The defending Division III state champion Wellington boys soccer team is settling into what seventh-year coach J.J. Bain calls a "new role" this fall.
Following a season in which they had 11 seniors and went 18-2-3 overall -- capped by a postseason run in which they outscored their opponents 40-0 -- the Jaguars have just six seniors and numerous underclassmen filling key positions for the first time.
Wellington was 0-2-2 overall before playing St. Charles on Sept. 14, and it was 0-2-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division heading into a Sept. 16 game against Worthington Christian.
"I think it's going to be fun," Bain said. "We're a young team and inexperienced, but if we take on a kind of a chip-on-our-shoulder mentality, we can repeat a lot of the success we've had the last four to five years."
The top returnees are senior forward Jordan Livits, who had 15 goals and 19 assists last season, and junior goalie Aurius Calloway.
Senior Eoin Basobas O'Carroll (defender/midfielder) and juniors Will Starker (midfielder/forward) and Henry Lin (midfielder) also are key returnees.
Livits was second-team all-league last year as the Jaguars shared the title at 4-0-2 with Worthington Christian, and Lin was honorable mention all-league.
Seniors Matt Reid (forward) and Sarim Saddiqui (defender) and juniors Leroy Dannemiller (defender/midfielder), Elliott Harpham (defender/forward) and Christian Wurapa (defender) also gained experience last season.
The other seniors are Sky Jackett (forward) and Zubin Reyazi (midfielder).
Others looking to contribute include sophomores Ben Beckman (defender), Cam Deguchi (defender/midfielder) and Jake Johnson (goalie) and freshmen Sam Breyfogle (defender) and Arjun Tonapi (forward).
Girls soccer team off to strong start
Before facing Fairbanks on Sept. 15, the girls soccer team was 3-0-1 overall.
The Jaguars are 1-0-1 heading into their MSL-Ohio game Saturday, Sept. 19, at home against Grandview.
"Every day we get together I'm just thankful for at this point," fifth-year coach Lindsey Smith said. "There are still some things we're figuring out for sure, but as far as potential, I think we have a lot of potential and a lot of different weapons.
"In all the positions, I feel like we're strong. We've got strong midfielders, our center backs are playing really well, we have an outside back that is playing really well, and we have a lot of ways to score. It's exciting to see how it's coming together."
Wellington, which went 9-9 and reached a Division III district semifinal last season, has six seniors after losing only three players to graduation.
Seniors Caroline Cooke (midfielder/forward), Christine Cooke (midfielder), Lu Godfrey (forward), Lina Grohovsky (goalie), Reagan Kadlic (defender) and Lola Perez (midfielder) all were key players a year ago.
Junior forward Mary Morosky (22 goals, 9 assists) and junior midfielder Sloane Shock (7 goals, 7 assists) were both first-team all-league, and sophomores Lilliana Adkinson (defender) and Olivia Robinson (forward) also are back.
Others expected to contribute include juniors Abigail Burkhardt (defender) and Maddie Fahlgren (forward), sophomore Dylan Ehlers (forward) and freshmen Maisy Adams (defender), Eva Dulle (defender), Sophia Kramer (defender), Gigi Manley (midfielder/goalie) and Eve O'Sullivan (defender).
Through four games, Morosky had 10 goals, Shock had two goals and five assists and Ehlers, who is a transfer from Olentangy Liberty, had three goals.
Tomu building running program
After having a boys cross country team for the first time last fall, Wellington has seven boys and two girls competing under coach Tonderai Tomu.
There are five boys in the program who competed a year ago when Wellington finished last (318) in the 11-team Division III, district 2 meet. That group includes junior Kiran Mokadam, who was 63rd (22 minutes, 12 seconds) and the team's No. 2 runner, senior Victor Thompson, juniors Gavin Ray and Zachary Ware and sophomore Vinay Garg.
Also out for the boys are junior Parker Haslett and freshman Henry Allen, while junior Lily Yu and freshman Emerson Thompson are running for the girls.
At the middle school level, Wellington has eight boys and five girls competing.
The Jaguars are next scheduled to compete Sept. 26 in the Ruth Gray Invitational at Madison Christian.
"The program started in the 2018-19 school year with just middle school track (and field), and then during the 2019-20 season we added high school and middle school cross country," Tomu said. "The team has been doing great. We're off to a great start. The goals for the boys and girls are for everyone to stay healthy, compete at their best ability and have fun while doing it."