Notebook: Dublin Jerome Celtics boys tennis team hopes to take next step

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Jerome juniors Tanish Pairu (left) and Max Fickas both rear back to return the ball during the Division I state tournament May 28 at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Cincinnati. The pair lost to Ben Cors and Caleb Miller of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in a quarterfinal.

The Dublin Jerome boys tennis team won its sixth consecutive league championship, earned a second consecutive Division I OTCA district runner-up finish and nearly had a doubles team place in the Division I OHSAA state tournament. 

All of that occurred despite the Celtics having no seniors. 

“We didn’t have a single senior on our team, which consists of seven juniors, two sophomores and a freshman,” coach Ken Berlin said. “The last two seasons we’ve made it to the district final (in the OTCA team tournament). No Jerome boys team has made it to the (state tournament), so obviously that’s the goal. I think next year is going to be our best chance at it.” 

Juniors Max Fickas and Tanish Pairu beat junior teammates Kevin Liu and Eli Wiblin for the sectional doubles title May 15 at Hilliard Bradley and then placed third in the district tournament that concluded May 22 at Reynoldsburg while Liu and Wiblin finished fourth as both duos qualified for state. 

In the state tournament May 28 at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Cincinnati, Fickas and Pairu lost to Ben Cors and Caleb Miller of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in a quarterfinal. Liu and Wiblin lost to Ryan Kelley and Alvin Altman of Massillon Jackson 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 in the first round. 

Competing at sectional in singles for the Celtics were junior Viraj Bajoria and sophomores Rohan Althavale and Maxwell Stratford. 

Others eligible to return include juniors Frank Li and Arnav Madani and freshman Cayden Stratford.

“It’s just such a great opportunity to be (at the state tournament),” Fickas said.  

•The third-seeded Coffman boys lacrosse team had its season end with a 21-12 loss May 28 at top-seeded Jerome in the Division I, Region 1 final. 

The Shamrocks, who won the 2019 state title, finished 15-7 under first-year coach Dan Warren and lose 18 players to graduation. 

“These seniors think this is normal to be in a regional final every year, and it’s not,” Warren said. “I’m glad they were able to continue pushing our program to that level and I hope the underclassmen are able to follow their lead and keep this momentum the program has had the past five to six years going.” 

Leading the senior class were OCC-Central Division Player of the Year O.J. Morris (face-off midfielder) and fellow first-team all-league honoree Peter Tyack (attacker). 

Seniors Ben Holland (attacker), Connor Mathews (midfielder) and Spencer Richardson (defender) were second-team all-league. Senior Justin Schmidt (defender) was honorable mention. 

Holland had 72 goals and 26 assists, Tyack had 68 goals and 37 assists and Mathews had 46 goals and 14 assists. 

Juniors Michael Agner (midfielder), Jed Hartman (goalie), David Shevetz (defender) and Michael Trbovich (midfielder), sophomore Gavin Guetle (attacker) and freshman Ryder Lewis (midfielder) should be among the top returnees. 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•For the fourth consecutive season, the Jerome boys volleyball team settled for a runner-up finish in the Division I, East Region tournament. 

The seventh-seeded Celtics beat fourth-seeded Olentangy Orange 25-20, 25-18, 25-21 in a regional semifinal May 25 at Hilliard Bradley before losing to top-seeded Bradley 25-23, 25-14, 25-17 in a regional final May 28 at Westerville Central to finish 13-9. 

“We know that we’ve got things we need to improve on and work on throughout the course of the season and we try to get ourselves playing our best volleyball at the end,” coach Phil Cagnoli said. “What happens every year is we start this process. I basically tell the kids right off the bat that this is where we’re going to end up and once they start seeing the progression, seeing that this is actually happening, they start to believe.” 

Senior outside hitters Tyler Nutting and Max Utrup were first-team all-league and senior opposite hitter Ben Cripe was honorable mention all-league. 

Junior Dhruva Thimmenahalli and sophomore Kai Von Bourgondien, both of whom are setters, should lead the group of returning players. 

Others eligible to return include juniors Bhawya Gupta (defensive specialist), Will Helmreich (middle hitter), Alex Loeffler (middle hitter) and Lewis Park (defensive specialist) and sophomores Aidan Eberhardt (outside hitter), Cam Eckelberry (defensive specialist) and Henry Guerrera (outside hitter). 

“We’ve not been to state yet, but we’ve been knocking on the door a whole bunch the past few years,” Cagnoli said. 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•The Scioto girls lacrosse team enjoyed a winning season, going 13-4 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital to finish second behind Worthington Kilbourne (5-0). 

