Boys Lacrosse: Westerville North Warriors working to build new culture

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Ian Evans is one of 10 seniors for North and first-year coach Dan Bichsel. Evans, an attacker, was honorable mention all-region in 2019. Bichsel is a 2012 North graduate.

Dan Bichsel wants to bring energy and excitement in his first season leading the Westerville North boys lacrosse program.

The 2012 North graduate went on to play at Lourdes, where he also was an assistant coach for three seasons. Now, he’s ready to build a winning culture with the Warriors.

“It’s great to come back and give back to a community that has done so much for me,” Bichsel said. “I wanted to come back to instill that culture that we had back when I was at North when we won back-to-back league titles in 2010 and 2011 when I was in my sophomore and junior seasons.”

The Warriors won their first two games under Bichsel, defeating Johnstown 17-4 on March 20 and Grove City 14-0 on March 23.

“Coach has been stressing high intensity and playing 110 percent all of the time,” senior defender Ben Mantenieks said. “He wants you to leave everything out on the field. He wants the seniors to go out with a bang since we lost last year (to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic), so it’s go big or go home.”

Mantenieks is one of 10 seniors for North. Another is attacker Ian Evans, who was honorable mention all-region in 2019 when the Warriors finished 3-15.

“We’ve started strong, but we still need to work offensively with our timing, spacing and learning to trust each other more,” Evans said. “If we can trust each other in games like we do in practice, we can go on a serious run this year,”

Evans and senior Andrew Hunter lead the attack, with seniors Griffen Messmer and Sam Olson in the midfield. 

Mantenieks and seniors Sean Mitchell and Ethan Zimmerer are key defenders in front of junior goalie Jack Bichsel, the brother of the coach.

“Offensively we’ve been letting the game come to us and have been waiting for a good shot,” coach Bichsel said. “The defense is strong, reliable and relentless. They know each other well and what they’re capable of doing.”

INSIDE THE WARRIORS

Coach: Dan Bichsel, first season 

Next game: April 6 at Westerville South

Key athletes: Jack Bichsel, Ian Evans, Andrew Hunter, Ben Mantenieks, Griffen Messmer, Sean Mitchell, Sam Olson and Ethan Zimmerer

Central goalie Logan Moore makes a stop during practice March 12. The senior had 219 saves in 2019, earning him second-team all-region honors.

Warhawks coach

likes team’s potential 

Looking to build on a 13-11 finish in 2019, third-year Central coach Jeremy Schocken believes his team is in a good position early in the season. 

The Warhawks split their first two games, beating Big Walnut 13-11 on March 19 and losing to Thomas Worthington 13-6 on March 23. 

“We’re in a good spot,” Schocken said. “Playing Thomas exposed some of our weaknesses, so we definitely have a lot to work on in practice. Overall, we’re definitely in a good spot. I haven’t seen us quit or give up on plays. I really like the attitude and the effort we’re bringing.” 

The top returnee is senior goalie Logan Moore, who had 219 saves in 2019 and was named second-team all-region. 

Other key returnees include seniors Jack Bond (midfielder), Jimmy Glasser (defender) and Jake Schorling (attacker), although Bond will miss the early part of the season with an elbow injury. 

Junior Ian Shealy (midfielder), a transfer from St. Charles (Illinois) North, and freshman Ty Hampton (attacker) also should contribute, according to Schocken. 

Central is competing in the OCC-Ohio with Gahanna, New Albany, Newark, Pickerington Central and Pickerington North. It will open league play April 6 against visiting Gahanna. 

“New Albany has been a pretty tough team,” Schocken said. “We like to schedule them every year. They’re the neighboring district to Westerville, so we’ve had a long-standing slate of games with them. Pickerington has come a long way. The new conference is exciting to me and playing slightly different teams than we’ve been playing in the past.” 

INSIDE THE WARHAWKS 

Coach: Jeremy Schocken, third season 

Next game: April 2 at Olentangy Orange 

Key athletes: Jack Bond, Jimmy Glasser, Ty Hampton, Logan Moore, Jake Schorling and Ian Shealy 

—Frank DiRenna 

Wildcats open 

with road win 

With several key players back from 2019, fourth-year South coach Michael Spatafore believes his team has potential. 

“The numbers are up and we’re excited,” said Spatafore, whose team opened with a 13-2 win at Marysville on March 19. “Once the offense starts to click, we’re going to be a dangerous team. We have a very strong offense, but what we lack is experience. They’re inexperienced, but there’s a lot of talent.” 

Senior midfielder/faceoff specialist Jack Trimble had four assists and 75 ground balls in 2019 and is expected to be a solid contributor. 

Senior Gavin Miller and junior Miles Wilke are competing for the starting spot in goal. 

“Both of them are playing outstanding,” Spatafore said. “It’s going to be a split for the first couple of weeks so we can figure out who’s going to be our starter. There’s nothing wrong with a little competition.” 

Other key returnees are seniors Kenton Flood (defender), Donovan Hunt (defender) and Sam Swisher (attacker) and juniors Karson Lane (midfielder), Ben Predragovich (midfielder/faceoff specialist), Bronson Wren (attacker) and Thomas Zerman (midfielder). 

South is playing in the OCC-Capital with Big Walnut, Delaware, Dublin Scioto, Westerville North and Worthington Kilbourne. The Wildcats open league play April 6 against visiting North. 

“Kilbourne has always been known to be pretty good and they’ll probably be the team to beat in the conference,” Spatafore said. 

INSIDE THE WILDCATS 

Coach: Michael Spatafore, fourth season 

Next game: April 1 vs. Pickerington Central 

Key athletes: Kenton Flood, Donovan Hunt, Gavin Miller, Sam Swisher, Jack Trimble and Miles Wilke 

—Frank DiRenna

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