Oct. 26 proved to be an eventful day for Columbus Academy athletes Regan Cornelius and Annalise Grammel.
Both began the day by competing in the Division II regional girls cross country meet at Pickerington North, and both earned berths to state Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
Both then helped other Vikings teams capture district titles.
Cornelius competed in the cross country meet at 11:45 a.m. and then traveled to Olentangy Liberty for the top-seeded field hockey team's 1 p.m. district final against fourth-seeded New Albany. She opened the scoring in the second half, helping the Vikings win 3-0 for their 23rd district title.
"We were moving," Cornelius said of her drive from North to Liberty. "I'm really happy. Everybody really gave it their all. ... I'm really proud of everyone."
Abby Yakam and Carolyn Vaziri also scored for Academy.
"The pressure doesn't disappear," coach Anne Horton said. "I was concerned that (the Eagles) would do what they did. They really packed it in and it was up to us to find a way to break through. Sometimes it takes a little longer to do that."
The Vikings are 18-0-1 and will play Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame in a state semifinal Thursday, Oct. 31, at Upper Arlington. The winner plays Thomas Worthington or Shaker Heights in the state final Saturday, Nov. 2, at UA.
"This team has such a special bond, especially with winning (the state title) last year," Cornelius said. "We really wanted to get back and we put in an effort to get back."
Academy and Thomas played to a scoreless tie Sept. 23, and the Vikings defeated Shaker Heights 2-0 on Sept. 13.
Academy is seeking its 12th state title.
"One of the goals was to win district and return to (state)," Horton said. "It's one step at a time at this point."
After qualifying for state in cross country, Grammel helped the second-seeded girls soccer team capture its first district title since 2013 by defeating top-seeded Grandview 1-0 in a Division III final at New Albany. That game started at 4 p.m.
Katie Schiano scored off a corner kick from Diana Ulbrich with 15 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half.
Grandview applied pressure in the second half, but Academy goalkeeper Sophie Spolter preserved the lead, including making a leaping save with 30 seconds to play. She finished with six saves.
"It feels incredible," coach Matt Thompson said. "Grandview is a very talented group. ... They knocked us out the last couple of years and I'm so happy. These girls have worked so hard as a group."
The Vikings were 14-3-2 before playing Lynchburg-Clay in a regional semifinal Oct. 29, and the winner plays New Middletown Springfield or Zanes-ville Rosecrans in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 2, at a neutral site. Academy defeated Rosecrans 1-0 on Sept. 14.
The regional champion plays Cincinnati Madeira, Cincinnati Mariemont, Cincinnati Country Day or Sidney Lehman Catholic in a state semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 5, at a neutral site.
In cross country, Cornelius and Grammel will be joined at state by Luke Nester of the boys team.
Grammel finished 18th (19:35.5) and Cornelius was 21st (19:41.1) of 171 runners in the Division II girls meet.
"It means a lot, especially since I missed qualifying last year," Cornelius said. "It's a lot of hard work, a lot of running, but it's worth it."
Nester earned his Division II state berth by finishing seventh (16:22.9) of 169 runners at regional. The top seven teams and top 28 individuals advanced to state, and Academy finished 12th (310) of 21 teams behind champion Chillicothe Unioto (65).
Also competing for the Vikings were Charlie Sabgir (32nd, 17:02.4), Jake Huddleston (59th, 17:38), Alex O'Connor (135th, 18:45.8), Peter Heermann (138th, 18:53.2) and Cyrus Richardson (140th, 18:56).
"I'm feeling some mixed emotions," Nester said. "It feels good to qualify individually. However, it's a little upsetting our team couldn't move on. Those guys worked so hard."
Boys soccer team wins district title
The top-seeded boys soccer team won a Division II district title, defeating third-seeded Granville 1-0 on Oct. 26 at New Albany on Sam Massick's penalty kick in the first half.
"We had a great team win tonight," Massick said. "We're very excited to win the district championship."
The Vikings were 11-3-5 before playing MSL-Ohio Division rival Bexley in a regional semifinal Oct. 30, with the winner playing Millersburg West Holmes or Dover in a regional final Saturday, Nov. 2, at a neutral site.
The regional champion plays Cincinnati Wyoming, Monroe, Tipp City Tippecanoe or Marietta in a state semifinal Wednesday, Nov. 6, at a neutral site.
Girls volleyball team enjoys winning season
The girls volleyball team recorded its second consecutive winning season under coach John Kelley, finishing 14-10 overall after going 15-7 last season.
The Vikings went 8-4 in the MSL-Ohio to finish third behind champion Worthington Christian (12-0).
"We won most of the matches we should have and were pretty competitive with everyone we played," Kelley said. "More important than our record, I was pleased with the growth over the course of the season. I think every girl was a better player at the end of the season than at the beginning. In my mind, (that is) the real measure of success."
Seeded 11th for the Division III district tournament, Academy won at 10th-seeded Africentric 25-22, 25-16, 25-15 in the second round Oct. 19 before losing to second-seeded Cardington 25-14, 25-18, 25-13 in a district semifinal Oct. 23 at Mount Vernon Nazarene.
Junior outside hitter Lily Plaugher was first-team all-league, senior middle hitter/middle blocker Mabry Nichols was second-team all-league and seniors Noelle Boltz (setter) and Sophia Freytag (outside hitter) were honorable mention all-league.
Junior middle hitter Olivia Pierre-Louis and sophomore outside hitter Kerry O'Connor also are eligible to return.