One day after tying for 28th in the Division I state tournament, Grant Godfrey of the Delaware Hayes High School boys golf team was back on a course to work on his game and enjoy some time with his father.
"I'm going to take what I learned, use it for motivation and prepare for next year's state tournament, which is somewhere around 360 days from now," said Godfrey, a sophomore who shot a 167 over 36 holes at state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. "I just felt like I could've done better. I expect a lot out of myself."
Godfrey was tied for eighth in the 72-player field after carding a 79 in the first round. He struggled in the second round with the wet and cold conditions, shooting an 88.
"After he finished, he was as mad as I've ever seen him in two years," coach Mike Nesselroad said. "He's got nothing to be ashamed about. He took a step further this season and was 28th in his first trip to state as a sophomore. But he's a perfectionist and fierce competitor."
Godfrey didn't show his disappointment on the course during the second round, taking a cue from his playing partners. He was in a group that included Dublin Coffman senior Nick Sparling and Stow-Munroe Falls senior Ian Holt. Sparling, who will compete for Ohio State next season, repeated as state champion, shooting a 146 to win by four strokes, and Holt, who won the state title in 2011, tied for 10th with a 160.
"I was playing with two guys who won the last three state championships," Godfrey said. "So despite being upset by starting (the second round) 5-over (par) through five holes, I looked up and noticed both of them were 5-over, too. I wouldn't have known it because they didn't react, so it hit me that they had to cope with the weather and frustrations, too."
Godfrey is just the third state qualifier in program history, joining Tim Ailes and Travis Dalton. Ailes was state runner-up in 1988 and Dalton placed ninth in 1986.
"It was a great experience for me and it helps me realize that I can golf with the best in the state," Godfrey said. "But it also motivates me to get better and go back there again. Next time, I'm going to do better."
Godfrey qualified for state by shooting a 1-over 73 in the district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley. Only Dublin Jerome's J.D. Fletcher (70) and Pickerington North's Nick Montes (72) turned in lower scores.
Also advancing to state as individuals were St. Charles' Eddie O'Brien (73) and Sparling (74). Godfrey shot a 74 in the 13-team sectional Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course, advancing to district by securing the first of three individual-qualifying spots. He had the fourth-lowest score in the sectional.
Delaware finished ninth (345) at sectional as Jerome (300), St. Charles (301) and Upper Arlington (304) qualified for district.
Also competing at sectional for the Pacers were senior Cody Ross (88), sophomore Dan Van Brimmer (90) and juniors Cole Haferman (93) and Lali Lakatos (100). Also expected to return is junior Jordan Lanham.
"I hope everyone learned some things this season," Nesselroad said. "Haferman is a three-year (letterwinner) and Lakotas and Van Brimmer are two-year (letterwinners). If this team wants to be good, they can be. It's just a matter of how bad they want it. They have the opportunity and tools."
The Pacers finished seventh (7-21) in the four-round OCC-Capital Division tournament, behind New Albany (27-1), Olentangy (24-4), Mount Vernon (19-9), Big Walnut (14-14), Olentangy Orange (13-15) and Worthington Kilbourne (8-20) and ahead of Franklin Heights (0-28).
Godfrey had the fourth-lowest scoring average in league play (76.0) to earn first-team all-league honors. He was second-team all-district.
Football team getting ready to face Braves
The football team hopes to close the season with a victory when it plays host to Olentangy on Friday, Nov. 1, in an OCC-Capital contest.
"It's one of those games where it doesn't matter if a league championship or playoffs are on the line," coach Zebb Schroeder said. "It's a rivalry game against a school in a neighboring community, one where the kids know each other on and off the field. Those games are always interesting."
Although still alive mathematically, Olentangy's playoff chances in Division II, Region 5 took a major hit with back-to-back losses against New Albany (38-21 on Oct. 11) and Worthington Kilbourne (33-0 on Oct. 18). The Braves, who were 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing Mount Vernon on Oct. 25, are under the direction of first-year coach Mark Solis, who spent the past two seasons at Lorain.
Solis took over for Ed Terwilliger, who retired after guiding the Braves for 24 seasons.
"They are an excellent team and well-coached," Schroeder said. "They will line up in almost everything offensively and take advantage of what the defense allows. They play fast and get lots of plays off. They will test you on the perimeter and inside or with counters. They can hit you from a lot of angles.
"Defensively, (Chris Crumb) is phenomenal at tackle and they have a couple great linebackers, too. They have size, they're tough and they're always in position."
Delaware, which was 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the league before playing Franklin Heights on Oct. 25, lost to Mount Vernon 42-28 on Oct. 18.
