The Watkins Memorial High School girls golf team is hoping another year of experience will help it climb higher in the LCL standings and lead to more postseason success.
Three players have returned from the postseason lineup last season, when the Warriors finished seventh (392) in an 11-team Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial.
Senior Devon Atchison leads the returnees after missing the district tournament by three shots with an 87, which was the sixth-best score of any individual on a non-qualifying team. Grove City's Makenzie Torres (75), Marysville's Mackenzie Edgar (83) and Hartley's Salmika Wairegi (84) advanced, along with Dublin Coffman (302), Watterson (343) and Westerville Central (348).
"Devon is very dedicated to the game and is a terrific leader for the team," fifth-year coach Tiffany Shaeffer said. "The rest of the girls look up to her for guidance and she is more than willing to help where she is needed. Devon does not allow frustrations on one hole to influence the rest of her game."
Atchison, a fourth-year varsity player, averaged 44.3 in LCL play last season and was first-team all-league as the Warriors finished third (11-7) behind Licking Valley (18-0) and Granville (12-6).
Juniors Emily Hayes and Alexis Cornely also return for the Warriors, who opened Aug. 6 by tying Licking Valley for sixth (414) behind champion Watterson (322) in the first round of the 12-team Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League tournament at Phoenix.
The Warriors won the LCL preseason tournament Aug. 12 at The Links at Echo Springs, shooting a 380 to beat Heath (381), Newark Catholic (382), Granville (396), Licking Valley (400) and Lakewood (407).
Hayes averaged 51.1 in league play last year and was second-team all-league. Cornely averaged 57.9 and was honorable mention.
"Emily has two years of varsity experience and has been influential in getting more girls to try out for golf," Shaeffer said. "Even when Emily gets frustrated she tries to stay positive and smiling. Alexis has only one year of varsity experience but is very good about analyzing a bad shot and trying to determine what happened instead of getting frustrated and continuing to do the same thing again and again."
Junior Chelsea List also returned after earning a letter last season. Newcomers include junior Kim Romshe, sophomore Abigail Groothuis and freshmen Holly Klingerman, Grace McGlaughlin and Emily Working.
"Chelsea worked a lot this summer on improving her game," Shaeffer said. "She also participated in a junior summer league. I have already seen improvement in Chelsea from last year. Kim is new to the game. She has a solid swing and makes good contact with the ball. I expect good things from her, too."
Shaeffer said before the team can think about bigger goals, she wants the players to work on smaller ones.
"One goal is to show improvement in at least one area of our game each time we play," she said. "We also want to make sure we have a good mental game and not allow a bad shot or a bad hole to negatively influence the rest of our game. Another goal is to analyze our surroundings and play the smart shot."
Boys golf team aims for LCL title
The boys golf team returns two all-LCL honorees and all five of its players from the postseason lineup last year.
Seniors Drew Dixon, Brandon Ward and Jarod Worcester and sophomores Michael Griffin and Cody Stonebraker all competed in a 13-team Division I sectional at Granville Golf Course, where the Warriors placed 10th (352) as Dublin Jerome (300), St. Charles (301) and Upper Arlington (304) advanced to district.
Worcester led the Warriors with a 79, three strokes behind Lancaster's Boone Maxim, who earned the final individual district berth. Dixon and Griffin both shot 90 and Stonebraker (93) and Ward (94) followed.
Worcester (40.1 average) was first-team all-league and Dixon (42.2) was second-team all-league as Watkins Memorial went 15-12 in the LCL to tie Newark Catholic for fourth behind champion Johnstown (26-1).
"I expect Jarod Worcester and possibly Michael Griffin to be able to make it out of sectionals as individuals," third-year coach Greg Stone said. "We should compete well in the LCL and I expect to finish in the top three. We have the capability to win it."
Also vying for playing time are sophomore Carter Helwagon and freshmen Cody Cogdill and Jacob Dixon.
In the opener Aug. 8, the Warriors finished third (321) behind Johnstown (312) and Bexley (315) in the 17-team Bulldog Invitational at Burning Tree. Worcester led with a 77, followed by Cogdill (78), Drew Dixon (82), Griffin (84), Jacob Dixon (86) and Helwagon (87).
The Warriors finished third (332) in the LCL preseason tournament Aug. 13 at The Links at Echo Springs. Johnstown won (313) on a tiebreaker over Granville (313) and Newark Catholic (347) was fourth, followed by Heath (352), Utica (354), Northridge (358), Licking Valley (369), Lakewood (383) and Licking Heights (454). Worcester had a 78.
