Notebook: Dublin Jerome Celtics boys tennis team continues ascent

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Max Fickas and the Jerome boys tennis team went 14-2 this season. The Celtics lost 3-1 to New Albany in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district final May 18 at Coffman.

The Dublin Jerome boys tennis team expected an uphill climb when it faced New Albany for the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district title May 18 at Coffman, and that proved to be the case. 

Just getting to that level, though, is proof of the program’s continued growth despite having the 2020 season canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

With a strong group of freshmen leading the way in 2019, the Celtics reached a district final in the team tournament for the first time, falling 3-0 to New Albany. 

In this year’s matchup with the Eagles, Jerome’s first-doubles team of juniors Tanish Pairu and Eli Wiblin won their court 6-2, 6-2 but the Celtics lost the match 3-1 to finish 14-2. 

“Our team’s been looking pretty solid and we’ve been strong the last two years,” Pairu said. “Coach (Ken Berlin) likes to put me at doubles because he thinks I’m good at doubles.” 

Pairu and junior Max Fickas — who lost the first set 6-4 to the Eagles’ Ryan Mudre at first singles and was tied in the second set at 1 when the match ended — were coming off winning a sectional championship in doubles May 15 at Hilliard Bradley. 

Pairu and Fickas were the top seed for the sectional and beat teammates Wiblin and junior Kevin Liu, the second seed, 6-1, 7-5 for the title. 

The district tournament was May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg, with the top four finishers in singles and doubles advancing to state May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. 

Also qualifying for district from Dublin were Scioto senior Luis Ramirez Marquez in singles and the Coffman doubles teams of William Sun and Sanjay Janardhan and Anton Bakunin and Siddarth Rajagopal. 

In the other courts against New Albany in the district final, Jerome sophomore Maxwell Stratford lost 6-0, 6-1 to Devin Boyer at second singles, sophomore Rohan Athavale fell 6-0, 6-3 to Ben Bilenko at third singles and the team of Liu and junior Viraj Bajoria lost 6-2, 6-3 to Dhruv Chavan and Declan Freedhoff at second doubles. 

“It’s a great match overall,” Berlin said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys’ efforts. We raised our personal play on a lot of the courts, but the problem is that New Albany didn’t give us a lot. All five courts played really, really solid.” 

Taylor Airy and Coffman upset Westerville Central 10-2 on May 12 in a second-round Division I district tournament game before losing to Hilliard Darby 3-2 on May 18 to finish 13-14.

Coffman softball coach Scott Tillman wasn’t surprised that his team made it to a Division I district semifinal despite being the No. 24 seed because of how difficult he believed his team’s regular-season schedule had been. 

After upsetting eighth-seeded Westerville Central 10-2 on May 12 in a second-round game, the Shamrocks lost 3-2 to 11th-seeded Hilliard Darby on May 18 in a semifinal to finish 13-14. 

Coffman was a district runner-up in 2019 despite finishing 15-15. 

“Our (OCC-Central) division was good and we played a really tough non-conference schedule,” Tillman said. “There’s not many easy games on our schedule, so we’re at least battle-tested.” 

Against Central, senior outfielder and No. 9 hitter Grace Cady hit a three-home run, junior catcher Marti Henkel hit a solo homer and senior first baseman Taylor Airy added a two-run double. 

The other seniors were Allie Kelly (2B/3B), Leah Montgomery (P) and Emma Rice (OF). 

Joining Henkel as expected key returnees are juniors Taylor Covington (CF), Sidney Dosch (3B), Jamie Hamed (SS), Julia Kassis (3B), Maya Miles (P), Ella Olberding (OF) and Hannah Slater (P). 

“Most of my team are juniors,” Tillman said. “They were really good (on junior varsity in 2019). Last year I expected to have my best team and I would have had five sophomores starting, but I’m going to enjoy what we’ve had. I think we’ll be one of the favorites next year.” 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•Second-year Scioto softball coach Brooke Ott was disappointed with her team’s final record, but remains optimistic for the future. 

The 27th-seeded Irish finished 9-15 overall with an 11-2 loss to 30th-seeded New Albany in the opening round of the Division I district tournament May 10. 

Scioto went 4-8 in the OCC-Capital to finish sixth behind champion Delaware (13-0). 

“We had a few more games that we could’ve won,” Ott said. “We lost out on four games because of weather and three of them were games that we could have won.” 

Sophomore Isabella Jauregui (C) hit .373 with a team-high four home runs and added 18 RBI. 

Junior Caroline Piatt (C/3B) hit .370 and junior Madi Comstock (2B) hit .361. Comstock led the team in RBI with 24 and added three home runs. 

Lacey Henry (OF), who was one of nine seniors, batted .299 with 11 RBI. 

In the circle, sophomore Taylor Henry finished 9-14 and had a 5.24 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 58 walks in 147 2/3 innings. She helped her cause at the plate, batting .297 with 15 RBI and seven doubles. 

Others eligible to return are juniors Erin Bush (3B), Hunter Fadorsen (1B) and Sadie Jauregui (OF) and freshman Faith Kinzer (P). 

