With about half as many seniors on the roster as a year ago, sophomore midfielder Sydney Onega wasn't sure what kind of product the Hartley High School girls lacrosse team would put on the field this season.
A strong finish to the regular season and a win to open the postseason in some ways has gone beyond what Onega and the Hawks imagined.
Hartley has six seniors, but numerous key roles were assumed by sophomores and juniors this spring.
"I'm very proud of (our progress)," Onega said. "We lost (11) seniors from last season, so we knew it was going to be a rebuilding season and we've been doing much better than we all thought. Our chemistry is great. It's been awesome."
The sixth-seeded Hawks opened the Division II, Region 7 tournament May 16 with a 19-12 victory over 11th-seeded Olentangy Berlin. They had won three consecutive games before losing to third-seeded Granville 13-7 in a regional quarterfinal May 18 to finish 11-9.
Hartley also lost to the Blue Aces 15-11 on April 25 in a contest that ended with six minutes remaining because of bad weather.
Against Berlin, the Hawks led 8-7 at halftime before seizing control in the second half.
"We were just being more aggressive on the draw and going to the ball a little bit more aggressively and boxing out so that we could get the possession on the draw," coach Molly Gilbert said. "We were spreading out a little bit on offense so we could hit the seams because they were double-teaming pretty heavily."
Onega has been the focus of opposing defenses throughout the season because of her ability to score.
She scored 12 goals in an 18-16 victory over Delaware in the Hawks' regular-season finale May 8 and had seven goals on 11 shots against Berlin while also winning nine draws.
Onega finished with a program-record 101 goals.
"She's been in double digits (in goals) almost every game in the second half of the season, so (Berlin) did a great job blocking her off," Gilbert said. "We've been working on her being a passing threat as well expecting the double- and triple-teams to be coming."
Colleen Sweeney and Tommie Lipp each had five goals and Sienna Caridi scored two against Berlin, a first-year program that finished 8-11.
"We were talking a lot on defense (in the second half against Berlin)," Onega said. "Sometimes we don't slide on defense, so that really helped us (against Berlin). The first half, we were kind of rocky with turnovers, but we worked on what we needed to at halftime."
Baseball team reaches district semifinal
The top-seeded baseball team was 20-5 before playing seventh-seeded DeSales in a Division II district semifinal May 20.
The winner played Lakewood or Licking Valley in a district final May 22. The district champion plays Gnadenhutten Indian Valley, Warsaw River View, Steubenville or Zanesville Maysville in a regional semifinal May 30 at Ohio University.
The Hawks opened the district tournament May 16 with a 5-2 victory over 12th-seeded Bexley as Jacob Culbertson pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts, Philip Cole hit a two-run home run and Jake Skelly had an RBI.
"We played really great defense," said Culbertson, who allowed seven hits. "Not as much offense today, so we had to rely on our defense to do well and they stepped up when we needed them to. I was keeping hitters off balance, speeding them up and breaking it off with the curveball. I didn't get behind a lot and got ahead a lot, which helped.
"We had a great win (9-2 over Bloom-Carroll on May 13) going into this win and it really boosted our confidence and allowed us to play our best."
Track athletes set for regional
Members of the track and field teams are set to compete in the Division II regional Thursday, May 23, and Saturday, May 25, at Lexington.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
The boys team won its second consecutive district title, scoring 140 points in the district 2 meet held May 14, 15 and 18 at Westerville North to finish first of 13 teams, well ahead of runner-up Bloom-Carroll (85).
Miles Fleming led the Hawks, winning both the 100 meters (11.08 seconds) and 200 (22.61) and teaming with Richard Kenny, Angelo Evans and Cameron Thomas on the winning 800 relay (1:30.82) and with Kenny, T.J. Johnson and Evans on the first-place 400 relay (43.89).
Also advancing were Thomas in the 200 (second, 22.74), Reese Barker in the high jump (fourth, 5 feet, 9 inches), Troy Fowler in the high jump (second, 6-1), Trey Saunders in the 110 hurdles (third, 16.2) and 300 hurdles (first, 40.75), Patrick Scurlock in the 110 hurdles (first, 15.7) and 300 hurdles (second, 41.82), Juston Steward in the 400 (fourth, 52.51), the 1,600 relay of Steward, Johnson, Daniel Walker and Scurlock (first, 3:26.34) and the 3,200 relay of Eayuel Gebrtsadik, Adam Dinovo, Luke Vautour and Cam Griffith (fourth, 8:44.3).
The girls team scored 87 points to finish third in the 13-team district 1 meet behind Buckeye Valley (147) and Berlin (88).
Advancing were Emily Moore in the 100 hurdles (third, 17.0) and 300 hurdles (third, 48.67), Abby Rhodes in the long jump (second, 15-5), Bailey Smith in the 100 hurdles (first, 16.37), Jaiden Stratton in the 200 (third, 27.28), Alexis Wade in the 100 (second, 13.07), Kayla Walker in the 100 (third, 13.31), Kayla Williams in the 800 (fourth, 2:28.26), the 400 relay of Smith, Walker, Wade and England Ladd (second, 51.34), the 800 relay of Smith, Stratton, Rhodes and Alana Colvin (third, 1:49.46) and the 1,600 relay of Megan Luallen, Rhodes, Cara Luallen and Moore (third, 4:17.62).