Sparling captures second state title
Coffman senior Nick Sparling won the Division I state title for the second consecutive year.
He carded a 70 in the first round and a 76 in the second for a 146 total, finishing four strokes ahead of the runner-up, Toledo St. John's Jack Mancinotti (150).
"It's been fun to come back and verify what I did here last year," Sparling said. "Other people tried to put pressure on me to win again, but my mindset was that I had nothing to lose because I had already won here before, so I didn't feel as much pressure as I felt last year."
Sparling had a three-stroke lead after the first round, but was 5-over par through his first five holes in the second round before getting back into a groove.
"A lot of kids would have folded under the pressure of playing with the lead and then finding yourself 5-over through five holes, but the way Nick fought back showed a lot about why he's special," coach David Woodmansee said. "I think Nick deals with pressure better than anyone I've ever seen. He dug down deep and turned in one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen in all of sports. He played fantastic on the back stretch with a lot of birdies in this horrible weather and showed everyone that he's a true champion."
Sparling also was OCC-Central Player of the Year for the second year in a row. He averaged a 69 over the four rounds of the league tournament, as Coffman went 28-0 to capture its second league title in three years.
Upper Arlington (23-5) placed second in the OCC-Central, followed by Olentangy Liberty (19-9), Marysville (15-13), Hilliard Davidson (13-15), Thomas Worthington (10-18), Central Crossing (4-24) and Westland (0-28).
Senior Brennan Whitis (76.25), sophomore Keldon Fukunaga (76.5), junior Mehdy Slama (79) and senior Matt Pietrusik (79) all earned second-team all-league honors.
"This year's team was very inexperienced to start the season but had a lot of fantastic performances," Woodmansee said. "They were able to beat all the best teams in the state multiple times and went undefeated in what has to be the toughest conference in central Ohio and possibly the entire state. Five of the nine teams who qualified to the district tournament from central Ohio came from our conference and Upper Arlington is always one of the top teams in the state, so to go undefeated was really difficult.
"It was the fourth time we have won in the last five years and the seniors have come in first in the league three of the four years they have been in the program."
Seeded third in the district, Coffman finished second (304) in the 13-team sectional at Darby Creek behind fourth-seeded New Albany (299) and placed fourth (312) at district as New Albany (308) secured the final state-qualifying berth.
"It was disappointing that our team didn't make it back to state, but our district is really strong and we missed it by four strokes," Sparling said. "I wanted to win state for my teammates because I was proud to be a part of this team for four years."