Watterson High School girls tennis coach Susan Weil held a celebration Sept. 27 in honor of the seven seniors in her program.
That day, the Eagles wrapped up the regular season in style by beating DeSales 4-1 to finish 10-5 overall and secure their fourth consecutive CCL championship by finishing 4-0 in league play.
"DeSales wasn't a terribly difficult match for us, but it was an important match because that was our senior night and we were able to win the CCL by beating them," Weil said. "We're the only Division I team in the CCL and Watterson has been dominant in its league in tennis in recent years, but both DeSales and Hartley have strong No. 1 singles players, and our girls take a sense of pride in winning the CCL championship."
Against DeSales, Courtney Brown beat Sarah Shockling 6-2, 6-1 at second singles, Lindy Gill defeated Bri Ellis 6-0, 6-2 at third singles, Hannah Williams and Caroline Wong beat Chandler Starkey and Izzy Ocampo 6-2, 6-1 at first doubles and Elise Miller and Sophia Wible defeated Lauren Asman and Maddy Lyons 6-4, 6-3 at second doubles.
"Lindy Gill didn't always play a lot of varsity matches this year," Weil said. "But she's a senior and she worked hard all year, so we wanted to play her against DeSales, and she did a great job at third singles."
The Eagles will compete in the Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Pickerington Central. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 12 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
Brown is seeded first in singles ahead of Dresden Tri-Valley's Kristen Dempsey (second), Dublin Coffman's Ash Thenappan (third) and Big Walnut's Grace Coffman (fourth).
Lauren Ghidotti and Katie Shepherd are seeded first in doubles ahead of Pickerington Central's Nithya Raya and Kyah Thomas (second), Pickerington Central's Peyton Klein and Madi Schott (third) and Coffman's Crissi Tzagournis and Annie Yang (fourth).
Last year in the Division I sectional at Pickerington Central, Ghidotti and Shepherd went 4-0 and placed first in doubles, and Brown went 5-0 and finished first in singles.
At district a year ago, Ghidotti and Shepherd went 3-1 and placed second and Brown went 1-1. Ghidotti and Shepherd then went 3-1 and placed second at state after losing to Dublin Jerome's Lauren Bellinger and Sarah Stein 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the final.
"Our goal for our three seeded players is to win sectional, because that would really help out their chances of doing well at district," Weil said. "They will face some good competition at sectional, but I'm confident they have the ability to do well if they play to their potential."
Also competing in singles at sectional are Maria Jeric and Sydney Simmons, while Williams and Wong will play doubles.
"Hannah and Caroline been playing well at doubles together, so I'd like to see them win a couple of matches to get a shot at the Dublin Coffman team (Tzagournis and Yang) in a district qualifier," Weil said. "For Maria and Sydney, I'd like to see them play their hardest and win a round or two at sectional for the experience because they both have bright futures.
"Maria has had a great season playing No. 3 singles for us. She's a really smart and persistent player who had some great wins for us."
Boys golfers win sectional title
Boys golf coach Olin Melaragno said his team was disappointed after shooting a 332 to place second in the CCL postseason tournament Sept. 22 at The Players Club at Foxfire behind St. Charles (330).
Watterson finished second in the CCL standings at 6-2, behind St. Charles (8-0) and ahead of Hartley (4-4), DeSales (2-6) and Ready (0-8).
Three days later, the Eagles bounced back to shoot a 312 to win the Division II sectional at The Players Club ahead of runner-up Hartley (324). The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district tournament held Oct. 3 at Granville Golf Course.
Leading Watterson to its second consecutive sectional championship were senior Jon Ransone (73), senior Robbie Camp (78), junior Seth Cones (79), sophomore David Shepherd (82) and senior Bobby Bryant (88).
"We struggled at Players Club in windy conditions, so I'm real proud of the way we came back there and improved our score by 20 strokes," Melaragno said. "Jon Ransone has been our horse the last three years and he came up big with a 73. And I was surprised with how well Seth Cones played in his first time playing in such serious conditions."
The top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team at district advance to the state tournament Oct. 12 and 13 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Last year, Watterson shot a 326 to finish second at district at River Greens in West Lafayette behind St. Clairs-ville, which also shot a 326 but won the tiebreaker on its fifth player's score.
The Eagles then shot a 698 over 36 holes at state at NorthStar to place fifth of 12 teams, behind champion Springfield Kenton Ridge (677).
"I knew we had the capability of winning sectional again and I feel confident we can make it back to state again, too, because our guys seem to be coming on at the right time," Melaragno said.
Girls golfers win MOGGL title
The girls golf team shot a 176 to win the fourth and final round of the Division I Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League tournament Sept. 20 at Bent Tree ahead of Watkins Memorial (205) and DeSales (207), as Erin Harper and Natalie Meyers each shot a 38 to finish as co-medalists.
The Eagles finished first in the MOGGL standings with an 8-0 record, ahead of Watkins Memorial (4-4) and DeSales (0-8).
"It's nice to win the MOGGL, but we play in it more for the camaraderie with the other players than for trying to win it," coach Rick McQuade said.
The Eagles competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Oakhaven. The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Cooks Creek.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team at district advance to state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Last year, the Eagles shot a 354 to place third in the 10-team Division I sectional at Oakhaven, behind Coffman (332) and Gahanna (338). Hilliard Bradley was a distant fourth (391).
Watterson then shot a 340 to finish fifth in the nine-team district behind Jerome (312), Gahanna (330), Pickerington North (331) and Coffman (336), ending the Eagles' six-year streak of qualifying for state as a team. The Eagles also had no individual state qualifiers a year ago.
"Dublin Jerome and Dublin Coffman are playing nice right now, but once you get to district, it just comes down to who plays well that day," McQuade said. "We aren't too far back that we can't sneak through, and if we don't go as a team, we have the potential to get two individuals through because Erin and Natalie are playing real well."
Football team sharing carries
The football team will continue its offensive philosophy of having several players carry the ball when it travels Friday, Oct. 5, to Ironton for the first meeting between the teams since 1997.
Quarterback Andy Elberson has rushed for 315 yards to lead the Eagles' offense, but Walter Green has 314 yards rushing on 75 carries (4.2-yard average), DeAndre Golden has 250 yards on 50 attempts (5.0 average) and Cody Calhoun has 222 yards on 36 carries (6.2 average).
Elberson is 32-for-68 passing for 416 yards. The top receivers are Michael Vlahakis, who has nine catches for 97 yards, and Ryan Urquhart, who has four receptions for 67 yards.
In a 28-14 loss to Hartley on Sept. 28, Elberson threw for 63 yards and rushed for a team-high 76 yards. Watterson had 16 first downs compared to 11 for Hartley and rushed for 202 yards on 49 attempts.