Upper Arlington Roundup: Golden Bears' Schueler twins finishing prep careers in style

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Twins Chris and Emma Schueler have been enjoying strong senior seasons with the Upper Arlington baseball and track and field teams. “We’ve always been close and we’re competitive with each other in school and sports,” said Emma, who is two minutes older.

As might be expected from twins who were born two minutes apart, Chris and Emma Schueler’s academic and athletic paths bear several similarities.

With their college destinations decided, the Upper Arlington seniors are enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, a two-year advanced curriculum with a broad liberal arts focus.

Outside the classroom, both are maximizing the only varsity season they will enjoy with their spring teams.

After a swimming career that saw her anchor back-to-back Division I state championship 200-yard freestyle relays and earn a scholarship to Miami University, Emma added track and field for her final spring as a Golden Bear and has become a key sprinter.

At the same time — often literally, given the overlap of seasons — Chris is one of the baseball team’s top pitchers as it seeks a second consecutive Division I district title.

“It’s been super exciting being on the same schedule and both doing well in our sports. It’s a really fun way to end our senior year,” Emma said. “We’ve always been close and we’re competitive with each other in school and sports. I’ll remind him sometimes that I’m two minutes older and he probably gets annoyed with me for that, but we have a great relationship.”

Chris, a right-hander who almost exclusively pitches but occasionally plays third base when not on the mound, was 4-0 in six starts with a 1.64 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings through 21 games. 

The baseball team was 16-9 overall and 10-4 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Hilliard Davidson on May 14 and earned the eighth seed in the Division I district tournament.

“He’s not going to beat himself. He’s going to throw strikes and challenge you. When he goes to the mound, we know exactly what we’re going to get,” baseball coach Sam Clark said. “No moment is too big for him. He’s very level-headed and he’s consistent. He could be getting hit around or he could be striking guys out, mowing them down, and you wouldn’t be able to tell looking at him.”

Chris played on the freshman and junior varsity teams his first two years and was expected to be a key piece of the rotation last season, which was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“I pitch to contact. I’m not really looking to get strikeouts unless I hit my spot. Strikeouts will fall into place,” Chris said. “I didn’t have many expectations considering that this was my first year at the varsity level. I wanted to give everything I have and so far, it’s definitely exceeding my expectations.”

Emma, who played lacrosse as a freshman and sophomore and had planned to run last spring, feels the same way about her season. She runs the first leg of the Bears’ 1,600-meter relay, anchors the 800 relay and also runs open sprint races.

“It’s fun to coach somebody like that who just says ‘OK’ with anything and simply works hard,” track coach Courtney Ruppert said. “She’s good at all of (her events), so it’s about figuring out where she’s going to be her best and help the team the most.”

Chris plans to attend Ohio State and major in finance at the Fisher College of Business.

Emma will major in business and minor in special education at Miami.

“Everything’s starting to come together,” Emma said. “I’m excited to see how the end of the season is going to turn out.”

Maxine McCraw and the Golden Bears were 22-4 before playing Teays Valley in a Division I district semifinal May 17.

Softball squad

continues strong season

The softball team’s best season in more than a decade included at least a share of its first OCC-Central championship since 2010, which also was the last time UA had won at least 20 games until it matched that feat to finish league play.

The Bears were 22-4 before playing host to ninth-seeded Teays Valley in a Division I district semifinal May 17. The winner played in a district final May 19.

Seventh-seeded UA finished the regular season May 8 with a 3-2 win at Watterson, two days after capping league play with a 10-0, five-inning rout of Davidson at Tremont Elementary School.

The Bears defeated 22nd-seeded Olentangy Orange 12-2 in six innings in a second-round game May 12 at home to open the tournament.

Maxine McCraw went 3-for-3 with a grand slam and five RBI against Davidson and struck out 11 in a complete-game win. That was the Bears’ 20th victory, their first such season in 11 years.

UA finished 9-1 in the league and Liberty was 8-1 before playing Hilliard Bradley on May 14. Each handed the other its only league loss, and the Bears’ 6-5, eight-inning setback to the Patriots on April 30 was their only defeat in a 17-game stretch from April 7 to the end of the regular season.

Boys tennis team

prepares for district

The boys tennis team advanced one doubles team and one singles player to the Division I district tournament May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg, two days after losing to Dublin Jerome 3-1 in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association district semifinal May 11 at Wellington.

UA finished the regular season at 8-8 overall and went 4-1 in the OCC-Central, second behind Orange (5-0).

On May 13 in a sectional at Pickerington Central, fourth-seeded Joe Saalman qualified for district, as did the top-seeded doubles team of Jack Jones and Ethan Samora. Jones and Samora were the Bears’ top two singles players during the regular season.

Also competing but failing to advance were the doubles team of Avi Hari and Joey Holland (2-1) and singles players Ryan Baxley and Daniel Goldberg, as each went 0-1.

“They’ve exceeded our expectations in a lot of ways and going into the (postseason, Jones and Samora) teamed up to play doubles and they’re pretty fierce when they get on a roll. They play well together,” assistant coach Geoff Bibo said. “We’ve pretty much kept the lineup straight throughout. Once in a while we’ve moved guys around, but we’ve had a standard lineup we run most of the time.”

The sectional semifinals and finals were May 15.

At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to state May 28 and 29 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave