Big Walnut Roundup: Golden Eagles boys track team delivers strong district performance

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Ryan Tripp was part of a strong district-meet effort by the Big Walnut boys track and field team, running on the 1,600-meter relay that advanced to the Division I regional meet.

Buoyed by two champions in field events, the Big Walnut boys track and field team scored a top-five finish in the Division I, district 2 meet that concluded May 22 at Hilliard Darby.

Mark Ruffing won the discus (149 feet, 9 inches) and Owen Wilhelm earned the title in the high jump (6-3) as the Golden Eagles finished fourth (69) behind Pickerington North (121), Olentangy Orange (90) and Hilliard Davidson (77).

“We had a very good district meet and competed well with some very strong programs,” coach Ryan Borland said. “Our field event guys had a great first day, which got us off and rolling to a great meet.”

The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional May 26 and 28 at North. At regional, the top four finishers in each event qualified for the state meet June 4 and 5 at Darby.

“Owen and Mark looked very good in becoming district champions in their events, with Mark (also) getting runner-up in the shot put,” Borland said.

Ruffing threw 49-3 in the shot put to finish a little more than an inch behind Groveport’s Jashawn McGraw (49-4 1/4).

Also advancing to regional were Alec Carr in the 110-meter hurdles (fourth, 14.72 seconds) and 300 hurdles (third, 40.21); John Embaugh in the 400 (fourth, 50.07); John Embaugh, Jayden McConnell, Justin Embaugh and Shane White in the 800 relay (fourth, 1:31.31); and McConnell, John Embaugh, Ryan Tripp and Wilhelm in the 1,600 relay (third, 3:26.43).

Two relays and three individuals for the girls team qualified for regional as Big Walnut finished seventh (41) behind champion Watterson (139.5) in district 3.

“We scored in 10 events and double-scored in the shot put and came oh so close to double scoring in the discus,” coach Joe Evener said on the school’s athletics website.

Autumn Newman placed fourth in the shot put (33-8 1/2) to move on and Grace Weber was fifth in the discus (107-7) to just miss advancing.

Two hurdlers also advanced to regional in Alexus Roberts (second, 15.07, 100 hurdles) and Cindy Serna (fourth, 46.5, 300 hurdles).

Placing fourth were the 800 relay (1:48.36) of Lindsey Luchsinger, Estella Truax, Abbey Dane and Anna Leichtnam and the 1,600 relay (4:10.17) of Danne, Luchsinger, Serna and Raegan Mullins.

Junior Joleigh Lawrence helped the Golden Eagles girls lacrosse team finish 12-7 for the program's first winning season.

Girls lacrosse team 

enjoys breakthrough

While the seventh-seeded girls lacrosse team exited the Division II, Region 7 tournament with a 16-8 loss to 10th-seeded Granville in the first round May 20, it produced the program’s first winning season at 12-7.

Big Walnut went 8-8 in 2019 under coach Steve Palmer, who started the program a decade ago.

“We have a lot coming back and our eighth-graders coming in next year will be the first to have played in fifth grade, sixth grade and seventh grade, so we’re optimistic about the program,” he said.

Those expected to return include four of the Golden Eagles’ top five scorers in junior midfielders Ashley Fisher (84 goals), Peyton Deverso (83) and Joleigh Lawrence (23) and junior attacker Evi Myers (14).

Fisher and Deverso are chasing Cassady Becker, a 2019 graduate who scored 166 goals for her career.

“Both of them scored their 100th goals this season in their careers, so that’s a big deal,” Palmer said.

Also expected back is freshman goalie Caroline Weber, who finished with 155 saves.

Doubles players

lead way at sectional

Two doubles teams won postseason matches and helped the boys tennis team finish 10-8 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Capital Division.

Senior Braden Buchs and junior Charlie Jaeger won two matches in doubles play, defeating Westerville North’s Cori Bohan and Alex Workman 6-2, 6-0 and Watkins Memorial’s Elijah Hargrow and Ben Martin 7-5, 6-3 in a Division I sectional that concluded May 15 at Reynoldsburg.

In a quarterfinal, the duo lost to Olentangy Berlin’s Kathir Maarikarthykeyan and Akhil Damarla 6-0, 6-2.

The second-seeded doubles team of senior Isaiah Lott and junior Grant Mudre won their opening match 6-2, 6-1 against Berlin’s Brody Edgson and Aaron Dhillon before falling 6-1, 6-1 to Dublin Coffman’s Anton Bakunin and Siddharth Rajagopal.

In singles play, sophomore Evan Fisher won his opening match against Teays Valley’s Owen Kennedy 6-0, 6-0 before losing to Reynoldsburg’s James Knorr 6-4, 6-4.

Lott finished with Big Walnut’s best record at 20-5, followed by Mudre (18-6) and Jaeger (16-8).

Junior Andrew Grubb also is expected to be a top contributor next season.

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GIRLS LACROSSE

Record: 12-7 overall

OCC-Capital standings: Worthington Kilbourne (5-0), Dublin Scioto (4-1), Big Walnut, Delaware and Westerville South (all 2-3), Westerville North (0-5)

Seniors lost: Kat Brehm, Audrey Hofer, Barbara Jeffries, Kaelyn Lortz, Gigi Roberto and Ashley Walker

Key returnees: Peyton Deverso, Ashley Fisher, Joleigh Lawrence, Evi Myers and Caroline Weber

Postseason: Lost to Granville 16-8 in first round of Division II, Region 7 tournament

BOYS TENNIS

Record: 10-8 overall

OCC-Capital standings: Dublin Scioto (7-0), North and Kilbourne (5-2), Big Walnut (4-3), Delaware and South (3-4), Canal Winchester (1-6), Franklin Heights (0-7)

Seniors lost: Brayden Buchs, Alex Fletcher and Isaiah Lott

Key returnees: Evan Fisher, Andrew Grubb, Charlie Jaeger and Grant Mudre