Collin Wittig of the Delaware Hayes High School football team is keeping an eye to the future.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior offensive guard and defensive tackle has set many goals for himself, including playing at the next level, and there are several paths which he can take to pursue them.
"The No. 1 goal for me is to find a college where I fit in. Whether I play Division I football or Division II football isn't ultimately that important," Wittig said. "I want to play to the best of my ability no matter what program I'm in. The idea is that I'm going to be spending the next four years of my life growing as a person, student and player."
Wittig, who serves as sports editor of the school newspaper and is considering a career in journalism, has drawn interest from a number of college coaches.
"Collin put on 20 pounds of muscle in the past year and the increased strength has him finishing blocks much easier," Pacers coach Zebb Schroeder said. "He has several Division II offers and has drawn interest from several (Mid-American Conference) schools. His awesome ACT scores could make him attractive to East Coast schools such as Dartmouth and Bucknell.
"He is such a great person and is a coach's delight. He's a leader who gets it done in the classroom, in the weight room, in the film room, on the field and in the community. We're blessed to have him. He doesn't miss practices and goes 100 percent all the time. He is the first to volunteer for community service projects and he communicates with coaches. It's gratifying to see him succeed, to be rewarded for who he is and the things he has accomplished."
Wittig said he has received scholarship offers from Ohio Dominican, Tiffin, Lake Erie College and Notre Dame College, each of which is in Division II. He has visited Buffalo and, according to Schroeder, Eastern Michigan also has been showing a lot of interest.
Both Buffalo and Eastern Michigan are Division I programs in the MAC.
"It all just started to click for me halfway through last season," Wittig said. "Things started to slow down for me. In the offseason, I feel I made great improvement. I lifted harder and I went to several camps and went up against great competition from around the state."
Schroeder expects more MAC teams to offer Wittig a scholarship.
"When they see his film and realize how much he has improved in the past year, they're going to be impressed," Schroeder said. "When they meet him, they'll notice how analytical he is and they'll see what type of young man they'd be getting. He doesn't get too high and he doesn't get too low. He's just steady like a rock."
Delaware slipped to 2-2 overall with a 42-7 loss to Worthington Kilbourne in its OCC-Capital Division opener Sept. 20. It had lost two games in a row entering its league contest against Big Walnut on Sept. 27.
The Pacers travel to New Albany on Friday, Oct. 4, for another OCC-Capital game. The Eagles, who were ranked second in the Division II state poll last week, were 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the league before playing Franklin Heights on Sept. 27.
"That'll be a major challenge for us," Schroeder said of New Albany. "They're one of the best teams in the district. They've got a nice senior class and they're the type of program we're trying to become. They play with great pad level, they come off the ball and I'm always impressed by their toughness. They have a great coaching staff and we have a ton of respect for their program."
Godfrey, boys golfers prepare for sectional
Boys golf coach Mike Nesselroad said the 13-team Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Granville Golf Course represents a major challenge for his team.
Delaware is seeded 24th of 39 teams in the district. Among the teams competing at the sectional site are second-seeded Dublin Jerome, fifth-seeded Upper Arlington, sixth-seeded St. Charles and 15th-seeded Gahanna.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
"It will take a score we haven't come close to this season in order for us to reach district as a team," Nesselroad said. "You never say never, so we'll try to trim shots all the way through our final putt. It's just a tough sectional team-wise."
Sophomore Grant Godfrey is seeking a return to district. Last year, he shot an 80 at the sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire to earn the third of four-qualifying berths. At district, he shot an 83 to finish eight strokes behind the third and final state qualifier, Pickerington North's Scot Sapp (75).
Junior Cole Haferman carded an 83 at sectional last year, falling one stroke shy of being part of a playoff for the final district berth.
"It will be much more difficult this season because our district determined to send the top three teams and individuals from each sectional rather than the top four, which I think was a big mistake," Nesselroad said. "With sports at all levels adding more teams and qualifiers to their tournaments and giving more people an opportunity to shine and a memory to relish, we subtracted. But it is what it is."
Godfrey was co-medalist in the 19-team OCC Shootout on Sept. 23 at Moundbuilders. He carded a 72 as the Pacers finished 14th (342) behind champion Pickerington North (299).
Also scoring for Delaware were Haferman (86), Cody Ross (91) and Dan Van Brimmer (93).
Three girls golfers heading to sectional
The girls golf team will be represented in Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Oakhaven by C.C. Barger, McKenzie Confer and Bailey Hager.
The top three individuals advance to district Oct. 8 at The Links at Groveport.
Tennis players get set for postseason
Members of the girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Hilliard Davidson.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Davidson.
The Pacers did not have any district qualifiers last season. Blair Ramsey reached a district-qualifying match a year ago as a freshman before losing to top-seeded Lauren Bellinger of Dublin Jerome 6-0, 6-0.
"We're playing to our ability right now and all of the girls have a chance to win first-round matches in the sectional," coach Bob Claymier said. "I'm tickled to death with the way they're playing."
In first-round singles action, Ramsey will play Westland's Cassidy Dyer and senior Clair Brennan will play Grove City's Vicki Rohr. Senior Darcy Flanagan will face Hilliard Darby's Jinsoo Lee in a play-in match, with the winner meeting fourth-seeded Heather Haynes of Davidson in the first round.
In the first round in doubles, seniors Amy Co and Liz Russell will face Darby's Sydney Bright and Hannah Lee and seniors Caroline Proffitt and Lexi Wolfe will play Darby's Abby Schuster and Mikino Maeda.
The Pacers defeated Marion Harding 5-0 on Sept. 25 and 3-2 a day later to improve to 10-6 overall.