Upper Arlington Roundup: Cross country teams hope new era has begun

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Upper Arlington's Ryan Card is expected to be among the top returnees for the boys cross country team, which reached state as a team for the first time since 2004.

The Upper Arlington boys and girls cross country teams both competed in the Division I state meet for the first time in 16 years on Nov. 7 at Fortress Obetz, and both sides hope that is the beginning of a new era rather than a novelty. 

Led by senior Charlie Nowinski’s 64th-place finish in 16 minutes, 33.3 seconds, the boys team finished 14th (348) behind champion West Chester Lakota West (73) in the 20-team field.  

Also scoring were senior Payton Domagalski (109th, 17:00.9) and juniors Alex Nicol (110th, 17:01.4), Nathan Mark (115th, 17:03.2) and Ryan Card (130th, 17:12.7). 

The boys reached state as a team for the first time since 2004 and 21st overall but were being represented at state for the second time in three years. Thomas Richter finished 52nd as a senior in 2018. 

“There weren’t any huge surprises, especially after watching them all summer, but if you’re willing to put in the work and the miles, you don’t really have a lot of surprises in the postseason. All of these boys put in the work,” said coach Bryn Rohlck, whose team was second in the Division I, district 2 meet and fifth at regional to earn the last state-qualifying spot. “Some of these boys took some time off (over the summer) and some continued to run some low mileage and then they were excited for the season. I think they had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder from regional (last year) as well (when they did not advance to state). They knew there was a lot at stake this season.” 

Also in the top seven to end the season were junior Ty Frederick and freshman Thomas McMahon. 

The boys team was ranked 17th and the girls were 16th in the final Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches state poll. 

Lydia Schoedinger was one of two seniors in the top seven as the Golden Bears advanced to state as a team for the first time since 2013.

That was where the girls finished at state, led by freshman Aubrey Steiner (52nd, 19:23.5). The Bears scored 373 points to place 16th behind champion Centerville (128). 

Also scoring were seniors Lydia Schoedinger (58th, 19:23.5) and Elizabeth Lembach (112th, 20:15.1), freshman Maggie Malone (125th, 20:29.2) and junior Tora Blamer (173rd, 22:53.9). 

UA was making its first state appearance as a team since 2013 and 29th all-time. 

Other runners eligible to return from a team that won its first district championship since 2014 include juniors Rian Adkins, Megan Kiehl and Maggie Sells and freshmen Khera North and Adelaide Petras. Each saw time in the top seven at some point this season. 

“We’ve talked about building a running dynasty, a program,” girls coach Allison Ewing said. “I want this to transition into indoor track and then into outdoor track. We want to have a distance program. I want them to see my face from the fall all the way through the school year.” 

Junior forward Abby Reisz, right, scored a team-leading 16 goals as the girls soccer team won its first Division I district title since 2015 and finished 13-4-2.

Girls soccer team reflects on season 

Girls soccer goalie Sally Patton couldn’t help noticing the full moon overhead after UA captured its first Division I district championship since 2015 and ninth overall. 

The milestone came on Halloween night with a 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks) win at top-seeded and third-ranked New Albany, and although the eighth-seeded Bears lost three nights later in a regional semifinal 3-1 at home to Olentangy, the team hoped this season was a sign of things to come. 

“We’re over-the-moon excited,” said Patton, a freshman. “It’s incredible, to be here as a freshman not even thinking I would make varsity and now helping my team win a district championship. It’s not me, it was the entire team. Everyone played very well. … 

“Losing would have been devastating, but we’d have been able to say we played the best teams as tough as we could.” 

Senior midfielder Senna Mieth had the only goal against Olentangy as UA finished 13-4-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the OCC-Central Division, fourth behind Olentangy Orange (4-1). 

Junior forward Abby Reisz, a Tennessee commit, scored a team-leading 16 goals. Sophomore forward Kampbell Stone added nine and junior midfielder Cecilia Dapino had eight. 

“Just an incredible effort by our girls,” first-year coach Andrew Kessinger said. “We had a theme all season of ‘all in’ and they bought in entirely. 

“We had a visual, a district door. Everyone wrote notes on it. At home, we could go behind the bleachers and visualize breaking through the door for the team, community and ourselves. To battle relentlessly, that’s all you can ask for.” 

Senior defender Bailey Farrell is a Wooster commit. 

Other starters eligible to return are juniors Camryn Callaghan (midfielder) and Sophie Esquinas (midfielder) and sophomore Cate Geog (defender) as well as Steiner, who started early in the season when Reisz was injured. 

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave 

CROSS COUNTRY 

•OCC-Central standings: Boys – Hilliard Davidson (32), Dublin Coffman (68), Olentangy Orange (86), Upper Arlington (90), Hilliard Bradley (115), Olentangy Liberty (133); Girls – Davidson (18), Coffman (67), UA (80), Orange (98), Liberty (100), Bradley (190) 

•Seniors lost: Boys – Brendan Backiewicz, Jack Blue, Mitch Brewer, Trent Clayton, Jackson Culp, Connor Diehl, Payton Domagalski, Edward Domine, Alex Dowell, Michael Fulmer, Spencer Gaupp, Finn Jentgen, Jimmy Nichols, Charlie Nowinski, George Orlando, Jackson Poor, George Paxson, Henry Redder, Zack Rockfield, Mack Schlembach, Noah Smith, Caelan Soungpradith and Michael Wulf; Girls – Caroline Buster, Anna DiMickele, Carly Geraghty, Mira Hartzell, Elizabeth Lembach, Sara Marusic, Lydia Schoedinger, Sofia Sivilotti and Paige Stevenson 

•Key returnees: Boys – Ryan Card, Ty Fredrick, Nathan Mark, Thomas McMahon and Alex Nicol; Girls – Rian Adkins, Tora Blamer, Maggie Malone, Adelaide Petras and Aubrey Steiner 

•Postseason: Boys – Second (63) at district behind champion Dublin Jerome (53), fifth (147) at regional behind champion Davidson (57), 14th (348) at state behind champion West Chester Lakota West (73); Girls – First (70) at district ahead of runner-up Liberty (82), fourth (141) at regional behind champion Davidson (42), 16th (373) at state behind champion Centerville (128) 

GIRLS SOCCER 

•Record: 13-4-2 overall 

•OCC-Central standings: OCC-Central standings: Orange (4-1), Coffman (3-0-2), Liberty (3-1-1), Upper Arlington (2-2-1), Bradley and Davidson (0-4-1) 

•Seniors lost: Adiah Bonham, Hailie Clark, Bailey Farrell, Piper Farrell and Senna Mieth 

•Key returnees: Camryn Callaghan, Cecilia Dapino, Sophie Esquinas, Sally Patton, Abby Reisz, Kampbell Stone and Aubrey Steiner 

•Postseason: Def. Central Crossing 12-0; def. Thomas Worthington 3-2; def. Grove City 3-1; def. New Albany 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks); lost to Olentangy 3-1 in Division I regional semifinal