Hilliard Northwest News

Boys Golf

Better start essential for Wildcats

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKSPORTS
Jack Rubin is one of the top returnees for Davidson, which finished fourth and fifth in the first two rounds of the OCC-Central tournament.
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The Hilliard Davidson High School boys golf team overcame a slow start a year ago to develop into one of the area's top teams by season's end.

Having returned three golfers who competed in the Division I district tournament last fall, 25th-year coach Monte Rhoden is hoping for a better start this season.

"We expect another great year, but we do have to start off faster than last year if we hope to make a challenge for the OCC(-Central Division) title," he said. "It took nearly the entire year for us to get to our optimum level, but it definitely paid off at (postseason) tournament time. It's going to be fun to see what these kids can put together."

The Wildcats opened Aug. 6, shooting a 304 to win the 14-team Chuck Otte Memorial Tournament at Oakhurst. Bradley (319) was the runner-up and Darby finished sixth (340).

Senior Nick Schad led the Wildcats with a 74, followed by junior Josh Adkins (75), sophomore Jack Rubin (76), seniors Matt Riffle (79) and Andy Munson (82) and freshman Jack Brown (89).

Also expected to contribute is junior Garrett Askew.

"We thought coming in that we had quality team depth and demonstrated that (Aug. 6)," Rhoden said. "Getting four kids in the 70s is huge to have any success in central Ohio. All six of our kids competed hard and definitely had a fun day."

Davidson opened OCC-Central play Aug. 7 by finishing fourth (323) at Clover Valley, behind Olentangy Liberty (310), Upper Arlington (315) and Dublin Coffman (317) and ahead of Marysville (329), Central Crossing (341), Thomas Worthington (347) and Westland (429). Adkins and Schad each shot a 78.

In the second round of league play Aug. 11 at Turnberry, the Wildcats finished fifth (332) behind Upper Arlington (289), Coffman (303), Liberty (303) and Central Crossing (321) and ahead of Marysville (327), Thomas (333) and Westland (426).

Last season, Davidson went 13-15 in the OCC-Central to place fifth, behind champion Coffman (28-0). Schad had a 79.75 average to make third-team all-league and Rubin (79.6) was honorable mention all-league.

Rhoden, who believes the OCC-Central is one of the best leagues in the state, considers Coffman and UA to be the favorites to win the league title, with Liberty, Marysville and Thomas also presenting challenges.

Last year in the postseason, Davidson placed second (309) in the 12-team sectional at Turnberry behind Pickerington North (299) and finished seventh (325) in the 12-team district at Apple Valley, as Dublin Jerome (299), Pickerington North (305) and New Albany (308) advanced to state.

Rubin and 2014 graduate Jacob Newton each carded a 78 at district, followed by Adkins (80), Schad (89) and 2014 graduate Josh Stimmel (90). Rubin and Newton finished four strokes behind the third and final state-qualifying spot.

For the season, Rubin led the Wildcats with an 80.4 average, while Adkins and Schad both averaged 82.2.

Jaguars coach has high expectations

Bradley coach Russ Edgington believes this might be his most talented team in program history.

"The kids are excited and I'm excited," Edgington said. "I'm confident that this will be the best team that we've had in our six seasons. This will be our most balanced and, hopefully, our best performing team we've had."

The Jaguars opened Aug. 7, finishing third (315) in the first round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament at Turnberry, behind Jerome (294) and Westerville Central (301) and ahead of Darby (320), Dublin Scioto (325), Westerville North (330), Westerville South (342) and Canal Winchester (415). The second round of league play was Aug. 12 at Clover Valley.

"We played really well on the back nine," Edgington said.

Junior Joe Ingstrum shot a 78 to lead the Jaguars, while seniors Noah Fernandez and Damon Birkhead and sophomore Max Mordarski each carded a 79.

Bradley finished fifth (10-18) in the OCC-Cardinal last year, behind champion Jerome (27-1).

Edgington realizes that Jerome, the three-time defending Division I state champion, is the team to beat in the OCC-Cardinal, but he would like to see his team finish in the top half of the final standings.

"Jerome doesn't rebuild, they reload," Edgington said. "They have a lot of depth. They're a really good team. When you play a team of that caliber, it always brings out the best in you as well. We welcome playing with those guys."

Edgington expects seniors Blake Hanson, Nick Ingstrum, Marcus Miller, Matt Runser and Cory Vawter, junior Scott McCutcheon and sophomores Nick Darling and Capell Miller also to contribute.

Last season, Fernandez averaged 82.75 and was third-team all-league.

"There's a lot of internal competition and I'll have some sleepless nights considering the lineup and figuring out what we want to do," Edgington said. "We're looking forward to a fun year and a successful year as well."

Last season, the Jaguars finished sixth (322) in the 13-team Division I sectional at Darby Creek, as New Albany (299), Coffman (304) and Liberty (307) advanced to district.

