The Johnstown-Monroe High School boys golf team took the first step toward earning a possible fourth consecutive league title by finishing first in the LCL preseason tournament Aug. 13 at The Links at Echo Springs.
The Johnnies won MBC titles in 2011 and 2012 before winning the LCL championship last fall in the league's first golf season since 1990.
"I was thrilled with the way the guys played on a cold, misty damp morning that was more suited for October than August," said coach Chris Carlisle, who is in his 12th season. "They really did a good job keeping their concentration and I think it was a great way to start things (in league play)."
Johnstown needed a fifth-score tiebreaker to defeat Granville, as both teams' top four scorers combined to shoot 313. Senior Paul Michel had an 84, but two Granville players shot 86 for the Blue Aces' high score.
Watkins Memorial (332) was third, followed by Newark Catholic (347), Heath (352), Utica (354), Northridge (358), Licking Valley (369), Lakewood (383) and Licking Heights (454).
Last season, the Johnnies won the league title at 26-1, ahead of Granville (25-2). Their lone league loss was in a dual won by the Blue Aces 147-160 at Granville Golf Course. Johnstown won both league tournaments last season.
"Paul lives closer to (The Links at) Echo Springs than he does Clover Valley, so (The Links at Echo Springs) is his home course," Carlisle said. "For him to be a senior and shoot the tiebreaking score like that was really a feather in his cap. I really felt good for him."
Junior John Carlisle was medalist with a 74. Senior Steven Thiel (77), junior Dalton Hastings (79) and senior Kaden Welch (83) followed for the Johnnies, and junior Jared Williams shot a 107.
The Johnnies return their top four golfers from last season, having lost only sophomore Brandon Estep, who moved to Northridge.
Last year in league play, John Carlisle (38.0 average) and Welch (38.9) were first-team all-league, Hastings (39.7) was second-team all-league and Thiel (41.2) was honorable mention.
"You have high expectations when everyone is back," coach Carlisle said. "But you have to temper that because it's golf. If it was that easy, then Tiger Woods would win every week on the PGA Tour. You never know what to expect from injuries or just by coaching 15- to 18-year-olds. Some days you don't get the bounces, but we have the potential to be good."
Sophomore Austin Metz also will see time on varsity.
The Johnnies opened Aug. 7 by finishing seventh (324) in the 10-team Division II portion of the Warrior-Jaguar Classic at NorthStar behind champion Canton Central Catholic (306).
Johnstown (312) won the 17-team Heath Bulldog Invitational on Aug. 8 at Burning Tree ahead of runner-up Bexley (315). Hastings led with a 74, followed by Welch (78), John Carlisle (80), Thiel (80), Michel (83) and Williams (98).
On April 11, the Johnnies won the 13-team Newark Catholic Invitational at Moundbuilders with a 313. Fisher Catholic and the Westerville Central j.v. team tied for second (333). John Carlisle was medalist with a 72, followed by Welch (76), Hastings (82), Thiel (83) and Michel (88).
In the Division II district tournament at River Greens last season, the Johnnies placed seventh (333) as Welch (80), John Carlisle (81), Hastings (83), Estep (89) and Thiel (91) competed.
In a sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire, John Carlisle and Welch each shot 77 to lead the Johnnies to second (332) behind Watterson (326). Thiel (87), Hastings (91) and Estep (91) also competed.
The Johnnies do not have a girls team this season. Senior Ashley Arnold and junior Katie Grunkemeyer will play j.v. for the boys program.
Girls volleyball team learning new system
The girls volleyball team has been learning a new system under first-year coach Scott Ebright, who replaced five-year coach Heather Ashbrook.
"It's going well and the girls are working hard to grasp the concepts we're teaching," Ebright said. "We're pleased with the progress. We're trying to put them in position to give them the tools they need to be successful. They are working hard and doing what we are asking of them."
The Johnnies open with an LCL match Tuesday, Aug. 19, at Northridge. Last season, they went 2-21 overall and finished 10th (0-18) in the league behind champion Licking Valley (16-2).
"There is a lot of learning that goes on when a new coach comes in," Ebright said. "Things are done differently and the girls are learning to be in the right places and what their responsibilities are on the court."
Returning for the Johnnies are seniors Adeline Almen-dinger (setter), Leanna Lehner (outside hitter), Amanda Payne (right side/outside hitter), Claire Slader (middle hitter), Quinn Weinberger (outside hitter) and Emily Wilson (setter) and junior Tori Helmke (outside/middle hitter).
Also on the roster are senior Anna Rader (outside/middle hitter) and juniors Karaline Boso (setter) and Erin McCon-nell (libero), sophomore Sydney Foe (middle hitter) and freshman Morgan Meyers (outside/middle hitter).
"We're still figuring out who plays where and who will start," Ebright said. "We have seven seniors who are good, hardworking kids and they are really organized. They want to go out and be successful."
Aug. 7 -- Warrior-Jaguar Classic at NorthStar
Aug. 8 -- Heath Bulldog Shootout at Burning Tree
Aug. 11 -- Newark Catholic Invitational at Moundbuilders
Aug. 13 -- LCL preseason tournament at The Links at Echo Springs
Aug. 18 -- Columbus Academy Shootout at Columbus Country Club
*Aug. 19 -- Northridge at Clover Valley
*Aug. 21 -- Newark Catholic at Moundbuilders
*Aug. 26 -- Utica at Clover Valley
*Aug. 28 -- Watkins Memorial at High Lands
Aug. 20 -- Upper Arlington Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle
*Sept. 2 -- Granville at Clover Valley
*Sept. 4 -- Licking Valley at Longaberger
Sept. 6 -- Bexley Invitational at Westchester
*Sept. 9 -- Lakewood at Harbor Hills
*Sept. 11 -- Licking Heights at Clover Valley
*Sept. 16 -- Heath at Burning Tree
Sept. 17 -- LCL postseason tournament at Longaberger
Sept. 20 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Granville Golf Course
*Aug. 19 -- at Northridge
*Aug. 21 -- at Newark Catholic
*Aug. 23 -- vs. Utica
*Aug. 26 -- at Watkins Memorial
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Granville
*Aug. 30 -- at Licking Valley
*Sept. 2 -- at Lakewood
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Licking Heights
Sept. 6 -- at Nelsonville-York
*Sept. 9 -- at Heath
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Northridge
Sept. 13 -- at Briggs
*Sept. 16 -- vs. Newark Catholic
*Sept. 18 -- at Utica
*Sept. 22 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*Sept. 25 -- at Granville
Sept. 27 -- vs. Africentric
*Sept. 30 -- vs. Licking Valley
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Lakewood
Oct. 4 -- vs. Beechcroft
*Oct. 7 -- at Licking Heights
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Heath