While Columbus Academy field hockey coach Anne Horton cherishes her program's success, she admits she rarely glances at the school trophy cases where her team's awards are displayed.
Instead, Horton would rather focus on the future and her team's pursuit of its 12th state title.
The Vikings earned their 11th title last season, defeating Hudson 3-0 to finish 21-0 overall. They also won the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division at 8-0.
"We've brought it up here and there, but for the most part that's last year," said Horton, who is in her 29th season. "I really don't reference it too much because it doesn't serve too much of a purpose. Last year's success puts a target on our back. I actually don't pay any attention to (the trophy cases) at all and the girls don't look at (them), either."
Academy was 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the COFHL-East before playing Lancaster on Aug. 29.
The Vikings defeated Columbus School for Girls 8-0 on Aug. 22 and Olentangy Orange 4-0 on Aug. 26. Junior attacker Charlotte Adams scored twice against CSG, and junior midfielder Regan Cornelius had three goals against Orange.
Senior goaltender Alex Phelps collected two saves in the two games.
"Coming off such a strong season, the kids were trying to restart and create their own identity, which is always a challenge," Horton said. "We had some really great seniors last year. (They were) talented athletically and their leadership was very strong. Getting these kids established and start again is always something you're waiting to see how it emerges. This group has done a great job."
Along with Adams, Cornelius and Phelps, another key returnee is senior midfielder Kiersten Thomassey, who has committed to North Carolina.
"We think about last year and we know that we have something to protect," Thomassey said. "We're all using that as a way to unify our team and to motivate our team. We're really proud of it. Everybody has something strong that they can bring to the team to make us who we are. Although we did lose a couple of key players, we have enough depth to make a strong team."
Other returnees are seniors Lauren Bernacki (midfielder/def-ender), Helene Duebel (midfielder/defender), Riley Hennessey (defender), Belle Kornberg (defender), Annie Wimsatt (defender/midfielder) and Abby Yakam (attacker), juniors Sarah Klingerman (defen-der/midfielder) and Suzy L'Hommedieu (defender) and sophomore Carolyn Vaziri (attacker/midfielder).
Other players are juniors Amelia Bruggeman (attacker), Ashley Reynolds (attacker) and Sarah Silver (goalie), sophomores Mya Falkenhain (defender/midfielder), Avery Mitchell (attacker) and Maya Walter (defender/midfielder) and freshmen Maren Lawrence (attacker) and Adeti Mohanselvan (attacker).
Cross country teams face new challenge
Despite moving from Division III to Division II for the postseason, cross country coach Denny Hammond is confident his boys and girls teams will remain among the area's elite.
Academy opened in the Newark Catholic Invitational on Aug. 24 at Bryn Du Mansion, with the boys finishing ninth (208) of 20 teams behind champion Fredericktown (112).
Junior Luke Nester led the way, finishing second of 174 runners in 16 minutes, 45.1 seconds. He was followed by junior Jake Huddleston (25th, 18:14), junior Calvin Wade (56th, 19:08), senior Alex O'Connor (57th, 19:08.4) and sophomore Peter Heermann (69th, 19:24.9).
Senior Charlie Sabgir missed the meet because of another school commitment but should be a key contributor.
"The boys team is coming around," said Hammond, who is in his fifth season. "These kids ran all summer and did what they were supposed to do. They're working. We have a nice group."
Nester led Academy last season at state, finishing 36th (17:24.2) of 181 runners.
The girls had just three runners compete in the opener, with senior Annalise Grammel finishing second (20:07.3) and Cornelius placing third (20:07.6) of 148 runners.
"Annalise and Regan are neck and neck," Hammond said.
Sophomore Madeline Proctor tied for 88th (25:38.2).
Other key contributors should be sophomore Janet Li and freshman Samantha Frickel.
Grammel is looking to qualify for her fourth state meet after finishing 25th (20:11.8) of 179 runners last season to earn all-state honors for the third time.
Grammel was MSL-Ohio Runner of the Year, with Cornelius also earning first-team all-league honors.
Football team to face Newark Catholic
The football team will look to continue its recent success against host Newark Catholic on Saturday, Sept. 7.
The teams have met each of the past four seasons, with the Vikings winning 38-0 in 2017 and 16-14 last season. The Green Wave won 34-26 in 2016 and 21-20 in 2015.
"Newark Catholic is a tremendous program, one of the most successful in the state," Academy coach Robin Miller said. "Coach (Ryan) Aiello and his staff are doing a very impressive job over there and we had a heck of a battle last year. Our two teams always play tough, hard-fought games, regardless of how the final score turns out.
"They play sound, aggressive football and any time a staff is in year two, it's typical to expect major improvements overall. We've got our hands full for sure this week."
Academy's spread offense is led by quarterback Brady Hess, who passed for 1,819 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.
Carter Warstler, who has moved from running back to slot receiver, led the Vikings in rushing with 466 yards and seven touchdowns.
Donovan Simpson anchors the offensive line at left guard.
The Green Wave finished 3-7 a year ago. Senior running back Derek Hawk missed most of last season with an injury, while senior quarterback Matt Carlisle began last year as the starter but suffered a torn labrum in Week 4 and missed the remainder of the season.
The Vikings opened Aug. 30 against Cincinnati Wyoming and Newark Catholic opened Aug. 31 against Edon.
Below are the coming schedules for the Academy cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 7 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Watterson
*Sept. 11 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 8-9 -- Kiely Cup at Canterbury
*Sept. 5 -- Wellington at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 10 -- Bexley and Wellington at Raymond Memorial
Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Hartley
*Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Bexley
*Sept. 11 -- At Wellington
*Sept. 7 -- At Wellington
Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Hartley
*Sept. 5 -- At Wellington
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Indian Hill and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Sept. 11 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 5 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Sept. 10 -- At Whitehall