The Hilliard Bradley girls volleyball team earned a share of its first league championship since 2013, and given how three of their OCC-Cardinal Division rivals have fared in the postseason, the Jaguars appreciate their accomplishment even more.
Bradley, which went 13-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Dublin Scioto for the title, reached a Division I district semifinal, as did the Irish, Darby and Worthington Kilbourne.
The fourth-seeded Jaguars play 15th-seeded Westerville Central in a semifinal Thursday, Oct. 24, at Whitehall.
In other semifinals Oct. 22, seventh-seeded Scioto played 10th-seeded Gahanna, 13th-seeded Kilbourne faced eighth-seeded Hartley and 22nd-seeded Darby battled second-seeded DeSales.
"Look at the league we played in and it's impressive that so many of our teams are going to district (semifinals)," said coach RyAnne Ufferman, whose team is 22-2 overall. "It makes you better when you play teams like that on a weekly basis. We battled with those teams and now they are doing well in the tournament."
The Bradley-Central winner will face fifth-seeded Olentangy Liberty or 19th-seeded Lancaster in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at Whitehall, with the district champion advancing to a regional semifinal Oct. 31 at Kilbourne.
The Jaguars are seeking their first district championship. They are making their third district final appearance, having lost to Hartley 25-13, 25-16, 25-22 in Division II in 2010 and Dublin Coffman 23-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-12 in Division I in 2012.
"(A district championship would mean) so much, especially because it's my senior year," setter Riley Speelman said. "This team has the potential to go so far and these matches mean so much to me.
"I think we are playing our best when we're playing with a lot of energy and we are communicating a lot. That plays a big part in volleyball. When we play well, things are smooth and it works better that way."
The Jaguars opened the tournament with a pair of quick blowouts. They defeated 45th-seeded Columbus West 25-6, 25-1, 25-9 in 39 minutes in the first round Oct. 15 and 49th-seeded Franklin Heights 25-4, 25-6, 25-7 in 42 minutes in the second round Oct. 17.
"In the tournament, it's either play well or you're done," Ufferman said. "We have to find that fire and play aggressively. There is great volleyball in central Ohio, and we're excited to get into that this week."
Three runners move on to regional
The cross country teams will have a total of three runners competing in the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North.
Gabe Paynter and Joshua George will represent the boys team and Caitlyn Jones will represent the girls squad.
Jones, a freshman, was runner-up in the girls district 1 race Oct. 19 at Darby in 19 minutes, 14.1 seconds, finishing behind Watkins Memorial's Cam Wheeler (19:09). The Jaguars placed 12th (343 points) of 14 teams, behind champion Liberty (63), as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional.
Also competing for the Jaguars were Madison Wester (81st, 23:37.3), Samantha Hosni (82nd, 23:38.9), Byann Rasul (84th, 24:00.4) and Sara McClory (94th, 26:06.4)
Paynter (16:44.7) and George (16:45.7) finished 18th and 20th, respectively, in the boys district 2 meet as Bradley finished sixth (156) of 16 teams, behind champion Gahanna (35). The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced, with Scioto (137) earning the final regional berth.
Also competing for the Jaguars were Haydon Spaulding (26th, 17:00.5), Caden Burkhart (44th, 17:34.8), Sean Rogers (48th, 17:45), Evan Corea (71st, 18:24.4) and Eli Schneider (73rd, 18:29.1).
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to state Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
Girls soccer team reaches district semi
The 10th-seeded girls soccer team was 9-4-4 before playing fifth-seeded Olentangy in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23.
The winner faces fourth-seeded Westerville North or 11th-seeded Grove City in a district final Saturday, Oct. 26, at a neutral site.
The district champion plays eighth-ranked Dublin Coffman, New Albany, Olentangy Berlin or Westerville Central in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 29, at a neutral site. The regional final is Nov. 2.
The Jaguars defeated Berlin 2-1 on Sept. 5 in OCC-Cardinal play and tied Coffman at 1 on Sept. 28.
Avery Jantonio scored both goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to give the host Jaguars a 2-1 win over 26th-seeded Delaware in a second-round game Oct. 19. Goalkeeper Emily Keck had six saves.
Boys soccer team ousted by Eagles
The boys soccer team lost at 14th-seeded New Albany 1-0 in overtime Oct. 15 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Junior goalie Dominic Williams had 10 saves for the 16th-seeded Jaguars, who finished 6-7-3 overall.
Bradley went 3-3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Jerome for fourth behind champion Scioto (5-1-1).
"He's the 'Dominator' for a reason," second-year coach Chad Snider said of Williams. "He just had one heck of a game. Defensively, we just had one slip at the end."
The Jaguars are losing four seniors in defenders Mason Cutrell and Baylor Dachenhaus, midfielder Zac Meyers and midfielder/forward Avery Ramsey.
"The rest are back, so we have a bright future," Snider said. "We started the season strong and then faltered a little bit. When we were playing together as a team, we were hard to beat. They fought for each other."
Other expected returnees include junior forward Chris Crock, junior defender Rishil Patel, sophomore forward Tony Baxendell and freshman midfielder Cesar Diaz.