The Marysville High School girls tennis team hopes to benefit from coach John Merriman's knowledge and experience in the sport.
Merriman, 75, replaces Stephanie Linder, who retired from teaching and coaching in July. She was girls tennis coach for 15 years.
Merriman was an assistant in the girls program for 13 years, and he coached the boys tennis team in 2007 and 2008.
"I have worked with many of these young ladies since junior high," he said. "I am trying to get them in the best positions in singles or doubles to help the team win. They have been 100 percent cooperative, or the adjustments would never have worked."
Marysville won its first three matches, defeating Bellefontaine 5-0 on Aug. 12, Marion Harding 5-0 on Aug. 13 and Kenton 4-1 on Aug. 14.
The Monarchs return six letterwinners, including junior Megan Marsh (first singles), junior Katie Martin (second singles) and sophomore Regan Yoakam (third singles).
Senior Haley Willoughby and junior Taylor Shirk, who both played singles last season, will play first doubles.
Junior Mikayla Knox and sophomore returnee Sammi Hunt will play second doubles.
Merriman also expects senior Anna Sara and juniors Felicia Arnold and Kelsey Wells to receive playing time.
"Our young ladies have worked hard in preparation for this season and I want to see them rewarded for their efforts," Merriman said. "Our strengths will be team unity through wins and losses, quickness at singles and second doubles and power at first doubles, coupled with experience."
Last season, the Monarchs did not have anyone advance to the Division I district tournament. They finished sixth (23 points, 2-5) in the OCC-Central Division behind champion Upper Arlington (80, 7-0).
The final league standings will be decided differently this year.
Unlike in the past when duals and the league tournament were combined to determine which team scored the most league points, this year's OCC-Central title will be earned by the team with the best dual record. The first-place teams in each OCC division will play each other Sept. 21 at a site to be announced to determine the overall league champion.
Second-place teams from each division also will play each other, and so on.
Girls golf team has new coach
The girls golf team also has new leadership as Bill Romine has replaced Sue Wyman, who stepped down as coach in July following six seasons.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," Romine said. "It's been a good fit."
Romine, 43, has been an assistant boys basketball coach at Thomas Worthington the past 10 seasons.
"I've been coaching basketball for 21 years at the varsity level, so I have coaching experience," Romine said. "I know how to manage and organize programs and those are the things that I'm very familiar with. I know golf very well because my daughter (Emma) has been playing since seventh grade."
Marysville returns a solid core led by senior MacKenzie Edgar, who last season was first-team all-OCC-Capital and third-team all-district in Division I.
Also back are junior Abby Ketterman, who was third-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and sophomore Emma Romine, who was third-team all-league.
Sophomore Deanna DeHoff was honorable mention all-league.
Other golfers are junior Tristen Stover and sophomores Emily Hunt and Shruti Parashar.
"I'm not going to be messing with their swings a whole bunch," coach Romine said. "It's pretty much just course management and trying to put them in positions to score well and match them up during our season."
Marysville was ninth (377) in the 17-team Gahanna Invitational on Aug. 12 at Jefferson behind champion Dublin Jerome (290) and fifth (333) in the 17-team Wolves Invitational on Aug. 8 at Glenross behind champion Jerome (283).
In the first OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 7 at Oakhaven, the Monarchs were third (347) behind Dublin Coffman (296) and Worthington Kilbourne (331) and ahead of Hilliard Bradley (348), Westerville Central (367), Westerville South (419) and Grove City (425).
In the second OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 13 at The Links at Groveport, Marysville (362) was second behind Coffman (300).
"We have a very competitive and a very good group of girls that can score," coach Romine said.
Last season, Marysville (16-8) finished third in the league behind Coffman (24-0) and Bradley (17-7).
The Monarchs opened the season Aug. 6 by finishing eighth (384) behind champion Coffman (309) in the 13-team Little Rocks Invitational at Little Turtle.
The Monarchs are looking for their seventh consecutive district berth. Last season, they finished ninth (385) in the nine-team district tournament at Cooks Creek behind state-qualifiers Coffman (314) and Jerome (314).
Twins expected to lead boys golf team
Led by junior twins Morgan and Wyatt Tarrant -- both were second-team all-OCC-Central last season -- the boys golf team is seeking a district berth.
Also back is sophomore Jevon Knox, who is the team's No. 3 player.
Coach Anthony Given is looking for another athlete to emerge as a consistent fourth golfer to help improve the team's scores.
"My top three guys are playing real solid and consistent and I can't get a fourth number to be consistent out of any of the other guys," Given said. "We have six guys that are within a stroke average difference of each other, but we can't get a good fourth score when we're playing. We should be even better than where we are."
Also back are senior Andrew Balsiger, juniors Luke Morse, Ethan Shepherd and Drew Yutzy and sophomores Blake Kaffenbarger and Mark Milholland.
"We're young but yet we're experienced," Given said. "These guys all played last year, so it's a real good place to be."
Last season, Morgan Tarrant competed in the Division I district tournament at Apple Valley and shot an 83.
"If we can get that fourth score to come in, we may be able to get a team out to district this year," Given said.
In the first OCC-Central tournament Aug. 7 at Granville Golf Course, Morgan Tarrant shot 75 and the Monarchs were fourth (331), behind Coffman (296), Upper Arlington (310) and Olentangy Liberty (322) and ahead of Thomas (332), Hilliard Davidson (336), Central Crossing (348) and Westland (467).
In the second league tournament Aug. 12 at Apple Valley, Wyatt Tarrant shot 72 and Marysville was fifth (323), behind Coffman (294), UA (310), Liberty (310) and Davidson (321) and ahead of Thomas (330), Central Crossing (344) and Westland (414).
Last season, Marysville finished sixth (11-17) in the league behind champion UA (27-1).
On Aug. 8 at Darby Creek, the Monarchs won the 15-team Marysville Invitational for the fourth consecutive year. They shot 319, led by Wyatt Tarrant's 72, to finish ahead of second-place Olentangy Orange (330).
"It's nice to win your own invitational," Given said.
Marysville tied Mount Vernon and Olentangy for ninth (319) in the 16-team Steve Youmans Classic on Aug. 10 at Oakhaven behind champion Jerome (305).
The Monarchs opened the season by finishing sixth (331) in the 12-team North Union Invitational on Aug. 6 at Glenross behind champion Caledonia River Valley (307).