Gahanna Lincoln Roundup: Lions' Brandon Carpico breaks through with state tennis berth

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Sophomore Brandon Carpico won the Division I district singles title May 22 at Reynoldsburg and became the first Gahanna player to qualify for the state tournament since Canyon Teague made it in 2012 and 2013.

The process of becoming the first state qualifier for the Gahanna Lincoln boys tennis team in nearly a decade included making a full commitment to the sport about two years ago, a decision sophomore Brandon Carpico believes has paid off.

That also left him, like other athletes who strive to be at the top of their game, in a quandary when the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

He managed to stay busy last spring, however, despite losing what would have been his first prep season. 

“I hit with one of the other kids, (Pickerington North’s) Pavan Uppu, a lot and we’d find whatever court was open,” Carpico said. “We played a lot of sets and for not much being open, my game progressed, which was good.” 

Uppu, who also is a sophomore, was among the four Division I state qualifiers from central Ohio along with Carpico.

They competed in the state tournament May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

The last Gahanna player to reach state was Canyon Teague, who lost in the first round in singles in 2012 and finished fourth as a senior in 2013 before playing for the University of Richmond. 

Carpico opened district May 20 at Reynoldsburg by beating Grove City’s Abraham Hougland 6-1, 6-2 and Olentangy’s Sam Routzahn’s 6-0, 6-2 in a quarterfinal to assure himself a spot at state. 

Then on May 22, Carpico beat Uppu 6-1, 6-3 in a semifinal before defeating Olentangy Liberty’s Vishnu Bodavula 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 for the championship. 

Carpico lost to St. Charles’ Reece Yakubov 7-5, 6-2 for the sectional championship May 15 at Hilliard Bradley after beating Bodavula 6-1, 6-3 in a semifinal, but Bodavula beat Yakubov 6-2, 6-2 in a district semifinal to set up the rematch. 

“He’s played great all year,” coach Chris Schwinnen said. “He’s been playing really, really well against the top players in the state. He’s really excited about (making it to state). He’s really worked hard all year and is very deserving.” 

Heading into state, Carpico’s only other loss in singles was to New Albany’s Ryan Mudre, who played doubles during the postseason. 

In the district final, Carpico survived a tight first-set tiebreaker that he believes gave him the momentum to close out the title. He also beat Bodavula in a three-set regular-season match. 

“It means a lot, making a name for myself so young,” Carpico said. “I missed a fair amount of second-serve returns and that can’t happen in the big moments against good kids. I just kept the same game plan and focused on what I could control. 

“I’ve worked hard for it for a long time and it’s really good to represent my school in a positive way and go to state.” 

Junior Maddox Burnworth should be among the top returnees for the Lions, who finished 13-14 overall and 8-7 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Baseball team 

reaches semi 

During a 16-1 win May 19 at 14th-seeded Mount Vernon in the second round of the Division I district tournament, the 21st-seeded baseball team took advantage of seven errors by the Yellow Jackets. 

The Lions had the tables turned on them in a district semifinal May 24 at fourth-seeded Westerville South, committing eight errors and losing 10-3. 

Gahanna finished 13-14 overall and tied for third (8-7) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind Grove City (11-4) and New Albany (10-5). 

The Lions opened the district tournament with a 12-10 win over 38th-seeded Reynoldsburg on May 17 as junior John Nhem pitched his first postseason contest. 

He served as the No. 2 pitcher all season behind senior Zach Marzetz and likely would have started had Gahanna reached a district final. 

“(The season was just) up and down and it’s taken a while for our guys to get together,” Nhem said. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot since last year. Last year I didn’t really have much going on and since quarantine I’ve been working more, making sure I’ve perfected my craft.” 

Nhem is in line to be the No. 1 starter next spring as the Lions look to bounce back from a rare losing season in 29 years under coach Mike Shade. 

In addition to Marzetz, the Lions lose Trey Burger (SS), Carter Barnes (P), Jordan Daniels (CF), Cameron Lewis (P/3B), Charlie Pierce (3B/P) and Bryan Von Moegen (C/DH) to graduation. 

Juniors Brady Broshar (C), Maddox Burnworth (P/OF), Garrett Helsel (P/1B) and Brady Reed (2B) and sophomore Adam Buerger (OF/P) also should be top returnees. 

Others eligible to return include juniors Julian Alamis (OF), Noah Amos (OF/P), Nick Hoerig (OF/P), Grady Hudson (P/OF), Brenden Phillips (1B/C), Devon Swenson (2B) and Hunter Westby (C/OF). 

Girls lacrosse coach 

happy with growth 

With a 12-9 loss at 10th-seeded Miamisburg on May 18, the 11th-seeded girls lacrosse team finished 5-11.

According to first-year coach Stephanie Belz, the Lions’ record wasn’t indicative of their overall improvement. 

“I’m happy with how the overall season turned out,” Belz said. “Our record doesn’t reflect how hard these girls worked this season and the passion they have for this game. The girls played for each other and set each other up for success. That’s what you want to see as a coach.” 

The Lions won three of their first five games despite being without junior attacker Kenzie Streby, who returned later in the season from injury and should be among the top returnees. 

Others eligible to return include juniors Kendall Barker (defender), Ava Gilzow (defender) and Aryam Goitom (defender), sophomore Camille Shirey (attacker) and freshmen Addy Haines (midfielder), Olivia Hall (defender), Kaitlynn Hedrick (goalie) and Lili Stancev (attacker). 

Emely Burkhart (defender), Gabriella D’Alberto (midfielder), Anna Linnabary (attacker) and Haley Meheran (goalie) led the senior class. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek 

BASEBALL 

Record: 13-14 overall  

OCC-Ohio standings: Grove City (11-4), New Albany (10-5), Gahanna, Pickerington North and Westerville Central (all 8-7), Westland (0-15) 

Seniors lost: Carter Barnes, Trey Burger, Jordan Daniels, Cameron Lewis, Zach Marzetz, Charlie Pierce, Tyler Robinson and Bryan Von Moegen 

Key returnees: Brady Broshar, Adam Buerger, Maddox Burnworth, Garrett Helsel, John Nhem and Brady Reed 

Postseason: Defeated Reynoldsburg 12-10; def. Mount Vernon 16-1; lost to Westerville South 10-3 in Division I district semifinal 

GIRLS LACROSSE 

Record: 5-11 overall  

OCC-Ohio standings: New Albany (4-0), Pickerington Central (3-1), Pickerington North (2-2), Gahanna (1-3), Westerville Central (0-4) 

Seniors lost: Casey Bare, Ana Bretscher, Emely Burkhart, Gabriella D’Alberto, Anna Linnabary, Haley Meheran, Emma Roehrenbeck, Claire Schuler and Gillian Surber 

Key returnees: Kendall Barker, Ava Gilzow, Addy Haines, Olivia Hall, Camille Shirey and Kenzie Streby 

Postseason: Lost to Miamisburg 12-9 in second round of Division I, Region 3 tournament