The Big Walnut High School girls tennis team is preparing to 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 in each of the four sectionals advance to district Oct. 12 and 13 at Hilliard Davidson.
Senior Grace Coffman, who plays first singles for the Golden Eagles, is seeded fourth in singles at her sectional site, behind Watterson's Courtney Brown, Dresden Tri-Valley's Kristen Dempsey and Dublin Coffman's Ash Thennapan.
Coffman was 11-6 through 17 matches.
"I'm really excited," she said of being seeded fourth. "It's been a great season. I'm hoping to do the best I can and go out doing well."
Coach Ryan Balaz was glad Coffman received some recognition during the sectional draw.
"Going in, I didn't expect that," he said of Coffman's No. 4 seed. "But that's how things fell for us. She's playing her best tennis at the end of this year, so she's got a nice shot (to qualify for district)."
Coffman will face the winner of a play-in match between Mount Vernon's Madison Powers and Newark's Emily Mettille in the first round.
"I'm hoping to go out there and have no regrets," she said. "It's my senior year and I want to have fun. I want to win, obviously. But I want to do my best and be happy with how I did."
In other first-round singles matches, senior Melissa Grooms will play Logan's Kali Stivison and junior Bailey Sewalk will face Westerville North's Ruth Payne.
In doubles, senior Emily Balaz and junior Blake Stenger have a first-round bye and will play Westerville North's Miranda Goddard and Abby Englehart or Independence's Aissatou Bah and Jayla Washington in the second round and seniors Brittany Kizer and Cecily Nelson will face Watterson's Hannah Williams and Caroline Wong in the first round.
"All the girls are doing great," coach Balaz said. "They've got some wins and got some confidence going."
The Golden Eagles were 12-5 overall and finished 4-3 in the OCC-Capital Division. They competed in the league tournament Sept. 29 at Olentangy.
"We have a winning season right now," Coffman said. "We've already matched our winning season from last year. As a team, we've definitely improved a lot. Our chances (at sectional) are pretty good."
Boys golfers prepare for sectional tourney
The boys golf team was seeded 17th of 38 teams in the district and will compete in the 14-team Division I sectional tournament Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Darby Creek.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Last season, Big Walnut shot a 324 in the Darby Creek sectional to secure the final district-qualifying spot behind Coffman (296), Davidson (317) and Olentangy Liberty (323). Marysville (328) was fifth.
The Golden Eagles then 353 at district to finish 15th as Dublin Jerome (296), Upper Arlington (297) and Coffman (299) advanced to state, where Jerome captured the championship.
"We're pretty familiar with (Darby Creek)," coach Chuck Workman said.
"Some courses just fit your eye as a golfer. Darby just fits our eye, so to speak. I think we have a chance (to advance to district)."
"We've been playing well lately," sophomore Kyle Gose said. "In the sectional tournament last year, we made it out. This year we hope to do the same."
The Golden Eagles finished 13-15 in the four-round OCC-Capital tournament to place fifth, behind New Albany (28-0), Mount Vernon (20-8), Olentangy (20-8) and Olentangy Orange (18-10) and ahead of Watkins Memorial (9-19), Delaware Hayes (4-24) and Franklin Heights (0-28).
"I was a little disappointed we didn't play better in the conference," Workman said. "We played pretty well outside the conference. We just didn't preform in the OCC like I thought we would. That's something we need to work on for next year."
Big Walnut went 15-13 in the league last year, also placing fifth.
"In the OCC, we didn't quite meet expectations," senior T.J. Cowans said. "But there's still some of the season left, so we're hoping we can pull it back together."
"I don't think we played to our potential (in the league)," Gose said. "It was kind of a letdown in the OCCs."
Gose and Cowans averaged 82.8 and 83.8 strokes, respectively, over the four rounds of the OCC-Capital tournament to make third-team all-league. Sophomore Ryan Cunningham (86.3) was honorable mention all-league.
"It's a tough conference," Cowans said, "so I'm happy with third team."
Football team to face Yellow Jackets
The football team will play host to Mount Vernon in an OCC-Capital contest Friday, Oct. 5.
The Golden Eagles were 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the league before playing Watkins Memorial on Sept. 28. Mount Vernon was 4-1 and 2-0 before playing Orange on Sept. 28.
Last season, Big Walnut defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-0.
The Golden Eagles followed up a 40-24 loss to Olentangy in their OCC-Capital opener Sept. 14 with a 35-13 win over Delaware on Sept. 22 in a league game that was suspended Sept. 21 because of lightning.
Senior quarterback Carson Chatterton carried the ball nine times for 13 yards and touchdown and was 5-for-10 passing for 61 yards and a score.
Sophomore running back Christian Johnson rushed for 241 yards and two touchdowns on 23 attempts.
The Golden Eagles led 21-13 at halftime and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.