Columbus Academy Roundup: Vikings boys tennis team continues to excel

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Columbus Academy's Arie Tuckerman and Jack Madison display the third-place plaque from the Division II state team tournament May 30 at Reynoldsburg. Tuckerman and Madison finished second at state in doubles the previous day at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

Although it fell short of two major goals, it was another season to remember for the Columbus Academy boys tennis team. 

The Vikings were led by seniors Jack Madison and Arie Tuckerman, who finished second in doubles in the OHSAA Division II state tournament and helped guide the team to a third-place finish in the OTCA Division II state tournament. 

“The team was like a brotherhood,” Madison said. “It’s really special here. I’m going to miss the coaches, coach (Marc) Wurtzman, coach (Steve) Hoffman. It’s a special program we have here.” 

Competing in their second state tournament in doubles, Madison and Tuckerman reached the final before losing 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Pepper Pike Orange’s Josh Nwaozuzu and Chika Nwaozuzu on May 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

Madison and Tuckerman also finished second in 2019, losing 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 to teammates Suriya Sundaram and Rhian Seneviratne in the final. 

Academy earned its first state team tournament berth since 2016 by beating Wellington 3-1 in the district final May 18 at home. The Vikings also beat Wellington 3-2 in an MSL-Ohio Division match April 14. 

Academy lost 3-1 to Orange in a state semifinal before finishing third with a 3-1 win over Lexington in the consolation match May 30 at Reynoldsburg. 

“I’m happy with how it ended,” Tuckerman said. “Obviously, we wish we could have beaten Orange and made it to the final, but I’m happy we made it this far. People were sleeping on us all the way. I had three great years of tennis here and I’m proud of this team and how we finished.” 

Junior Ryan Panley won 6-3, 6-1 for Academy’s lone victory against Orange, while Madison won 6-0, 6-3 at first singles, Tuckerman won 6-4, 6-0 at second singles and Panley won 6-1, 6-3 at third singles against Lexington. 

The Vikings finished 17-6 overall and tied Bexley and Wellington for the MSL-Ohio title at 5-1. 

“Two-time state doubles finalists for Academy and team (state tournament), third place, they had a good career,” Wurtzman said of Madison and Tuckerman. “They did a great job being captains this year, and the effort they gave to the team and the wins they got for the team and just their presence in practice and how they led the team throughout the year, we’ll never forget them.” 

Madison enjoyed success despite playing the second half of the season with a hernia injury, which forced him to serve underhand. He will have surgery June 15. 

Other players eligible to return are juniors Sidd Amirneni, Dhruv Edamadaka, Jake Stouffer and Jaswanth Vandrasi, sophomores Saagar Arya, Stefan Li and Cory Wu and freshman Vincent Sommer. 

Boys lacrosse team 

posts winning season 

Led by the Division II, Region 7 Player of the Year, the boys lacrosse team finished 13-6. 

Junior attacker Zach White was named the top player in the region after leading the Vikings with 90 goals and 65 assists. 

“To me, Zach was head over heels the best player in our region,” coach Derek Lichtfuss said. 

The second-seeded Vikings reached a regional semifinal, losing 10-7 to third-seeded Watterson on May 24 at home. 

“We had a great season,” Lichtfuss said. “We beat Watterson earlier in the season (15-13 on April 20). We beat Granville (16-8) in the quarterfinal. We ran into Watterson again in the semis and it was a really closely contested game. Our kids played really hard.

“There’s no moral victories, but you lose to the team that wins your region, that’s a positive side, especially when you beat them once this season.” 

Junior midfielder Henry Rubey was first-team all-region, while senior defender Vassar Barney and juniors Jake Carlin (midfielder) and Charles Stoner (long-stick midfielder) were second-team all-region. Senior midfielder Chris Sugar and junior midfielder Drake Bellisari were honorable mention all-region. 

Lichtfuss was named Coach of the Year in the region for the second consecutive season. 

