Upper Arlington Roundu:p Coaches set high goals for runners
The Upper Arlington boys and girls cross country teams began their first seasons under new coaches on different but similar missions.
The boys team has advanced to the Division I regional meet each of the past three years and hopes that returning five of its top seven runners will help it qualify for state as a team for the first time since 2004.
Four of the girls team's top six runners are back and eager to atone for falling short of regional for the first time this century.
UA began its season Aug. 29 with the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North.
"We all have the same goal this season, to make it to the state meet," boys coach Bryn Rohlck said. "It's been a complete roller-coaster ride of emotions all summer and we've all been jerked around so much that the boys just want to run, plain and simple. Just get in their uniforms, put on their spikes and get them on the course to do what they do.
"We have big goals, yes, but I think they're appreciating every opportunity to just compete."
Senior Charlie Nowinski established himself as the boys' top runner entering the season ahead of a competitive group consisting of seniors Payton Domagalski and Michael Wulf, juniors Ryan Card, Ty Fredrick, Nathan Mark and Alex Nicol, sophomore Charlie Wagner and freshmen Thomas McMahon and Lakin Rex.
Card, Domagalski, Mark Nicol and Nowinski all helped the Bears to runner-up finishes in the OCC-Central Division and district 2 meets last year.
"I want every athlete to feel like they're contributing and pushing the next guy in front of them," Rohlck said.
Rohlck, a 2006 graduate of Cincinnati Colerain who competed in cross country and track and field at Ashland University, succeeds Scott Meyers. Rohlck was Meyers' assistant through his three-year tenure.
Ewing, a 2007 graduate of UA who ran under longtime coach Dale Hartney and also was on three state championship swimming and diving teams, takes over for seven-year coach Latisha Wilder. Ewing was an assistant coach the past two seasons and also is a distance coach in the track program.
Seniors Meg Kiehl, Elizabeth Lembach, Lyda Schoedinger and Sofia Sivilotti are back for the girls team. Ewing expects them to be joined throughout the season by junior Maddie Sells and freshmen Maggie Malone, Khera North, Adelaide Petras and Aubrey Steiner.
"I definitely inherited a lot of talent," Ewing said. "I'm excited for (the returning four) to be able to shine in their senior season. Thinking about them racing and what they're going to do in October gives me goosebumps. We continue to talk about the importance of pack running and sticking together as a team and playing off of each other's strengths. They put in the miles beginning back in February and into the summer."
The program has a total of 132 athletes, 77 boys and 55 girls.
Field hockey team starts strong
With seven returning starters leading the way, the field hockey team was 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the COFHL-West before playing Dublin Coffman on Sept. 14, including a 3-2 win at Olentangy Liberty on Aug. 24 in its first league game.
"One of our biggest strengths is that we have more experience than last year, so we make better decisions as a team," fifth-year coach Sara Greaves said. "Our defense is playing more confidently and moving the ball through the backfield as well.
"Defense was our biggest weakness last year, and while we still need to improve, it looks much better."
UA returned seniors Elizabeth Cramer and Lucy DeVita on defense as well as its starting goalie in junior Caroline Langmeyer from a team that went 8-8-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the COFHL-West.
The other returning starters are seniors Paris Alexander (midfielder), Louise Mitchell (midfielder) and Katie Webber (forward) and sophomore Emily Barker (midfielder).
UA opened Aug. 22 with a 1-0 home loss to Cincinnati Ursuline Academy.
The Bears rebounded from a 3-1 loss at Watterson on Aug. 31 with wins over visiting Olentangy (2-0 on Sept. 2), at Bexley (5-0 on Sept. 3) and at Dublin Scioto (5-0 on Sept. 9).
"I can confidently say that the team we're starting with this year is better than the one we started with last year. On our core roster of 17, we actually only added five new players," Greaves said. "We're definitely connecting better as a unit than years past."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Claire Kramer (forward) and Emily Toohey (forward), juniors Caroline Campbell (midfielder/defender), Kyra Dapore (midfielder), Mia Hargraves (mid-fielder/defender), Ella Isenbarger (forward), Jillian Kuehn (defender), Paige Merryman (midfielder/defender), Lucy O'Brien (forward), Brooke Stauffer (forward) and Claire Stoeckinger (midfielder/defender), sophomore Clara Reynolds (for-ward/midfielder) and freshman Sammie Callaghan (forward).
Tennis team wins another league title
The girls tennis team defeated host Hilliard Davidson 5-0 on Sept. 8 to clinch its fifth consecutive OCC-Central championship and 31st league title in 32 years.
UA is 10-1 overall entering a Thursday, Sept. 17, home match against Watterson and finished league play at 5-0.
The Bears have used a consistent lineup almost the entire season, with Ella Hazelbaker, Megan Basil and Emma Wang at first, second and third singles, respectively. Noah Mizer and Ava Richard have played first doubles and Ellis Mizer has played second doubles, usually with Isabella Roth.
UA also remains alive in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district tournament, as it will play Reynoldsburg in a district quarterfinal on a date to be determined.
The Bears advanced with a 4-1 home win over Coffman in the second round Sept. 3.
At a glance
*Coaches: Boys -- Bryn Rohlck, first season; Girls -- Allison Ewing, first season
*Top athletes: Boys -- Ryan Card, Payton Domagalski, Nathan Mark, Alex Nicol and Charlie Nowinski; Girls -- Megan Kiehl, Elizabeth Lembach, Lyda Schoedinger, Sofia Sivilotti and Aubrey Steiner
*Key losses: Boys -- Andrew DeVoe and Liam Gillespie; Girls -- Lindsey Rush and Emma Switzer
*2019 OCC-Central standings: Boys -- Hilliard Davidson (26), Upper Arlington (61), Dublin Coffman (64), Marysville (90), Westland (155); Girls -- Davidson (15), Coffman (65), Marysville (68), UA (95)
*2019 postseason: Boys -- Second at district, 12th at regional; Girls -- 10th at district
*Coach: Sara Greaves, fifth season
*Top players: Paris Alexander, Emily Barker, Elizabeth Cramer and Katie Webber
*Key losses: Sophie Croci, Sophia Del Tosto and Olivia Wang
*Last season: 8-8-1 overall
*2019 COFHL-West standings: Thomas Worthington (8-0), Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange (both 6-2), UA (5-2-1), Olentangy (3-3-2), Dublin Jerome (3-4-1), Coffman (2-6), Dublin Scioto (1-7), Olentangy Berlin (0-8)
*2019 postseason: Lost to Orange 1-0 in second round of district tournament