A year after having no Division I district qualifiers, the Dublin Coffman High School boys tennis team will be well represented at that level of the postseason.
Five of the Shamrocks' seven sectional competitors advanced to the district tournament Thursday, May 16, and Saturday, May 18, at Reynoldsburg.
"It was very big for our team to get five to district," sophomore Anton Bakunin said.
Bakunin and sophomore Siddharth Rajagopal lost to their teammates, senior Cobie Frank and sophomore Sanjay Janardhan, 6-1, 6-1 in the third-place match at the sectional held May 9 and 11 at Upper Arlington.
In singles, sophomore Luke Ritchie beat UA's Nick Gruss 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a semifinal before losing to Pickerington North's Cole Alcala 7-5, 6-4 in the final.
Ritchie, who lost in the second round of a Division II sectional last year when he attended Watterson, was the No. 1 seed at the UA sectional, while junior Peter Lin and senior William Sun were the second and third seeds, respectively.
In district-qualifying ma-tches, Sun lost to Alcala 6-4, 6-1 and Lin lost to UA's Hunter Triplett 6-3, 6-4.
"We're excited," Ritchie said. "The guys that didn't make it (to district) are coming to support us, so we're making it a team event."
New Albany's Robert Cash, the No. 1 seed in the sectional at Reynoldsburg and the defending state singles champion, elected to withdraw from the tournament for personal reasons.
Ritchie opens district against New Albany's Ryan Mudre, a state qualifier last season, with the winner to face Jerome's Max Fickas or Delaware's Sam Bonofiglio in the second round. Mudre placed third at the Reynoldsburg sectional and Fickas won the Hilliard Bradley sectional.
On May 7, Ritchie lost to Fickas 6-1, 6-2 at first singles as Coffman lost to Jerome 3-2.
At district in doubles, Rajagopal and Bakunin will face Olentangy Orange's Alex Heiden and Soham Pradhan in the first round and Frank and Janardhan will open against Jerome's Andrew Dvorkin and Tanish Pairu.
"(Ritchie) has been starting to do really well with his ball placement," coach Brett Hundertpfund said. "With (Cash) out, that's going to open the door for somebody else. (Ritchie's) a fighter. He's got that tournament toughness. We're extremely excited."
At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Boys track team wins league title
A season after placing third in the OCC-Central Division, the boys track and field team scored 151 points in the league meet held May 9 and 11 to edge host Hilliard Davidson (150) for the championship.
UA (93) was third, followed by Marysville (67), Central Crossing (54) and Westland (6).
"Our team has been doing really well," junior Jameel Williamson said.
Coffman trailed Davidson by one point heading into the final event, the 1,600-meter relay, but Williamson teamed with Richard James Pinney, Michael Ching and Joshua Page to finish first in 3 minutes, 26.17 seconds.
Also winning titles were Page in both the 100 (11.42) and 200 (22.59), Williamson in the 400 (49.47), Eric Smith in the high jump (6 feet, 5 inches), Dylan Chapa in the long jump (19-8) and the 800 relay of Pinney, Dustin Drye, Kevin Sabath and Ching (1:31.54).
Placing second were Williamson in the 200 (22.8), Pinney in the 400 (50.17), Alex Dediu in the 1,600 (4:26.3), Derek Van Vlerah in the high jump (6-2), the 400 relay of Evan Jajack, Chapa, Ethan Moeller and Drye (44.73) and the 3,200 relay of Dediu, Cameron Hull, Robert Chapman and Morgan Adams (8:30.21).
"It's my first year running track, and I feel like Coffman is a really good sprint school," said Page, a senior.
The girls team also improved in the league meet from a year ago.
After finishing third last season, the Shamrocks scored 123 points to place second behind Davidson (189) and ahead of UA (114), Marysville (74), Central Crossing (15) and Westland (6).
Coffman was led by freshman Katelyn Brand, who won both the 100 (12.67) and 200 (25.41) and joined Hallie Mitchell, Kendal Kolba and Isabelle Angerman on the winning 800 relay (1:46.68).
Angerman, who has battled an injury for much of the season, won the 100 hurdles (15.32) and had the best time in her preliminary of the 300 hurdles but tripped over a hurdle in the final and did not finish.
Coach Greg King expected Angerman to compete in the Division I district meet this week at Hilliard Darby.
Also capturing a league title was Karlee North in the pole vault (11-0).
