Grove City High School boys golf coach Eric Joreski expects his lineup to change throughout the season as different players earn starting positions.
He believes the parity that exists among his athletes motivates them to improve, which in turn improves the team.
"The internal competition we have for spots on our team is making everyone better, and that's something we didn't have as much of the past couple of years," Joreski said. "There isn't a huge gap between the skill level of most of our players, so our lineup is going to be based on who is shooting well at the time. All of our players know they are going to have to earn their playing time every week, so everybody's going to continue to work hard to improve their game all year."
The Greyhounds lost one player from a year ago to graduation in Andrew Ray and return five key members from last year's team in seniors Tyler Engard, Robbie Hill, Jake Faught and Corey Owen and junior Gavin Gensler.
Senior Jason Rohr, junior Josh Willis and sophomore Troy Lewis are new to the lineup.
"We have a very experienced group and the kids worked hard to improve their games over the summer by playing a lot of golf," Joreski said. "We have a lot of consistency from this group because our kids know they can play well, which has given them a new level of confidence."
The Greyhounds, who finished fourth in the OCC-Ohio Division a year ago behind champion Pickerington North, opened Aug. 7 by placing second (318) behind North (295) in the first round of the league tournament at Darby Creek.
Gensler shot a 72, followed by Faught (79), Owen (83), Willis (84) and Hill (89).
In the second round of the league tournament Aug. 12 at Turnberry, Grove City was second (320) behind North (292).
"Pickerington North has a lot of skill and experience at the top, so they are the clear favorite to win our conference. But we have an experienced group, too, and our goal is to finish no lower than second in the OCC," Joreski said. "We're off to a good start in accomplishing that goal."
The Greyhounds also are looking to qualify for the district tournament for the first time since 2007.
Last year, Grove City finished fifth (329) in a Division I sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire behind fourth-place Olentangy (323), which captured the final district-qualifying berth. Ray shot a 77 to advance as an individual to district at Apple Valley, where he shot a 96.
"Our biggest goal is to make district," Joreski said. "Our players look much stronger this year, so we definitely have a shot at it."
Comets boys looking to move up in league
All seven of Central Crossing's letterwinners have returned to the boys team in seniors Brock Casey and Drake Sidner, junior Andrew Russell and sophomores Jared Bruce, Bryce Hand, Nate Hardwell and Nick Jones.
"Fortunately, we have the core of our team back and our players are already showing drastic improvements," coach Justin Prati said. "Nick Jones has been hanging with some of the big dogs by shooting in the 70s. There's a lot of potential in our sophomore class and we're being led by our youth."
The Comets opened Aug. 7 by shooting a 348 at Granville Golf Course to finish seventh in the first round of the OCC-Central tournament behind champion Dublin Coffman (296).
Jones had an 81, followed by Russell (88), Sidner (89), Hand (90) and Casey (97).
In the second round of the league tournament Aug. 12 at Apple Valley, the Comets were seventh (344) behind champion Coffman (294).
Last year, Central Crossing finished seventh in the OCC-Central behind champion Upper Arlington and 11th (379) in the 12-team Division I sectional at The Players Club behind champion New Albany (298).
"We're in one of the most dominant golf leagues in the state, but we're starting to become a middle-of-the-pack team there, so we're making progress," Prati said. "We have some competition within our team for playing positions for the first time in awhile, and I think that's driving us to play much better."
Greyhounds girls enjoying first season
Nine athletes have come out to form the first full Grove City girls golf team.
Senior Sakura Sip and junior Makenzie Torres competed as individuals last season, and both shot 91 in the Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial.
Completing the roster are seniors Megan Darst and Abbie Holmes, juniors Brooke Beaver, Courtney Burson and Leah Spurm and sophomores Jordan Allmon and Sarah Ridgeway.
The Greyhounds are competing in the OCC-Capital.
Grove City finished eighth (425) in the first round of the league tournament Aug. 7 at Oakhaven behind champion Coffman (296), as Torres (82) and Sip (95) led the way.
"We have a very young team, but I'm happy with the way our players are practicing and competing," coach Megan Blaney said. "At this point, I'd like to see the girls continue to get better so we can be more competitive in matches and tournaments."