The Worthington Kilbourne boys soccer team has the distinction of finishing the regular season undefeated without winning its league title.
The Wolves tied Thomas at 1 on Oct. 8 to finish 4-0-3 (15 points) in the OCC-Cardinal Division, second behind Dublin Scioto (16, 5-1-1). They defeated the Irish 4-1 on Sept. 17, but also tied Dublin Jerome (at 1 on Aug. 27) and Olentangy Berlin (at 0 on Oct. 3).
Kilbourne, which was ranked fifth in last week's Division I state poll, finished the regular season 13-0-3 overall.
"It's frustrating," coach Jon Sprunger said. "The part that's even more frustrating than having an undefeated season and not winning the league is that the team that won over you, you beat 4-1."
Brandon Kim scored against Thomas off an assist by Jimmy Sauder to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead with just under 25 minutes left in the game, but the Cardinals' Cameron McIntosh scored almost eight minutes later.
"I told the kids if you can pull it together and win a district championship, that's a higher, more prestigious honor," Sprunger said. "We set our goals at the beginning of the season. One was to win a conference championship and the next one is to win a district championship."
Through 16 games, Chris Guerra led the Wolves with 15 goals and seven assists, Kim added 12 goals and goalkeeper Tyler Katz anchored the defense with 48 saves.
"I think (the undefeated regular season) is just a testament to how close we are as a team," senior defender Braydon Beihn said. "We all love playing with each other and we've played together for so long. We have a belief that this year we can do great things. This year has blown away my expectations. It's been the most fun I've ever had playing a sport."
Kilbourne is the top seed for the district tournament and will play host to 29th-seeded Mount Vernon or 43rd-seeded Marion Harding in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17. The winner faces 20th-seeded Marysville, 44th-seeded Central Crossing or 45th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the home of the better seed. The district final is Oct. 26.
Boys, girls runners compete in league
Tanner Williams (15 minutes, 32.8 seconds) and John Cuozzo (16:01.6) finished second and fourth, respectively, out of 74 runners to lead the boys cross country team in the OCC-Cardinal meet Oct. 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
The Wolves finished fourth with 97 points, behind Thomas (59), Jerome (72) and Scioto (94) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (108), Berlin (125), Hilliard Darby (135) and Delaware (182).
Cuozzo, who has been battling a knee injury, felt like he was finally returning to form.
"I had some tendonitis early in the season," Cuozzo said. "I wasn't able to hit high mileage until a couple of weeks ago. The first three weeks of the season weren't great. I was racing OK, but I wasn't feeling good in training. I'm definitely feeling more myself."
But the Wolves' fourth-place finish was a disappointment for coach Josh Stegman, whose team won the league title last season.
"During the race, we looked pretty good, but the result was disappointing," Stegman said. "We've got our eyes down the road a little bit and I think (Oct. 12) was a reality check."
Also scoring for the Wolves were Luke Miller (16th, 16:54.1), Gabe Knuth (32nd, 17:20.8) and Alexander Scites (45th, 17:50). Jerome's Elliott Cook won the league title in 15:22.8.
The girls team had three runners place in the top nine in the league meet and finished second (64) behind Thomas (51).
Sasha Bomser placed fourth out of 71 runners in 18:46, while Toby Bomser was sixth (18:57.9) and Riley Tate finished ninth (19:54.1). Also scoring were Sylvia Long (18th, 20:24.7) and Evelyn Ambler (28th, 21:05).
Darby's Daniella Santos won in 17:40.5.
Berlin (79) finished third, followed by Darby (91), Jerome (99), Scioto (161), Delaware (204) and Bradley (217).
Girls soccer team opens postseason
Seeded 24th, the girls soccer team was 5-7-4 overall before playing 36th-seeded Whetstone in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
The winner plays at eighth-seeded New Albany in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19, with that winner facing 15th-seeded Berlin, 22nd-seeded Reynoldsburg or 23rd-seeded Scioto in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed.
Kilbourne closed out the regular season with three consecutive ties. The Wolves tied Berlin at 1 on Oct. 3 and played Thomas to a scoreless tie Oct. 7 to finish 0-4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal. They then played Hartley to a scoreless tie Oct. 10.
"We've been really focusing on our possession and our ability to combine with each other," coach Meghann Moore said. "Physicality-wise, we can play with any team."
Goalie Celeste Sloma had seven saves against the Cardinals and six against the Hawks and had 84 through 16 games.
Abby English had a team-high five goals and Mara McGlone, Ashten Morris, Julia Taylor and Sasha Estice each had two goals through 16 games.
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne cross country, field hockey, girls volleyball and girls water polo teams:
Oct. 19 -- Division I district meet at Hilliard Darby. The boys are in district 3, from which the top six teams and top 24 runners advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. The girls are in district 2, from which the top six teams and top 24 runners advance to regional.
Oct. 16 -- Played fourth-seeded New Albany in second round of district tournament. Winner plays fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty, ninth seeded Olentangy or 12th-seeded Bexley in district semifinal Oct. 22 at home of better seed. The Wolves are seeded sixth.
Oct. 16 -- Played 20th-seeded New Albany in second round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays eighth-seeded Hartley or 30th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in district semifinal Oct. 22 at Whitehall. The Wolves are seeded 13th.
GIRLS WATER POLO
Oct. 18, 19 -- State tournament at Cincinnati Princeton