It was just another average day of individual practice at Muirfield Village Golf Club for Dublin Jerome High School junior Lexie Toth when she ran into Coffman sophomore Lexie Long on Sept. 17.
"We said hi, and that was about it," Toth said.
For the two girls teams that begin the postseason as the leading candidates to represent central Ohio in the Division I state tournament next month, the fall hasn't seemed like the appropriate time for friendliness.
While things tend to be more cordial when members of the programs meet during the summer, according to Toth, the intensity each player brings to the course during the season tends to at times overshadow the rivalry.
Jerome, which has finished ahead of Coffman four of the six times they've played this season, is the district's top seed and begins the postseason Tuesday, Oct. 2, in a sectional at Oakhaven.
Also at the site are fourth-seeded Watterson and seventh-seeded Hilliard Bradley, as the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
Oakhaven is the course where the Celtics shot a program-best 285 on Aug. 30 during the second round of the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament.
Jerome went 24-0 to win the league ahead of Olentangy Liberty (20-4), Olentangy Orange (16-8), Olentangy (12-12), Scioto and New Albany (5-19 each) and Pickerington Central (2-22). It has won eight league titles in nine seasons, including five in a row.
Coffman is the second seed and will be joined Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the Mentel Memorial sectional by sixth-seeded Upper Arlington and eighth-seeded Marysville.
The Shamrocks went 24-0 to win the OCC-Capital ahead of Bradley (17-7), Marysville (16-8), Worthington Kilbourne (12-12), Westerville Central (11-13), Westerville South (4-20) and Westerville North (0-24). The Shamrocks have won four consecutive league championships.
The top two teams at district advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State. Coffman made it to state in 2010 but settled for fourth at district last season, when Jerome won the state title.
One of the turning points this season for Coffman, according to junior Kylie Raines, came when it won the Midwest Classic with a 321 on Aug. 25 at Skyland Pines. Jerome settled for fifth that day with a 332.
"Our depth is good," Raines said. "It feels awesome to have as good of a team as we have and to know that we have that kind of a chance to win state. Beating them by 12 strokes was a big confidence booster. They don't like losing to us and we don't like losing to them."
Toth was the medalist in the OCC-Cardinal with a 73.7 average. Sophomores Sybil Robinson (74.0) and Maite Erana (74.3) and senior Jenna DiPaolo (76.25) took up the next three spots to also make first-team all-league. Freshman Kennedy Jackson averaged 91.5 as Jerome's No. 5 player.
"We might not win state, but we're really good," coach C.D. Butcher said. "We had one bad day (in the Midwest Classic) and it was just sort of an eye-opener for the girls. After that Saturday, we came back and shot 285 that next week. They were so embarrassed by (the Midwest Classic finish). These girls really take pride in being good and they were just humbled."
Raines was the OCC-Capital medalist with a 75.75 average. She was followed by sophomores Long (77.0), Kamerine Taylor (79.5) and Nicole Smiley (80.25). Junior Charley Benefield (84.5) made second-team all-league.
"We have goals and we've already accomplished our OCC goal," first-year Coffman coach Randy Patton said. "Our next goal is the sectional and then district, and we believe we can win the state championship. Until you knock the champ out, they're the champion, but I think we're the top two teams in the state."
Scioto preparing for postseason
Scioto received the 18th seed for the postseason and will join Coffman in the Mentel Memorial sectional.
The Irish tied New Albany for fifth in the OCC-Cardinal at 5-19.
Junior Jessica Cyrus was Scioto's top scorer in league play with a 92.5 average, followed by senior Nicole Evans (103.25) and sophomore Tessa Berger (113.7). Junior Danielle Wright averaged 97 in the three rounds in which she recorded a score.
Senior Kelsie Judge shot 153 in the first round of the league tournament Aug. 15 at The Links at Groveport but did not play in the other three rounds.
According to first-year coach Roger Murphy, the Irish average about 200 for nine holes.
Last season, Scioto was fourth (402) in the Groveport sectional as Pickerington North (354), Upper Arlington (375) and Canal Winchester (398) advanced to district.
"I'm kind of satisfied with our regular season, (but) I just wish we had done a little bit better," Murphy said. "Our weakness was not being able to put four good scores out there. Danielle Wright and Jessica Cyrus are juniors who have been doing their part, and in one match Jessica shot a 36, which is a good score. She's been doing better than she did last year."