Erin Harper of the Watterson High School girls golf team said nerves affected her performance last year while competing in the Division I state tournament for the first time.
After shooting an 81 in the first round, she settled down and shot a 77 in the second round to tie for 19th (158) of 72 competitors. Medina Highland's Jessica Porvasnik, a 2013 graduate, won the state title with a 140.
Harper is looking to better her own finish when she competes at state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Gray Course.
"I was really nervous the first day at state last year and I psyched myself out," the junior said. "I was disappointed afterward because I knew I could have done better, so this is my redemption year. My goals are to win the tournament and to become the first person in the history of the tournament to shoot under par both days.
"I'm going to mentally prepare myself for each hole the best I can, and I just have to stay calm and focus on each shot."
Coach Rick McQuade believes Harper has the potential to become the first member of his program to win a state title.
"Erin started terrible at state last year before she came back to finish well," he said. "With a better start, I think she can move up into the top five and even win the whole thing. Erin's a long-ball hitter and the state course favors players like Erin."
Harper will be the lone Watterson representative at state. The Eagles shot a 361 at district Oct. 8 at The Links at Groveport to place third behind state-qualifiers Dublin Coffman (300) and Dublin Jerome (308).
Harper (72) and Gahanna's Emily Hughes (78) secured the two individual-qualifying berths. Also competing for the Eagles were freshman Abigail Meyers (93), junior Avery Wakefield (93), junior Ellie Kairis (103) and senior Anna Kairis (109).
"I had a rough start (at district) and was 2-over (par) after five (holes), but I birdied a couple of holes to get even after seven and parred out the rest of the way," Harper said. "We finished third as a team, but the other girls on my team pretty much resigned themselves that district was as far as they were going to go this year because the Dublin teams are so strong, so they were happy with our finish."
Brown, Ghidotti to compete at state
Two members of the girls tennis team have qualified for the Division I state tournament, which will be held Oct. 18 at Ohio State and Oct. 19 at Hilliard Davidson in seniors Courtney Brown and Lauren Ghidotti.
In the district tournament held Oct. 11 and 12 at Davidson, Ghidotti went 4-0 to place first in singles, beating Brown 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Brown went 3-1 and placed second, as the top four placers in singles and doubles qualified for state.
In doubles, Elise Miller and Sydney Simmons, and Mollie Godbout and Sophia Wible each went 0-1. Maria Jeric also went 0-1 in singles.
Volleyball team aims for district title
Seeded 18th of 46 teams in the Division I district tournament, the girls volleyball team had a first-round bye and faces ninth-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 24th-seeded Newark in the second round Thursday, Oct. 17, at the site of the higher seed.
The second-round winner will play seventh-seeded Lancaster, 32nd-seeded Groveport or 35th-seeded Reynoldsburg in a district semifinal Oct. 24 at Whitehall.
"We were seeded low because we play a very tough schedule and didn't have a very good record going into the tournament draw," coach Max Miller said. "But we play a tough schedule to prepare ourselves for the tournament, and I'm confident we can beat teams seeded above us if we play the way we're capable of playing."
The Eagles have been hindered by injuries. Starting outside hitter Elena DeJaco has missed the second half of the season with a broken leg but is hoping to return to the lineup by the start of regional play, if the Eagles get there. Another starter, middle hitter Caroline Canute, injured an ankle while warming up before the Eagles' 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23 loss to Ready on Oct. 8 and missed the CCL match.
An injury also kept setter Kelly Strayer out of the lineup for the first half of the season, and setter Mallory Rabe returned to practice Oct. 9 after hobbling around on crutches for several days.
"We need to get healthy for the tournament and make sure we don't have anyone else getting hurt," Miller said.
The Eagles lost their last three CCL matches to finish 3-5 in the league, tying Ready for third behind DeSales (8-0) and Hartley (6-2) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (0-8).
"The CCL is still very strong," Miller said. "We wanted to win more league matches, but I was pleased with the way we played during our (25-16, 25-17, 17-25, 25-23) loss at DeSales (on Oct. 3) because they were ranked No. 2 in the state at the time and we were very competitive in that match."
Watterson went 2-1 in the Tourney for the Cure on Oct. 12 at Pickerington North to finish the regular season 10-13 overall.
"Our team is young in terms of experience, but our girls are playing hard and they want to win," Miller said. "(Outside hitter) Lauren Frilling has been a great leader and Caroline Leitch has been our top middle hitter. (Liberos) Jenna Gaffer and Maggie Hamrock have played well, too, defensively."
Cross country teams place second in CCL
Both of the cross country teams finished second in the CCL meet Oct. 12 at Otterbein University.
The girls team scored 53 points to finish behind CSG (30) and ahead of Ready (73), Hartley (91) and DeSales (102).
Jessica Passwater (seventh, 21 minutes, 11 seconds), Meghan Connors (eighth, 21:20) and Clare Aman (11th, 21:29) all made first-team all-league and Jeanette Pfeiffer (12th, 21:43) and Kaleigh O'Reilly (15th, 21:55) were second team.
"CSG has one of the best girls teams in recent years for the CCL," coach Matt McGowan said. "Jessica Passwater was hurt this summer and just started running three weeks ago, and it is nice to see her getting back in shape. Meghan Connors, running in her first year, has been our No. 1 runner before Jessica returned. Clare Aman did a nice job moving up the last mile to earn first-team all-CCL. Jeanette Pfeiffer as a freshman did an excellent job."
The boys team scored 62 points in the CCL meet to finish behind St. Charles (17) and ahead of DeSales (68), Hartley (111) and Ready (116).
Nick Haley (eighth, 18:06), Mark Guza (ninth, 18:08) and Max McClelland (10th, 18:13) all made first-team all-league and John Britt (17th, 19:17) and Joey DiOrio (18th, 19:32) were second team.
"For a freshman (Haley) to finish in the top 10 is impressive, especially since he has been battling some knee problems," McGowan said. "Mark Guza just returned to racing two weeks ago after missing most of the season due to a summer injury. Mark was our No. 1 runner last year and it is good to see him returning to racing. Max McClelland ran well to earn all-league honors."
Watterson will compete in the Division district meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Watkins Memorial.
The girls are competing in the 14-team district 2 meet, in which the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. The boys are in the 18-team district 3 meet, with the top six teams and top 24 individuals advancing to regional.
"Both Max and Mark were all-district last year in Division II," McGowan said. "It is very
upsetting for them to be forced to run in the Division I district (this) week since the OHSAA is treating cross country different than all other sports by using combined enrollment creating one division for both the boys and girls teams. There will be 63 schools with more boys than Watterson running."
Field hockey team begins postseason
The field hockey team wrapped up its regular season Oct. 8 with a 2-0 loss to Thomas Worthington to drop to 7-6-1 overall.
Watterson is seeded sixth in the district tournament and played 11th-seeded New Albany in a play-in game Oct. 15. The winner plays at fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman in the first round Thursday, Oct. 17, with the first-round winner playing at third-seeded Bexley or eighth-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The Eagles also lost to Columbus Academy 2-0 on Oct. 1 to finish 5-2 in the COFHL-East.