After watching his team struggle through a stretch in which it lost three of four games, Thomas Worthington boys soccer coach David Fairchild decided to institute a new method for getting his players' attention.
"We have a new tradition where we run Antrim Park the day after a loss," Fairchild said. "We've run once since we added that tradition. It's actually a beautiful run if you've been to Antrim Park, but it's 3.2 miles of extra work."
The Cardinals responded by going 3-0-1 in their next four games and were 5-7-3 overall and 2-3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Kilbourne on Oct. 8 in their regular-season finale. The Wolves were ranked third in the state in Division I in last week's OSSCA poll and are the top seed for the coming district tournament.
Thomas defeated Lancaster 6-1 on Sept. 21 and tied Dublin Scioto at 1 on Sept. 24 before beating Westerville South 3-1 on Oct. 1 and Hilliard Darby 6-1 on Oct. 3.
"(Running is) more of a mental (thing) just to get their attention," said Fairchild, whose team had four one-goal losses through 15 games. "We're competing in a tough schedule and we needed that extra little focus to start getting results."
Cameron McIntosh had two goals and Landon Chase, Eli Hitzhusen, Drew Holman and Graham Werbovitz each scored one against Darby.
"Graham Werbovitz (has just been) unlucky," Fairchild said. "He's hit posts, he's been fouled in the box, just every single scenario. Against Westerville South, he hit a shot that hit an opponent's hand that wasn't the keeper and went off the crossbar, so him getting his first goal, you could feel that happiness on the sideline from the rest of the guys because they've just been wanting Graham to score. He switched his boots last night to an old pair of boots and the soccer gods gave him a goal."
Boys team seeks consistent offense
Jacob Carver has been leading the boys water polo team offensively this year. But for the Cardinals to take the next step, coach Rick Yurich needs more players to step up.
"I think we really need to improve our offensive efficiency," Yurich said. "We've been a strong defensive team most of the year and we've created some good opportunities on offense, but we haven't been able to finish them."
The Cardinals went 2-1 in the Milford tournament held Oct. 4 and 5 and were 19-13-1 before playing Kilbourne on Oct. 8.
"We've got a very talented team, but we need to step up our offense and put more goals (in net) and we need to capitalize on penalties and that's been our focus," Yurich said. "Jacob Carver is our leading scorer this year and we lean extremely heavily on Derek Taylor. (He's) usually covering the other team's biggest offensive threat for a large portion of the game."
Thomas went 1-2 in the Upper Arlington Duals on Sept. 29, losing to the host Golden Bears 7-2 and St. Charles 10-4 and beating Cincinnati Princeton 11-8.
Carver totaled six goals over the three games to lead the Cardinals, while Grant Simione and Blake Ament added three goals apiece on the day, with all three of Simione's goals coming against Princeton.
"Grant Simione is starting to come on," Yurich said. "Evers Brandt has stepped up his game and is just being a leader."
Season ends for boys golfers
The boys golf team wrapped up its season Oct. 1 with a 14th-place finish (357) in a Division I sectional at Darby Creek.
Dublin Coffman (299), Olentangy Liberty (303), Olentangy Orange (303) and Darby (311) advanced to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Noah Jackman shot a 78 to lead the Cardinals, finishing three strokes behind the final district qualifier. The junior was followed by sophomore Paari Kaviyarasu (82), junior Colin Corbett (98), sophomore Marshall Wellejus (99) and junior Owen Appel (104).
Girls tennis team concludes season
The girls tennis team saw its season come to a close Oct. 3 in a Division I sectional at Pickerington Central.
Senior Riley Dotson led the Cardinals, going 2-1 in singles. She fell two wins shy of advancing to district Thursday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Reynoldsburg.
Also in singles, senior Sydney Cooke and junior Kate Haydel-Brown both went 0-1.
Competing at sectional in doubles were senior Winnie McKahan and sophomore Yasha Rana (0-1) and junior Francesca Decker and freshman Meggie Ray (0-1).
The Cardinals finished 2-13 overall and 1-6 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball:
Oct. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal meet at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 14 -- Home vs. 17th-seeded Dublin Scioto in second round of district tournament.
Oct. 17 -- Home vs. 23rd-seeded Westerville Central or 36th-seeded Hartley in second round of Division I district tournament.
Oct. 19 -- Home vs. 19th-seeded Hilliard Darby or 37th-seeded Central Crossing in second round of Division I district tournament.
Oct. 16 -- At 16th-seeded Olentangy or home vs. 37th-seeded Central Crossing in second round of Division I district tournament.