Placing second were Abigail Collier in the 400 (1:01.59), Ashley Fitzgerald in the high jump (5-1) and the 400 relay of Elli Young-Peters, Hallie Mitchell, SeRaye Bray and Kolba (50.86).
The girls are competing in the district 2 meet that began May 14, continued May 15 and concludes Saturday, May 18, while the boys are competing in the district 1 meet that began May 14, continues Thursday, May 16 and concludes May 18.
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.
Softball team reaches district final
Softball coach Scott Tillman was hoping a regular-season schedule that included 10 of the top 22 seeds equipped his team for the Division I district tournament.
The preparation may have helped the 19th-seeded Shamrocks keep their poise as they reached a Division I district championship game.
On May 8, Coffman won 7-5 at 16th-seeded Westerville North in the second round of the tournament.
Coffman led 5-1 before the Warriors scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.
In the eighth, however, freshman pinch-hitter Maya Miles hit a two-run home run to give Coffman the lead and pitcher Kelsi Anderson didn't allow a run in the bottom of the inning, finishing the contest with 13 strikeouts.
"They tied it in the sixth and then had bases loaded with no outs in the seventh," Tillman said. "We got out of it with some gutsy defense and pitching. ... Overall, one of the gutsiest performances I have seen."
The Shamrocks improved to 15-14 with a 4-3 victory over sixth-seeded Lancaster in a district semifinal May 13 at Pickerington Central.
The win sends Coffman to a district final against third-seeded Delaware or 12th-seeded Grove City on Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, at Pickerington Central.
The district champion plays Upper Arlington, Westerville Central or Hilliard Darby in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22, at Ohio State. The regional final is May 25.
Baseball team opens postseason
Seeded 10th, the baseball team was 16-11 overall before opening the Division I district tournament May 15 at home against 23rd-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 30th-seeded Pickerington Central in the second round.
The winner plays seventh-seeded UA or 29th-seeded Westerville South in a district semifinal Monday, May 20, at the home of the better seed.
That winner likely faces defending state champion and fourth-seeded Olentangy Liberty in a district final Wednesday, May 22, at a site to be announced. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at Coffman.
The Shamrocks closed the regular season May 11 by splitting a doubleheader with Beavercreek, winning 3-1 and losing 6-3.
With a 3-2 loss to UA on May 10, Coffman finished third in the OCC-Central at 9-6, behind the Golden Bears (13-2) and Marysville (10-5).
The Shamrocks lost all three matchups with UA, also falling 9-3 on April 29 and 5-4 on April 30.
On May 10, Ryan Ebeling struck out 11 and gave up two earned runs on eight hits over the eight innings. UA won the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Lacrosse teams begin postseason
The boys and girls lacrosse teams each opened their postseasons this week.
The fourth-seeded girls team was 13-6 after opening the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 13 at home by beating 16th-seeded Bradley 15-5 in the first round.
The Shamrocks play fifth-seeded Scioto in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 17, at the home of the better seed. That winner faces second-seeded Jerome, seventh-seeded Springboro 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.
Coffman lost to Jerome 13-5 on May 3 and Scioto 10-9 on May 9. Against the Irish, Delaney Murray, Lexi Piekarski and Amanda Bailey each scored three goals.
Murray had four goals in a 13-8 win over Columbus School for Girls on May 7.
The top-seeded boys team was 16-1 before playing host to 16th-seeded Westerville South in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament May 14.
The winner plays eighth-seeded Strongsville or 12th-seeded Olmsted Falls in a regional quarterfinal Friday, May 17, at the home of the better seed. That winner faces fourth-seeded Delaware, fifth-seeded Medina, 10th-seeded Westerville Central or 13th-seeded Perrysburg in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 21, at the home of the better seed. The regional final is May 24.
The Shamrocks overcame a 6-2 deficit to beat New Albany 13-6 on May 7. Evan James had five goals and Nick Harris scored three.
Boys volleyball team ends regular season
The boys volleyball team was 16-7 overall and had won four consecutive matches before closing the regular season May 15 at Licking Heights.
The Shamrocks beat Pickerington North 25-19, 25-14, 25-17 on May 7 to finish runner-up in the OCC-Ohio at 12-2.
Coffman received the sixth seed for the Division I East Region tournament and opens Saturday, May 18, at home against 12th-seeded Olentangy Orange or 13th-seeded Westerville Central. The winner plays fifth-seeded Olentangy or eighth-seeded Olentangy Liberty on Tuesday, May 21, in a regional semifinal at a site to be announced. The winner of that match plays in a district final May 24 at Westerville Central.