When Chris Finissi enrolls at the University of Kentucky in a few months, he's hoping to continue playing tennis for the school's men's club program.
The Watterson High School senior, who resides in Dublin and has been a key member of the Eagles' lineup throughout his prep career, relishes the competition.
Finissi spent his third consecutive season at first singles and earned a Division II district tournament berth for the second year in a row this spring.
"It's been going well," Finissi said. "We played Division I teams all year, so now that we're in (the postseason), it's nice to play some Division II competition. Everyone has somebody good. I've played first singles since sophomore year, so I've gotten used to that. I love it."
Finissi will represent the Eagles at district in singles Thursday, May 16, at Columbus Academy and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg. The top four finishers advance to the state tournament May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
At sectional May 11 at Academy, Finissi lost his semifinal and third-place matches to finish fourth.
Seeded second at sectional, Finissi beat DeSales' Miguel Sanchez-Vasquez 6-0, 6-1, London's Vernon Hochstetler 6-0, 6-0 and Grandview's Brett Holcomb 6-0, 6-2 on May 9 to qualify for district.
"Chris really played well and took care of his matches a lot better this year than last," coach Ryan Schwieterman said of Finissi, who finished fourth at sectional last year to become the program's first district qualifier since 2014. "The experience last year was helpful to focus him on getting on and off the court quickly."
Also in singles at sectional, Johnny DiOrio lost to Academy's Drew Haffer 6-1, 6-3 in a quarterfinal and Nick Geelan lost to Centennial's Jack Jones 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in a first-round match. Haffer was the No. 1 seed and Wahl was seeded fourth.
In doubles, Adam Pavliga and Dylan Tucker lost to Academy's Suriya Sundaram and Rhian Seneviratne 6-1, 6-0 in a quarterfinal and Jacob DeVendra and Cole Petrilla lost to Academy's Arie Tuckerman and Jack Madison 6-2, 6-0 in a quarterfinal. Sundaram and Seneviratne were the top seed and Tuckerman and Madison were seeded second.
"Our doubles teams both played very well," Schwieterman said. "Johnny played very well."
Boys lacrosse team wins league title
With an 11-8 victory over host St. Charles on May 9, the boys lacrosse team earned its second CCL title in three seasons.
The Eagles trailed 3-0 before scoring the next nine goals.
Dominic Dean and Max Graham each scored three goals, Max Ritchey and Patrick Hall both scored two and Andrew Bettendorf added one while goalkeeper Max Balyeat made 11 saves.
"(St. Charles) got out ahead and we kind of jumped back in there and held the lead the rest of the time," said coach Chris Sauter, whose team went 2-0 in the CCL, beating DeSales 11-10 on April 25. "We started paying a little more attention to the substitution box. I think they caught us off-guard at the beginning of the game and there were a couple things we had to make adjustments to."
Watterson was 14-2 overall and the top seed for the Division II, Region 7 tournament before playing 10th-seeded Granville or 16th-seeded Wellington on May 13.
The winner plays ninth-seeded Dayton Oakwood or 13th-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne in a regional quarterfinal Thursday, May 16. That winner likely faces fourth-seeded Licking Valley, fifth-seeded Kettering Alter or eighth-seeded Dayton Carroll in a regional semifinal Monday, May 20, at the home of the better seed. The regional final is May 23 at a site to be announced.
"We won the CCL two years ago, and that's where we want to be," Sauter said. "That's always our No. 1 goal."
Baseball team earns CCL title share
A four-game losing streak that included a pair of CCL losses didn't ultimately keep the baseball team from winning the 19th league championship in coach Scott Manahan's career. Manahan is retiring at the end of the season.
The Eagles beat St. Charles 7-2 on May 6, Ready 20-2 on May 7 and Hartley 5-0 on May 8 to force a three-way tie for the league title.
Noah Truax, who pitched after Drake McAninch was unable to go because of what Manahan described as a minor injury, tossed a six-hitter and struck out six against the Hawks.
Watterson, Hartley and DeSales all finished 6-2 in league play.
"It feels great," Truax said. "We had a good kind of streak going (earlier in the season) and then got back on a losing streak, so it was kind of tough. We felt like we were kind of getting away from it, but did some stuff in practice and got back to it as a whole. We're feeling pretty good (heading into the tournament)."
Watterson is seeded third for the Division II district tournament and opens Thursday, May 16, with a second-round home game against 19th-seeded Linden-McKinley. The winner plays fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder, eighth-seeded Bloom-Carroll or 21st-seeded Marion-Franklin in a district semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at a neutral site. The district final is May 23 at a neutral site.
Watterson beat Centennial 7-0 on May 11 as McAninch tossed a no-hitter and struck out 12 and was 17-6 overall before playing Dublin Jerome on May 13. The Eagles also have a regular-season game against Newark Catholic scheduled for Saturday, May 18, at Don Edwards Park.
Adam Fallon hit a three-run home run and a solo homer against Hartley, the top seed in the district tournament.
