The Dublin Jerome High School boys golf team took its first step toward a third consecutive Division I state championship by winning a sectional title.
Seeded second in the district, the Celtics shot a 300 on Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course to edge runner-up and sixth-seeded St. Charles (301) in the 13-team sectional. Fifth-seeded Upper Arlington (304) placed third.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams from each sectional advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Apple Valley. At district, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
“We played OK, but one good thing is that we had all five players play equally good,” Jerome coach Craig Zesiger said. “Our depth is something that can definitely help us at district.”
Top-seeded Pickerington North won the 12-team sectional at Turnberry with a 299, with 14th-seeded Hilliard Davidson (309) and 11th-seeded Thomas Worthington (311) also advancing.
Qualifying from the 13-team sectional at Darby Creek were fourth-seeded New Albany (299), third-seeded Dublin Coffman (304) and ninth-seeded Olentangy Liberty (307).
“Solid would be a good word (to describe our round). It wasn’t spectacular,” Pickerington North coach Casey Milligan said. “I thought we were going to play a little better than that, but it was solid and balanced, too. It was a good thing to see all five of (players) post a pretty good number. We’re going to have to play better (at district).”
Pickerington North senior Scot Sapp and Granville senior Nick Contini both shot a 72 to share medalist honors at Turnberry. Contini, Pickerington Central senior Rodney Howell (74) and Westerville North freshman Ryan Pannell (74) qualified individually to district.
At Granville, UA junior Seth Brenneman (72) was medalist and Delaware sophomore Grant Godfrey (74), Gahanna senior Aaron Byas (75) and Lancaster senior Maxim Boone (76) were the individual qualifiers. Boone won a playoff with Gahanna sophomore Alex Vegh for the final qualifying spot.
New Albany senior Avery Schneider (72) was medalist at Darby Creek, and Westerville South senior Justin Arens (73), Marysville sophomore Jevon Knox (75) and Marysville junior Morgan Tarrant (76) were the individual qualifiers. Tarrant won a playoff against Grove City junior Gavin Gensler and Hilliard Bradley senior Cody Storch.
“We talked about that this is the time of the year that you want to be peaking and playing your best,” New Albany coach Andrew Norman said. “We’ll take the confidence from this.”
In 2011, Jerome won the state championship with a 623, beating runner-up Centerville by three strokes. The Celtics edged Centerville for the state title again last year, shooting a 630 to beat the Elks by one stroke.
“We have reached the second of our team goals,” said Zesiger, whose program has won five state titles since the school opened in 2004. “The first (goal) was winning the OCC(-Cardinal Division) title and now we have won sectional. We have more team goals we want to reach and the next would be winning at district.”