Under former coach Marianne Flannery, the Olentangy Liberty field hockey team went 100-28-4 in seven seasons and made its only state tournament appearance in 2016.
With that in mind, new coach Greg Siehl is of the belief that picking things up where they left off isn't a bad place to start as he puts his stamp on the program.
"I feel fortunate that my prede- cessor, Marianne Flannery, and our assistant coach, Rachel Kleinhoffer, have provided a strong and organized foundation for the program," Siehl said.
"The players put in good work in the summer conditioning program and I sense we're developing a good team chemistry. ... As usual we have a very tough schedule, but we have high expectations for the season."
The Patriots went 14-4 overall, earned a COFHL-West Division runner-up finish (7-1) behind Thomas Worthington (8-0) and were district semifinalists a year ago.
Liberty is 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the league after earning wins over Upper Arlington (5-0 on Aug. 21), Dayton Oakwood (2-1 on Aug. 24) and Olentangy (2-1 on Aug. 28).
Siehl, who has experience coaching with USA Field Hockey and was the head coach at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, California, the past four seasons, has a seven-member senior class that is led by midfielder Faith DiMantova, defender Samantha Frantz, forward Dani Worrell and goalkeeper Keegan Grabow.
The other seniors are Cami Carrier (forward), Maggie Quillen (mid-fielder/defender) and Chethana Reddy (defender).
Juniors Kelsey Eckhert (midfielder) and Reese McClelland (forward) and sophomores Alli Hamilton (midfielder) and Annie Pione (forward) also are returnees.
Others looking to contribute include juniors Anna Bohrer (forward), Ali Caskey (forward/midfielder), Grace Hughes (midfielder), Jordan Lindsey (midfielder/defender) and Rahegan Webb (defender), sophomores Lauren Belt (defender) and Carlie Quillen (midfielder/defender) and freshman Lucy Keeler (forward).
Runners on track for strong season
During summer conditioning, the boys cross country team ran more than 15,000 miles in hopes of setting itself up well for this fall.
The Patriots immediately were rewarded with a title, scoring 23 points in the 11-team Baron Blast on Aug. 24 at Buckeye Valley to finish first.
"Our summer camps displayed a high level of fitness and very strong senior leadership, which is very important," 13th-year coach Jared Mills said. "We're looking to extend our regional qualifying streak to 12 years and qualify for the state meet for the seventh time in school history."
Senior Jack Humenay, who won the Baron Blast in 16 minutes, 48.63 seconds, is among the top returnees from a team that finished third in the Division I regional and 14th at state last season.
Seniors Jacob Feldmaier, Caleb Ogle and Judd Ogle and juniors R.J. LaRosa and Tanner Sutton also are top returnees. At state last season, Humenay was 39th (16:49.9), Feldmaier placed 69th (17:02.8), Sutton was 126th (17:33) and Caleb Ogle placed 141st (17:47.2).
Other key runners include seniors Preston Anderson, Dylan Ingram, Zach King, Matthew Onate and Caleb Warrick and junior Winston Fox.
With 81 competitors, the girls team has the largest participation since coach Darrell Dewese took in 2014.
"Things have been coming together nicely this summer and fall," he said. "The girls have been working hard and putting in a lot of summer mileage. We had a great team camp at the beginning of August complete with lots of hill work."
The Patriots will have a new frontrunner after Gracie Sprankle graduated. Now at Indiana, she was sixth (18:17.8) at state last season to help Liberty finish 10th.
Senior Linnea Kunesh, who was 67th (19:54.5) at state, and junior Audrey Piero, who was 84th (20:09.4), are the team's top runners.
On Aug. 24 in the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North, Liberty finished third (113) of 12 teams behind Thomas (83) and Berlin (96) as Kunesh was eighth (19:51.7) and Piero was 11th (20:10.3).
Senior Lauren Buddie, juniors Haley Kruest and Elizabeth Okonak and sophomores Sarah Gilbert and Allison Westfall also have been among the team's top runners.
Buddie and Gilbert both ran at state last season.
Junior Lauren Woodruff, who was the team's No. 5 runner at state when she placed 131st (20:46.9), is another key returnee.
Lexi Bird is the team's top freshman, according to Dewese.
Others looking to contribute include seniors MaKenna Crary, Tara Jones, Jillian Martz and Megan Miller, sophomores Ashley Boettcher, Alaina Harris, Natalie Kramer, Torrance Turner and Rachel Ziel and freshmen Annika Albrecht, Lucy Knoll and Emma Weer.
Golf teams playing well
Both the boys and girls golf teams were leading their respective OCC-Buckeye title races through three rounds of league play.
The girls were 15-0 before competing in the final round Sept. 4 at Royal American after finishing first (353) in the third round Aug. 28 at Blacklick Woods. Westerville Central was second at 11-4.
Gracie Baun and Taya Buxton each shot 86 and Juliana Renda had an 89 in the third round.
The boys lead the OCC-Buckeye at 14-1 with Orange in second at 13-2 heading into the final round Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Darby Creek.
In the third round Aug. 27 at Denison Golf Club, the Patriots shot 312 to finish first while Orange was second (315). Grant Smeltzer led with a 73 that was third overall, and Hunter Corbin shot 74.
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty 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 -- At Upper Arlington
Sept. 7 -- At Gates Mills Hawken
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Hilliard Lynx
Sept. 7 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 9 -- UA Invitational at Zanesville Country Club
Sept. 10 -- Columbus School for Girls at Mentel Memorial
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Mason
*Sept. 10 -- at Orange
Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
*Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Orange
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Rocky River Magnificat
Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Westerville South
*Sept. 10 -- At Westerville North