Brian Unk knows his St. Charles Preparatory School golf team is talented, but the first-year coach sees potential for more.
The Cardinals return three golfers from their postseason lineup, including Division I state-qualifier Eddie O'Brien. The senior shot a two-day total of 172 on Ohio State's Scarlet Course, tying him for 44th among 72 state competitors.
The other two returnees who saw postseason action are senior Connor Yakubov and sophomore Evan Yakubov. Also seeing time on varsity last season were senior Mike Altomare and junior Jacob Rumfola.
"We have been playing well, but we could play better," said Unk, who replaced John Croswell and shares duties with another first-year coach, Tod Hecht. "They are all smart, good guys with good heads on their shoulders. They work hard and are self-motivated. They all want to get better."
Also on varsity are senior Patrick Mackessy, sophomore David Downey and freshman Andrew Shyu. Also set to join the team is junior Zach Chaddock, who moved from Buffalo, N.Y.
The Cardinals won the 21-team Mount Vernon Invitational on Aug. 8 at Chapel Hill with a 297, two shots better than runner-up New Albany. Connor Yakubov led with a 72, followed by Altomare (74), O'Brien (74), Evan Yakubov (77), Downey (81) and Shyu (85).
"Like most young golfers, they need to stay level-headed during rounds and not get too high or too low," Unk said. "They need to work on saving a stroke here and there because those add up in tournaments where you have four or five really good teams."
Unk played professionally on the Canadian PGA Tour and is an instructor at the Westerville Golf Center. Hecht was a PGA pro at The Lakes and now is with The First Tee of Central Ohio.
Last season, the Cardinals won their sixth consecutive CCL title, shooting a 304 at Cooks Creek to finish ahead of runner-up DeSales (318). O'Brien led the way with a 74 and Evan Yakubov had a 75. The league title was determined by one tournament, as the preseason event was postponed.
The CCL preseason tournament was Aug. 18 at Clover Valley. The league postseason event is Sept. 20 at The Players Club at Foxfire.
Three starters back for soccer team
The soccer team returns three starters from a squad that finished 10-5-4 overall and won its third consecutive CCL title by tying Watterson for the championship with a 3-1 record.
The three starters back for the Cardinals include senior midfielder Niko Strickler and senior goalkeeper Josh Zebula, who had 74 saves with 10 shutouts and did not allow a goal in the postseason until the second half of a 1-0 loss to Olentangy Liberty in a Division I district final. Junior Andrew Weislogel was a starting defender last season, but has moved to the midfield.
"We have a bit less experience than we have had over the past couple of years, losing eight starters to graduation," said coach Rick Ey, who is in his eighth season. "We have been developing players and I'm happy with what I have seen over the past few weeks."
St. Charles has five other letterwinners back, including senior forward Jack Engert, who came off the bench last season to lead the team in scoring with nine goals. Other letterwinners are senior forward Isaac Flemming, senior defender Michael Skorupski, junior defender/midfielder Rafe Rodriguez and sophomore midfielder Kristo Strickler, who had five goals last season.
"We may be inexperienced, but we are solid," said Ey, whose team opened Aug. 19 against Olentangy Orange. "We don't have as many star players like we may have had in the past, but these guys work well together and understand their roles."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Coby Jacobs (forward) and Josh Kravitz (defender), juniors Coleman Lyski (midfielder), Chas Porter (midfielder), Joseph Shepardson (midfielder/defender) and Roger Walther (goalie), sophomores Ryan Huelsman (midfielder/defender), Charlie Marshall (defender/midfielder), Jacob McCorkle (defender) and Chase Sanders (goalie) and freshmen Gabriel Bordon (forward/midfielder), Paul Hensley (forward midfielder) and Ian Smith (forward/midfielder).
"I think they know what is expected of them and they have bought into what we are trying to do," Ey said. "They know the system and they want to win. They have a lot of pride in the program."
Aug. 7 -- Hudson Explorer Invitational at Hudson Country Club
Aug. 8 -- Mount Vernon Classic at Chapel Hill
Aug. 9 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier Invitational at Maketewah
Aug. 12 -- Dublin Invitational at Golf Club of Dublin
Aug. 14 -- Centerville Elk Invitational at Yankee Trace
Aug. 16 -- Cincinnati Sycamore Invitational at Blue Ash
Aug. 18 -- CCL preseason tournament at Clover Valley
Aug. 19 -- New Albany Invitational at Winding Hollow
Aug. 23 -- Cincinnati Moeller Invitational at Walden Ponds
Aug. 30 -- Upper Arlington Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle
Sept. 6 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Aug. 13 -- Upper Arlington Invitational at Scioto Country Club
Sept. 20 -- CCL postseason tournament at The Players Club at Foxfire
Sept. 22 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders
Sept. 27 -- Upper Arlington Invitational at Scioto Country Club
Oct. 4 -- Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational at Riviera
Aug. 19 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Aug. 23 -- at Teays Valley
Aug. 28 -- vs. Canal Winchester
Aug. 30 -- at Delaware
Sept. 4 -- at Pickerington North
*Sept. 9 -- vs. DeSales
Sept. 13 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 16 -- at Bexley
Sept. 18 -- at Westerville Central
*Sept. 23 -- at Watterson
Sept. 25 -- at Dublin Scioto
Sept. 27 -- vs. Beavercreek
*Sept. 30 -- at Ready
Oct. 4 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
*Oct. 7 -- vs. Hartley
Oct. 11 -- vs. Whetstone
The Cardinals open CCL competition Sept. 9 at home against DeSales.