“It’s 100 percent a coaching staff award,” Lichtfuss said. “I have a phenomenal coaching staff.” 

Junior attacker Davey Agrawal had 35 goals and nine assists, sophomore attacker Miles Friedman had 29 goals and five assists, Rubey had 28 goals and 10 assists, Carlin had 20 goals and 13 assists and Bellisari added 20 goals and three assists. 

Junior goalie Kyle Bernstorf recorded 89 saves and freshman goalie Parker Knapp had 75 saves. 

“Our junior class this year was by far the strength of our team,” Lichtfuss said. 

Academy junior Jonathan Hill gets hit by a pitch against Grandview. The junior was first-team all-league and second-team all-district for the Vikings.

Baseball team 

reaches district final 

The baseball team closed the season in a Division III district final. 

The ninth-seeded Vikings beat seventh-seeded Centerburg 4-1 on May 20 and fifth-seeded Galion Northmor 10-0 in five innings May 24 before losing 4-0 to third-seeded Liberty Union in a district final May 27 to finish 11-13 overall. 

“I told them how proud I was of their commitment to the program,” coach Todd Dunkle said. “We were 11 strong all year and they kept showing up every day and bought into the process. By them doing that, it made it into a very successful season.” 

Academy went 5-6 in the MSL-Ohio to finish fourth behind co-champions Buckeye Valley and Worthington Christian (11-1). 

Senior Brady Hess (P/INF) was first-team all-district and all-league, junior Jonathan Hill (C/P/OF/INF) was first-team all-league and second-team all-district, junior Tanner Compton (P/OF/INF) was second-team all-district and honorable mention all-league, senior Finn Cassady (OF/INF) was second-team all-league and sophomore Dylan Ritzenthaler (P/OF/INF) was honorable mention all-district. 

Hess hit .535 with two home runs, 32 runs scored and 29 RBI. Compton hit .435 with 20 runs scored and Hill batted .426 with 25 runs and 22 RBI. 

On the mound, Hess was 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 24 walks in 45 1/3 innings. 

“Brady was definitely our ace,” Dunkle said.  

Others eligible to return are junior Carter James (OF/INF), sophomore Luke Boltz (P/OF/INF) and freshmen Carson James (OF/INF), Scott Rogers (OF/INF) and Peter Tsung (P/C/INF). 

Carter James missed the season with a knee injury. 

“Carter will be back and we have a good group of eighth-graders that will be joining the program, so we’re just going to keep firing,” Dunkle said. 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

BASEBALL 

Record: 11-13 overall 

MSL-Ohio standings: Buckeye Valley and Worthington Christian (11-1), Bexley (8-4), Columbus Academy (5-6), Grandview (4-8), Whitehall (2-9), Wellington (0-12) 

Seniors lost: Finn Cassady, Keir Gorospe, Brady Hess and Jacob Podgurski 

Key returnees: Tanner Compton, Jonathan Hill and Dylan Ritzenthaler 

Postseason: Defeated Centerburg 4-1; def. Galion Northmor 10-0 (5 innings); lost to Liberty Union 4-0 in Division III district final 

BOYS LACROSSE 

Record: 13-6 overall 

Seniors lost: Vassar Barney, Rowan Hennessy, Graham Mallory, Robert Mills, Cooper Schnitzer, Chris Sugar and Alexander Wood 

Key returnees: Drake Bellisari, Jake Carlin, Henry Rubey, Charles Stoner and Zach White 

Postseason: Def. Dayton Carroll 20-0; def. Granville 16-8; lost to Watterson 10-7 in Division II, Region 7 semifinal 

BOYS TENNIS 

Record: 17-6 overall 

MSL-Ohio standings: Academy, Bexley and Wellington (5-1), Grandview (3-3), Buckeye Valley (2-4), Worthington Christian (1-5), Whitehall (0-6) 

Seniors lost: Lucas Huang, Jack Madison and Arie Tuckerman 

Key returnees: Saagar Arya, Ryan Panley and Jake Stouffer