Cody Storch, who was the team's only loss to graduation, carded a 76 and competed in a three-player playoff for the third and final individual district-qualifying berth. He lost to Marysville's Morgan Tarrant on the second playoff hole. Grove City's Gavin Gensler was eliminated on the first playoff hole.

Storch averaged 82.25 in OCC-Cardinal play last year and was third-team all-league.

Panthers coach likes his team's depth

Darby has returned three players from last season in seniors Jordan Coppess, Alex Herman and Ethan West.

The Panthers finished fourth in the first round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament, as West shot a 73 to tie Westerville Central's Austin Kondratick and Westerville South's Jared Hrabcak for second, behind Jerome's Cam Solomon (71).

"It is nice for our players to play against (Jerome) and put their game up against them and see where they're at," sixth-year coach Brent Bower said. "It's going to be exciting for them."

Last year, Darby tied Westerville North for sixth (9-19) in the OCC-Cardinal, with West making honorable mention all-league with an 85.75 average.

"(Coppess, Herman and West) all have the ability to shoot in the 70s," Bower said. "If we can get them to all do that at the same time, now we're in business. It's probably not going to happen all at the same time, but I've never (had a team at Darby that has) been that deep."

Others expected to contribute are seniors Eric Allen, Tommy Morone and Andy Rice and juniors Danny Arnold and Kyle Wintering.

"I'm looking forward to this season," said Bower, whose team finished eighth (334) in the Turnberry sectional last year.

"We've had some kids work hard this summer. We're looking to shoot in the 330s and maybe jump down in the 320s. You have to be really good in central Ohio, but I think we can at least finish in the upper half of our division and start to at least make a name for ourselves this year."

SCHEDULES

BRADLEY

Aug. 6 -- Chuck Otte Memorial at Oakhurst

Aug. 7 -- OCC-Cardinal at Turnberry

Aug. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Clover Valley

Aug. 13 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek

Aug. 20 -- Darby, Davidson and Grove City at Heritage

Aug. 23 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha

Aug. 25 -- Central Crossing at Oakhurst

Aug. 27 -- OCC-Cardinal at Apple Valley

Aug. 30 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle

Sept. 3 --Darby, Davidson and Wellington at Heritage

Sept. 6 -- Hilliard Invitational at Heritage

Sept. 8 -- Grove City and Teays Valley at Pinnacle

Sept. 9 -- Worthington Christian at Darby Creek

Sept. 10 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek

Sept. 13 -- Greyhound Invitational at Hickory Hills

Sept. 16 -- Darby at Darby Creek

Sept. 17 -- Pickerington Central at Heritage

Sept. 18 -- Pickerington Central at Turnberry

Sept. 23 -- Central Crossing, Darby and Davidson at Heritage

Sept. 25 -- Marysville at Darby Creek

Oct. 2 -- Hilliard Cup at Heritage

DARBY

Aug. 6 -- Chuck Otte Memorial at Oakhurst

Aug. 7 -- OCC-Cardinal at Turnberry

Aug. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Clover Valley

Aug. 13 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek

Aug. 18 -- Gahanna Invitational at Little Turtle

Aug. 20 -- Darby, Davidson and Grove City at Heritage

Aug. 23 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha

Aug. 27 -- OCC-Cardinal at Apple Valley

Sept. 3 -- Bradley, Davidson and Wellington at Heritage

Sept. 4 -- Grove City at Hickory Hills

Sept. 6 -- Hilliard Invitational at Heritage

Sept. 10 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek

Sept. 13 -- Greyhound Invitational at Hickory Hills

Sept. 16 -- Bradley at Darby Creek

Sept. 24 -- Central Crossing at Thorn Apple

Sept. 27 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills

Oct. 2 -- Hilliard Cup at Heritage

DAVIDSON

Aug. 6 -- Chuck Otte Memorial Tournament at Oakhurst

Aug. 7 -- OCC-Central at Clover Valley

Aug. 8 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Chapel Hill

Aug. 11 -- OCC-Central at Turnberry

Aug 12 -- North Union Invitational at Clover Valley

Aug. 13 -- W3 Invitational at Glenross

Aug. 14 -- Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 18 -- Gahanna Invitational at Little Turtle

Aug. 20 -- Bradley, Darby and Grove City at Heritage

Aug. 23 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha

Aug. 25 -- DeSales at High Lands

Aug. 27 -- OCC-Central at Darby Creek

Aug. 30 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry

Sept. 3 -- Bradley, Darby and Wellington at Heritage

Sept. 6 -- Hilliard Invitational at Heritage

Sept. 8 -- Olentangy Orange at The Lakes

Sept. 10 -- OCC-Central at Apple Valley

Sept. 15 -- Reynoldsburg at Blacklick Woods

Sept. 17 -- Bradley, Darby and Pickerington Central at Heritage

Sept. 19 -- Gahanna at Little Turtle

Sept. 22 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders

Sept. 23 -- Central Crossing, Bradley and Darby at Heritage

Sept. 25 -- Pickerington North at Turnberry

Sept. 27 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills

Sept. 29 -- Pickerington North at Thorn Apple

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