Best of Columbus 2022: Ohio State, the Blue Jackets, UA Soccer and Other Sports Picks

A terrific Ohio State football trio, a dynamic OSU women’s basketball duo, an old-school Pac-Man gamer and more notable moments

Chris Gaitten
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receivers Garrett Wilson (5), Chris Olave (2) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) take the the field for the NCAA football game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.

Best Beneficial Bounce

Until March 2022, only four teams had taken home titles in 20 NCAA women’s hockey tournaments: Minnesota (six), Wisconsin (six), Minnesota Duluth (five) and Clarkson (three). Ohio State finally crashed the championship cabal with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Minnesota Duluth when Kenzie Hauswirth’s shot ricocheted off a defender’s skate and into the net with 6:40 remaining.

Best Homegrown Showcase

In 2017, while with the Winnipeg Jets, Jack Roslovic became the first Columbus-born player to skate in an NHL game in Nationwide Arena, a milestone for a city with scant hockey history. Fast forward a few short years and Roslovic now leads a bevy of local Blue Jackets’ talent, including Sean KuralyCarson Meyer and 19-year-old Cole Sillinger, who finished ninth in points for CBJ in his rookie season.

Best Dynamic Duo

After a few years of struggle and misfortune, the OSU women’s basketball team returned to form in 2021-22, winning the Big Ten regular season crown for the first time since 2018 and upsetting LSU in the NCAA tournament. The rebirth was fueled by the backcourt power pairing of Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell, who finished first and second on the team in points. Both stars appear set to return for a dangerous Buckeyes’ squad next season.

Best Terrific Trio

Garrett Wilson, arguably the country’s best receiver, was somehow the third-best on the 2021 Buckeyes. Chris Olave has more touchdowns than any wideout in OSU history, and yet he was the second-best of this crew. Enter Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a glitch in the game who emerged from obscurity to rule OSU’s record books, including 15 catches, 347 yards and three TDs in the greatest Rose Bowl performance ever. Woody Hayes would have called that single-game stat line “an admirable season.”

Best Old-School Gamer

Most people don’t know that a perfect score in Pac-Man is 3,333,360 points, or that there are “fast” machines—arcade models altered to increase game speed. David Race of Dayton, top-ranked in Pac-Man by people who compile such rankings, knows these things because he has logged many perfect scores, including what he believes to be the first-ever on a fast machine, at the Downtown 16-Bit Bar + Arcade last November. The feat took a not-quite-so-fast five hours, 30 minutes and 28 seconds.

Upper Arlington High School soccer player Abby Reisz

Best Dual Threat

As a forward, Abby Reisz was already one of the greatest soccer players ever at Upper Arlington, ranked 10th in career goals after her junior year. Then, as a senior in fall 2021, she switched to goalie and notched 14 shutouts—good for the second-best season all time at UA—on her way to becoming the only player in Ohio history to earn all-state honors both on the field and in the net.

This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.