scored on a single by Caroline Heller.
Watkins Memorial's Emily Irwin was thrown out at third by center fielder Juju Morris to lead off the bottom of the eighth and Ringhiser retired the next two batters to end the game.
Ringhiser went 3-for-5 and Molly Troutman, Alaina Marcum and Heller each had two hits.
"I thought out of all the brackets that this was the easiest trip to the regionals," coach Jim Campolo said. "I knew we had to get through (Watkins Memorial). Every time they scored, we came right back. It shouldn't have ever gotten to that point. We throw a changeup to (Moore) and it just barely cleared the fence and that tied it, but we came back and scored."
Baseball team begins postseason
The fifth-seeded baseball team opened the Division I district tournament May 15 at home against 37th-seeded Thomas Worthington or 44th-seeded Franklin Heights in a second-round game.
The winner plays 15th-seeded Central Crossing, 16th-seeded Grove City or 38th-seeded Westland in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at the home of the better seed.
That winner plays top-seeded New Albany, 22nd-seeded St. Charles, 33rd-seeded Westerville North, 39th-seeded Teays Valley or 43rd-seeded Logan in a district final Wednesday, May 22, at a site to be announced.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at Dublin Coffman.
A 3-2 loss to Lancaster on May 8 ended Gahanna's hopes of winning the OCC-Ohio title. The Lions beat Pickerington Central 4-0 on May 10 behind the pitching of Blake Reed to finish 10-5 in the league. The Golden Gales locked up the outright title with a 6-2 victory over Reynoldsburg on May 10 that gave them an 11-3 league record.
Gahanna was 17-7 overall after losing to Olentangy 3-1 on May 11.
Boys volleyball team continues hot stretch
The boys volleyball team had won 20 matches in a row and was 21-2 overall before facing host Hilliard Darby on May 14 in the OCC Challenge.
The Lions beat Hilliard Davidson 25-18, 20-25, 27-25, 25-23 on May 7 to finish 14-0 in the OCC-Ohio.
The Division I East Region tournament drawing was held May 13.
Lacrosse teams open postseason
The boys and girls lacrosse teams each opened their postseasons this week.
The 14th-seeded girls team played at fifth-seeded Dublin Scioto in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 13, with the winner facing fourth-seeded Coffman or 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 17, at the home of the better seed.
That winner plays second-seeded Dublin Jerome, seventh-seeded Springboro, eighth-seeded Pickerington North or 17th-seeded Kettering Fairmont in a regional semifinal Monday, May 20, at the home of the better seed. The regional final is May 23.
The 15th-seeded boys team opened the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 14 at third-seeded New Albany, with the winner facing fifth-seeded Thomas Worthington or sixth-seeded St. Charles in a regional quarterfinal May 17 at the home of the better seed.
That winner plays top-seeded Upper Arlington, 10th-seeded Miamisburg, 11th-seeded Bradley or 14th-seeded Kettering Fairmont in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at the home of the better seed. The regional final is May 24.