When Danny Helin of the DeSales High School boys golf team looked at the scoreboard after completing his second round in the Division II state tournament Oct. 12 at NorthStar, he was pleasantly surprised by certain results.
The Stallions had accomplished a program-best by finishing third (650) behind Dayton Oakwood (617) and East Liverpool (648), and Helin had carded a two-round total of 149 to place third of 72 golfers and earn first-team all-state honors.
But as was the case in 2011 when he advanced to state as an individual, Helin focused more on his team's accomplishments than his own.
"When I was beginning play (Oct. 12), I knew I was a few strokes off the lead, but I was more worried about the team aspect, to tell you the truth, because we were only two strokes out (of second)," said Helin, a senior who was tied for eighth after the first round Oct. 11 with a 76. "When I was finishing up, I didn't expect that a couple people would have fallen off and I would be in third place. That was really cool."
Helin, who tied for 35th in 2011, said his second-round 73 was highlighted by a chip-in from behind the green for a birdie on No. 13.
Senior Ben Dumm had the next lowest score for the Stallions, shooting a 163 to tie for 21st, followed by sophomore Kyle Ransom (165, 31st) and juniors Chris Modie (176, 55th) and Jacob Erwin (177, 56th). Modie carded an 82 in the second round, dropping 12 strokes off his first-round score.
DeSales, which shot a 329 in the first round and a 321 in the second, finished one stroke ahead of fourth-place Canton Central Catholic (651) and two ahead of fifth-place Fairfield Union (652). Oakwood won its second consecutive state title and its fourth in five years.
The Stallions had their previous-best state finish in 2009, when they placed fourth with a 635.
"We left some strokes out there (Oct. 11) and we played better (Oct. 12)," coach Tom Eckl said. "I think everybody gave it their best shot today. We're happy. We're excited. We're thankful that we got this."
DeSales began a string of second-place finishes in the CCL tournament Sept. 21 at Cooks Creek, shooting a 318 to place behind St. Charles (304) and ahead of Hartley (328), Watterson (330) and Ready (448).
The Stallions again shot a 318 in an 11-team Division II sectional Sept. 24 at Granville Golf Course to finish behind champion Caledonia River Valley (313) and ahead of third-place Bexley (332) to advance to district.
They then shot a 320 at district Sept. 30 at River Greens to finish behind champion East Liverpool (313) and ahead of third-place Bloom-Carroll (324).
"I knew we had the ability to get this far at the beginning of the year," Modie said after the state tournament. "I don't know if Danny and Ben did. Last year, I just wasn't consistent. I just knew if I played consistent, I had a chance to really help this team and we had a chance to be very good and get to state."
Volleyball team wins another CCL title
Girls volleyball coach Andy Feltz couldn't have written a better ending to the CCL season.
Not only did the Stallions win their second consecutive league championship, a feat the program hadn't accomplished since 1982 and 1983, but Feltz believes a 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 28-26 win at Hartley on Oct. 10 will help his team prepare for the tests it expects to face in the Division I district tournament.
"It's the perfect way to end the regular season, the perfect way to end the CCL," said Feltz, whose team went 8-0 in the league as Hartley placed second at 6-2. "(We were) on the road with a hostile environment (and) their crowd was rowdy. Their kids were fired up and wanting to get after it. It really gets you ready to have that intestinal fortitude. Facing adversity is important. That's how you grow."
DeSales, which finished the regular season 21-1 overall and lost only six games in those 22 matches, trailed 18-11 in the third game against Hartley and 26-25 in the fourth before rallying to win both.
"I love being in this league," said senior middle hitter Kenya Cason, a University of Connecticut recruit. "The CCL is hard enough that you just go in and everyone wants to beat everybody. It's no Watterson above Hartley (in terms of rivalries) or Ready above Watterson or anything like that. You go in and it's a dogfight every night."
DeSales is the top seed in the district and had a first-round bye. It played host to 29th-seeded Briggs or 34th-seeded Pickerington Central in the second round Oct. 16, with the winner playing 28th-seeded Central Crossing or 38th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Whitehall.
The district final is Oct. 26 at Whitehall.
DeSales did not play any of its potential second-round or semifinal opponents during the regular season.
Boys soccer team seeded 2nd in district
If the boys soccer team advances to a Division II district final Oct. 26 at Westerville North, it will have taken a familiar road.
DeSales, seeded second of 24 teams in the district, will open the postseason Thursday, Oct. 17, at home against 15th-seeded Licking Valley or 19th-seeded Caledonia River Valley in the second round after a first-round bye.
If the Stallions advance, they would play host to eighth-seeded Heath, 17th-seeded Lakewood or 20th-seeded Independence in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22. The district final is Oct. 26 at Westerville North.
Among the teams DeSales could face if it reaches the district final are two CCL rivals in top-seeded Watterson and fourth-seeded Hartley.
DeSales, which ended the regular season 8-6-2 overall, played Hartley to a scoreless tie Sept. 17 and lost to Watterson 1-0 on Sept. 24. The Stallions, who finished 2-1-1 in the CCL and lost their final three games of the regular season to Division I teams in Dublin Coffman (4-1 on Oct. 3), Dublin Jerome (3-2 on Oct. 10) and Hilliard Davidson (3-1 on Oct. 12), have not played any of their potential second-round and semifinal opponents.
Girls soccer team earns third seed
The girls soccer team is seeded third in the Division II district tournament behind Granville and Bloom-Carroll, respectively.
Both the Blue Aces and Bulldogs opted to go to the same bracket, which opened the door for the Stallions to go to the other bracket, where they are the highest seed.
DeSales, which is 8-5-2 overall and finished 3-1 in the CCL, took a first-round bye and will play host to 17th-seeded Heath in the second round Saturday, Oct. 19.
The winner will play seventh-seeded Jonathan Alder or 14th-seeded London in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the site of the higher seed. If DeSales reaches the district final Oct. 26 at Westerville Central, it likely would play fourth-seeded Bexley, fifth-seeded Johnstown or 11th-seeded Hartley.
The Stallions finished their regular season with a 2-0 win at Columbus Academy on Oct. 10. Senior forward Lydia Burke, who missed much of the regular season with a high ankle sprain, scored to help DeSales halt an 0-3-2 skid.
Cross country teams preparing for district
The cross country teams will compete in the Division II district meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Watkins Memorial.
There will be 26 boys teams and 28 girls teams competing at district, with the top four teams and top 16 individuals in each race advancing to regional Oct. 26 at Troy.
DeSales competed in the CCL meet Oct. 12 at Otterbein University.
The boys team placed third (68 points) behind St. Charles (17) and Watterson (62) and ahead of Hartley (111) and Ready (116).
Sophomore Creighton Barrett led the boys squad, placing fourth in 17 minutes, 54.7 seconds.
Also competing were senior Ian Lawson (seventh, 18:01.9), junior Ben Hippler (16th,19:15.1), senior Anthony Hayes (19th, 19:36.5), senior Parker Beck (22nd, 19:52.4), junior Patrick Palumbo (23rd, 19:56.9) and sophomore Eric Myers (28th, 20:54.3).
The girls team placed fifth (102) behind Columbus School for Girls (30), Watterson (53), Ready (73) and Hartley (91).
Sophomore Jenna Melvin led the girls team, finishing 14th (21:51.2). Also competing were senior Kristin Faulkner (17th, 22:05), sophomores Andrea Coffey (20th, 22:31), Logan Agin (24th, 23:37.9), Katie Cherichello (27th, 24:17) and Claire Draminski (31st, 24:52.7) and junior Bailey Cadena (32nd, 25:41).