The most enjoyable aspect of the postseason for Dublin Jerome High School track and field athlete Emily Oiler might be the surge she feels when she's competing.
At the 17-team Division I, district 3 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby, the junior placed in two events while helping the Celtics finish sixth (39 points) behind champion Olentangy Orange (125.5).
Oiler earned a runner-up finish in the 400 meters (59.22 seconds) behind Eastmoor Academy's Jaylin Bradshaw (58.99) and joined Raegan Ernst, Samantha Melican and Maya Fuller on the first-place 1,600 relay (3:59.52).
"I was really pushing for first (in the 400), but I (ran a personal-best time) so I'm happy with what I did," Oiler said. "By (this) week, I'll be doing a lot better. I was trying to stick with (Bradshaw) and she pushed me to PR, which is awesome. That's the good competition you face at these meets that helps you PR. It's my first time going to regionals, so I'm really excited."
The regional meet began May 22 and concludes Friday, May 24, at Pickerington North, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to the state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Also capturing a district championship for the girls team was Ernst in the 300 hurdles (45.25).
Ernst and Fuller are freshmen and Melican is a sophomore.
"We actually have two freshmen who came from Grizzell (Middle School) and they're really great, and we have a sophomore in Sam Melican who really has come up this season and has really impressed everyone," Oiler said.
Also scoring at district for the Celtics were Fuller in the 400 (sixth, 1:01.85), Audrey Cook in the 1,600 (eighth, 5:36.16), the 400 relay (seventh, 51.24), the 800 relay (sixth, 1:48.82) and the 3,200 relay (seventh, 9:58.45).
Leading the boys team in the 17-team district 3 meet was junior Elliott Cook, who won the 800 (1:53.37).
Also advancing to regional were senior Ross Stevenson in the pole vault (third, 13 feet, 4 inches), senior Alex Smythe in the 100 (fourth, 11.29) and junior Arjun Dhankani in the 3,200 (fourth, 10:04.44).
The Celtics scored 44.5 points to finish sixth behind champion Reynoldsburg (104).
"I'm happy with all of them making finals," coach Kalvin McRae said. "I'm definitely happy to have (Smythe) qualify. I'm happy to have Ross Stevenson qualify in the pole vault. If he does what he's supposed to do, he'll be in the mix."
Placing fifth to fall one spot shy of advancing were Ezra Strickland in the high jump (tied for fifth, 5-10) and the 3,200 relay of Jack Rozich, Andrew McPherson, Dhankani and Cook (8:20.45).
Tony Gyimah was sixth in the shot put (46-9 1/2), Smythe placed sixth in the 200 (23.35), Joey Pinney was sixth in the 110 hurdles (15.46) and the 800 relay was seventh (1:31.79). The 400 relay had the fourth-best time during preliminaries but false-started in the final.
Patel advances to state in tennis
Senior Anish Patel will represent the boys tennis team at the Division I state tournament Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Patel went 2-2 and placed fourth in singles in the district tournament held May 16 and 18 at Reynoldsburg, beating Upper Arlington's Hunter Triplett 6-2, 6-1 and Delaware's Kyle Klumpp 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 before losing to Thomas Worthington Kai Britz 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal. He then lost to New Albany's Ryan Mudre 6-0, 6-0 in the third-place match.
"It's incredible," Patel said. "I never thought I could make it (to state), but I surprised myself. It's just been a lot of hard work."
Also in singles at district, Max Fickas went 1-1, losing to Mudre 6-2, 6-2 in a quarterfinal, and Daniel Utkin also went 1-1, falling to eventual champion Reece Yakubov of St. Charles 6-1, 6-1 in a quarterfinal.
In doubles, Andrew Dvorkin and Tanish Pairu went 1-1, losing to Olentangy's Sam Routzahn and Omar Khayat 6-1, 7-6 in a quarterfinal, and Dylan Cai and Chris Knight also went 1-1, falling to eventual champions Alex Heiden and Sohan Pradhan of Orange 6-1, 6-2 in a quarterfinal.
"On every single court, we really, really battled," coach Ken Berlin said. "We had a couple good draws, a couple tough draws, but no matter what, we battled."
On May 14, the Celtics lost to New Albany 3-0 in a district final of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament to finish 17-2. It was Jerome's first district final appearance in the team tournament.