Seeded fourth in the Division I, Region 3 tournament, Scioto lost to ninth-seeded Springboro 12-11 in the second round May 17. 

“This season was one filled with many ups and some downs,” said coach Sarah Zink, who was named league Coach of the Year. “I am very proud of these girls and the heart they have for not only the game, but for their teammates. Passionate is the word to describe this group. Anything I threw their way they were willing to try it out and do with fidelity. This was one of the most talented groups Scioto has ever seen.” 

Senior Avery Schwab (attacker) was first-team all-state, all-region and all-league. She had 69 goals and a team-high 58 assists. 

Senior Karleigh Rothe (midfielder) was second-team all-state and first-team all-region and all-league. She had 50 goals and 19 assists. 

Senior Ashleigh Rothe (midfielder) was first-team all-league and second-team all-region. She had a team-high 83 goals and 33 assists. 

Sophomore Denise Fadalalmawla (goalie) had 80 saves and was first-team all-league, and junior Tiffany Trinh (midfielder) was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region. Trinh had 19 goals and 11 assists. 

Junior Holland Bell (defender) and freshman Sophia Schwab (attacker) were second-team all-league. Schwab had 42 goals and 29 assists. 

Senior Gabrielle Johnson (defender) was honorable mention all-league. 

Junior Erika Lytle (midfielder) and freshman Alec Rothe (defender) each had 15 goals and seven assists. 

—Frank DiRenna

Scioto baseball coach Ryan Longbrake saw several positive moments this season. 

The Irish finished with a winning record in OCC-Capital play as they went 8-6 to place fourth behind champion Westerville South (12-2). 

Seeded 22nd in the Division I district tournament, Scioto lost to 23rd-seeded Jerome 6-1 in the opening round May 17 to finish 12-12 overall. 

Longbrake is a 2010 graduate of Jerome and played for Celtics coach Chris Huesman. 

“We knew going into the season that we were going to have some struggles throughout the year with the inexperience that we had and the youth that we had on our team,” Longbrake said. “I thought our guys battled through adversity tremendously all season long. The seniors had a really tough task of leading an inexperienced team.” 

Sophomore Connor Peer (1B/P/OF) was first-team all-district and all-league, and junior Silas Moore (OF/INF) was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. 

Senior Angel Garcia (C/P) was second-team all-league, sophomore Jack Geisler (SS/P) was special mention all-league and senior David Schmidt (OF/P) was honorable mention all-league. 

Peer hit .482 with 26 runs, 19 RBI and 13 doubles. Senior Blaze Boryczewski (3B) hit .351 with 15 RBI, Garcia hit .333 with 22 RBI and 14 runs and Moore hit .313 with 26 runs. 

Schmidt was 3-1 and had a 4.65 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 21 walks in 32 2/3 innings. 

Other players eligible to return are juniors Luke George (INF/P), Matt Howard (OF), Cameron Jackson (OF), Patrick Joyce (OF) and Mason Salvator (OF), sophomores Cameron McKenzie (P) and Ethan Shipps (OF/INF/C/P) and freshmen Bryce Kyees (P) and Charlie Marando (C). 

“I’m really excited for what’s to come, but also really proud of how our guys battled all year and really proud of our season,” Longbrake said. 

—Frank DiRenna

•A four-member senior class led the Coffman boys tennis team. 

Seniors Sanjay Janardhan and William Sun comprised one doubles team for the postseason and followed a sectional title by falling 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to New Albany’s Ben Belinko and Declan Freedhoff in a district quarterfinal. 

The other doubles team, comprised of seniors Anton Bakunin and Siddharth Rajagopal, was the sectional runner-up and also lost in a district quarterfinal. 

“(Janardhan and Sun) fought hard to take it to three sets (in their district quarterfinal) and I was proud of them,” coach Brett Hundertpfund said. “Singles were stacked and we didn’t really feel like we had a great shot at singles, so these were the guys. We were close (to making state).” 

The top returnees should be junior Bryan Li and sophomore Fedor Bakunin, both of whom reached sectional quarterfinals in singles, as well as junior Isaac Frank, whose season ended in the second round of sectional in singles. 

Another eligible to return is sophomore Shinya Akiyama. 

“It’ll be somewhat of a rebuilding year next year, but we’ve got some talented guys down (on the junior varsity) that are stepping up,” Hundertpfund said. 

