Upper Arlington Roundup: Rian Adkins, Kampbell Stone adapt to drive Golden Bears girls lacrosse team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Upper Arlington's Rian Adkins works against Thomas Worthington's Tate Beegle earlier this season. Adkins started the season on defense but moved to offense because of injuries to teammates. She had 31 goals as the Golden Bears were 16-0 before playing Dublin Jerome on May 7.

Rian Adkins is “dink” and Kampbell Stone is “dash.”

The Upper Arlington girls lacrosse players don’t expect those nicknames to change, but their contributions to the Golden Bears aren’t what they anticipated at the beginning of the season – and both are aware their roles could continue to evolve as the team pursues a sixth consecutive Division I state championship.

Adkins, a junior, was an attacker behind the net off the bench as a freshman and played defense this preseason before moving to midfield and the draw after injuries to Cincinnati commit Camryn Callaghan and Ohio State recruit Annie Hargraves. Both were new positions to Adkins.

Stone, a sophomore, was expected to help run the defense despite this being her first high school season, but has rotated from defense into the offense because of injuries and become another dependable scoring threat.

The pair, who share draw responsibilities with Lindenwood recruit Clara Gallapoo, combined for 65 goals through 16 games. UA was 16-0 overall before playing Dublin Jerome on May 7 and finished 5-0 in the OCC-Central Division.

“The fact that they all got on the same page so quickly is a huge testament to their lacrosse IQ and chemistry,” coach Wendy Pinta said. “They’re just complete players. Kampbell has tremendous speed, gets into the offensive end quickly and has a hard strike into the attacking zone. Defensively, she can tackle back and cause turnovers.

“Rian has some fast hands that even if it seems like she’s beat with her feet, she’ll catch up with her hands. She can finish shots like nobody else. She has a grace and poise under pressure and an ability to fake out goalies and even fake me out. She has a keen eye to the cage.”

Stone had 34 goals, second on the team to Callaghan’s 40, and led the team in draw controls (74) and caused turnovers (17) through 16 games. Adkins had added 31 goals, 34 draw controls and 11 caused turnovers.

“Not having a lot of experience on the field my freshman year, I’ve found myself learning as I go. Having that pressure on me during games is a challenge but it’s fun,” Adkins said. “I’ve had to learn more defensive sets, and the skillset playing low attacker and playing midfield is very different. It’s a lot more finesse and looking for teammates. Being up top, you have to be a power player who drives and tries to beat people.”

Stone said her adjustment largely consisted of switching from a defensive to offensive mindset.

“It was a big difference because I’m more of a defensive person than an attacking person,” she said. “In my first few games, I had to build my confidence. The first few games, I never really wanted to go toward the goal. I didn’t want to force anything. But now playing as many games as I have, I feel more confident to make things happen.”

UA finishes the regular season May 14 at home against Chagrin Falls. The Division I regional tournament begins next week.

“We’re really excited about how they’re both handling the pressure,” Pinta said. “They’re two quality players and they keep getting better.”

Alex Nicol and the Upper Arlington boys track and field team will compete in the OCC-Central meet May 13 and 15 at Westerville North. The boys team hasn't won a league title since 1992.

Track teams prepare

for league meet

Having won four of its first six regular-season invitationals, the girls track and field team is setting its sights on its first league championship in 17 years.

UA will participate in the OCC-Central meet May 13 and 15 at Westerville North. The girls haven’t won a league team title since 2004, and the boys are seeking their first since 1992.

“I’m encouraged given that I feel like we haven’t peaked yet,” girls coach Courtney Ruppert said. “We’re balanced from sprints to distance to relays to field events. Our depth is what’s carrying us right now. I continue to be amazed by these girls and the improvement they’re showing. Even our second and third girls in an event are competing for those first and second spots.

“The last week or so, we’ve been trying to maximize our relays and make sure we have those ready to roll. We’ve seen a few surprises, so we might have a few changes.”

UA’s final competition entering the league meet was its annual Larkin/Crosten Invitational on May 7.

The girls scored 166 points to win the eight-team Olentangy Invitational on April 30, finishing 22 points ahead of league rival and runner-up Olentangy Orange (144). The Bears got first-place finishes from Adiah Bonham in the 100 (13.06), Elizabeth Lembach in the 3,200 (11:54.93), Clara Reynolds in the 400 (1:00.82), Evie Sanford in the shot put (33 feet, 4 ½ inches), Aubrey Steiner in the 1,600 (5:22.79) and the 1,600 relay (4:06.69) and 3,200 relay (10:31.47).

Led by Luke Branch-Rockey’s win in the 400 (51.55), the boys were fourth (92.5) at Olentangy as Orange (142) won the team title. The 400 relay (46.39) and 3,200 relay (8:25.51) also won.

The girls will compete in the Division I, district 1 meet May 18, 20 and 22 at Hilliard Darby. The boys are in district 3, which is May 19, 20 and 22 at Darby.

Tennis team heads

to sectional

The boys tennis team’s doubles pairing of Jack Jones and Ethan Samora is the top seed and singles player Joe Saalman is seeded fourth in a Division I sectional May 13 and 15 at Pickerington Central.

UA is not playing host to a sectional this season, nor have the Bears had any home matches, because of ongoing construction for the new high school.

Ryan Baxley and Daniel Goldberg will round out the sectional singles lineup. The other doubles team is Avi Hari and Joey Holland.

The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg.

UA also was scheduled to visit Dublin Jerome in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association district semifinal on a date to be determined. The match was scheduled for May 4 but postponed because of bad weather.

The winner will face New Albany or Olentangy in the district final. The district champion will advance to the state tournament May 30 at Reynoldsburg.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave