Pacer Athletics Wrapped: Historic year at Hayes comes to a close

Athletes at Hayes contributed to historic success for the school’s programs this year.


Jeremiah Rutherford

Pacers found success across a variety of sports.

Carter Sims and Alec Ostapuck


Pacer Athletics Wrapped: Historic year at Hayes comes to a close


With the 2022-23 school year at its close, sports seasons at Hayes have come to an end. It’s been a full year of athletic success in Delaware, with all 3 sports seasons experiencing triumphs. 

For fall sports, it was a year of records. Girls’ Cross Country came away with an OCC title for the first time since going back to back in 1982 and 1983. Led by Cali Kent, Aicha Tounkara and Julia Young, the girls also qualified for regionals after placing 5th at the district meet.

On the soccer field, the Pacers saw sophomore striker Chaz Sakala tie for first in the state, totaling 20 goals in the year. Sakala was also selected to the national pool stage in U.S. Soccer’s Olympic Development Program. Though the team experienced an up-and-down season, a deep upcoming senior class paired with promising underclassmen could be a sign of good things to come on the pitch.

On the gridiron, the Pacers experienced historic success under first-year head coach Ryan Montgomery. Hayes went 7-3 in the regular season, tying the school record and earning a playoff berth. 

The Pacers found ways to win in tight situations, snagging a game-winning interception by Nikeesee McCullom against Worthington Kilbourne and overcoming an early 9-point deficit against Canal Winchester following a safety and a kickoff return for a touchdown.

“My favorite moment of the season was probably the Canal game,” junior linebacker Logan Frye said. “We were against all the odds, with them coming out with a lead on special teams, but still won and came on top after adversity.”

Frye had individual success as well, breaking the school single-season tackle record, finishing with 115. Frye said he takes pride in the accomplishment but is more focused on the success of the team as a whole.

“Even though it is a huge accomplishment in my life, in the end, I’m not content with just having a record,” Frye said. “My goal isn’t to break a record but to win as a team and get better.”

The Pacers will return starting quarterback Jake Lowman, 1,000-yard receiver Austin Koslow, starting running back Josh Russell and 4-star kicker Cooper Goble.


In the low temperatures of the winter, boys’ basketball was at an all-time high this past season. With a 23-4 finish to the regular season and a second-place finish in the conference, the team was in a really good position to make some noise in March.

 Jesse Burris continues to leave his mark as one of the greats in Hayes history by surpassing 1,000 career points as only a junior. In late February, the Pacers were seeded 10th overall in central Ohio, which gave them a first-round bye in the District tournament.

 They matched up with a tough young Reynoldsburg squad and scraped in a 76-73 win. After Reynoldsburg, they were set to face off against another young, but very talented, number 7 seeded Pickerington North at Centerburg High School, the same place where the Pacers ended the season before.

 This time, the Pacers were determined to make it out alive, and they did just that with a 44-40 victory. After a close win, the Pacers found themselves in the same spot they did just three years prior: the District Final.

This time they would be playing a tough experienced Olentangy Orange squad. Unfortunately, the Pacers fell short and finished as the District runner-ups.

While they didn’t receive a playoff spot or OCC championship, one of the biggest parts of every football and basketball season at Hayes is the cheer team. 

Senior cheerleader Cassie Klumpp reflects on her moments on the team that she’ll always appreciate.

“There was no better feeling than Football Friday Nights and basketball games,” Klumpp said. “I remember saying to my teammates during football games: ‘This is the best night ever.’”

The cheerleaders devoted large amounts of time to practices, games and travel, as the basketball team traveled as far as Mason, Ohio during the season. While the time commitment was extensive, for Klumpp, it was time well spent.

“[A] highlight was the sleepover at the school before the Buckeye Valley game to kick off the season,” Klumpp said. “Although I swear that was the worst sleep I’ve ever gotten in my life, I will forever cherish the laughs and moments with my teammates.”

In Girls’ Basketball, when head coach Erin Margraf stepped away after her daughter Ella was diagnosed with Stage 2 Burkitt Lymphoma, the Pacer community stepped up.

The team helped support her daughter on the court by wearing special warmup shirts with “Ella’s Fight Club” on them, an organization that was started by her aunts, uncles and cousins to help financially support her treatment.

The Lady Pacers showed growth with some big performances throughout the year, but the biggest win came on January 11th when Ella Margraf rang the cancer-free bell at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

It was a season to remember in the pool as well. The boys’ swim team was led by Kaeden Gannon and CJ Abahazi, who both qualified for the state meet, as well as freshman Nolan Green, who scored the third most points for the team with 405.3. These leaders and other contributors helped the Pacers take home the OCC Championship.

The girls’ swim team had a dominant season in their own right, picking up their second straight OCC Championship and sending 6 swimmers to the state meet across 9 events.

The girls were led by a strong group of seniors, but sophomore Kaitlyn Sallows contributed the lion’s share of points with 719.60. At states. Sallows had 2nd and 4th place finishes in two of her events, along with an 8th place finish in the 200 medley relay. 


Once the weather heated up in the Spring, so did the Pacers. 

The Lady Pacers lacrosse team started the season with a 9-1 start, including a 21-2 win over Westerville South. They finished with a 6-1 record in the conference, a 4th place finish in the region, a regular season record of 13-5 and a playoff win. 

The Lady Pacers had 7 All-OCC team selections and 2 players, Audra Lyon and Presley Call, reached 100 points. Call will continue her career at the University of Akron, while Lyon and the rest of the returning players look to build off of a strong season.

A juggernaut of a program in Lady Pacers Softball lived up to its reputation this year. 

After returning home from the team’s traditional preseason trip to Florida, they faced off against conference opponent Big Walnut who they run ruled 17-0. 

The Lady Pacers continued this dominance and finished the year 16-2 overall with a 13-1 conference record, giving them the OCC title outright. They did fall to Olentangy in the second round of the playoffs, but the team will return a lot of the roster and will look to add another title next year.

Just down the road off of Lincoln Avenue, one of the best tennis players in school history went through his final season. Senior Gabe Fogle reached 52 wins this year, making him one of only three players to cross 50 wins. The last player to accomplish this feat was Kyle Klumpp, who also had 52.

“Being able to go to district twice and getting 50 wins probably feels the most gratifying for me, because I only got to play for 3 years,” Fogle said.

While Fogle appreciates the accomplishments he amounted, the time spent with his teammates is what he will miss most.

“Practices were always super fun,” Fogle said. When all the boys were messing around and we had competition, that made me better and I’ll miss that the most.”

The girls’ track team has had nothing short of a historic season so far. Not only have they won the first-ever OCC championship in school history, they have also shattered many school records. 

Freshman Cali Kent had a prolific season in the fall with the cross country team but also broke two school records this spring in the 1600 meter and 3200 meter opens. She was also a part of the girls’ 4×800 meter relay, who also demolished the previous school record (10.16.35) with a staggering 9.30.94 finish.

This team really seemed to find paydirt with a much-needed infusion of youth, as all three sprint relays were carried heavily by underclassmen and a few juniors.

The girls’ 4×100 relay also snagged the school record and are Regional qualifiers. The scary part is that this relay team has all four runners coming back for another season.

Nobody expected this girls’ team to make the run they are currently on right now, and it doesn’t seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon, with potential underclassmen state qualifiers for next year.

On the field events side, sophomore Kara Glesenkamp also set the school record in the high jump with a jump of 5 ‘4″. The now two-time OCC champion is looking to make some noise at the upcoming regional meet with hopes to make it to the State Championship Meet this year.

Every year sees new rosters and teams come through Hayes, but the 2022-2023 school year was full of accomplishments and moments that will live forever in the record books, and the memories of the athletes that competed this year.