The weekend the Wellington School boys tennis team has been building up to all season has arrived.
On Friday, May 24, junior Trevor Ball will enter the Division II state tournament as a No. 1 seed in singles, seeking the championship after earning a state runner-up finish a season ago. The tournament, which is being held at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, concludes Saturday, May 25.
Then on Sunday, May 26, at Reynoldsburg, the Jaguars are one of four teams competing in the state team competition.
Ball begins state individual competition against Warren John F. Kennedy's Armand Nannicola, who was the fourth seed from the Northwest District tournament. The winner faces Toledo Ottawa Hills' Matthew McGee or Cincinnati Country Day's Manav Midha in a quarterfinal.
Last season, Ball beat McGee 6-1, 6-0 in a state quarterfinal and won his semifinal match in three sets before losing to Cincinnati Indian Hill's Andrew Pregel 6-0, 6-0 in the title match.
Ball missed most of the regular season with a right shoulder injury but has had little trouble in the postseason thus far.
At district May 16 at Columbus Academy and May 18 at Reynoldsburg, he won all three of his matches in straight sets, including a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Academy's Drew Haffer for the district title.
"He did a real good job of hitting his targets," assistant coach Dick Cassie said. "He's obviously working to control his shoulder so that his shoulder problem doesn't get worse. He had less than a half a dozen unforced errors (against Haffer), so he really played a good, solid match in both sets. He's been feeling really good."
Youngstown Ursuline also has qualified to compete in the state team event. Toledo Ottawa Hills played Lexington for the Northwest District title on May 21 and Cincinnati Country Day beat Cincinnati Seven Hills 3-0 on May 20 for the Southwest District championship.
Last season, Wellington beat Gates Mills Hawken 3-0 in a semifinal and Indian Hill 3-2 for the title.
"This is our second time in a row going (to the state team tournament), which is pretty cool," Ball said. "It's the first time our school has done that. I'm feeling pretty good and feeling pretty confident."
Also at district, senior Adam Sorrels lost to Academy's Ryan Panley 6-2, 6-4 in a first-round singles match, junior Milan Gonela and sophomore Griffin Biernat beat DeSales' Liam Verfurth and Will McAfee-Witherspoon 6-0, 6-0 in a first-round doubles match before losing to Academy's Arie Tuckerman and Jack Madison 6-4, 6-2 in a semifinal and senior Anurag Reddy and junior Ben Marshall lost 6-3, 6-0 to Tuckerman and Madison in a first-round doubles match.
Ball opened district by beating Watterson's Chris Finissi 6-0, 6-1 and Bexley's Jordan Koppes 6-2, 6-0.
"I didn't lose too many games out there because I was focused on getting each point so that I didn't have to be out there all day," Ball said. "I think my physical fitness was good, too."
Baseball team losing strong senior class
The baseball team is losing eight seniors after going 10-14 overall and tying Grove City Christian for fourth in the MSL-Cardinal Division at 5-7, behind champion Fisher Catholic (12-0).
The Jaguars were the eighth seed for the Division IV district tournament and lost to third-seeded Fisher Catholic 12-0 in a second-round game May 15.
Next season, Wellington will compete in the MSL-Ohio, according to coach Craig Jones.
"I'm really going to miss this group of seniors," Jones said. "They were probably one of the most committed groups I've coached at Wellington. They were incredible leaders and teammates. All eight of them are young men of high character and I know they will go on to be great individuals.
"Next year's group is young and will have a challenging road ahead of them as we will be moving to the Ohio Division of the MSL. They have shown, however, that there is good reason to be optimistic about what lies ahead."
Leading the senior class were Jack Haney (1B/OF/P), Trevor McCraw (C/P/INF), Ryan Ouellette (P/1B/OF), William Roy (INF/DH) and Ian Frim (CF/INF/P).
Haney batted .371 with two home runs and 19 RBI, McCraw hit .365 with two home runs and 16 RBI and Ouellette batted .338 with 17 RBI.
Junior Josh Wooddell (INF/P) and freshmen Elliot Harpham (utility), Chase Ouellette (utility), Robert Boyd (utility) and Caleb Wooddell (utility) should be among the top returnees.
Chase Ouellette led the Jaguars in batting (.412), RBI (23) and stolen bases (19), Boyd hit .318 with 16 RBI and Josh Wooddell had 11 RBI and scored 11 runs.
"I'm really proud and pleased with the way the boys progressed through the course of the season," Jones said.
"We started out 3-7 in the first 10 games and then went 8-7 the rest of the way. They kept a positive attitude, learned when things didn't go their way and then applied the new things they learned into the next game. This group worked and played like a team from start to finish. A few guys were called upon to assume roles for the first time in their high school baseball career and they answered that call without hesitation."
Boys lacrosse team takes step forward
After going 2-10 last season, the boys lacrosse team more than doubled its win total this spring under third-year coach Eric Fraser.
The Jaguars were the 16th seed for the Division II, Region 7 tournament and lost to 10th-seeded Granville 20-5 on May 11 in a first-round game to finish 5-8.
Wellington earned wins over Johnstown (14-10 on April 9), Xenia (10-2 on April 15), Newark (19-3 on April 18), Trenton Edgewood (8-5 on April 27) and Dayton Chaminade Julienne (13-12 in overtime May 4).
There were 10 seniors in the program.
"It was really nice to have as many seniors as we did," Fraser said. "It made things a lot easier. The culture is finally at the level I'd like it to be. A lot of our losses were losses I'd expect us to have. We played our best lacrosse the last two or three games and finished the season on a really high note."
Seniors Katz Kadlic (midfielder), Ben Edwards (attacker) and Ben Sierzputowski (defender) led the way. Kadlic had 32 goals, 13 assists and 80 ground balls, Edwards had 22 goals, 14 assists and 31 ground balls and Sierzputowski, a first-year competitor, had 34 ground balls.
Juniors Todd Bainbridge (attacker) and Zeke Lloyd (midfielder) and freshmen Beck Liles (midfielder/attacker) and Gavin Ray (defender) should be among the top returnees.
Lloyd, who had 46 ground balls, played mostly at midfielder but could transition to attack next season, according to Fraser.
Most of roster should return for girls team
The girls lacrosse team had just two seniors in midfielder Mackenzie Beam, who had 16 goals, and goalkeeper Ella Sweitzer.
The Jaguars, who finished 3-11, had three other goalies in freshmen Kate Harvey-Thurston, Maddie Paull and Jameela Askira.
The leading scorer was junior Mia Croft (attacker), who had 36 goals.
Juniors Sarah Anderson (midfielder), Anna Chester (defensive midfielder) and Lindsay Harris (defender), sophomore Lauren Sabol (midfielder) and freshmen Macy Croft (midfielder), Hannah Kennedy (attacker), Lauren Okoye (defender), Jessie Seitz (attacker) and Rhea Singh (defensive midfielder) are others eligible to return.
Wellington posted regular-season wins over Whetstone (18-5 on April 9) and Buckeye Valley (19-10 on April 30) and beat 16th-seeded Dayton Miami Valley 10-3 on May 11 in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 tournament as the 15th seed before losing to top-seeded DeSales 20-1 in the second round.