The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys golf team doesn't plan to forget what happened at the Division I sectional drawing Sept. 14.


The Gahanna Lincoln High School boys golf team doesn't plan to forget what happened at the Division I sectional drawing Sept. 14.

That's when the Lions, who finished third in what they believe was a difficult OCC-Ohio Division, received the 18th seed of 39 teams.

"Surprising" is the word coach Ryan Kitsmiller believes best summed up the situation.

After finishing five strokes shy of advancing to district a year ago and with four of its five players back from that team, Gahanna has its sites set on finishing among the top four Wednesday at the Granville sectional.

Pickerington North, which won the OCC-Ohio, is in the first group along with Upper Arlington and St. Charles. Gahanna will play in the second group along with DeSales and Olentangy Liberty.

"Last year was a big disappointment because we should have gone to district (as a team)," Luke Gerken said. "This year we were in a pretty tough league with Pickerington North and people like that, and people aren't giving us much respect. Our team really wants to prove everybody wrong."

Gahanna finished sixth (323) at the Darby Creek sectional a year ago as Hilliard Darby earned the final qualifying spot with a 318.

Gerken moved on to district after shooting 72 at the sectional but then shot 89 at district and failed to qualify for state. He averaged 77.5 in OCC-Ohio play this year and was first-team all-league.

Graduate Andrew Leopold had the second-best sectional score (80) last year, followed by Kyle Hunkler (84), Matt Christian (87) and Joe LeFever (90).

Gerken, Hunkler, Christian and LeFever are expected to be joined at sectional by Corey Betke.

"We've really got players 2 and 2A behind Luke with Matt Christian and Kyle Hunkler," Kitsmiller said. "Matt Christian has scored a little more consistently, but over the past few matches we've had Luke, Matt and Kyle scoring well for us.

"Our third choice (of sectionals) would have been the Players Club, so we were choosing between Darby Creek and Granville. The reality of the situation is that I feel and the team feels that no matter what site we chose, if we play the way we're capable, we will be one of the four best teams. In tournament play, that's all you can ask."

•The girls team gained an extra dose of confidence heading into the postseason when it finished second of 17 teams with a 360 on Sept. 13 at the Bexley Invitational at Foxfire. That marked the program's first runner-up finish.

"I am tickled," coach Patty McQuirt said. "They've all been consistently pushing each other to be better. They know that when one player stumbles a little bit, there is someone else there to pick them up. They can be very hard on themselves when they don't shoot the way they want to."

Gahanna earned the seventh seed and will compete in the Links at Groveport sectional Wednesday, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district.

Also at Groveport are second-seeded Pickerington North and sixth-seeded New Albany among an eight-team field.

Sierra Everson has continued to lead the team in average at 41.4 for nine holes, followed by Melinda Hunkler (43.7). Jennifer Nelson, Jade Overstreet, Shannon Schobelock and Molly McNulty are the other regulars.

The Lions were third (377) at the Groveport sectional last year behind Pickerington North (350) and New Albany (376) and then finished fifth (359) of 14 teams at district as the top three advanced to state.

"They are not really fond of (The Links at Groveport) but that's where they play some of their best golf," McQuirt said. "I was really happy with where we were (seeded). I'm feeling really optimistic, and I know they've always enjoyed playing with the girls from New Albany and Pickerington North. Hopefully we can hold our own."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln boys and girls golf teams:

BOYS

Sept. 3 -- Finished second (319) in third round of OCC-Ohio tournament at Granville behind Pickerington North (308)

Sept. 6 -- Finished 12th (329) in 17-team Kent Miller Colonial Fall Invitational at Hiawatha behind champion Mount Vernon (289)

Sept. 17 -- Finished third (329) in fourth round of OCC-Ohio tournament at Apple Valley behind Pickerington North (301) and Pickerington Central (320)

Last Monday -- Defeated Newark 164-172 at Moundbuilders

Wednesday -- At Division I sectional at Granville. The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 7 at Apple Valley.

Of note: The Lions finished tied for third with Grove City at 20-8 in OCC-Ohio behind Pickerington North (27-1) and Pickerington Central (21-7).

GIRLS

Sept. 2 -- Finished second (166) behind Dublin Coffman (164) and ahead of Olentangy Orange (232) at Shamrock

Sept. 3 -- Finished second (177) behind DeSales (173) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (192) at Mentel Memorial

Sept. 8 -- Finished second (169) behind Marysville (163) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (185) and Darby (207) at Scioto Reserve

Sept. 9 -- Finished second (351) in third round of OCC-Ohio tournament at Bent Tree behind Pickerington North (334)

Sept. 13 -- Finished second (360) in 17-team Bexley Invitational at Foxfire behind Watterson (328)

Sept. 17 -- Lost to Dublin Coffman 173-187 at Tartan East

Last Monday -- Finished first (178) ahead of Darby (189) and Worthington Kilbourne (203) at Tartan East

Last Wednesday -- Played in fourth round of OCC-Ohio tournament at Mill Creek

Wednesday -- At Division I sectional at The Links at Groveport. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 7 at Bent Tree.

Today -- At Tartan East vs. Fairbanks and Watterson

Of note: The Lions were second at 11-4 in the OCC-Ohio before last Wednesday behind Pickerington North (15-0).