The Whetstone High School girls tennis team captured its fourth consecutive City League championship.
In past seasons, a dual match between the City-North Division and City-South champions determined the overall champion. This year, however, the title was decided solely by the results of the City League Coaches Tournament held Sept. 25 at Whetstone.
The Braves scored 95.5 points in the event to finish well ahead of runner-up Centennial (63). Eastmoor Academy (34.5) placed third, followed by Independence (22), Columbus West (18), Beechcroft (16.5), Mifflin (15.5), Linden-McKinley (12.5), Africentric (8.5), Marion-Franklin (5) and Northland (4.5).
"The coaches wanted to try something new this year, so the winner of the City Coaches Tournament was named the winner of the league," said coach Bucky Walters, whose team defeated West 4-1 in the City championship match a year ago. "I wasn't happy with the format because it basically meant the regular season was worthless. We went unbeaten in the regular season and went into the tournament even with everybody. But it worked out OK, although next year if we do this again, we'll have some type of combination of points from the regular season and the tournament."
Whetstone, which was 11-1 overall before concluding the regular season with matches Sept. 30 against Ready and Oct. 1 against Westland, beat Centennial 4-1 on Sept. 18.
In the league tournament, senior Alex Myers was runner-up in singles, losing to Centennial's Niki Stearns 6-2, 6-0 in the final, but was first-team all-league. Freshman Maggie Prosser, who lost to Myers in a semifinal, also made first-team all-league.
In doubles, sophomores Sophia Rizzi and Lily Morris defeated Eastmoor's Symone Taylor and Destiny Wooten 6-3, 6-2 in the final and made first-team all-league.
Making honorable mention all-league were junior Saoirse Jones in singles and the doubles team of sophomores Sophia Lombard and Brenna O'Sullivan.
Whetstone now has turned its attention to the Division I sectional being held Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Upper Arlington. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
Myers, Prosser and Jones are playing singles at sectional, with Rizzi and Morris forming one doubles team and Lombard and O'Sullivan comprising the other.
"I think every girl will have a chance to win their first match in the sectional and that would be tremendous," Walter said. "Some have a chance to win two before meeting a high seed. It was a pretty good draw for us."
Runners preparing for City meet
The cross country teams are gearing up for the City League meet Wednesday, Oct. 9, at home.
If past races are any indication, coach Joe Monda believes both the boys and girls team will be battling Centennial for the title.
"We have competed with Centennial twice this season and both times the boys have finished ahead of them and our girls have finished behind them," Monda said. "I expect to be in a dogfight with them for the boys and girls championships. The girls race should be extremely tight and it'll be a matter of who runs better that (day)."
The Braves and Centennial competed in the Central Ohio Invitational on Sept. 14 at Three Creeks Metro Park and in the Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 18.
In the Central Ohio Invitational, the boys team finished 11th (311 points) of 14 teams as Dublin Coffman won (70) and Centennial finished 13th (351), and the girls team came in 14th (368) of 16 teams as Upper Arlington won (35) and Centennial finished 12th (306).
In the Arrowhead Invitational, the boys team finished third (132) of 17 teams, behind champion Bexley (70) and Buckeye Valley (119), as Centennial came in eighth (195), and the girls team finished fifth (135) of 16 teams, behind champion Bexley (422), with Centennial placing fourth (118).
"Our scores weren't great in the Central Ohio (meet), but I was pleased with our times and effort and I thought we were competitive," Monda said. "We ran very, very well in the Arrowhead (meet). I worked them real hard going into that one and they came through."
The boys team continues to be led by senior Hayden Palmer and junior Ike Boateng.
"I expect them to finish real high (in the City meet), although Centennial's Kevin Adams will likely win," Monda said. "After our two guys, it gets very interesting. We're going to need our No. 3 through (No.) 6 runners to step up. Evan Myers, Matt Hausman, Idiris Ibrahim and Kevin McCoy are going to be the guys who decide it for us."
The girls team does not have a clear frontrunner.
"We don't have a clear finish in our top four," Monda said. "I think we've had a different frontrunner every meet. Between Liz Khoury, Julianna Hausman, Bianca McLemore and Elli Schwartz, I just don't know what order they're going to run on any certain day, so we'll need those four to run well together on the same day. Then we'll need Elly Davis, Cassie Chenolveth or Claire O'Grady to step up and provide a solid support time."
Football team looking for first league win
The football team will play host to Columbus East in a battle of winless City-North teams on Friday, Oct. 4.
The Braves, who fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the league with a 46-24 loss to Brookhaven on Sept. 27, are looking to snap a three-game losing streak. The Tigers, who dropped to 1-4 and 0-2 with a 64-20 loss to Northland on Sept. 27, also have lost three in a row.
Whetstone allowed 593 total yards against Brookhaven, which jumped out to a 27-0 lead and led 27-6 at halftime. The Bearcats were led by running back David Peoples, who rushed for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
The Braves trailed 46-12 before scoring the game's final two touchdowns.
Quarterback Ramroth Finnegan was 23-for-38 passing for 336 yards and three touchdowns, with wide receiver David Simmons having 12 receptions for 256 yards and two scores (10 and 36 yards). Running back Austin Davy had a 20-yard touchdown catch and threw a 20-yard score to wide receiver Trent Harper, and running back Melek White rushed for 69 yards on 17 carries.
Volleyball team enters final stretch of season
Girls volleyball coach Errole Rembert believes his team's final three league matches will help it prepare for the Division I district tournament.
The Braves were 10-7 overall and 7-2 in the City-North before playing East on Oct. 1 and Mifflin on Oct. 2. They play host to Northland on Thursday, Oct. 3, and travel to Centennial on Monday, Oct. 7, before facing Columbus International on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at home.
"The match against Northland is important because we're playing for third or fourth place (as of the start of this week)," Rembert said. "Centennial is in first and Columbus International is in second. It's a tough closing schedule. If we want to compete, we have to be at the top of our game for those matches, which is good timing for the (district tournament)."
The Braves lost to International 25-23, 25-20, 20-15 on Sept. 3 and Centennial 25-17, 26-24, 25-17 on Sept. 12, but they defeated Northland 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-14 on Sept. 10.
"We're playing well. We just lack a big hitter," Rembert said. "But the girls are playing hard. I think Ali Adelsberger, Val Vokac and Katie Elekes have been great. Ali has been doing great setting and hitting, Val has been consistent in the front and back and Katie has really come on strong, especially in the front."