Upper Arlington Roundup: Golden Bears hockey team sees run to state as beginning

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Senior goalie Garrett Alderman helped lead Upper Arlington to its first state tournament berth in 14 years. The Golden Bears finished 22-10-0-3, going 13-2-1 in their final 16 games.

The Upper Arlington hockey team followed up a season that featured the most wins in program history with its first state tournament appearance in 14 years.

Going 36-0-1 in 2019-20 before a district semifinal loss made the Golden Bears hungry, and a strong finish to this season — culminating in a 3-0 state semifinal loss to Lakewood St. Edward on March 13 at OhioHealth Ice Haus — further raised expectations.

“We have an excellent program and something we can build on. These guys have set the bar for Upper Arlington hockey now,” coach Hamish Baird said. “For years to come, this is now the standard. They did it through hard work and dedication and a brotherhood like I’ve never seen. I’ve been here for four years (three as an assistant) and this is the tightest this group has ever been. I expect us to keep building.”

Finishing at 22-10-0-3, UA went 13-2-1 in its final 16 games, including 10-0-1 in an 11-game stretch leading into the state tournament. The Bears had won seven in a row before falling to the Eagles.

Most of the top offensive threats are eligible to return, including leading scorer Max Robins, as are four of the Bears’ six starters from the state semifinal in Robins and junior classmates Sam Burns (forward), Sam Cannon (defenseman) and Carson Gresock (center).

Robins finished with 35 goals and 23 assists for 58 points, all team bests. Senior forward Adam Karap had 10 goals and 19 assists, Gresock had 10 goals and 13 assists and Cannon had seven goals and 12 assists.

“We sat down with the team before our first game and said (the state tournament) was the goal. We had some work to do to get there but the boys responded,” Baird said. “As the season went on, they did what we asked of them. They competed. They got better and better.”

UA was ranked first in the district and seventh in the state to end the regular season, and was seeded second in the district tournament behind St. Charles. The Bears defeated the Cardinals three times in four weeks from Feb. 7-March 6, including 2-1 in the district final and 3-2 in the Blue Jackets Cup championship game.

The Bears graduate both of their goalies in starter Garrett Alderman (858 saves on 921 shots, .932 save percentage) and backup Andrew Sexton (80 saves on 91 shots, .879).

Other players eligible to return include juniors Nolan Adams (forward) and Noah Domagalski (defenseman) and sophomores Charlie Linzell (forward) and Jack Nolan (forward).

Alderman marveled at the program’s growth throughout his career. The Bears went 16-15-1-2 his freshman year, losing 8-0 to Dublin Jerome in a district semifinal, and improved to 25-8-1-2 in 2018-19.

“I’m happy that we got this far. It stinks in that we wanted to go all the way. You’re never really satisfied,” Alderman said. “These guys will be around Columbus hockey and dominating for a while. We have the talent to keep that up.”

Upper Arlington senior George Orlando went 0-2 in the Division I state tournament. He was one of three Bears wrestlers to qualify for state, which was held March 13 and 14 at Hilliard Darby.

Wrestling season

ends at state

Despite the wrestling team’s three Division I state competitors combining to win one match, coach Matt Stout was pleased with a season that included a program-record 24 dual wins and a third consecutive sectional championship.

Senior Jake Thomas went 1-2 at 113 pounds at state March 13 and 14 at Hilliard Darby. Classmates George Orlando (126) and Jacob Shanklin (132) each went 0-2.

“All things considered, it was a successful season,” Stout said. “Getting 11 guys to district was great, and Shanklin and Thomas had great seasons and were the leaders of the team. It was a good year. We didn’t have a great district meet and we wanted to get guys on the podium to state. I felt like we could have had five qualifiers to state but overall, we accomplished a lot of great things.”

Shanklin went 33-4 and finished his career with 125 wins, fourth most in program history. Thomas was 34-6 and won 107 career matches, 12th best all-time.

Orlando, who suffered hip injuries in January and February and was unable to practice for two weeks leading into the sectional, finished 17-6.

“He pushed through that, got his weight under control and qualified,” Stout said. “Considering where he was a month ago, it’s a great thing he got to state basically on one leg.”

Thomas pinned Cincinnati Oak Hills’ Brandon Mitchell in 3 minutes, 1 second in the first round before losing to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit’s Nolan Frye 11-2 and Massillon Perry’s Charles Curtis 3-2.

Orlando was pinned by Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ Brock Herman in 1:42 and Lakewood St. Edward’s Patrick Andosik in 1:53.

Shanklin lost to Perrysburg’s Allenson Denkins 10-0 and Macedonia Nordonia’s Israel Petite 7-3.

Other district qualifiers eligible to return are juniors Frankie Mulligan (120, 24-14), George Sauter (152, 22-9) and Larry Stelzer (145, 12-11), sophomore Collin Ansel (220, 21-16) and freshman Andrew Myers (106, 23-9).

UA scored four points at state and tied for 53rd behind champion St. Edward (184.5) as 78 teams scored.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

HOCKEY

Record: 22-10-0-3 overall

CHC-Red standings: St. Charles (25, 12-2-1), Upper Arlington (24, 11-3-0-2), Olentangy Liberty (22, 10-3-1-1), Olentangy Orange (21, 10-4-0-1), Dublin Jerome (10, 4-10-1-1), New Albany (5, 1-9-2-1)

Seniors lost: Garrett Alderman, Aidan Brennan, Joey Holland, Aden Johnson, Adam Karap, Jack Norris, Colton Paider, Nick Schumacher, Andrew Sexton and Whitty Tevonian

Key returnees: Nolan Adams, Sam Burns, Sam Cannon, Noah Domagalski, Carson Gresock, Charlie Linzell, Jack Nolan and Max Robins

Postseason: Defeated Columbus Academy 4-0; def. Olentangy Berlin 2-0; def. Liberty 3-2 (OT); def. St. Charles 2-1; lost to Lakewood St. Edward 3-0 in state semifinal

WRESTLING

OCC-Central standings: Dublin Coffman (5-0), Liberty (4-1), UA (3-2), Orange (2-3), Hilliard Bradley (1-4), Hilliard Davidson (0-5) 

Seniors lost: Isa DiBenedetto, Jason Ferola, Jed Fisher, John Graver, Rafe Lynd, George Orlando, Jacob Shanklin and Jake Thomas

Key returnees: Jake Badgeley, Ayden Boothby, Frankie Mulligan and Andrew Myers

Postseason: First (241) at sectional, ninth (63.5) at district behind champion Coffman (228.5), tied for 53rd (4) at state behind champion St. Edward (184.5)