Coffman works on being leaders
At the conclusion of last season, Dublin Coffman High School boys golf coach David Woodmansee knew his team would have some big holes to fill given that it would be losing three Division I college recruits to graduation in Jack Sparling (Miami University), Thomas Shindler (Toledo) and Satoshi Tanaka (Purdue).
With a deep roster of replacements ready to step in, Woodmansee's biggest concern was replacing that trio's leadership.
To help ensure his team understands the value of strong leadership, the fourth-year coach asked his players to read "Beyond Basketball: Coach K's Keywords for Success" during the offseason and then attend a pair of book club meetings in the spring to discuss what they had learned from the book, which Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski co-authored with Jamie Spatola.
"I know that we still have the talent to do big things, so getting good leadership out of our current group of players is going to be a critical element," Woodmansee said. "I had our players work on their leadership as a skill, much like they work on improving their putting. I had them read Krzyzewski's book and pick out quotes that were important to them as well as pick different chapters of the book to discuss. After witnessing their enthusiasm at those round tables, I'm confident our leadership will continue to be strong this year."
The Shamrocks have three returnees in seniors F.T. Rower and Brian Truckly and junior Nick Sparling. Seniors Grant Guthery, Brian Sirak and David Washbush and juniors Matt Pietrusik and Brennan Whitis round out the roster.
"Most coaches have to worry about getting their kids to work hard, but if anything, I have to pull in the reins and make sure they don't do so much that they burn themselves out," Woodmansee said.
Last year, Coffman went 27-1 in the four-round OCC-Central Division tournament to win its third consecutive league title.
Upper Arlington (25-3) was second, followed by Hilliard Davidson (20-8), Thomas Worthington (16-12), Worthington Kilbourne (11-17), Hilliard Darby (9-19), Central Crossing (2-24) and Westland (0-28).
Making first-team all-league for the Shamrocks were Shindler (73.5-stroke average), Jack Sparling (74.25), Tanaka (74.75) and Nick Sparling (75.75). Truckly (77.75) was second-team all-league.
As part of OCC realignment this summer, Darby and Kilbourne moved to the OCC-Cardinal and were replaced by Marysville and Olentangy Liberty, both of which had been in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Shamrocks competed in the first round of the league tournament Aug. 14 at Granville Golf Course. The second round is Monday, Aug. 20, at Apple Valley.
Coffman shot a 296 to win the 14-team Division I sectional tournament last year at Darby Creek, well ahead of runner-up Davidson (317).
It was the fourth consecutive sectional title for the Shamrocks as the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district tournament at Apple Valley.
Tanaka shot a 71 to earn medalist honors, one stroke ahead of Jack Sparling (72).
The Shamrocks finished third (299) at district behind Jerome (296) and UA (297) to earn the final state-qualifying spot and advance to state for the third season in a row. Tanaka shot a 71 to earn co-medalist honors with Pickerington North's Alex Weiss.
Coffman then shot a 636 at state at Ohio State's Scarlet Course to place fourth behind champion Jerome (623).
Jack Sparling placed sixth with a 153 to lead the Shamrocks, who also placed fourth at state in 2010 and 2009.
Also competing were Tanaka (156, tied for 11th), Nick Sparling (164, tied for 35th), Truckly (165, tied for 40th) and Shindler (165, tied for 40th).
"The kids' expectations are high after what we've accomplished the past three years, and that's a good thing because they don't have a sense of entitlement," Woodmansee said. "UA is probably the favorite to win our league because they lost only one player, and UA and Jerome are probably the favorites to win state. There are five or six teams in central Ohio who are really deep, so it's going to be harder than ever to make it to state, but that's still our goal because our seniors have never finished lower than fourth at state in their careers."
Celtics aiming to defend state title
Jerome must replace 2012 graduate and Tennessee recruit Chad Merzbacher, but its other four top players from a year ago are back in seniors Michael Harris and Mert Selamet and juniors Brady Bohl and Chad Howard.
Sophomore J.D. Fletcher also is expected to be a key contributor this year.
"Chad's a big loss, but Mert is up for the challenge of filling his shoes," second-year coach Craig Zesiger said. "I don't see us having to count any scores in the 80s because all of our guys are capable of shooting even par."
Last year, Jerome went 28-0 in the OCC-Cardinal tournament to win its eighth league title in eight years of existence.
Westerville Central (23-5) finished second, followed by Westerville North (14-14), Olentangy (14-14), Liberty (14-14), Marysville (12-16), Westerville South (7-21) and Scioto (0-28).
As part of OCC realignment, Olentangy moved to the OCC-Capital and was replaced by Hilliard Bradley, which had been in the OCC-Capital.
Merzbacher posted a 72.75 scoring average to be earn OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year honors for a fourth consecutive season.
Also making first-team all-league were Selamet (73.5), Harris (75.75), Bohl (76.75) and Howard (76.75).
The Celtics competed in the first round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 15 at The Players Club at Foxfire. The second round is Monday, Aug. 20, at Granville Golf Course.
Jerome shot a 300 to win the 11-team sectional at The Players Club last year ahead of fellow district-qualifiers New Albany (316), Westerville Central (329) and Pickerington North (331).
Selamet shot a 70 at sectional to earn medalist honors and led the Celtics to their first district title since winning three in a row from 2006-08 with a 72.
Making its eighth state appearance, Jerome shot a 623 to win its fourth state title. It also won Division I state titles in 2005 and 2007 and won the Division II state championship in 2004.
Merzbacher shot a 151 to finish third, one stroke behind co-medalists Beau Titsworth of Cleveland St. Ignatius and Ian Holt of Stow-Munroe Falls.
Selamet shot a 152 to tie Cincinnati Elder's Daniel Schwarz for fourth, followed by Bohl (155, tied for seventh), Howard (166, tied for 48th) and Harris (168, tied for 53rd).
"You can't do it any better than we did it last year and we're going to try to do it again," Zesiger said. "We're strong again and we're going to contend for major championships again."
Irish expect to improve in 2012
Seniors Jacob Nave and Anthony Trocchio have returned to lead Scioto.
Rounding out the team are sophomore Harshil Amin and freshmen Sam Humphries, Blake Moody and Nicholas Pothoven.
"We have only two guys back on varsity, but our freshmen can really play and they will help make us 20 to 30 strokes better," fourth-year coach Greg Snyder said. "Our young guys will improve quite a bit and be really good by their junior and senior years."
Last season, the Irish placed eighth (0-28) in the OCC-Cardinal and 13th (369) in the Division I sectional at Darby Creek.
"We're going to be much more competitive this year because we're going to be at the same level as a lot of teams we play," Snyder said.