Sara Borton's stomach was in knots, but the Olentangy Orange High School sophomore didn't show it.
Borton won the pole vault (12 feet, 4 inches) in the Division I regional girls track and field meet, advancing to state Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
"I never thought I'd be going to the state meet," Borton said. "I put so much effort into it this week. The nerves, my heart was in my stomach the entire week. The nerves just pushed me a little bit, and I'm so happy for it."
In her first season with the program, Borton will be among a large contingent of Orange athletes at state.
"This is my first time ever in track and field and I picked pole vault," Borton said. "My family told me I should try this out.
"I actually started clearing real high heights. Everybody was coming up to me and saying, 'You have such a great talent in pole vault, you need to keep it up,' so I did. The community was so great. It kept me going."
The girls finished third (51 points) in the regional, which concluded May 24 at Pickerington North, behind Gahanna (89) and Westerville Central (54) as 38 teams scored.
Grace Frye won the discus (137-9) and was sixth in the long jump (17-1 1/2), although she did not compete in the shot put or 300-meter hurdles. Instead, she ran on the fourth-place 400 relay (48.49 seconds) with Brenda Agyekum, Maya Patterson and Ava Musgrove.
Frye also was on the sixth-place 800 relay (1:44.31) with Camille Barron, Kylie Hanson and Musgrove.
Allie Guagenti placed third in the 1,600 (5:00.36) and was a member of the fourth-place 3,200 relay (9:23.18) with Lindsay Ott, Abby Schroff and Quinn Shannon. Anna Grabau was fourth in the discus (125-6).
The top four finishers in each event advanced to state. Also, two at-large state berths were awarded in each event based on times and distances statewide.
"We really did better than expectations," coach Adam Walters said. "We had some great performances across the board."
Senior Andrew Schroff won the 1,600 (4:16.34) and Jaeschel Acheampong was first in the long jump (23-9 3/4) as the boys were runners-up (54) behind Pickerington Central (101) as 42 teams scored.
Jonathan Petersen was second in the pole vault (14-4), and Alex Kenish placed third in the 800 (1:51.92).
Schroff, who did not compete in the 800, and Kenish joined Lincoln Weber and Kyle Stringer on the third-place 3,200 relay (7:56.98).
"The regional meet is the toughest to coach because the season can be over at any moment," Walters said. "We have a lot of kids going to state and hopefully we'll have some up on the podium."
The 400 relay was seventh (42.89) with Tommy Torres, Matt Momburg, Russell Nemec and Ian Enders, and the 1,600 relay of Christian Wright, Corey Barr, Schroff and Kenish also was seventh (3:22.61).
Wright, Nick McDonald, Momburg and Enders were on the eighth-place 800 relay (1:30.05).
In the high jump, Joe Addo was sixth (6-4) and Nik Brannon was seventh (6-3). Eli Payne was 13th in the discus (122-11).
Also for the girls, the 1,600 relay of Hanson, Ott, Guagenti and Grace Bezold was sixth (4:00.84). In the 100, Musgrove was eighth (12.72) and Agyekum was 13th (12.98). Barron was 12th in the 200 (26.41) and Hanson was ninth in the 400 (1:00.39).
Baseball team falls in district final
The baseball team lost to sixth-seeded Hilliard Darby 5-2 in a Division I district final May 23 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
The third-seeded Pioneers finished 22-8 overall and 12-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
"(Darby's Connor Maruniak) mixed his pitches and stayed on the outer half of the plate most of the game," coach Tom Marker said. "They made some really good plays defensively and (Maruniak) threw strikes. You throw strikes in high school baseball and make plays defensively, you can win a lot of ballgames."
Those were the qualities displayed by the Pioneers in an 8-0 win over 13th-seeded Westerville Central in a district semifinal May 21 at Dublin Jerome, as junior Zane Lattig struck out six in a three-hitter.
Outfielder Robbie Dayhuff (second-team all-league; .346, 14 RBI, 19 runs) and first baseman Tyler Ross (first-team all-league; .434, 30 RBI, 12 runs, 7 doubles) led a five-player senior class.
Sophomore outfielder Caden Konczak (second-team all-league) batted .349 with 16 RBI, 26 runs and 12 stolen bases. Lattig (first-team all-league) was 7-4 with a 2.11 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings, and he batted .288 with 10 RBI and 16 runs.
Junior Josh Laisure (second-team all-league) was 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 34 1/3 innings, and he batted .301 with 17 RBI and 15 runs.
Junior second baseman Braden Riley (special mention all-league) batted .287 with 22 RBI, 22 runs and 16 stolen bases, and freshman shortstop Matthew Wolfe (honorable mention all-league) hit .259 with 15 RBI and 20 runs. Junior pitchers Kyle Dickson (4-0, 3.87 ERA, 11 strikeouts, 34 1/3 innings) and David Hughes (2-0, 1.43 ERA, 11 strikeouts, 29 1/3 innings) also are expected to return.
"I don't know how you measure whether this was a good first year (as coach)," Marker said. "Our kids had fun and played well, so that's a plus. But if we don't grow and get better next year then this year was for naught. ... We should have a lot of experience coming back and be able to build on this, but only time will tell."
Doubles team goes 1-1 at state
The doubles team of senior Alex Heiden and freshman Soham Pradhan went 1-1 in the Division I boys tennis state tournament May 24 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
The pair defeated Warren Harding's Alexander Payiavlas and Anthony Payiavlas 6-2, 6-3 before losing to Cincinnati Sycamore's Matt Bolger and Samuel Marcus 7-5, 6-3.
Heiden and Pradhan won sectional and district titles, while sophomores Nick Bardash and Pranav Krishnan went 0-1 in doubles at sectional. Freshman Chris Kraynak was 1-1 in singles, and sophomore Dillon Messick and freshman Parth Patel both were 0-1.
The Pioneers finished 8-6 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Volleyball team has injury-filled season
The boys volleyball team concluded its second season at 9-14 overall and 2-6 in the OCC-Buckeye, but coach Karlie Foy said the Pioneers battled injuries throughout.
Sophomore outside hitter Luke Little (second-team all-league; 66 kills) suffered a broken leg in practice after the ninth match.
"He carried so much of a percentage of our team's points," Foy said. "It took us a while to find our rhythm after that."
Orange had two seniors in Alex Manngard (right-side hitter) and Mason Sears (middle hitter; 27 aces).
Sophomore setter Sam Cochran (setter; 282 assists, 29 aces) and sophomore outside hitter Jake Smith (first-team all-league; 202 kills, 89 aces, 121 digs) lead the expected returnees. Junior right-side hitter Blake Saffell had 44 kills, and junior defensive specialists Jake Mattingly and Alex Heffner had 103 and 71 digs, respectively.
"We didn't have as many wins as we would have liked, but we gave a lot of kids opportunities to play and that will help us in the long run," Foy said.