"We've been struggling with (clutch hitting) for a while and for a long time we (had been) getting them," Manahan said. "It's so stupid, baseball, and I kept telling these guys you've got to hang tough. ... It's the last time I get to play (at Hartley), which is good because this place has given me nightmares with the short fence. We survived and it's huge to beat the No. 1 seed."
Girls track team again wins CCL title
For the third consecutive season, the girls track and field team captured the CCL championship.
On May 6 and 8 at Columbus School for Girls, the Eagles scored 175 points to place ahead of the host Unicorns (102), DeSales (93.33), Hartley (63.33) and Ready (56.33).
Leading the way was Anna Kessler, who won both the 100 meters (12.62 seconds) and 200 (26.09) and was on the runner-up 800 relay along with Alec Quinn, Cailin O'Reilly and Jane Porter (1:50.01).
Brooklyn Brush won the 1,600 (5:33.0) and was on the first-place 3,200 relay along with Claire Sugar, Sarah Heink and Bridget Dougherty (9:57.8), and Erin Connors won the 300 hurdles (47.9) and was on the winning 1,600 relay along with Riley Connors, Porter and Sugar (4:07.29).
In the 800, Sugar was first (2:22.07) and Dougherty was runner-up (2:26.43), and in the 3,200, Emily Latshaw was first (12:21.75) and Heink was runner-up (12:26.46).
Also placing second were Clare Mackin in the 300 hurdles (49.28) and O'Reilly in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches).
"We've put in a lot of hard work and everyone has been very supportive of each other," Heink said. "(Our 3,200 relay) has been under 10 minutes for the last couple races. It's been very competitive because we have a lot of fast 800 runners on our team. We all push each other in practice and I love those girls. We're very tight."
The Eagles are competing in the Division I, district 3 meet, which began May 15, continues Thursday, May 16, 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.
The boys team finished fourth (72) in the CCL meet behind St. Charles (174), DeSales (154) and Hartley (83) and ahead of Ready (9).
Drew Davis led with a runner-up finish in the shot put (40-1).
Placing third were Will Garey in both the 1,600 (4:36.33) and 3,200 (10:27.38), Grant Holsinger in the shot put (39-7), Will Sullivan in the discus (106-3), Nick Youell in the 400 (52.73) and the 3,200 relay of Garey, Cris Kubatko, Alex Spiers and Jake Vanausdle (8:33.0).
The Eagles are competing in the Division II, district 1 meet, which began May 14, continued May 15 and concludes May 18 at Westerville North.
The top four finishers in each event advance to regional May 23 and 25 at Lexington.
Softball team makes district semifinal
A hot start helped the softball team advance to a Division I district semifinal against fifth-seeded Marysville on May 13 at Olentangy.
The 15th-seeded Eagles scored three runs in the first inning and two in the third and then held off a late rally to beat host and 14th-seeded Dublin Jerome 5-3 in the second round of the district tournament May 8.
"I was really proud of how my team played and feel fortunate to have gotten the win against a very solid Jerome team," coach Emily Manahan said. "I saw amazing fight from my team, jumping out early and attacking good pitches. We were able to limit the damage on errors and were able to be effective at the plate, getting runners into scoring position and getting timely hits. It was a fun game to be a part of."
The Eagles were 16-7 before facing Marysville. The winner plays ninth-seeded Gahanna or 18th-seeded Newark in a district final Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion faces 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 Ohio State.
Against Jerome, Sydney Blake went 2-for-3, Maddie McCleary was 2-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored and Anna Emswiler and Rachel Reuter each had one RBI in support of winning pitcher Moira O'Reilly, who went the first six innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out 11.
In the seventh, Nicole Funge gave up one hit and one walk but Reuter threw out a runner trying to steal and Gracie Bressoud made a diving catch in foul territory for the final out.
"The last inning was fun," Manahan said.
Girls lacrosse team opens postseason
The fourth-seeded girls lacrosse team opened the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 15 against 14th-seeded Dayton Oakwood at Fortress Obetz.
The winner plays top-seeded DeSales, 15th-seeded Wellington or 16th-seeded Dayton Miami Valley in a regional quarterfinal Saturday, May 18, at the home of the better seed. That winner plays 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 is May 24.
Watterson beat Carroll 17-9 on May 7 and lost to Columbus Academy 15-10 on May 9 to fall to 10-5 overall and finish 2-4 in the Central Independent League.
Against Carroll, Zoe Coleman scored four goals, Margaret Baur and McKenna Twombly both scored three and goalie Regan Abahazie made 19 saves. Coleman and Abbey Giesler both scored three goals against Academy.
Boys volleyball team preps for postseason
The boys volleyball team learned its postseason path at the Division II district tournament draw May 13.
Watterson was 12-9 before playing Northland on May 14.
The Eagles lost to Dublin Coffman 25-20, 24-26, 25-18, 25-19 on May 8 before beating Westerville North 25-23, 25-15, 25-15 on May 9.