With only two seniors, the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys golf team could be considered a work in progress when it comes to the mental side of the game.
There is little doubt, according to coach Judy Ratzenberger, that the Lions have the physical tools to succeed.
"The team is very athletic, willing to work hard to see their potential reached this year and (they all) have excellent attitudes," said Ratzenberger, who is co-coach with Lori Scott. "Our hopes for the season are that we continue to improve on mental toughness and course management. Coach Scott and I know that we and our players believe that we can break through with consistent play and a grinding-out spirit on the golf course."
Gahanna shot 335 to place fifth in the opening round of the OCC-Ohio Division tournament Aug. 7 at Darby Creek behind champion Pickerington Central (317).
Sophomore Ethan Nix led with a 77, followed by senior Ryan Beachy (83), junior Kyle Pottorf (86), senior Matt Regner (89) and junior Michael Kromer (95).
Also looking to contribute are junior Mike Kittel and freshman Brad Sheeran.
The Lions finished third (334) in the second round of the league tournament Aug. 11 at Apple Valley behind Pickerington North (319) and Reynoldsburg (330).
A year ago, Gahanna was runner-up in the OCC-Ohio at 18-6, behind Pickerington North (24-0). The Lions then were fourth (313) in a Division I sectional at Granville Golf Course as Dublin Jerome (300), St. Charles (301) and Upper Arlington (304) advanced to district.
Aaron Byas, a 2014 graduate, shot 75 to earn one of the three individual district-qualifying berths.
Alex Vegh, who was a district qualifier as a freshman and led the team in stroke average (78.6) last season, shot 76 at sectional but lost a one-hole playoff to Lancaster's Maxim Boone, who moved on to district. Pottorf (80), Beachy (82) and 2014 graduate Lucas Pottorf (89) also competed at sectional.
Vegh, a junior, is not back with the team because he earned a scholarship to the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head Island, S.C., according to Ratzenberger.
"This team is extremely coachable," Ratzenberger said. "They've been working throughout the year. We have three players in Ryan Beachy, Kyle Pottorf and Ethan Nix who have shown they can score in the 70s. Matt Regner has worked tirelessly and is on the verge (of breaking) into the 70s during competition."
Hughes leading girls golf team
Back to lead the girls golf team is senior Emily Hughes, who became the first player in program history to make a second appearance at the state tournament a year ago.
Hughes, who helped the Lions advance to state as a team when she was a freshman, shot 160 at state last season to finish 22nd.
The Lions opened Aug. 6 by placing fourth (401) in the OCC-Ohio tournament at Royal American behind champion Pickerington North (337) as Hughes was medalist with a 79.
"(Hughes) played well this summer and played in a lot of tournaments," coach Patty McQuirt said. "They've all done well. I'm so thrilled that my returning players have turned the corner with their scores."
The second round of the league tournament was Aug. 12 at Mentel Memorial.
The Lions finished 10th (372) as host to the 16-team Gahanna Invitational on Aug. 11 at Jefferson behind champion Dublin Jerome (297).
Gahanna placed sixth (373) in a sectional at Westchester last season as the top three teams moved on. Hughes shot 77 to advance to district.
Also back after competing at sectional are juniors Alyson Johnson, Catie Rogers and Svitlana Kim.
Rounding out the senior class are Destiney Darst and Alexis Rhodes. Sophomore Katherine Pirro and freshman Chelsea Ragner also are looking to contribute.
The only key player not back is junior Kelly Roberson, who shot 101 at sectional last season for the team's fourth score, behind Johnson (96) and Rogers (99).
Hughes was medalist in the OCC-Ohio a year ago with a 76.3 average. She carded 78 at district to earn one of the two individual state berths.
Emily Ransone, a 2009 Watterson graduate who played for Penn State, has joined the staff as an assistant.
"Now the sophomores from last year are juniors, and they've really stepped up," McQuirt said. "We still need improvement on the putting green, although our short game has gotten better. They are such a great group of girls."
Aug. 7 -- OCC-Ohio at Darby Creek
Aug. 8 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Chapel Hill
Aug. 11 -- OCC-Ohio at Apple Valley
Aug. 12 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 18 -- Lions Invitational at Little Turtle
Aug. 25 -- Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne at Winding Hollow
Aug. 27 -- OCC-Ohio at Clover Valley
Aug. 30 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 4 -- Big Walnut and Newark at Little Turtle
Sept. 10 -- OCC-Ohio at Turnberry
Sept. 13 -- Greyhound Invitational at Hickory Hills
Sept. 19 -- Hilliard Davidson at Little Turtle
Sept. 20 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Granville Golf Course
Sept. 22 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders
Sept. 24 -- Warrior Classic at Winding Hollow
Sept. 27 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 6 -- OCC-Ohio at Royal American
Aug. 7 -- Centerville Invitational at Yankee Trace
Aug. 8 -- Panther Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 11 -- Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson
Aug. 12 -- OCC-Ohio at Mentel Mem-orial
Aug. 21 -- Watterson at TBA
Aug. 26 -- OCC-Ohio at The Links at Groveport
Aug. 30 -- Lady Thunderbird Invitational at Hawthorne Hills
Sept. 6 -- Bexley Invitational at Blackhawk
Sept. 10 -- OCC-Ohio at Westchester
Sept. 11 -- Canal Winchester and Lancaster at Valley View
Sept. 16 -- Canal Winchester, Upper Arlington and Watterson at Kyber Run
Sept. 18 -- DeSales, Lakewood and Lancaster at Kyber Run
Sept. 20 -- OSU Bye Day Invitational at Mentel Memorial
Sept. 22 -- Marysville and Pickerington North at Darby Creek
Sept. 23 -- DeSales at TBA
Sept. 24 -- Upper Arlington at TBA
Sept. 27 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Oct. 4 -- Fall Classic at The Links at Groveport