As Columbus Academy senior Samantha Kass approached her teammates after the final event of her prep track and field career, she couldn't hold back her emotions.
Those teammates embraced a tearful Kass after she helped lead the 1,600-meter relay to a third-place finish in the Division III state meet June 1 at Ohio State.
Kass, who will compete in swimming and diving at Emory University in Atlanta, was joined by junior Annalise Grammel and sophomores Regan Cornelius and Hannah Clay as the Vikings finished the race in a program-record 4 minutes.
Kass, Clay, Grammel and junior Kiersten Thomassey were fourth in the 800 relay (1:45.71).
"It's bittersweet to see my last chance to compete as a Viking," Kass said. "I love the track team. I started my sophomore year with these girls. It's been a really great family to be a part of these past three years. I'm very pleased with the third-place finish in the 1,600 relay. We're really happy with the way it ended."
The girls team tied for 20th (11 points) behind champion West Liberty-Salem as 69 teams scored.
Cornelius, Grammel, senior Maddie Tuckerman and freshman Mary Kate Prall were 12th in the 3,200 relay (10:00.34), junior Mabry Nichols was 16th in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and Grammel was 17th in the 800 (2:22.78).
Clay qualified for the final in the 400 but opted not to compete in the race.
"I couldn't be happier with these girls," coach Denny Hammond said. "It's a great group. They worked their butts off. I couldn't be prouder of them."
At regional, which concluded May 24 at Fairfield Union, Thomassey, Grammel, Kass and Clay won the 800 relay (1:45.93) and Kass, Cornelius, Grammel and Clay won the 1,600 relay (4:04.38).
Tuckerman, Cornelius, Prall and Grammel were second in the 3,200 relay (9:54.76), Clay was third in the 400 (59.7), Grammel was third in the 800 (2:21.54) and Nichols was fifth in the high jump (5-2).
Also, Thomassey was fifth in the 100 (12.91) and ninth in the 200 (27.14), Cornelius was sixth in the 1,600 (5:30.2) and Tuckerman was 10th in the 3,200 (12:14.16).
Senior Harry Mills led the boys team at state, placing fifth in the 200 (22.45) and teaming with senior Alex McClellan, junior Ezra Johnson and sophomore Sam Huyghe to finish fourth in the 800 relay (1:30.82).
"Considering I didn't run the 200 in the postseason last year, it feels great," Mills said. "I'm very happy with the team. We lost a lot of guys last year. We weren't too sure how we were going to do. To see what we were able to do, especially in the (800 relay) to place fourth at the state meet is really surprising to me."
Sophomore Luke Nester was 10th in the 1,600 (4:29.53), senior Caleb Crawley was 14th in the discus (144-1) and Mills, Johnson, Huyghe and Nester were 16th in the 1,600 relay (3:34.29).
Academy finished 25th (9) behind champion East Canton (42) as 78 teams scored.
Mills also led the Vikings at regional. He won the 200 (22.34), joined McClellan, Huyghe and Johnson on the winning 800 relay (1:30.36) and teamed with Johnson, Huyghe and Nester on the second-place 1,600 relay (3:27.59).
Nester was second in the 1,600 (4:25.22) and Crawley was fourth in the discus (144-6).
Senior Liam McCann was fifth in the 800 (2:00.76), Huyghe was sixth in the 400 (51.76), Johnson was seventh in the 200 (23.73), Nester, McCann, junior Charlie Sabgir and sophomore Jake Huddleston were ninth in the 3,200 relay (8:48.45) and Crawley was 13th in the shot put (42-10 1/2).
Doubles team wins state title
Two Academy doubles teams dominated play in the Division II boys tennis state tournament May 24 and 25 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, with senior Suriya Sundaram and junior Rhian Seneviratne winning the championship.
Sundaram and Seneviratne defeated sophomore teammates Jack Madison and Arie Tuckerman 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
It was the first state title for both Sundaram and Seneviratne.
"That was awesome," coach Marc Wurtzman said. "They worked hard to get there. They pushed each other through practice the last three weeks. Both teams played great and the final was a great match, also. It was unfortunate that one of the teams had to lose the match, but everyone was a winner in my mind."
Senior Drew Haffer went 1-1 in singles at state.
Academy finished 15-3 overall and went 5-0 (27 points) in the MSL-Ohio to win the league title ahead of runner-up Wellington (4-1, 20). The Vikings defeated Wellington 3-2 on April 23 in a league match but lost to the Jaguars 3-0 in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division II district final May 13.
Wellington went on to win its second consecutive state team title.
Other players eligible to return for Academy are junior Ryan Wahl, sophomore Lucas Huang and freshman Ryan Panley.
"We were very deep from top to bottom," Wurtzman said. "There wasn't a huge difference. We pushed each other through. Sometimes it's nice not to have a superstar."
Girls lacrosse team loses regional final
The girls lacrosse team advanced to its third consecutive Division II, Region 7 final, losing to DeSales 13-7 on May 24 at New Albany.
Seniors Lexi Leader (midfielder) and Avie Smith (attacker) each scored two goals to lead the Vikings, who also lost to the Stallions 16-7 last season and 14-4 in 2017 in regional finals.
Leader, who led Academy in scoring with 62 goals and eight assists, was named first-team all-state and all-region. She added 87 groundballs and 89 faceoff controls.
Freshman midfielder Evie Gee was first-team all-region, junior midfielder Lauren Bernacki was second-team all-region and senior attacker Tani Obikunle was honorable mention all-region.
Smith led in assists with 27.
Other players eligible to return are juniors Emma Belford (attacker), Riley Hennessy (defender), Alex Phelps (defender), Mackenzie Smith (attacker) and Abigail Yakam (midfielder), sophomores Charlotte Adams (defender/midfielder), Marin Henry (goalkeeper), Sarah Klingerman (defender), Suzy L'Hommedieu (defender/midfielder) and Ashley Reynolds (goalie) and freshmen Claudia Klingbeil (midfielder), Avery Mitchell (attacker) and Gurby Vaziri (midfielder).
Baseball team closes with winning record
The baseball team closed the season with a winning record, finishing 13-12 overall.
In a Division III district semifinal May 21, the 10th-seeded Vikings lost to ninth-seeded Northridge 8-0.
"We battled through some adversity early on in the season," coach Todd Dunkle said. "We had some players decide not to play, which cut our numbers down, so it took us a little while to get guys in positions that were going to work best for the team. Our goal is to always build towards the end of the year and that's what we did."
Senior Nick Rothmann (P/INF) led the Vikings in batting average (.487) with 24 runs, 10 doubles, a home run and 20 RBI. He was first-team all-district and all-league and honorable mention all-state.
Senior Jordan Dearing-Hardiman (INF/OF) hit .341 with 21 runs and 12 RBI. He was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Senior Hayden Compton (P/INF) batted .385 with 15 runs, two home runs and 17 RBI. He was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
On the mound, Compton went 4-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 17 walks in 34 2/3 innings.
Junior Andrew Leaventon (P/C/INF) hit .304 with 12 runs and 20 RBI and was second-team all-league. Junior Noah Glimcher (P/INF) was second-team all-league, and senior Evan Scott (P/OF) and sophomore Brady Hess (P/INF) were honorable mention all-league.
Other players eligible to return are junior Mitchell Priest (P/INF), sophomores Finn Cassady (INF/OF), Brian Comisar (OF), Keiran Gorospe (OF) and Jacob Podgurski (P/INF) and freshmen Tanner Compton (P/INF), Jonathan Hill (C/OF) and Carter James (P/INF/OF).