Danny Helin of the DeSales High School boys golf team is certain what would have happened last year if he'd had a four-hole stretch such as the one that doomed his day in this year's Division II district tournament.
"I probably would have turned that into an 85 or 86, but this year I turned it into a (7-over-par) 78," said Helin, whose performance Oct. 3 at Granville Golf Course fell three strokes shy of advancing to the state tournament. "I tried to make a little comeback and it was pretty tough. I was 4-over and just caught a couple bad breaks."
A junior, Helin three-putted No. 3 and was 1-under from Nos. 6 to 9 before having a number of difficulties on the back nine on a somewhat breezy day. He four-putted No. 11 and encountered a few bad lies on the next few holes, including having to chip from under a pine tree.
"He had to concentrate, but he had such a bad lie on a couple holes," coach Tom Eckl said. "He had to hit through a tree on 15 then he ended up going through the green and hit a tree branch. He had to chip from under a pine tree. Things like that just got him today. (Helin was) a little bit unlucky, but he played well."
Bexley's Grant Murphy and Watterson's Jon Ransone each shot a 75 to secure the two individual qualifying spots for state, which will be held Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Helin qualified for state last year, shooting a 179 over 36 holes at NorthStar to tie for 35th behind the champion, Springfield Shawnee's Clark Engle (154).
Helin relished his role this season as a leader on a team that didn't have any seniors.
"Personally as not being a senior and being the elder, I tried to pick up our team a lot," he said. "It hurt when we didn't make it to districts, but as the elder I was trying to lead the team as best I could."
The Stallions expect to return their entire lineup, which also included junior Ben Dumm, sophomores Jacob Erwin and Dominic Ridley and freshman Kyle Ransom.
Helin paced DeSales in the 11-team sectional tournament Sept. 25 at Granville with an 81 to secure the first of three district-qualifying spots. Dumm was next with an 84, finishing two strokes behind the final district qualifier, Johnstown's John Carlisle (82). Erwin and Ridley shot 87 and 96, respectively, and Ransom was disqualified for a scorecard issue.
DeSales shot a 348 at sectional to finish fourth behind the three district qualifiers, Bexley (320), Caledonia River Valley (332) and Lakewood (347).
"We wanted to do well this year, and the way it ended is a disappointment to everybody," Eckl said. "We'll put our noses to the grindstone and we'll do better next year."
Two tennis players advance to district
Two members of the girls tennis team, senior My Linh Li and junior Sarah Schockling, advanced in singles to the Division II district tournament, which will be held Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Columbus School for Girls.
Li went 4-1 in the sectional Oct. 4 and 6 at CSG, losing to Hartley's Rachael Morales 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Li defeated Schockling 6-0, 6-1 in a semifinal, and Schockling then lost 1-6, 6-1, 6-0 to Centennial's Niki Stearns in the third-place match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles qualified for district, where the top two finishers in singles and doubles advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 at Ohio State and Oct. 20 at Hilliard Davidson.
Season ends for girls golf team
The girls golf team finished its season Oct. 2, shooting a 444 and finishing ninth in the nine-team Division I sectional tournament at The Links at Groveport behind district-qualifiers Pickerington North (341), Olentangy Liberty (368) and Thomas Worthington (392).
Senior Angela Patton led the Stallions with a 93, followed by sophomores Gabby Moreno (105) and Kenzie Kotton (111) and junior Midori Marang (121).
The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district tournament held Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek. Canal Winchester's Marci Browning (91) secured the final individual qualifying spot.
"We didn't play our best golf. We thought we might have a chance at that third spot, but it wasn't our day," coach Jeff Montenaro said. "The course played very difficult. All the scores were higher than I thought they'd be, but we all played the same course."
DeSales loses two seniors in Patton and Megan Leach. Moreno, Kotton, Marang and junior Rachel Putnam are expected to return.
"Three of our top five are coming back and so are 13 girls in the program," Montenaro said. "I told the girls after the sectional that our underclassmen will need to be the kind of leaders Angela and Megan were. We (will) bring back 13 girls, but they'll have a lot of work ahead of them in the offseason."