“We have a lot of girls who were inexperienced at the varsity level and trying to figure out our identity played a huge factor,” Ott said. 

—Frank DiRenna 

•The 41st-seeded Jerome softball team lost 9-3 to Darby on May 10 in the first round of the Division I district tournament and finished 3-16 overall. 

The Celtics beat Scioto 7-6 on May 1 and swept Olentangy, winning 13-10 on April 22 and 4-3 on May 8 in OCC-Cardinal action as they finished 2-8 in the league. 

Junior Caroline Gross (utility/P) batted .460 and senior Amaris Lowery (SS) hit .370 to lead the offense. 

Juniors Rachel Jarrett (C), Ciara Reitz (OF) and Kylyn Smith (utility) and sophomores Jen Hicks (2B) and Izzy Damewood (OF) also were key players under first-year coach Brooke McCartney. 

Others eligible to return include juniors Ashley Belu (OF) and Paige Harmon (1B/utility), sophomores Dylan Haines (P) and Grace Williams (utility) and freshmen Lilly Niehaus (utility) and Delayney Stoner (utility). 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•The final warm-up before the Division I postseason took place for the Coffman, Jerome and Scioto boys and girls track and field programs when they competed in their league meets. 

The Jerome girls shared second place with Darby (117) behind Olentangy (123) in the OCC-Cardinal meet May 12 and 15 at Thomas Worthington, with the Jerome boys placing fourth (80) behind champion Thomas (128). 

Winning titles for the Jerome girls were Chloe Friedman in the 400 meters (59.21 seconds), Megan Keys in the 3,200 (11:41.31), McKenna Moritz in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches), Raegan Ernst in the long jump (16-10), the 800 relay of Ernst, Friedman, Maya Fuller and Caroline Zimovan (1:46.48) and the 1,600 relay of Ernst, Friedman, Fuller and Samantha Melican (4:00.8). 

For the Jerome boys, first-place finishes came from Silas Kayuha in the 110 hurdles (14.44), the 400 relay of Praj Sachan, C.C. Ezirim, Garrett CiCi and Kayuha (43.57) and the 1,600 relay of Jordan Gross, Carson Smith, Peter Hollern and Kayuha (3:27.28). 

In the OCC-Central meet May 13 and 15 at Westerville North, the Coffman boys were third (92) behind Olentangy Orange (137) and Hilliard Davidson (104) and the girls were fifth (60) behind champion Orange (140). 

Mick Smith won the boys high jump (6-0) and the girls 1,600 relay of Abigail McGraw, Abigail Scherer, Kylie Feeney and Abby Collier also was first (4:01.31). 

The Scioto boys were fourth (70) behind champion Canal Winchester (174) and the Scioto girls placed seventh (61) behind champion Big Walnut (144.4) in the OCC-Capital meet May 13 and 15 at North. 

Trevor Page won the 800 (2:00.89) and 1,600 (4:31.53) and the 3,200 relay of Andrew Leonard, Spencer McClellan, Bryce Page and Trevor Page also was first (8:11.28) for the boys. Maddy Johnson won the 1,600 (5:15.39) and Kaitlyn Bassingthwaite won the high jump (4-8) for the girls.

—Jarrod Ulrey 

COFFMAN SOFTBALL 

Record: 13-14 overall  

OCC-Central standings: Liberty and Upper Arlington (both 9-1), Hilliard Bradley (6-4), Dublin Coffman (4-6), Orange (2-8), Hilliard Davidson (0-10) 

Seniors lost: Grace Cady, Allie Kelly, Leah Montgomery and Emma Rice 

Key returnees: Taylor Covington, Sidney Dosch, Jamie Hamed, Marti Henkel, Julia Kassis, Maya Miles and Hannah Slater 

Postseason: Defeated Big Walnut 13-3; def. Westerville Central 10-2; lost to Hilliard Darby 3-2 in Division I district semifinal 

JEROME SOFTBALL 

Record: 3-16 overall  

OCC-Cardinal standings: Marysville (9-1), Darby and Olentangy Berlin (both 7-3), Thomas Worthington (3-7), Jerome and Olentangy (both 2-8) 

Seniors lost: Shelby Craig, Amaris Lowery and Sam Perry 

Key returnees: Caroline Gross, Jen Hicks, Rachel Jarrett, Ciara Reitz and Kylyn Smith 

Postseason: Lost to Darby 9-3 in first round of Division I district tournament 

SCIOTO SOFTBALL 

Record: 9-15 overall 

OCC-Capital standings: Delaware (13-0), Westerville North and Westerville South (10-4), Canal Winchester (9-5), Big Walnut (5-9), Dublin Scioto (4-8), Worthington Kilbourne (3-11), Franklin Heights (0-13) 

Seniors lost: Carlee Gray, Lacey Henry, Alexis Hoover, Jessica Jacobs, Julia Jacobs, Lucy McGary, Jordan Sowards, Gina Ventola and Mackenzie Wood 

Key returnees: Madi Comstock, Taylor Henry, Isabella Jauregui and Caroline Piatt 

Postseason: Lost to New Albany 11-2 in first round of Division I district tournament