Notebook: Thomas Worthington Cardinals boys volleyball team enjoys memorable season

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Senior Ethan Archer helped Thomas go 18-8 and reach a Division I, East Region final, which the Cardinals lost to Olentangy Liberty 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 on May 28 at Westerville Central.

After wrapping up the regular season with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 win over Hilliard Darby on May 13, Thomas Worthington boys volleyball coach Brian Lawless said his team believed it had the spark to keep playing for several more weeks.

“They knew we had the potential to do something special and make a (postseason) run,” Lawless said. 

Sixth-seeded Thomas opened the Division I, East Region tournament with a 25-19, 16-25, 26-24, 22-25, 17-15 victory at fifth-seeded Darby on May 22 and then defeated third-seeded Gahanna 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 in a regional semifinal May 25 at Olentangy Liberty. 

The Cardinals lost 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 to top-seeded Liberty in the regional final May 28 at Westerville Central to finish 18-8 overall. Thomas won at least 18 matches for the first time since 1993, when it finished 20-5, and reached its first regional final since 1994, according to Lawless.

“We knew we had the potential to be really good,” said Lawless, who was named Division I East Region Coach of the Year and the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association’s Division I state Coach of the Year. “And I think one of the things I’m most proud of with our guys is how they developed throughout the season. 

“The good thing I saw from our guys is they were playing their best volleyball at the end of the season. That’s all you can hope for is to peak at the right time, and that allowed us to make the run to the regional final.” 

Junior setter Joe Kolwicz (first-team all-league, second-team all-region) had 33 aces, 96 kills, 37 blocks, 609 assists and 217 digs. Junior middle blocker Bo O’Leary (second-team all-league, honorable mention all-region) had 53 aces, 186 kills, 101 blocks, 28 digs and five assists. Senior outside hitter Nathan Molloy (honorable mention all-region and all-league) had 44 aces, 169 kills, 35 blocks, 35 assists and 189 digs.

Kilbourne senior outside hitter Will Hortz had 377 kills, 16 assists, 29 blocks and 177 digs. He was named league and regional Player of the Year and first-team all-state.

Wolves’ season was

‘pleasant surprise’

The Kilbourne boys volleyball team finished 20-5 overall and won the OCC-Cardinal Division at 10-2 after entering the season with only two seniors who had experienced a full year of varsity action. 

“The season was definitely a pleasant surprise,” coach Meladee Hopkins said. “They definitely stepped up when they needed to as far as playing in the conference games, and it was cool that we won the conference. 

“As we started going through the season, I realized, ‘Hey, we might have something here.’ ” 

Kilbourne entered the Division II, East Region tournament with high expectations as the top seed but lost 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-13 to fourth-seeded St. Charles on May 26 in a semifinal. 

“Inconsistency caught up with us, and that was the biggest thing we dealt with all season,” Hopkins said.

Senior outside hitter Will Hortz had 377 kills, 16 assists, 29 blocks and 177 digs. He was named league and regional Player of the Year and first-team all-state. 

Senior outside hitter Aiden Novotny had 224 kills, 17 blocks, 199 digs and 21 assists. He was first-team all-league, second-team all-region and honorable mention all-state.  

Senior setter Kieran Cummings was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-region, sophomore defensive specialist Will Haslett was special mention all-league and junior setter Cord Podolan was honorable mention all-league. 

Cardinals track

athletes reach state

Several athletes on the Thomas boys and girls track and field teams qualified for the Division I state meet June 4 and 5 at Darby thanks to top-four finishes at regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North. 

For the boys, Luka Srsic won the pole vault (16 feet, 8 inches), the 3,200 relay of Victor Nash, Macario Etienne, Noah Silliman and Wesley Horton placed third (7:56.62) and Silliman was third in the 3,200 (9:30.21). 

Also, Shohaan Singh, Jimmie Turner III, Daniel Assoku and Eli Hitzhusen earned at-large state berths in both the 800 relay and 1,600 relay.

For the girls, Carina Napoleon placed second in the 800 (2:14.31) and Leila Boussedra was fourth in the 3,200 (11:09.51). 

Wolves track season 

ends at regional 

The Kilbourne boys and girls track teams concluded their seasons in the Division I regional meet. 

For the girls, junior Riley Tate placed eighth in the 3,200 (11:24.62) and sophomore Toby Bomser placed 12th (11:49.36), and the 3,200 relay of Bomser, Tate, sophomore Camille Shiffer and senior Sylvia Long placed 10th (9:49.72). 