—Jarrod Ulrey 

•The Coffman, Jerome and Scioto boys and girls track and field teams competed in the Division I regional meet May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North. 

Raegan Ernst led the Jerome girls, finishing third in the 300-meter hurdles (44.75 seconds) and joining Samantha Melican, Maya Fuller and Chloe Friedman on the fourth-place 1,600 relay (4:03.88). 

For the Jerome boys, Silas Kayuha was third in the 110 hurdles (14.43).

Kylie Feeney led the Coffman girls, finishing fourth in the 800 (2:16.7) and teaming with Abigail Scherer, Olivia Oiler and Kasey Stammen to finish second in the 3,200 relay (9:14.69).

The top four finishers in each event advanced to state June 4 and 5 at Hilliard Darby.

Scioto did not have a state qualifier. 

—Frank DiRenna 

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COFFMAN BOYS LACROSSE 

Record: 15-7 overall  

OCC-Central standings: Upper Arlington (5-0), Olentangy Liberty (4-1), Coffman (3-2), Hilliard Davidson (2-3), Olentangy Orange (1-4), Hilliard Bradley (0-5) 

Seniors lost: Nate Brown, Ian Carroll, A.J. Dimond, Connor Doyle, Ben Holland, Grant Hummer, Colby Kern, Chris Maloney, Connor Mathews, R.J. Mohammad, O.J. Morris, Tyler Peterson, Spencer Richardson, Justin Schmidt, Roshan Singri, Chris Tabit, Peter Tyack and Gage Wagoner 

Key returnees: Steve Agner, Gavin Guetle, Jed Hartman, Ryder Lewis, David Shevetz and Michael Trbovich 

Postseason: Defeated Avon Lake 17-5; def. Perrysburg 18-6; def. Liberty 11-10; lost to Jerome 21-12 in Division I, Region 1 final 

COFFMAN BOYS TENNIS 

Record: 6-7 overall  

OCC-Central standings: Orange (5-0), UA (4-1), Liberty (3-2), Coffman (2-3), Bradley (1-4), Davidson (0-5) 

Seniors lost: Anton Bakunin, Sanjay Janardhan, Siddharth Rajagopal and William Sun 

Key returnees: Shinya Akiyama, Fedor Bakunin, Isaac Frank and Bryan Li 

JEROME BOYS TENNIS 

Record: 14-2 overall  

OCC-Cardinal standings: Jerome (5-0), Thomas Worthington (4-1), Olentangy (3-2), Olentangy Berlin (2-3), Hilliard Darby (1-4), Marysville (0-5) 

Seniors lost: None 

Key returnees: Rohan Althavale, Viraj Bajoria, Max Fickas, Kevin Liu, Tanish Pairu, Maxwell Stratford and Eli Wiblin 

JEROME BOYS VOLLEYBALL 

Record: 13-9 overall  

OCC-Cardinal standings: Worthington Kilbourne (10-2), Darby (9-3), Jerome (8-4), Thomas (7-5), Olentangy (6-6), Berlin (2-10), Scioto (0-12) 

Seniors lost: Ben Cripe, Nelson Garcia, Hrushi Muskula, Tyler Nutting, Max Ueber and Max Utrup

Key returnees: Dhruva Thimmenahalli and Kai Von Bourgondien 

Postseason: Def. Westerville Central 25-14, 25-9, 25-21; def. Orange 25-20, 25-18, 25-21; lost to Bradley 25-23, 25-14, 25-17 in Division I, East Region final

SCIOTO BASEBALL  

Record: 12-12 overall  

OCC-Capital standings: Westerville South (12-2), Canal Winchester (11-3), Kilbourne (9-5), Scioto (8-6), Big Walnut (6-6) Westerville North (5-7), Delaware (3-11), Franklin Heights (0-14) 

Seniors lost: Blaze Boryczewski, Angel Garcia, Max Major, Jaydon Pearson and David Schmidt 

Key returnees: Jack Geisler, Silas Moore and Connor Peer 

Postseason: Lost to Jerome 6-1 in first round of Division I district tournament 

SCIOTO GIRLS LACROSSE 

Record: 13-4 overall  

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

Seniors lost: Ava Brown, Gabrielle Johnson, Alexis Rosales-Camacho, Ashleigh Rothe, Karleigh Rothe, Avery Schwab and Samantha Zavala 

Key returnees: Holland Bell, Denise Fadalalmawla, Erika Lytle, Alec Rothe, Sophia Schwab and Tiffany Trinh 

Postseason: Lost to Springboro 12-11 in second round of Division I, Region 3 tournament