The return of senior Rachel Zink and the addition of her freshman sister, Kristen Zink, helped reshape the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls tennis team’s lineup this season.
Before playing Reynoldsburg on Sept. 3, the Lions were 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division. They travel Thursday, Sept. 5, to Pickerington Central, which was 3-0 in the league before playing Pickerington North on Sept. 3.
While senior Emily Merickel is at first singles, Rachel Zink is at second singles after not playing last season while she recovered from a torn right knee ligament.
Kristen Zink has seen action at third singles.
According to coach Chris Schwinnen, the Zink sisters might team up Saturday, Sept. 7, when the Lions send four doubles teams to the Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament. Also that day, Gahanna is planning to have a singles player and a doubles team competing in the Hilliard Cup at Davidson.
Rachel Zink, who was injured in March 2012 while playing softball, returned to the Lions’ softball team last spring. She was a district qualifier in doubles with Merickel when both were sophomores.
“It feels great getting back out there,” Rachel Zink said. “The first few days I picked up a racket were kind of hard. I just tried to hit some with my dad and my sister.”
Gahanna opened OCC-Ohio play with wins over Groveport (5-0 on Aug. 20), Newark (5-0 on Aug. 27) and Pickerington North (4-1 on Aug. 29).
Senior Riley Crowe, juniors Kathryn Lee, Abby Mauger, Jessica Shapeka, Claire Slater and Elizabeth Sullivan and sophomore Angela Day are among several others expected to play Saturday, Sept. 7, at either the event in Hilliard or the one in Reynoldsburg.
Lee has been battling a shoulder injury, according to Schwinnen.
“The girls on our team want to play every night,” Schwinnen said. “Right now they all have good attitudes and they’re all good friends and have said they’d play with whomever.”
Football team needs to 'buy in'
Even though his team lost 62-28 in its opener Aug. 30 at Huber Heights Wayne, football coach John Snoad still believes he has a roster of skilled players.
He went to the members of his team with a simple plea as they prepared for their home opener Friday, Sept. 6, against Fairfield.
“This is about buying in,” Snoad said. “We have to have 100-percent buy-in from everyone. We have some very talented kids. They just have to learn it and then they have to give 100 percent. We’ve got nine games ahead of us and we’ve got good kids.”
Gahanna took a 7-0 lead against Wayne when junior Ronald Robinson, who took over at quarterback this season after seeing limited action a year ago, connected with Vasean Davis for a 73-yard touchdown pass.
Wayne scored the next 48 points, however, and led 48-7 at halftime.
Gahanna’s Tank Davis returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and Robinson ran in for a 2-yard score to make it 48-21 before the Warriors scored two more touchdowns.
Robinson, who finished with 283 yards passing but was intercepted three times, hooked up with Emile Camm on a 77-yard touchdown pass for the Lions’ final points.
“We really failed in just about every way, offensively, defensively and on special teams,” Snoad said. “I don’t think we covered very well. There were a couple dumb penalties, a couple turnovers and execution breakdowns. We struggled in literally every phase of the game. Obviously, (Wayne) has some really nice players, is very disciplined and executes well.”
Fairfield went 2-8 a year ago but opened with a 21-7 win over Beavercreek on Aug. 30, as quarterback Ryan Nuss hit wide receiver Tyron Harper on touchdown passes of 84 and 8 yards in the fourth quarter.
Wide receiver Herman Brunis, who had a team-best 27 receptions a year ago, also is a key player on offense, as is running back Recoe Walker.
Nuss saw part-time duty at quarterback a year ago.
“We scored points early in the second half,” Snoad said. “We had to step up and fight. What we want now is 100 percent effort.”
Young girls golf team progressing
With no seniors in its lineup, the girls golf team has focused on improving in areas such as the short game.
“I’ve been very encouraged at the progress the team has made over the last few weeks,” coach Patty McQuirt said. “Our scores continue to drop and we seem to be showing signs of improvement in our short game. They have set personal goals, and many are reaching those.”
Junior Emily Hughes and sophomore Alyson Johnson have been the top players.
Through the first three rounds of the OCC-Ohio tournament, Hughes was first in average at 76.3. Johnson was averaging 98.3, followed by sophomores Sammie Jander (105.7) and Kelly Roberson (107).
Gahanna is sixth (9-12) in the league behind Pickerington North (21-0), Thomas Worthington (17-4), Upper Arlington (12-9), Canal Winchester and Hilliard Davidson (11-10) and ahead of Lancaster (2-19) and Hilliard Darby (1-20) entering the final round Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Mentel Memorial.
Boys golf team led by Vegh, Beachy
Led by sophomore Alex Vegh and junior Ryan Beachy, the boys golf team is tied with Grove City for second in the OCC-Ohio at 13-5, behind Pickerington North (18-0), through three rounds of the league tournament.
The final round is Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Apple Valley.
In the third round Aug. 28 at Granville Golf Course, Gahanna shot 305 to finish second behind Pickerington North (295) after taking third in each of the first two rounds.
Beachy and Vegh both shot 75, senior Aaron Byas shot 76 and senior Lucas Pottorf added a 79.
Freshman Ethan Nix also has shown improvement, according to coach Judy Ratzenberger.
“The team is gaining experience that will benefit us come tournament time,” Ratzenberger said. “Alex Vegh and Ryan Beachy have demonstrated consistency both in posting scores in the 70s and remaining steady and mentally strong throughout tough matches. (Sophomore) Kyle Pottorf is showing consistent improvement and is gaining confidence and mental strength.”