Columbus Academy Roundup: Gwin, Crane bring edge to Vikings hockey team

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Max Crane has been starting in goal for Columbus Academy since 2017, when the hockey team began play as a junior varsity squad. Before playing Olentangy Berlin on Jan. 29, the Vikings were 7-12-0-1 overall and 6-8-0-1 in the CHC-Blue.

When the puck dropped on the Columbus Academy hockey program in 2017, then-freshmen Campbell Gwin and Max Crane were fixtures on the ice as the Vikings navigated a junior-varsity schedule.

That continues today, although Gwin and Crane now are winding down successful prep careers.

Gwin, a forward, has been one of the Vikings’ top scorers throughout his career, while Crane has been the No. 1 goalie from the beginning. 

“They’ve been huge,” coach Corey Taber said. “They’ve been fantastic and they’ve been playing great this year. They were here day one when we started in j.v. and they’ve been varsity for the past three years. They’ve been here the whole time.” 

Through 14 games this season, Gwin was among the team leaders in scoring with 14 goals and six assists. He missed the first six games because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

“Cam has always been a very strong player and he’s really developed as a leader over the last four years,” Taber said. 

Crane, who previously played forward at the youth level and goalie at a young age, volunteered to move into the net as a freshman when the team lacked a goalie. 

“(Taber) needed a goalie ... so I said, ‘Why not?’ ” Crane said. “I love hockey and I wanted to stick around, so I took a leap of faith and went for it. I had to relearn the position from the start.” 

Through 14 league games this winter, Crane allowed 47 goals with a save percentage of .898. 

“Max took the role on when we needed somebody in goal,” Taber said. “His ramp up has been incredible. We were in need and he recognized that. His leadership has also been fantastic.” 

Last season, both players helped Academy win its first league title. The Vikings went 7-7-1-1 in CHC play, giving them 16 points to finish first in the CHC-Blue, ahead of second-place Watterson (14, 7-9). 

Crane allowed just 13 goals in CHC-Blue play, while Gwin led the Vikings with 20 goals and 11 assists in league play. Gwin was named first-team all-CHC-Blue. 

Senior forward Campbell Gwin has been one of the Vikings’ top scorers throughout his career. Last season, he helped Academy finish first in the CHC-Blue for its first league title.

Before playing Olentangy Berlin on Jan. 29, Academy was 7-12-0-1 overall and third in the CHC-Blue at 6-8-0-1 with 13 points, behind first-place Olentangy (16, 8-5). 

“We had people telling us when I was in eighth grade that we weren’t going to have a team,” Gwin said. “We didn’t have enough kids, we didn’t have enough talent, and look where we are now. We won the Blue Division last year and we’re fighting for a good spot this year, so I think we’ve proven a lot of people wrong.” 

Gwin had two goals in a 6-3 loss to Watterson on Jan. 24 at Chiller Dublin. The game was tied at 2 after one period and the Vikings trailed just 4-3 early in the third. Watterson entered play Jan. 29 in second place in the CHC-Blue at 7-4 with 14 points. 

Gwin had a hat trick in a 5-2 win over Athens on Jan. 24. 

“I don’t believe this is what we expected, but with this COVID situation, this season is very different than the other ones we faced,” Gwin said. “We’re facing a lot of adversity, but we’re just trying to play hockey. We’re maybe not getting the results we want, but that’s all we can ask for.” 

Both players were part of an Academy bantam team in the 2016-17 season. Seniors Luke Budzik (forward) and Patrick Daly (defenseman) also played on the bantam team before joining the j.v. team the following season. 

“We’ve had a lot of kids who are in their first year playing hockey,” Crane said. “We love that. We want to keep the program going. We’re a low-end team. We can’t be winning every game and we understand that, but we go out there, we try our best and we try to win.” 

Three bowlers earn 

all-league honors 

The boys bowling team turned in a strong effort in the MSL-Ohio tournament Jan. 23 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, led by three athletes who earned all-league honors. 

Vincent White finished fifth of 26 bowlers with a 562 series to make the first team. Cole Leis finished 10th (510) and was second-team all-league, and Ryan Reagan was 14th (475) and was honorable mention all-league. 

“To have three of our five players get honors was amazing, and it shows how committed they are to do the best that they can,” coach Gerardina Garita said. “Those kids make the coaches look good because we know they are doing all the hard work. We are excited for the postseason and continuing to work hard and maintaining a positive attitude.” 

The Vikings finished third (2,977) of five teams during pool play, behind first-place Whitehall (3,455). 

Whitehall lost to Grandview 2-1 in a best-of-three Baker series final. 

“I am very proud of our team,” Garita said. “They are committed to leaving a mark this year and they have been working hard to achieve their goal. We had consistent scores in the games (Jan. 23), but dropped a little bit during the Bakers. There are always things that need to improve on, but we were very pleased with our overall performance.” 

Girls basketball team

pauses season 

As the girls basketball team was warming up to play Grandview on Jan. 25, the game was postponed because of COVID-19. 

Coach Heather Rakosik hopes her team can resume activities Feb. 8. 

Academy is 5-6 overall and 3-3 in the MSL-Ohio. 

“The team has been working hard, especially through some injuries,” Rakosik said before the season was paused. “We have had some critical games and been on both sides. We are looking to execute our game plans to have future success in the league.” 

Sophie Spolter is averaging a team-high 12.8 points, ahead of Kayla McClendon’s 12.4. 

Claudia Warstler is averaging a team-best 5.4 rebounds.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank