Things didn't go as well as the Dublin Jerome High School girls lacrosse team hoped when it got a second shot at Upper Arlington on May 23 with the Division I, Region 3 championship on the line.
The second-seeded Celtics, who had lost to UA 11-10 on May 7, again fell to the top-seeded and four-time defending state champion Golden Bears, losing 11-4 at Scioto to finish 14-3-1 overall.
"We set out on this journey at the beginning of the year to be state champions, so obviously falling short of that is slightly disappointing, but what we're focusing on right now is (that) we made history," said coach Kendall Gordon, whose team reached a regional final for the first time. "We've never been as successful as we are now. ... That's something we are so proud of, but more so than that, it's about the culture we've built. When I came in two years ago, nobody had the thought of making it this far in the tournament or having a chance to win a state championship. Now we know that's a possibility."
Jerome, which went 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to win a second consecutive league title, got two goals from junior Izzy Francati (midfielder/attacker) and one apiece from juniors Sydney Stone (midfielder) and Liv Sivak (attacker) in the regional final.
The Celtics beat fifth-seeded Scioto 11-6 in a regional semifinal May 20.
Francati, who missed all of last season with an injury, was a big part of the breakthrough because of the all-around skills she added to the offense.
Jerome is losing four seniors in attacker/midfielder Gabby Rothermund, defenders Kate Edwards and Mary Grace Zamary and goalkeeper Mackenzie Potts. Rothermund has committed to play for Regis University.
Others eligible to return include juniors Katie McKibben (attacker) and Emmy Peele (midfielder), sophomores Catie Berniger (attacker), Olivia Brooks (attacker/defender), Kara Gosnell (attacker), Katelyn Root (defender/midfielder) and Izzy Seikel (attacker) and freshman Ida Modin (midfielder).
"We're a really young team with a lot of talent who all got time this year and are ready to make an impact," Francati said. "I'm really excited for next year to have an experienced group who have been coached by our head coach, Kendall Gordon, for multiple years now."
Cook, girls relay advance to state
Elliott Cook will represent the boys track and field team in the Division I state meet Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
The junior advanced to state by placing second in the 800 meters (1 minute, 51.66 seconds) in the regional meet that conclude May 24 at Pickerington North.
The top four finishers in each regional event automatically qualified for state. In addition, two at-large berths were awarded in each event based on time, height or distance statewide.
Representing the girls team at state will be the 1,600 relay of junior Emily Oiler, sophomore Samantha Melican and freshmen Raegan Ernst and Maya Fuller. The foursome placed fourth (3:58.51) at regional.
Also competing at regional were Ernst in the 300 hurdles (sixth, 45.6) and Oiler in the 400 (eighth, 59.48) for the girls team and Alex Smythe in the 100 (ninth, 11.37), Ross Stevenson in the pole vault (11th, 13 feet) and Arjun Dhankani in the 3,200 (14th, 9:54.75) for the boys squad.
Ernst just missed advancing to state in the 300 hurdles, as Loveland's Jordan Morrison (45.37) earned the second at-large berth.
The girls scored nine points at regional to tie for 22nd behind champion Gahanna (89) as 38 teams scored, and the boys scored eight points to tie for 25th behind champion Pickerington Central (101) as 42 teams scored.
Volleyball team stung by Yellow Jackets
For the third consecutive season, the boys volleyball team ended its season as a regional runner-up.
The fourth-seeded Celtics defeated third-seeded Gahanna 28-26, 25-17, 25-20 in a Division I East Region semifinal May 21 at Mount Vernon before losing to second-seeded Mount Vernon 25-23, 25-23, 27-25 in a regional final May 24 at Westerville Central to finish 17-9.
"We just needed to make a play here, a play there and we missed them," coach Phil Cagnoli said. "(Mount Vernon is) very physical. There's a lot of great athletes on that team and they did a nice job. They did what they needed to do to beat us."
The Celtics are losing five seniors in Jack Fedurek (defensive specialist), Cam Rich (outside hitter), Andrew Shen (middle hitter), Gage Utrup (outside hitter) and Brendan Zimovan (middle hitter).
"They've been unbelievable, even seeing the way they reacted when the last ball dropped," Cagnoli said. "I didn't expect that. That's the most buy-in I've had from a class, and it showed. We are where we are because of that group and hopefully the kids coming on through behind them honor that and continue to push this program past this point."
Junior libero Tommy Poole and junior setter Leo Morales are poised to lead the team next season.
Others eligible to return include juniors Nathan Chao (setter/outside hitter), Prithvi Mekala (middle hitter) and Matt Paul (defensive specialist) and sophomores Tyler Nutting (outside hitter), Hrushi Muskula (defensive specialist) and Ben Cripe (outside hitter).
"We put a hard schedule together so that we'd be prepared," Poole said. "Overcoming injuries strengthened us."
Boys lacrosse team ousted by Coffman
The second-seeded boys lacrosse team was tied with top-seeded Coffman at 3 after the first quarter in the Division I, Region 1 final May 24 at Scioto, but the Shamrocks seized control during the middle two periods on their way to a 20-11 victory.
The Celtics, who also lost Coffman 10-1 on March 21, finished 17-6 overall.
"We have a very talented team and a couple breaks didn't go our way in the third quarter and they took advantage of it," coach Andy Asmo said.
Jerome is losing seven seniors led by Andrew Brim (attacker), Cam Ewing (midfielder), Brandon Infante (defender), Reid McCrabb (attacker/faceoff specialist), Ray Prochko (midfielder) and Trey Welch (midfielder).
Juniors Zach Dubai (defender) and Evan Wieklinski (goalie) and sophomores Carter Barco (attacker), Jack Donahue (faceoff spec-ialist/midfielder) and Seth Martin (defender) should be among the top returnees.
Barco, Brim, Infante, Dubai, Martin, Prochko and Welch were named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal as the Celtics went 7-0 to win the league championship. Donahue was second-team all-league and Wieklinski was honorable mention all-league.
"The goal is to continue to move forward," said Asmo, whose team lost in a regional semifinal last season. "We're very blessed to have the seniors we had this year and we'll continue to try and improve in the future."
Patel ends tennis season at state
Anish Patel of the boys tennis team won the opening set in his first appearance at the Division I state tournament, but the junior lost 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Aidan Williams of Toledo St. John's in the opening round of singles play May 24 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason to finish the season.
"I developed a lot more trust in my game throughout the season," Patel said.
Patel played second singles for much of the regular season as Jerome went 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal to win its fifth consecutive league title. The Celtics reached a district final of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament for the first time, falling to New Albany 3-0 on May 14 to finish 17-2 overall.
Jerome is losing two seniors in Dylan Cai and Daniel Utkin. Cai teamed with junior Chris Knight to finish third in doubles at the sectional May 9 and 11 at Hilliard Bradley and the duo reached a district quarterfinal May 16 at Reynoldsburg, while Utkin placed third at sectional in singles and reached a district quarterfinal.
Freshman Max Fickas beat Patel 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 for the sectional title and saw his season end with a loss in a district quarterfinal.
Others eligible to return include junior Andrew Dvorkin and freshman Tanish Pairu, who teamed to finish second at sectional in doubles before losing in a district quarterfinal.
Also expected back are juniors Stanley Cao and Sahil Madan and freshman Kevin Liu.
"It was a great season for the guys, and most of the guys are coming back," coach Ken Berlin said. "We'll use (reaching the OTCA district final) and hopefully be a little stronger. We got great experience."