After learning that their bus would be late for their return trip to Westland, Cougars girls tennis players returned to the courts at Antrim Park in Columbus for some additional practice time.
They had just defeated Centennial 5-0 for their second win of the season, and because of their commitment this year, they decided to continue honing their skills.
"The whole point of this is to have fun," coach Shaela Hinckley said.
Upon returning to Westland, the Cougars celebrated the win by ringing the school's victory bell.
"We don't get to do it very often, so when we are able to ring the victory bell, we go do it with style," Hinckley said. "At Westland, not everybody pays attention to us, so we want to make sure that they know about us."
Westland, which was 2-11 overall before playing Teays Valley on Sept. 26, closes the regular season Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Hartley.
The Cougars then will compete in a Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Upper Arlington. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg.
"My goal is for them to win the first round," Hinckley said.
Westland earned its first win with a 3-2 victory over Franklin Heights on Sept. 10. Winners were Anna Ebert 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, Kacey Flanagan 6-2, 6-1 at third singles and Katie Murray and Genesis Perez 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 at first doubles.
"That was exciting," Ebert said.
In her second year in the sport, Ebert has led the Cougars at first singles.
"She works extremely hard," Hinckley said. "Her dedication and work ethic have been amazing this year."
The senior won 8-5 against Centennial. She played third singles last season.
"This sport is stress-free and it's very relaxing," Ebert said. "I hope to get another win this season."
Other winners against Centennial were Murray 8-6 at second singles, Samantha Khuon 6-3 at third singles, Flanagan and Perez 8-4 at first doubles and Anais Fernandez and Rachel Peshko 8-6 at second doubles. Khuon's match was decided with six points because of a late start.
Westland went 0-5 in the OCC-Central Division to finish sixth behind champion UA (5-0).
Football team to open league play
The football team will kick off OCC-Central action by playing host to UA on Friday, Oct. 4.
The Cougars, who were 1-3 before playing Olentangy Orange on Sept. 27, lost to Franklin Heights 28-18 on Sept. 20.
Running back Peterson Iresne returned after missing a 49-6 loss to Delaware on Sept. 13 with a sprained right ankle. He rushed for 251 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnny Douglas had four catches for 52 yards and one touchdown, and Robert Clark had two catches for 36 yards.
Westland played without quarterback Buddy Workman, who missed the game because of family reasons. Coach Rick Rios was uncertain last week of Workman's availability for the Orange game.
Before playing Orange, Iresne had rushed for 633 yards and five touchdowns on 74 carries.
"If he is not the most underrated back in Ohio, I don't know who is," Rios said. "That kid was playing at maybe 80 percent as far as the ankle being ready to go (against to Franklin Heights, but he was going to go. He's still getting better."
Workman had rushed for 339 yards and six scores on 45 carries and completed 12 of 27 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
UA, which was 1-3 before playing Lancaster on Sept. 27, lost to Westerville South 28-21 on Sept. 20. Jeremey Scally is in his first season as coach after serving as an assistant at Hilliard Davidson.
Westland fell to the Golden Bears 21-0 last season.
"They have some athletes, but they're big and physical," Rios said. "Their defensive line wore on us a little bit last year. I thought it was probably one of the better games we played defensively last season. We couldn't find a way to punch the ball into the end zone and finish a couple of drives that would have made it a ballgame."
Running back Chris Schweisthal rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries to lead UA against South.
"We're use these league games to see how much we progressed from a year ago," Rios said. "We knew that we were going to be young this year, but barring injuries, we thought we'd be pretty good with that first group even with how young as we are in some spots. We're building for the future here."
Napolitano named girls basketball coach
Nina Napolitano has been named girls basketball coach, pending school board approval.
She replaces Matt Jaynes, who stepped down after three seasons.
"I'm really excited. It's going to fun," said Napolitano, a first-year science teacher at Westland. "My biggest goal this year is to get to know the girls and build a community and culture within the team so we can all get onboard and start working toward having more success on the athletic side."
Napolitano, 25, is a 2012 graduate of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, where she played basketball for four years. She went on to play four seasons at Capital University, from which she graduated in 2016.
Napolitano also coaches at the AAU level for Ohio Sports Plus in Dublin.
Below are the coming schedules for the Westland cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 2 -- Backwoods Two-Mile Festival at Thornville Sheridan
Oct. 1 -- Division I sectional at Denison Golf Club. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Oct. 1 -- At Columbus Academy
*Oct. 3 -- At Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Davidson
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Davidson. The Cougars lost to the Wildcats 25-10, 25-21, 25-14 on Sept. 12.