Thanks in part to various injuries, Lex Brookshire of the Olentangy High School girls track and field team didn't take up the 3,200 meters until this season despite being a three-time Division I state qualifier in cross country.
Nonetheless, the Indianapolis recruit will end her prep career by participating in the 3,200 in the state meet Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State after finishing second (10 minutes, 49.23 seconds) at regional May 24 at Pickerington North.
"I've always wanted to compete at the state meet. This (running) is such a passion of mine," said Brookshire, who set a personal-best time by more than four seconds and is seeded seventh this weekend. "I never really thought about a goal time (at regional), just placement, but I'm thrilled with that. I've always kind of wanted to do the (3,200) but I have a big injury history, so I've never really been able to work up to this and I've mostly done the (800) and (1,600). But during cross country, I built up my endurance and this sounded fun to me anyway. It just seemed like a good fit."
Brookshire finished 1.3 seconds behind winner Andrea Kuhn of Watkins Memorial. The top four finishers in each event qualified for state.
Coupled with Muskan Arora's sixth-place finish in the 100 (12.68), Olentangy finished 20th (11 points) behind champion Gahanna (89) as 38 teams scored.
"(Brookshire) is pretty smart. She looked at what would give her the best chance to get to state and realized there was potential for her to do that in the (3,200)," said boys coach Ken Whalen, who has worked with Brookshire since she was in seventh grade. "In this region, for her to make it is quite an accomplishment. To get to state in any event around here is pretty impressive. For her, this has been six years in the making."
Brookshire will be joined at state by boys pole vaulter Cade Carter, who finished fourth (13-4) on May 22, and seated boys athlete Quin Forgrave, a freshman who will race in the 800.
Their finals will be June 1.
Carter, a junior, is participating in his first state meet.
"I had to know when to put some good weight into my vault because of the crosswind," he said. "I was so close to getting to state last year as a sophomore that that was huge motivation. This is a big deal to me. That gave me plenty of motivation and it was a great experience to help teach me exactly what I had to do even better this year."
Olentangy tied for 19th (11) behind champion Pickerington Central (101) as 42 teams scored.
Also competing but failing to advance were pole vaulter Zach Shiblaq (fifth, 13-4), Sam Holt in the 1,600 (seventh, 4:20.18) and 3,200 (13th, 9:50.43), the 3,200 relay of Holt, Chandler Moyer, Carter Schaefer and Mikey Worboy (10th, 8:12.7) and Schaefer in the 3,200 (15th, 9:59.77).
Tennis season ends at state
Sophomore Sam Routzahn and freshman Omar Khayat's appearance in the Division I state tournament capped a successful season for the boys tennis team.
Khayat and Routzahn went 0-1 on May 24 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, losing to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit's Ben Cors and Caleb Miller 6-2, 6-2.
They were the only state qualifiers for Olentangy, which went 13-4 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to win the program's first league championship.
Khayat and Routzahn finished third in both the sectional and district tournaments to earn their first state berths. They filled the Braves' first- and second-singles spots throughout the regular season.
"It's my most successful season as a coach and I know the guys were super happy with the way things have turned out," coach Jeff Luxenburger said. "We've had a lot of big wins with a tough schedule and in a tough conference. Every match was tough. It was a good dynamic this year. ... We had different guys winning (in) every match. It was a real team effort and that's been a really positive thing."
Most of the lineup is eligible to return, including junior Ayush Sunkad, sophomore Roshan Sriram and freshman Trevor Gerald.
Girls lacrosse team loses regional final
Some of the same issues that hurt the girls lacrosse team in a 19-6 loss to New Albany on April 16 popped up again in the Division I, Region 1 final May 23 as the second-seeded Braves fell to the top-seeded Eagles 21-7 at Westerville Central.
Senior midfielder Kenzie Sklar, a Kent State recruit, scored four goals and senior attacker Maddie Garner added two, but the Braves fell behind 13-3 by halftime.
"We made our own mistakes. They are a very talented team that is going to capitalize on everything they should and that's what they did," coach Amy McCormick said. "We haven't gotten this far in the postseason since these seniors were freshmen. We are very proud of them. We didn't show up (May 23) like we should have, but the season as a whole was pretty successful."
Olentangy went 15-6-1 overall and 5-2 in the OCC-Buckeye.
Garner had 111 goals, 11 assists and 140 draw controls and was named first-team all-league, all-region and all-state. Sklar had 93 goals, 16 assists and 82 draw controls, junior attacker Sydney Semel had 37 goals and 24 assists and senior attacker Katie Berberick added 35 goals and 23 assists.
Berberick, senior defender Evie Bull and Semel also were named first-team all-league. Senior defender Grace Cory, an Otterbein recruit, and Sklar were second-team all-league and junior defender Karlie Severance was honorable mention all-league.
Sklar was first-team all-region, Cory and Semel were second-team all-region and Bull was honorable mention all-region.
Top scorers expected back for boys lacrosse team
Daniel Warren's first season as boys lacrosse coach ended with the Braves advancing to a Division I, Region 1 semifinal for the third consecutive year, and several key players are eligible to return.
Senior attacker/midfielder Evan Parrott and junior attacker Khairi Sears shared the team lead in goals with 35, and Sears had a team-high 43 assists as Olentangy went 12-9 overall, losing at second-seeded Dublin Jerome 21-12 in a regional semifinal May 21. Parrott had five goals and junior midfielder Hunter Boehm and Sears each scored twice.
Freshman attacker Austin English had 30 goals and 16 assists, ahead of junior attacker Aidan Moore (28 goals) and Boehm (23 goals).
Senior goalkeeper Sam McInturf stopped 243 of 424 shots.
"Early on (against Jerome), we played well and we were physical and running with them, but then they killed us in transition. They were beating us on ground balls. I knew we'd be able to score on them and once we got settled, we were in great shape, but they were hustling after ground balls and doing well in transition," Warren said. "We had young guys and even our seniors, a lot of them hadn't played a lot of varsity (before this season). The more experience we got, the more comfortable and confident we were."
Olentangy went 6-1 in the OCC-Buckeye and was seeded sixth in the 18-team regional tournament.
Sears was named first-team all-league and second-team all-region. McInturf, juniors James Everson (faceoff specialist), Zach Kershner (defender) and Moore were second-team all-league and Boehm was named honorable mention all-league.
McInturf was first-team all-region, Kershner was second-team all-region and Kershner and Moore were honorable mention all-region.