The Whetstone High School girls tennis team will compete in the Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Upper Arlington.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 12 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
"Sectionals are what they are," coach Bucky Walters said. "We might win a match or two. The girls welcome the competition and they're really up to the challenge. I like their attitude."
In the first round of singles at sectional, junior Alex Myers plays Columbus West's Leah Neimeister, sophomore Saorise Jones faces the No. 2 seed, Upper Arlington's Olivia Kompa, and senior Abby Nypaver plays Zanesville's Emily Denton.
In the opening round of doubles, senior Arionna Darling and junior Kamena Willoughby face West's Jazmin Sigala and Halima Omar and senior Dora Mase and junior Alice Price play West's Christina Dickerson and Shayla Prillerman.
The matches against West at sectional may prove to be a precursor for what will unfold in the City League championship match Monday, Oct. 8, when Whetstone takes on West at home.
The Braves are looking for their third consecutive City championship and their sixth City title in the last seven seasons.
"It's great," Walters said of his team's return to the City championship match. "Four of the seven girls are first-year players, so that's pretty good. But that makes the (City championship match) wide open."
Football team shows signs of growth
The football team lost to Brookhaven 40-14 on Sept. 28 to fall to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the City League-North Division.
Even though wins have been scarce, first-year coach Don Poff remains optimistic about the remainder of the season.
"I'm a 'glass is half full' kind of guy," he said. "Forgetting about the win-loss record, there's a lot of positive things with the team. Each week I see good things happening."
Poff cites the roster as a sign of positive growth. Last year, the Braves have 50 players on the team this fall after having just 25 last season.
Another positive is the Braves' offense. Whetstone has scored 158 points through six games this season after totaling 168 in 10 games last year.
"We put in a brand new offense and we've had some success with it," Poff said.
Whetstone has had only five winning seasons since 1990, and Poff is trying to develop a winning culture.
"Some of our issues have nothing to do with football or athletic ability," he said. "Sometimes when you've been part of a team that has a few losing seasons, it's hard to overcome that. That's what we're working on and the kids are buying it and they're ready to overcome those obstacles."
Brookhaven held a 40-0 lead after the third quarter. Even though the Braves couldn't overcome that deficit, they did score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Ramroth Finnegan connected with Aiden Tuttle on a 22-yard touchdown pass and Dezwan Polk scored the two-point conversion on a pass from Chris North to make it 40-8. Polk then returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown to close out the scoring.
"(The players) hung in there and we had a nice score against a good defense," Poff said.
Whetstone travels to Columbus East on Friday, Oct. 5, for a City-North contest. The Tigers are 3-3 overall but have lost their last three games, all in league play, including a 20-14 loss to Northland on Sept. 28.
East outgained Northland 267-233 in total yards, with quarterback James Curry rushing for 99 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown.
Volleyball team off to good start in league
The girls volleyball team was 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the City-North before playing Northland on Oct. 2.
The Braves beat East 25-13, 25-22, 25-11 on Sept. 25 at home and defeated Linden-McKinley 25-3, 25-8, 25-15 on Sept. 27 on the road.
Whetstone has league matches Tuesday, Oct. 9, at home against Centennial and Wednesday, Oct. 10, at home against Brookhaven. The contest against the Bearcats is a first-round league match that was rescheduled from Sept. 18.
The Braves lost to Centennial 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 on Sept. 6.