Girls tennis team seeks winning record
Despite missing three players from last season's postseason lineup, the girls tennis team expects to improve on its 8-8 finish.
The Warriors lost Megan Jamison (doubles) and Bre Lampron (singles) to graduation and sophomore Kelli Wright (singles) tore an ACL in the offseason and will be unable to compete.
"We want to improve on our record from last year and win the Mount Vernon Invitational and the Licking County Tournament," second-year coach Shawn Walter said. "We've got a freshman, Lexi Steer, who is very talented and we've got junior Kendall Whisman back and she played No. 1 singles for us at the end of last year. She is athletic and determined.
"Unfortunately, Kelli Wright can't play and she would've been our No. 2 or No. 3."
The Licking County Tournament was Aug. 16 at Denison University and the Mount Vernon Invitational is Saturday, Aug. 23, at Kenyon College. The Warriors do not compete in a league.
Walter thinks Steer has a chance to be a district and state qualifier.
"She is powerful and consistent and has won many USTA junior tournaments," Walter said. "She was undefeated in middle school tennis."
Senior Brandi Reed is expected to play third singles. She joined Jamison to reach a Division I district-qualifying match last season.
Also back are seniors Kiersten Dean and Sam Marosis, who lost in the first round of sectional doubles play.
Seniors Laura Boster and Libby Hatton are returning letterwinners vying for spots. Rounding out the roster are junior Julia Robertson and sophomore Elizabeth Holland.
After the opener against Dresden Tri-Valley was postponed because of bad weather Aug. 11, the Warriors beat Worthington Kilbourne 4-1 on Aug. 12, lost to Wellington 3-2 on Aug. 13 and lost to Lancaster 3-2 on Aug. 14.
Aug. 8 -- Bulldog Shootout at Burning Tree
Aug. 12 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 13 -- LCL preseason tournament at The Links at Echo Springs
Aug. 18 -- Gahanna Lions Invitational at Little Turtle
*Aug. 19 -- Lakewood at Harbor Hills
*Aug. 26 -- Newark Catholic at Moundbuilders
*Aug. 28 -- Johnstown at High Lands
*Sept. 2 -- Licking Valley at High Lands
*Sept. 4 -- Licking Heights at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 5 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club
*Sept. 9 -- Northridge at High Lands
*Sept. 11 -- Utica at The Links at Echo Springs
*Sept. 16 -- Granville at High Lands
Sept. 17 -- LCL postseason tournament at Longaberger
Sept. 20 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Granville Golf Course
Sept. 24 -- Watkins Fall Invitational at Winding Hollow
Sept. 27 -- Pickerington Central Fall Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 6 -- MOGGL at Phoenix
Aug. 8 -- Panther Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 11 -- Central Ohio Early Birdie at Champions
Aug. 12 -- LCL preseason tournament at The Links at Echo Springs
Aug. 14 -- MOGGL at Homestead
*Aug. 21 -- Heath at Burning Tree
*Aug. 25 -- Lakewood at Broadview
Aug. 26 -- MOGGL at TBA
Sept. 2 -- New Albany at Broadview
*Sept. 4 -- Newark Catholic at The Links at Echo Springs
*Sept. 9 -- Licking Valley at Longaberger
Sept. 10 -- MOGGL at Wyandot
Sept. 15 -- LCL postseason tournament at Blacklick Woods
*Sept. 16 -- Granville at Granville Golf Course
Sept. 18 -- New Albany at Winding Hollow
Aug. 11 -- vs. Dresden Tri-Valley
Aug. 12 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Aug. 13 -- vs. Wellington
Aug. 16 -- Licking County Tournament at Denison University
Aug. 19 -- at DeSales
Aug. 23 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Kenyon College
Aug. 25 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll
Aug. 27 -- vs. Mount Vernon
Aug. 28 -- vs. Granville
Sept. 3 -- vs. Canal Winchester
Sept. 5 -- at Reynoldsburg
Sept. 10 -- vs. Groveport
Sept. 13 -- Raiders Doubles Tournament at Reynoldsburg
Sept. 16 -- at Granville
Sept. 22 -- vs. Lancaster
Sept. 23 -- at Newark
Sept. 30 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
Oct. 6 -- vs. Hartley