The two-time defending Division I state golf champions have a new coach.
St. Charles Preparatory School has hired Andy MacKinnon to lead the Cardinals in their quest for a third consecutive state title.
MacKinnon is a 1994 graduate of St. Charles who played golf in the program. He graduated from Franklin University in 1999 and owns an insurance agency.
He had been an assistant coach with the Cardinals.
"When (former coach) Anthony (Mampieri) decided that he was leaving, he approached me to see if I was interested in the position," MacKinnon said. "Even with back-to-back state titles, we have three (juniors) coming back, so the cupboard is far from bare."
St. Charles not only won its second consecutive state title last fall at Ohio State's Scarlet Course, but also set the course record for the Division I tournament. The Cardinals had a two-day total of 610, 11 strokes better than runner-up Cleveland St. Ignatius. The score broke the record of 611 set by Upper Arlington in 1993 and St. Ignatius in 2002.
"He played for us and he knows the game," athletics director David Lawler said. "He'll do a great job of managing the program and he really understands these kids."
Expected back are junior Nate Yankovich (155 at state) and junior Austin Cuervo (157). Junior Matt Moosavian was the sixth man at state, but he shot a 76 in the district at Apple Valley.
Cuervo had last season's low 18-hole average for the Cardinals of 74.5. Yankovich (75.5) was third and Moosavian (76.75) was fifth.
"It's a chance for me to be a part of two things that I love - St. Charles and golf," MacKinnon said. "It's something I'm really looking forward to doing."
•The baseball team has a young roster, but 14th-year coach Ray Benjamin hopes an experienced pitching staff will be the key to success until the other players get acclimated to varsity.
"We lost 13 seniors from a team that nearly won 20 games," said Benjamin, whose team finished 18-8 overall after losing to Reynoldsburg 13-8 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. "That's not easy to overcome, but these guys come out and work hard and they are going to win some games for us."
The Cardinals return their top pitcher in senior Patrick Dyer, an Akron signee who is the staff's only left-hander and was 6-0 last season. Also back is junior J.D. Vrabel, who was 3-0 last year. Senior Andy Hof was 2-0 and returns as a setup man.
"Hopefully pitching will be our strength," said Benjamin, whose team finished second in the CCL at 7-3 behind DeSales (8-2) and ahead of Watterson (6-4), Hartley (5-5), Worthington Christian (4-6) and Ready (0-10). "We have to replace our whole defense except for Chris Fenlon, who played in left field. We still have a lot of openings because we haven't had a scrimmage yet. Our first (was March 21 against Hilliard Darby)."
The opener is Monday, March 28, at Whitehall.
Fenlon, a junior, hit .383 last season. The other two outfield spots could be filled by a variety of players. The same can be said of third base and catcher.
Vrabel and senior Rory Stitzlein will see time at first base with senior Michael Mackessey at second base and junior Calvin Flinders at shortstop.
The roster also includes seniors Anthony Buchta (IF), Billy Feehan (IF/C), Thomas King (C/3B), Kevin Manley (3B), Jim Romaker (C/P) and Alex Styborski (OF), junior Joey Gilmore (OF/P) and sophomores Chris Brake (IF/P), Lucas Glover (C/P) and Jerad Kitzler (OF/P).