Boys lacrosse team advances in tourney
The second-seeded boys lacrosse team opened the Division I, Region 1 tournament by rolling past 15th-seeded Brunswick 16-2 on May 14 and beat seventh-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 13-8 in a regional quarterfinal May 17.
The Celtics were 16-5 before playing sixth-seeded Olentangy on May 21 in a regional semifinal. The winner plays top-seeded Coffman or fifth-seeded Medina in the regional final Saturday, May 24, at a neutral site.
The regional champion plays Cleveland St. Ignatius, North Canton Hoover, Shaker Heights or Lakewood St. Edward in a state semifinal Tuesday, May 28, at a neutral site. The state final is June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan.
Girls lacrosse team again beat Irish
The second-seeded girls lacrosse team defeated fifth-seeded Scioto 11-6 on May 20 at home in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal to improve to 16-2-1.
The Celtics play top-seeded Upper Arlington in the regional final Thursday, May 23, at a neutral site. The regional champion will play Cincinnati Sycamore or Mason in a state semifinal Wednesday, May 29, at a neutral site.
The state final is June 1 at Ohio Wesleyan.
Jerome, which beat Scioto 19-11 on April 30, lost to UA 11-10 on May 7 but defeated Thomas 13-11 on April 10.
The Celtics opened the postseason with a 16-2 victory over 17th-seeded Kettering Fairmont on May 14 and beat seventh-seeded Springboro 16-4 in a regional quarterfinal May 17. Against Fairmont, Izzy Francati had four goals and Sydney Stone and Liv Sivak both scored three.
Boys volleyball team reaches regional semi
The fourth-seeded boys volleyball team was 16-8 before playing third-seeded Gahanna in a Division I East Region semifinal May 21 at Mount Vernon.
The winner plays second-seeded Mount Vernon or seventh-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a regional final Friday, May 24, at Westerville Central. The regional champion advances to a state semifinal June 1 at Capital.
Jerome opened the postseason May 18 by beating 17th-seeded Upper Arlington 25-10, 25-18, 25-12.
The Celtics lost to Mount Vernon 25-16, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15 on May 6 and split a pair of matches with Bradley, winning 25-19, 24-26, 19-25, 25-22, 15-12 on April 9 and losing 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22 on April 30.
Baseball team losing six seniors
The baseball team should have a strong base with which to start next season despite losing six seniors.
Among the seniors was Trent Belli, a first baseman and Ohio University recruit who missed the entire season with a right shoulder injury.
Another top player, sophomore shortstop Nick Lapham, was batting .364 through six games before suffering a season-ending broken wrist.
"Injuries finally took its toll," said coach Chris Huesman, whose team closed the season on a nine-game losing streak. "(It was an) excellent group to be around every day."
Seeded ninth, Jerome lost to 18th-seeded Watkins Memorial 4-3 in nine innings in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 15. The Celtics then lost to Olentangy Liberty 13-2 in a regular-season game May 17 to finish 13-13 overall after starting 13-4.
Jerome went 6-8 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish fifth behind champion Darby (11-3).
Other key seniors included Nate Davis (3B/P), Carson Rengel (P) and Hayden Schell (CF).
Davis led the pitching staff with a 5-3 record and a 1.30 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings and Rengel was 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 32 innings.
Junior Dan Wilson (P/DH) was 1-4 with a 3.42 ERA in 28 2/3 innings and juniors Drew Haab (utility/P) and Easton Gross (P/utility) also started games. Juniors Alex Fox (OF/P), Ryan Callahan (P/OF), Adam Booth (2B/P/utility) and Evan Hannan (P/utility) were others who pitched in multiple games.
Schell started in center field, but the rest of the everyday lineup is eligible to return.
Callahan batted .377 with 10 RBI, sophomore Ryan Miller (C/P/utility) hit .362 with 14 RBI, junior Wil Piccin (C/DH) had 16 hits and Booth batted .321.
Others eligible to return include juniors Joe Callahan (P/utility), Mike Callahan (utility), Brady Fagan (1B) and Avery Mlicki (INF) and sophomores Chuck Kupfer (2B) and Sammy Stoner (OF/P/utility).
"We will have eight of the nine starters back," Huesman said. "The entire squad is battle-tested from top to bottom. We will be experienced in every position. We need to stay healthy for once, and if we do, we will be solid."