Just from the sound of their voices, it's easy to tell that Bexley High School golfers Matt Abramson and Liza Weisman are excited.
They have plenty of reason to be, as Abramson and Weisman qualified as individuals for the boys and girls Division II state tournaments Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12. Both will be making their first state appearance.
Abramson, a senior, will compete at NorthStar and Weisman, a sophomore, will compete at Ohio State's Gray Course.
"I am very excited about it," said Abramson, who started playing golf in eighth grade. "I can't even describe my excitement. I have worked hours and hours on end to get here."
Abramson is scheduled to tee off at 9:40 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, with Weisman scheduled to start her opening round at 9:48 a.m.
"We are both excited," Weisman said. "It definitely was one of my goals. I was really hoping to make it to state."
Weisman, who started playing golf at age 8, has used her father's athletic success as motivation. Scott Weisman played tennis at Bexley, winning a state title in doubles in 1984, and went on to play at Ohio State.
In a sectional tournament Sept. 25 at Blacklick Woods, Liza Weisman shot a school-record 72 to win medalist honors. She returned to the same course for district Oct. 1 and shot a 78 to earn one of three individual state-qualifying berths.
For Abramson, he shot an 80 in a sectional Sept. 24 at Granville Golf Course to help the Lions place third and advance as a team. The district tournament Sept. 30 at River Greens was bittersweet, as Abramson advanced to state as an individual by carding a 74 while Bexley fell just short of qualifying as a team.
The Lions shot a 324, tying Bloom-Carroll for the third and final state-qualifying berth, but Bexley lost the fifth-player tiebreaker by one stroke. Hunter Roberts (81), Cameron Karmia (84), Josh Meyer (85) and Davis Williams (95) also competed for Bexley.
"It was just too bad. I do wish we would have qualified as a team," Abramson said. "I'm just thinking about it as just another tournament and not as state so then I won't start playing conservative.
"I am just determined and focused. This is my last week of high school golf."
While Abramson is planning to be all business in his first and only trip to state, Weisman hopes to gain experience for a pair of return trips.
"Honestly, I'm looking to enjoy the day -- it is something special, just to be there -- but I also want to play my best and see where it takes me," said Weisman, who was MSL Player of the Year. "It is definitely something that I have not experienced before. It will be a good learning experience for me in the future, when I hopefully return to state again."
Abramson and Weisman have the same golf instructor, Gerry Hammond. Both are confident in their ability to drive the ball, and both have spent time tightening up their short game.
"I'd like to play to the best of my ability and I'd like to win the tournament, and I think I have a decent shot. If not, I'd like to place in the top five," Abramson said. "This is a great way to go out. It is the state golf tournament and it is (my) last high school match.
"(Weisman) is an unbelievable player and she'll be good for years to come."
Football team falls to West Jefferson
The football team saw its perfect season come to an end with a 21-14 home loss to West Jefferson on Oct. 4.
While the Lions dropped to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division, coach John Smith said the setback was no cause for panic.
"The kids played with great effort. We can't question the effort of the kids," Smith said. "All of our goals are still a possibility at this point in time.
"We want to compete for a league title, win our rivalry games and be in contention for the playoffs in weeks eight, nine and 10."
Quarterback Andre Stewart ran 14 yards for a first-quarter touchdown to give Bexley the lead before West Jefferson tied the game as Logan Stepp hit Nick Mendenhall with a 59-yard touchdown pass.
In the third quarter, Stepp ran eight yards to the 1-yard line and fumbled before crossing the goal line. Unfortunately for Bexley, Ross Brenneman recovered the ball in the end zone for the Roughriders, who took a 14-7 lead. Stepp's 77-yard scoring run pushed West Jefferson's lead to 21-7 with nine minutes, 24 seconds to play.
Zach Ward's 3-yard scoring run with 5:32 remaining provided the final margin. Bexley forced West Jefferson to punt on the ensuing possession, but a penalty for too many players on the field extended the Roughriders' drive.
West Jefferson punted with about a minute to go but intercepted a Stewart pass to seal the game.
Stewart finished just 1-for-8 passing for three yards and a pair of interceptions, and ran for 57 yards on 15 carries. Rasheed Morgan ran for 78 yards on 15 attempts for the Lions, who finished with 162 yards rushing.
West Jefferson improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the league.
Bexley plays a league game Friday, Oct. 11, at Madison Plains, which is 2-4 and 0-2.
"(The loss to West Jefferson) won't define who we are. What we do (against Madison Plains) will define the type of team we are," Smith said. "It is a big week, but the biggest thing is for us to get re-focused on who we are and we have to focus on getting better."
Field hockey team set for postseason
The field hockey team, which won nine of its first 10 games, entered the week having lost two of three contests to fall to 10-3 overall.
Bexley lost to Columbus Academy 6-0 on Oct. 3, as the Vikings clinched the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East Division title. Academy went 8-0 in the league and the Lions went 7-1.
Kayley Barno led the Lions with 10 goals through 13 games. Bexley played Dublin Coffman on Oct. 7 and Upper Arlington on Oct. 9 before concluding the regular season Saturday, Oct. 12, against Olentangy Liberty.
Bexley, which has won at least one tournament game in each of the last seven years, earned the third seed for the district tournament and opens by playing host to Upper Arlington on Oct. 17.
Girls volleyball team on league win streak
The girls volleyball team earned its third consecutive MSL-Ohio victory when it defeated Whitehall 25-21, 25-10, 25-13 on Oct. 5.
Bexley improved to 9-10 overall and 5-7 in league play and carried those records into its final two matches of the regular season against Grandview on Oct. 8 and at Worthington Christian on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Entering this week, junior setter Mary Massarelli led the Lions with 541 assists and junior outside hitter Olivia Riley led with 249 kills. Senior libero Kayleigh Dietz had a team-best 162 digs and senior middle hitter Taylor Simmons led with 70 blocks.
The Lions are seeded 11th in the Division III district tournament and open Wednesday, Oct. 16, at home against 19th-seeded Madison Plains. The winner plays Oct. 19 at fourth-seeded Marion Elgin.