“Looking up and down ... once again we’re going to be strongest in the distance (events next year),” coach Chip Seely said. “But with the field events getting some experience, I think we’re going to be even a lot more competitive next year.”

For the boys at regional, freshman Ryan Smith finished 11th in the 3,200 (9:46.07) and junior Luke Miller finished 14th (10:16.13).

Coach Josh Stegman said he was encouraged to see multiple athletes such as Smith and freshmen A.J. Hawkins and Steven Miller assert themselves this season. 

“We’ve made a lot of growth in the field events as well as the sprint relays,” he said. “We definitely have some gaps to fill, but I’m excited to see who’s going to step up and fill those gaps.

“I definitely think that if we call this season good, we’re definitely going to hopefully be calling next season great.” 

Wolves tennis coach

feeling optimistic

The Kilbourne boys tennis team finished 6-12 overall but played competitively in the OCC-Capital, tying Westerville North for second (5-2) behind Dublin Scioto (7-0). 

“I thought we had a very successful season,” coach Steve Metzmaier said. “I thought it was successful just (because) everybody got along, it was a learning season and hopefully the potential for next year will be pretty good.” 

Junior Owen Alderman and senior Tanner Hauptman were among the top players, advancing to a doubles final in a Division I sectional. Alderman was named league Player of the Year, while Hauptman was second-team all-league. 

Juniors Nivass Kalyanam and Ethan Emami and sophomore Aja Sampath each advanced to a second-round singles match at sectional. 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

THOMAS BOYS VOLLEYBALL 

•Record: 18-8 overall 

OCC-Cardinal standings: Kilbourne (10-2), Hilliard Darby (9-3), Dublin Jerome (8-4), Thomas (7-5), Olentangy (6-6), Olentangy Berlin (2-10), Dublin Scioto (0-12) 

•Seniors lost: Ethan Archer, Ryley Briones, Isaiah Miesle, Nathan Molloy, Matthew Nisky and Bryce Stewart

•Key returnees: Miles Howland, Joe Kolwicz and Bo O’Leary

•Postseason: Def. Hilliard Darby 25-19, 16-25, 26-24, 22-25, 17-15; def. Gahanna 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23; lost to Olentangy Liberty 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 in Division I, East Region final

KILBOURNE BOYS VOLLEYBALL 

•Record: 20-5 overall 

•Seniors lost: Kieran Cummings, Xavier Gabriel, William Hortz, Tommy Hudec, Luke Myers, Kyle Nguyen, Aiden Novotny, Adam Phillips, David Straveler, Evan Sugar and Mark Towns 

•Key returnees: Will Haslett and Cord Podolan 

•Postseason: Def. Centennial 25-16, 25-8, 25-12; lost to St. Charles 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-13 in Division II, East Region semifinal

KILBOURNE TRACK & FIELD 

•OCC-Capital standings: Boys – Canal Winchester (174), Big Walnut (142.5), Westerville South (99), Scioto (70), Kilbourne (62.5), Westerville North (60), Delaware (49), Franklin Heights (4); Girls – Big Walnut (144.4), South (142), Delaware (87.4), North (78.5), Canal Winchester (73.5), Kilbourne (71.2), Scioto (61), Franklin Heights (3)  

•Seniors lost: Boys – Elijah Alpern, William Bartram, Luke Compton, Logan Darling, George Fang and Cole Niemantsverdriet; Girls – Ella Brown and Sylvia Long 

•Key returnees: Boys – Tommy Brown, A.J. Hawkins, Luke Miller, Steven Miller, Mitchell Niemansverdriet and Ryan Smith; Girls – Libby Alderman, Ugochi Anaraodo, Toby Bomser, Yehdeiah Dennis, Lia Gimble, Camille Shaffer, Riley Tate and Amelia Weinstein

•Postseason: Boys – Tied for 12th (22) at district behind champion Canal Winchester (114), did not score at regional; Girls – 12th (24) at district behind champion Pickerington Central (85), 36th (1) at regional behind champion Gahanna (84)

KILBOURNE BOYS TENNIS 

•Record: 6-12 overall 

•OCC-Capital standings: Scioto (7-0), Kilbourne and North (5-2), Big Walnut (4-3), Delaware and Westerville South (3-4), Canal Winchester (1-6), Franklin Heights (0-7)

•Seniors lost: Tanner Hauptman, Jared Place, Sean Roberts and Andrew Spampinato

•Key returnees: Owen Alderman, Ethan Emami, Joey English and Aja Sampath