Upper Arlington Roundup: Tanner Gillie making most of only varsity season for boys lacrosse team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Upper Arlington senior Tanner Gillie had 21 goals and eight assists through 18 games.

Upper Arlington boys lacrosse coach Kyle Olson knows he got under the skin of Tanner Gillie during the preseason as the senior midfielder continued to recover from a torn right meniscus.

“I called him a turtle when he went at half-speed,” Olson said. “I called him that as a joke, and he hated it.”

More than 20 goals into his only varsity season for the Golden Bears, in which he is a second-generation captain, Gillie compares himself and his teammates to the fleet-of-foot hyena, which can run at speeds up to 40 mph and travels in packs.

“We’re one big pack that works well together,” Gillie said. “I love being a part of it.”

“It” is a senior year in which UA went 16-1 during the regular season, won the program’s 14th Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association championship and earned the top seed in the Division I, Region 3 tournament. 

The Bears’ pursuit of their first Division I state championship since 2016 continued May 21 with a home regional quarterfinal against 10th-seeded Westerville Central.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Gillie had 21 goals and eight assists through 18 games, in which the Bears were 17-1, and was named second-team all-MSLCA.

Gillie’s father, Scott, played for UA and graduated in 1988, but the family lived in Evergreen, Colorado, for 11 years before returning to central Ohio in 2019. 

Gillie spent his sophomore year on junior varsity before suffering a lateral tear of his right meniscus in a box lacrosse game before his junior season.

“I was thinking a lot more about my knee (at the beginning of the season). I had a big brace on, and it was a huge distraction. Always having that on my mind was tough but once I got into things, it dropped out of my mind and I was just able to play,” Gillie said. “I feel like I’m more of a shooter, pound the ball into the net type of guy.”

Despite his size, Gillie is more of a finisher than a physical presence throughout the field.

“He plays his role very well,” Olson said. “He knows he isn’t the guy who’ll dodge through three guys and score goals. He’ll work off ball movement, shares the ball and does a lot of the little things to find himself open on the back side and finish his opportunities. He takes what other teams give him and uses his size well most of the time.”

UA opened the postseason May 18 with a 21-1 victory over 14th-seeded Beavercreek in a second-round home game.

The UA-Central winner played fourth-seeded Thomas Worthington or fifth-seeded Centerville in a regional semifinal May 25. If the Bears advance, they will face second-seeded Worthington Kilbourne, third-seeded St. Charles, sixth-seeded New Albany or seventh-seeded Hilliard Davidson in the regional final May 28 at home.

The regional champion will play in a state semifinal June 1 at a neutral site. The state final is June 5 at Ohio Wesleyan.

UA defeated Thomas 13-5 on March 25, Kilbourne 13-6 on April 16 and Davidson 13-6 on May 4.

No matter the opponent, Gillie feels the Bears are in position to win their 17th title.

“I feel like we’re the best team, so at practice we’re seeing the best every day,” said Gillie, who will attend Alabama and major in business. “We have a great group of guys. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Sam Boggs and the boys track and field team finished sixth at the OCC-Central Division meet, which concluded May 15 at Westerville North.

Track teams

begin postseason

Victories in four events powered the girls track and field team to third place in the OCC-Central Division meet that concluded May 15 at Westerville North, and the boys team got one win and one runner-up finish to place sixth as a team.

The girls got victories from Hope Perry in the 100-meter hurdles (15.7 seconds), Clara Reynolds in the 400 (58.19), Evie Sanford in the shot put (34 feet, 6 ¾ inches) and the 800 relay of Adiah Bonham, Reynolds, Elaina Schneider and Emma Schueler (1:45.12) to score 93 points, finishing behind Olentangy Orange (140), Hilliard Davidson (117) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (75), Dublin Coffman (60) and Hilliard Bradley (38).

On the boys side, Zane Graver won the shot put (44-6 ¾) to lead UA to 46 points, finishing behind Orange (137), Davidson (104), Coffman (92), Liberty (76) and Bradley (65). Charlie Nowinski was second in the 3,200 (9:36.96).

The girls team competed in the Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 22 at Hilliard Darby. The boys were in district 3.

The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.

At regional, the top four finishers in each event qualify for state June 4 and 5 at Hilliard Darby. Also, two at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on times and distances statewide.

Softball season

ends in district semi

Softball coach Terry Streng wasted no time reminding his players of their great season after it ended in a Division I district semifinal.

The seventh-seeded Bears lost 9-2 to visiting and ninth-seeded Teays Valley on May 17 at Tremont Elementary, the final game of a season that saw UA go 22-5 overall and 9-1 in the OCC-Central to share its first league championship since 2010 with Liberty.

The wins were the Bears’ most since 2010.

“We didn’t play poorly (against Teays Valley). We just really didn’t hit and couldn’t score,” Streng said. “They had a great season, a lot to be proud of. They had a great year. The first thing I told them (after the game) was that they have a lot to be proud of and that game did not define or undermine what they achieved over the course of the season. They should hold their heads up. They have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Sophomore outfielder Audrey Szollosi led the Bears in batting average (.517) and hits (46). Senior pitcher Maxine McCraw, a Cornell recruit, batted .427 with 38 hits, a team-leading five home runs and 26 RBI and in the circle was 10-4 with a 3.28 ERA, 127 strikeouts and 16 walks in 89 2/3 innings.

Junior Caroline Langmeyer (P/INF) batted .381 with 37 hits, a home run and 40 RBI and went 12-1 with a 1.92 ERA, 125 strikeouts and 24 walks in 84 innings.

Other top hitters included sophomore third baseman Drew Carlton (.364, 32 hits, 17 RBI) and senior second baseman Sophie Leohner (.333, 30 hits, 23 RBI).

Senior Avery Cobb (C) is a Principia recruit. Leohner has signed with Ohio Wesleyan.

Other players eligible to return include junior Sophia Schweisthal (OF) and sophomore Paige Parker (1B).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

SOFTBALL

•Record: 22-5 overall

•OCC-Central standings: Olentangy Liberty and Upper Arlington (both 9-1), Hilliard Bradley (6-4), Dublin Coffman (4-6), Olentangy Orange (2-8), Hilliard Davidson (0-10)

•Seniors lost: Avery Cobb, Sophie Leohner and Maxine McCraw

•Key returnees: Drew Carlton, Caroline Langmeyer, Paige Parker and Sophia Schweisthal

•Postseason: Defeated Orange 12-2 (6 innings); lost to Teays Valley 9-2 in Division I district semifinal