Coming off back-to-back state titles, raising her program's total to 12, Columbus Academy field hockey coach Anne Horton expects this year's team to form its own identity.

The Vikings got out to a good start, winning six of their first seven games while outscoring opponents 51-4.

"They have to create their own journey. It has to be about them," said Horton, who is in her 30th season. "You use any type of momentum you can from previous years to help embrace your forward movement and that's all we're going to do with that. New kids, new faces and we go from there."

The Vikings saw their 24-game winning streak in Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division play end with a 3-1 loss at Watterson on Sept. 9.

The top returnee is senior midfielder Regan Cornelius, who was named first-team all-state last season. In the state final, she scored on a penalty stroke for a 1-0 win over Shaker Heights.

"We want the same thing that we want every year," Cornelius said. "We want to play good, hard hockey and, knock on wood, we want another state championship."

Other key returnees are seniors Charlotte Adams (attacker), Sarah Klingerman (defender/midfielder) and Suzy L'Hommedieu (defender) and junior Carolyn Vaziri (midfielder).

Senior Sarah Silver has replaced 2020 graduate Alex Phelps in goal.

Also back are senior Ashley Reynolds (attacker), juniors Mya Falkenhain (defender/midfielder), Avery Mitchell (attacker) and Maya Walter (defender/midfielder) and sophomores Maren Lawrence (midfielder) and Adeti Mohanselvan (attacker).

Other players are seniors Zoey Black (attacker), Anjali Rangi (defender) and Sona Santry (goalie), juniors Anna-belle Huyghe (attacker/midfielder), Claudia Klingbeil (attacker), Sophia MacDonald (attacker), Ella Morris (defender) and Charlotte Rose (midfielder/defender), sophomore Megan Klingerman (defender) and freshman Emma Reynolds (attacker/midfielder).

"It's been a solid start," Horton said. "Once they've been in the program for a while they know what to expect."

Last season, Academy outscored its opponents 108-2 while going 20-0-1 overall and 8-0 in the COFHL-East. The Vikings played Thomas Worthington to a scoreless tie.

Academy plays host to Thomas on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Cross country teams return key runners

According to sixth-year coach Denny Hammond, the boys and girls cross country teams "have been working hard" and are "ready to roll" behind some strong returnees.

"I have two big dogs coming back with Luke Nester and Regan Cornelius. They're both in great shape," Hammond said. "The fact that we didn't have a track season (in the spring because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic) has given them a little extra motivation."

Nester, a senior, should lead the boys after finishing 107th (17 minutes, 20 seconds) of 182 runners in the Division II state meet last season.

In the season-opening Newark Catholic Invitational on Aug. 29 at Bryn Du Mansion, the Vikings finished first (36) of eight teams, ahead of runner-up Fisher Catholic (46), as Nester placed first (17:03.63) among 81 runners.

Senior Jake Huddleston was sixth (18:31.66), junior Peter Heermann was seventh (18:44.16) and junior Cyrus Richardson was ninth (18:54.45).

Other runners are seniors Cooper Schnitzer, Skyler Simpson, Calvin Wade and Vincent White.

For the girls, Cornelius finished 69th (20:03.7) of 176 runners last season at state and started this year by placing first (20:13.76) of 74 runners in the Newark Catholic Invitational.

Freshman Caitlynn Hinds was 17th (25:29.87) and junior Julia DeVore was 19th (25:41.32) as the Vikings finished fourth (102) of nine teams behind champion Liberty Union (44).

"Julia is a great addition," Hammond said. "She's going to help us."

Other runners are junior Madeline Proctor and sophomore Samantha Frickel.

"My numbers are way down, but the kids that I have I'm really happy with," Hammond said.