The Pacers trailed 14-0 at halftime, but took a 21-14 lead into the fourth quarter, scoring on a 61-yard pass from quarterback Jante Wright to slotback Caleb Howell, a 7-yard run by Wright and a 7-yard run by Howell.
Howell scored on a 69-yard run with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left to tie the game at 28, but a 1-yard touchdown run by running back J.D. Orr gave Mount Vernon a 35-28 lead with 1:29 left and the Yellow Jackets' Greg Dennis scored on a 17-yard fumble return with 39 seconds left to secure the outcome.
Howell finished the game with 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns on six carries and three receptions for 72 yards and a score. Wright was 5-for-8 passing for 93 yards and rushed for 35 yards on 14 carries.
Leading the Pacers' defense were defensive lineman Lamar Rhymes, who had nine tackles, and outside linebacker Ethan Tucky, who had seven.
Watkins competed at regional meet
Senior Jason Watkins of the boys cross country team competed in the Division I regional meet Oct. 26 with hopes of finishing in the top 16 to qualify for the state meet Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
Watkins finished 17th (16:59.21) of 102 runners in the district 2 meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial, as the top five teams and top 20 individuals qualified for the regional at Pickerington North.
"It was absolutely awful conditions with the cold, wind and rain and it got worse during the race because the rain got heavy," Watkins said. "I really don't mind that weather, but the course was muddy and I was constantly worried about slipping. I was 22nd at the mile mark and 20th at the two-mile mark and just started to move past people when I had to because I really wanted to get to the regionals."
The boys team finished 10th (276) in district 2 behind champion Jerome (23) as 14 teams scored. Westerville South (129) secured the final regional-qualifying spot.
Also competing for the Pacers were Justin Hernan (46th, 17:50.6), Nathaniel Koehler (65th, 18:49.05), Corbin Binkley (71st, 18:58.58), Weston Lingo (77th, 19:26.91), Paul Winters (85th, 20:01.07) and Sid Campbell (94th, 22:34.48).
The girls team also placed 10th (220) in district 2, behind champion Gahanna (39) as 14 teams scored. Canal Winchester (164) secured the final regional-qualifying berth.
Delaware did not have any individual regional qualifiers. Alicia Rittenour led the Pacers, finishing 29th (20:49.45) of 95 runners. Also competing were Sammi Piroska (33rd, 20:58.52), Emily Richards (34th, 21:00.11), Alyssa Wheeler (59th, 21:59.21), Courtney White (67th, 22:34.06), Megan Swisher (72nd, 23:03.56) and Natalie Martin (80th, 23:37.32).
Season ends for boys soccer team
Youth and inexperience had a major impact on the boys soccer team this season.
Delaware, which had only three seniors on its roster in Bryan Neitzelt, Ridge Snyder and Tyler Zinader, lost to 27th-seeded Zanesville 1-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16 at home to finish 6-11 overall.
The Pacers were seeded 26th.
"I was a little disappointed in the season because I thought we would've competed a little better," coach Nathan Weakland said. "The seniors did a good job leading, but we have a small junior class and we were starting seven sophomores at times. The inexperienced kids finally stepped up late and we were able to put together a good stretch of games. But then we lost Tyler to (knee injury) and were without him our last five games. He ran our offense and did a great job in the center midfield."
The Pacers started 1-8 before winning five in a row. They closed the season with three consecutive losses.
Snyder, who played multiple positions, led the team with eight goals and had two assists. Neitzelt, who was a center defender, had six goals and three assists, and Zinader had five goals and six assists.
Delaware also loses midfielder Andrea Romani, an exchange student from Italy.
The Pacers went 2-5 in the OCC-Capital to place sixth behind New Albany (6-0-1), Kilbourne (5-0-2), Orange (5-1-1), Olentangy (4-3) and Big Walnut (3-4) and ahead of Mount Vernon (1-6) and Franklin Heights (0-7).
Zinader was named first-team all-league, Neitzelt was second team, Snyder was honorable mention and junior defender Addison Carter was special mention all-league.
In addition to Carter, expected to return are juniors Ben Gibbs (defender), Mitchell Lucas (midfielder), Graham Mergler (midfielder) and Evan Urrutia (defender) and sophomores Ian Agler (goalkeeper), Hudson Baxley (forward), Carson Geissler (defender), Ryan Krewson (forward), Nathan Lippincott (midfielder), Justin McKee (midfielder) and Brad Peters (defender).
"I am extremely happy that the young kids came around, learned the game, worked hard and played together," Weakland said. "This group had never really played together. The seniors had played with the guys who had graduated and never played with these other guys. It took time to jell, but these young guys got experience playing together and it's a large group."