Columbus Academy Roundup: Girls basketball team making adjustments
Led by senior Kayla McClendon and junior Sophie Spolter, the Columbus Academy girls basketball team had some success early in the season, but coach Heather Rakosik said there’s room for improvement.
Academy was 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Wellington on Jan. 13.
The Vikings beat Tree of Life 59-39 on Jan. 12. McClendon scored 26 points, Spolter had 14 and Claire Cahall added 13.
“There are some things defensively – one-on-one and as a team – that we want to clean up,” Rakosik said. “Offensively, we’re looking to put people where they’re going to be successful and get some defined roles, and hopefully look to improve on our offensive production.”
Through six games, Spolter was averaging a team-high 13.5 points and McClendon was averaging 11.8.
“Sophie and Kayla have been leading us,” Rakosik said. “They handle the ball the most and they are in the game the majority of the time and leading us statistically.”
Claudia Warstler (4.8), Spolter (4.5), Chloe Gouhin (3.7)and Cahall (3.5) led in rebounding.
“We have some good rebounders,” Rakosik said. “We have some kids getting some boards for us.”
The Vikings’ first two wins came against Centerburg (39-34 on Dec. 29) and Grandview (36-30 on Jan. 5).
Spolter scored 11 points and McClendon added 10 against Grandview. McClendon scored 16 points and Spolter had 13 against Centerburg.
“Everybody would want more wins,” Rakosik said. “As coaches, we’re looking to see where we could get better and then put that into action.”
Wrestling team hopes
for more competition
The wrestling team has had a limited schedule because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but coach Paul Bukky hopes that changes as the postseason approaches.
“Conditioning-wise, I don’t think we’re where we ought to be,” Bukky said. “We’re not quite where we need to be yet, but the kids are tougher. We haven’t been tested (in competition) yet, but that’s OK.”
The Vikings competed in three events in December and early January, including beating Cardington 42-12 and losing to Ready 34-30 in a tri-match Jan. 9 at home.
Academy, which was 2-4 before facing Canal Winchester, Mount Gilead and Newark Catholic on Jan. 16, opens its MSL-Ohio schedule Jan. 27 at home against Buckeye Valley.
The Vikings have been led by Gyvnn Mendenhall, who has split time between 220 pounds and heavyweight and was 7-0 with four pins before Jan. 16.
“Gyvnn is a beast,” Bukky said. “I think he could win at 220 and heavyweight. He moves; he’s not a guy who just sits. He tries to make things happen. He’s not intimidated and that’s the best part.”
Parker Knapp (126) was 6-0 with five pins and Tiko Bdoyan (152) was 5-2 with four pins.
Ethan Stahl (182/195) has missed time with an elbow injury, but Bukky expected him to return to the lineup soon.
Boys bowlers deal
The boys bowling team has had a limited schedule because of the pandemic.
Academy was 1-2 in the COHSBC-C before facing Liberty Christian on Jan. 13. The COHSBC-C includes eight teams from Columbus City Schools, which has delayed the start of winter athletics.
“We’ve been struggling,” coach Gerardina Garita said. “We haven’t bowled well. It’s a lack of consistency. We didn’t practice a lot in December, so we haven’t been able to jell and perform. We do well in practices, but match-time comes and something happens. We’re trying to do what we can. We’re trying to encourage them and let them know that they’re good bowlers.”
The Vikings beat Liberty Christian 1,633-1,364 on Jan. 6. Vincent White led Academy with a 298 two-game series, followed by Jacob Mowery (289), Skyler Simpson (271) and Gabe Taub (257).
“I’m hoping that we’re going to figure out what’s going on and we’ll be ready for the sectional tournament,” Garita said. “We’re continuing practicing and doing what we can. They are aware that they need to do better for the tournament, so we’re hoping to get there and perform well. These kids are good bowlers.
“It’s been a rough patch, but they should be ready for the tournament. I have high expectations for them.”