New Albany High School boys golf coach Andrew Norman has heard what other teams say about the Eagles.
"They've coined the phrase, 'New Albany just reloads,'" said Norman, a 10th-year coach whose team enjoyed its first 28-0 OCC-Capital Division season last year, won its first Division I district championship and placed fourth in the state tournament. "Trust me, we know that for the past couple years we've been very fortunate here. I've watched how hard the guys have worked during the season and in the offseason to put us in the best possible position to make another run to state."
Seniors Jackson Moss and Avery Schneider return to lead the Eagles, who were 230-32 overall in the regular season a year ago and lost three to graduation, including Iowa State signee Jack Carter and second-team all-state honoree Nick Karzmer.
Moss and Schneider both averaged 75 per 18 holes last year. Schneider shot 71 to earn medalist honors in the district tournament as the Eagles shot a 298 at Apple Valley, a week after a round of 72 earned him co-medalist honors with Carter in a sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire.
Karzmer shot 160 to place 11th at state, in which New Albany (644) was 14 shots behind champion Dublin Jerome (630).
Schneider, a Division I recruit, "is hitting the ball much farther than others," said Norman, who added he has seen Schneider drive the ball more than 320 yards. "He's been all over the place this summer in (American Junior Golf Association) tournaments, including two or three good rounds at the Ohio State Scarlet Course. Jackson has an uncanny ability to scramble. He's confident and his short game is really improving."
Schneider shot a 68 during the first OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 7 at Apple Valley, earning medalist honors as New Albany (289) finished ahead of Olentangy (309), Mount Vernon (311), Olentangy Orange (331), Big Walnut (339), Delaware (341) and Worthington Kilbourne (348).
Other players include senior Jackson Kallner, juniors Austin McNutt and Matt Winninger and sophomore Matt Bonabies.
Kallner, McNutt and Winninger played mostly on New Albany's B team last year and saw limited time with the A squad.
"The key will be how they perform on some of those varsity A courses we travel to for the first time," Norman said. "We're going to have to have some guys step up."
In the season-opening Mount Vernon Invitational on Aug. 6 at Mount Vernon Country Club, the Eagles shot a 302 and finished third of 18 teams behind champion Pickerington North (300).
New Albany's schedule didn't get any easier this week. The Eagles participated in the second OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 12 and the Dublin Invitational on Aug. 13, and they travel to Centerville on Thursday, Aug. 15, for the Elk Invitational at Yankee Trace and compete Saturday, Aug. 17, in the Cincinnati Sycamore Invitational at Blue Ash Golf Course.
Entire girls golf team returns
Girls golf coach Darryl Sycher and his players didn't let a 10-month offseason dull the lessons learned during last year's 32-49 campaign.
Junior Megan Dressel missed much of the season with a separated shoulder, and the Eagles struggled to a fifth-place tie (5-19) with Dublin Scioto in the OCC-Cardinal, behind champion Dublin Jerome (24-0).
But the entire team returns, and Sycher will have a diverse squad with two seniors, two juniors and two sophomores.
"It's a good mix," Sycher said. "I like the players. They trust each other and seem to know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We took some lumps last year, and hopefully that's going to pay off this year."
Dressel, a two-year letterwinner, is joined on varsity by seniors Madison Fixari and Amanda Giroux, junior Ellie Billisits and sophomores Maggie Archer and Maggie Records.
Fixari is a two-year letterwinner. Archer joined the varsity team about halfway through last season, participating in the final two OCC-Cardinal tournaments.
Records is new to varsity.
"After Megan, the team is pretty even," said Sycher, whose team opened Aug. 7 at The Links at Groveport by finishing fifth (401) in the first OCC-Cardinal tournament behind champion Jerome (305). "Megan's going to be in the low to mid-80s (per 18 holes), and the other girls will shoot high 80s or low 90s. Who's going to cut down their scores? We're coming off a challenging season, so the girls knew they had to work hard to improve. They know one or two girls aren't always going to be able to carry the team."