Hartley Roundup: Versatile Sydney Onega shining for Hawks girls lacrosse squad

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Senior Sydney Onega (center) has been doing a bit of everything for Hartley this season. “She’s great at 50-50 ground balls, possession, dodging, shooting accuracy and she gets shots off. She’s great at lots of things,” coach Molly Gilbert said.

From both a figurative and literal standpoint, Hartley girls lacrosse player Sydney Onega rarely shies away from doing whatever heavy lifting is necessary. 

The senior set the program record for goals in a game and in a season in 2019 and has shown her versatility this spring by focusing more on distributing and controlling the draw from her spot at midfielder. 

Becoming physically stronger also has been an asset for Onega, who has taken as many tips as possible in that department from her older brother, 2017 graduate Nick Onega, who is a professional powerlifter. 

“She’s fantastic,” coach Molly Gilbert said of Onega, a Blacklick resident. “She’s great at 50-50 ground balls, possession, dodging, shooting accuracy and she gets shots off. She’s great at lots of things.” 

After losing 16-14 to Bexley on April 27, the Hawks were 4-7 overall and 0-4 in the Central Independent League. In CCL action, they lost 14-7 to DeSales on March 26 and play May 6 at Watterson. 

Onega had 34 goals, 13 assists and 38 draw controls through her first eight games this season. 

After bursting onto the scene with 38 goals as a freshman, Onega set a single-game program record for goals with nine as a sophomore and later broke her own record that season when she scored 10 in one game and 12 in another — en route to a program-record 101 goals.

“My role on the team was to score my sophomore year and last year we didn’t have a season,” Onega said. “This year we have a ton of people that can shoot, which we didn’t have my sophomore year, so my role is to give assists and look for cutters and if I shoot, it’s off a team play. It’s kind of hard because I’ve been known to make the goals, but I love setting up my teammates for success and, of course, I’ll drive in sometimes and shoot it.” 

In addition to the tight loss to Bexley, Hartley had three other losses by five goals or fewer among its first seven defeats, including a 16-15 setback April 8 at Columbus School for Girls. 

“We have the talent individually, but it’s kind of been a struggle to show our talents and mesh as one,” Onega said. “We’ve been working on spacing on offense and our defense has been working on slides. We’ve been working on getting open cuts and slides a lot.” 

Onega played at the club level last summer with Resolute and recently committed to Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. 

After previously receiving interest from Davidson, Furman and Tampa but not feeling those schools were the best fit for her, Onega heard Flagler was going to be starting a program for the spring of 2022. 

Flagler is a Division II program that will compete in the Gulf South Conference. 

“Coach Molly was talking to the Tampa coach one night and they told her that Flagler was going to be new next year and that it was a great area and that they’d give a good word for me,” Onega said. “(Gilbert) told me about it and I looked into it, flew out there two weeks later, saw the area and fell in love with it. It’s going to be really fun because we can set the standard as a team.” 

Nick Onega was a running back for the Hawks when they won back-to-back Division IV state football titles in 2015 and 2016. His twin sister, Alexis, competed in cross country and lacrosse at Hartley and another brother, 2014 graduate Drew, played basketball and baseball. 

“My sister played for two years at Hartley and I loved coach Molly,” Sydney said. “My brother (Nick) definitely has taught me the correct form (in powerlifting). I definitely try to stay strong, especially since I’m kind of a shorter person at only (5-foot-2). So definitely being a stronger person can help with shooting and getting pushed around.” 

Senior shortstop Kami Kortokrax has been leading the Hartley offense despite opponents often choosing to pitch around her.

Softball team preps 

for postseason 

The Division II district softball tournament will feature 21 teams and begin May 11. 

Hartley opened the season by losing its first three games before winning six of its next nine. 

After losing consecutive tight games to Marion Elgin (1-0 and 6-5 on April 24) and Ready (8-6 on April 26), the Hawks were 6-9 overall and 1-3 in the CCL before facing Watterson on April 28. 

“We have a young team, so they’re still learning how to play close games, how to be a varsity team and how to play at that high level with that energy,” first-year coach Allie Smith said. “We’re learning big lessons every game and I think there’s a lot of growth still to come.”

As expected, senior shortstop Kami Kortokrax has been leading the way offensively. She had four hits over the two games against Elgin but has been pitched around regularly, walking twice in a 4-2 loss to Ready on April 14 and in the second loss to the Silver Knights, and three times in a 12-6 win over DeSales on April 22. 

Kortokrax has spent most of the season hitting third, followed in the batting order by freshman Ava McKee (C) and sophomore Becca LeMay (P/1B). 

Boys tennis team 

set for sectional 

The boys tennis team is preparing for the Division II sectional, which will be held in two brackets May 11, 13 and 15 at Columbus Academy. 

Senior John Hooker has been at first singles and senior Nick Chovan has been at second singles, and both are expected to play singles in the postseason. 

Sophomore Peter Reinker has spent most of the season at third singles, with senior Nic Stanssen also seeing action there. 

Seniors Braden Blanchard, Ben Gegorski, Dominic Rees and John Sands are other postseason options. 

Hartley was 4-4 overall and finished 1-3 in the CCL after losing to Watterson 5-0 on April 27. The Hawks defeated Ready 3-2 on April 6 for their CCL win. 

“It’s probably the best team we’ve had in boys tennis in the longest time,” coach Daniel Chun said. “Things are clicking. Peter, our sophomore at No. 3 singles, has just been coming on really, really strongly. We’re playing well and hopefully we’ll take that momentum (going forward).” 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek