The Olentangy Berlin boys and girls cross country teams expect to continue making strides even though they're moving up to Division I this fall.
The girls had their first state participant last year as Meghan Boggess, who is now a senior, finished 45th in Division II in 20 minutes, 10.9 seconds.
Second-year coach Catherine Ubry said the girls team entered the season ready to excel.
"We built a strong foundation last year and this year's seniors did a good job of setting things up for us," she said. "They did a good job with leadership and motivation. They have been welcoming to the younger runners and everyone has meshed well."
The Bears opened by finishing second (96 points) in the 12-team Panther race of the Pickerington Classic on Aug. 24 at Pickerington North behind Thomas Worthington (83). Junior Katie Balthaser (14th, 20:13.0), Boggess (16th, 20:27.8), senior Rebecca Koppelman (17th, 20:29.5), freshman Grace Dahlke (24th, 20:54.0), sophomore Ada Freeman (25th, 20:55.4) and seniors Megan Schlabig (48th, 21:42.5) and Seville Davis (87th, 22:44.0) comprised the Bears' top seven.
On Aug. 31, they finished fifth (113) of 11 teams in the Westerville North Classic behind champion Lancaster (75) as Balthaser (13th, 20:27.95) and Dahlke (19th, 20:50.54) led the way.
"The pack has been close and we're deep," Ubry said.
The boys were eighth (200) of 18 teams at Pickerington North behind the champion and host Panthers (59). Junior Corey Reinhart (15th, 16:52.4) led the Bears, followed by junior Jack Dunlop (39th, 17:34.0), senior Grant Schrieber (44th, 17:40.4), sophomore Calvin Davies (48th, 17:50.4), senior Jacob Rietz (55th, 17:59.2), sophomore Wyatt Bednar (68th, 18:14.1) and senior Ethan Harsh (72nd, 18:18.2).
"We're running pretty consistently," second-year coach Anthony Beggrow said. "Everyone is training well and they have a lot of room to grow. They are making the right choices and taking care of the little things."
At Westerville North, the boys finished seventh (162) of 13 teams behind champion Orange (42) as Reinhart (10th, 16:36.8) and Davies (28th, 17:24.9) were the top performers.
"(Last year's juniors actually) have been a senior class for two years and have really set up the program," Beggrow said. "They have helped set up the future of the program and they have done everything I have asked and more."
Field hockey team earns first win
After finishing 0-15-1 last fall, the field hockey team earned its first victory by beating Lancaster 1-0 on Aug. 21.
The Bears were 1-4-1 overall before playing Hartley on Sept. 4 and are 0-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division. They tied Columbus School for Girls at 1 in their opener Aug. 19.
"We have a senior class this year, which is great because now we're starting to build a culture," second-year coach Maddie Goelz said. "We have a hard-working group and they came ready to work hard. We have come in with a different mentality, so hopefully we have a better record and better game strategy."
Berlin spread out playing time last season so many could get varsity experience. Key returning performers include senior defenders Bri Hibbitts and Morgan McNevin, junior midfielder Jenna Brennan and sophomore forwards Payton Aloi and Olivia Eisenhower. Sophomore Clarissa Blatnik is the starting goalkeeper.
Seniors Aditi Balakrishnan (defender), Tolan Cook (defen-der) and Piper Sullivan (midfielder), junior Dacey Redman (midfielder), sophomores Grace Bossetti (forward), Maggie Conrad (midfielder), Riya Nair (defender), Emma Walls (midfielder) and Emma Yi (midfielder) and freshmen Londyn McCoy (forward/midfielder) and Gia Myers (forward/midfielder) round out the roster.
Berlin lost COFHL-West contests to Thomas 6-0 on Aug. 26 and Upper Arlington 6-0 on Aug. 28. It lost to New Albany 7-0 on Aug. 24 and Bexley 3-0 on Aug. 29.
"We're calming down and being more logical about the plays we're seeing on the field," Goelz said.
Golfers wrapping up OCC-Cardinal play
The boys golf team shot 303 in the third round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 28 at Darby Creek to earn its first league victory over defending Division I state champion Dublin Jerome, which shot 309.
Entering the final round Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Denison Golf Club, Jerome leads the league at 20-1 and Berlin is second at 18-3.
Bryce Reed was medalist at Darby Creek with a 71, followed by Leila Raines (74), Ethan Hegg (76), Layne Comyns (82) and Brady Casto (84).
Reed also is the top individual in the league, averaging 69.0 through three rounds. Raines is next for the Bears with a 77.67 average, followed by Hegg (78.67), Casto (81.33) and Comyns (82.67).
In OCC-Cardinal girls golf, Regan Clifton had a 101.67 average and Michele Starner had an average of 106 entering the fourth and final round Sept. 4 at New Albany Links. Berlin was seventh (2-17) behind first-place Jerome (19-0).
In the third round Aug. 28 at Royal American, the Bears finished sixth (484) behind first-place Jerome (330).
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 7 -- Grove City Invitational at Hickory Hills
Sept. 11 -- OCC-Cardinal at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 5 -- Olentangy at Oakhaven
Sept. 9 -- Dublin Scioto at Bent Tree
Sept. 7 -- At Worthington Christian
*Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Licking Heights
*Sept. 10 -- At Jerome
*Sept. 5 -- At Delaware
Sept. 10 -- At Orange
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Bexley and Delaware Christian
*Sept. 10 -- At Delaware