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Teaching season awaits golfers

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With an almost entirely new lineup, the Reynoldsburg High School boys golf team is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Individually, there is plenty to be excited about, according to junior Darnell Ellis.

Ellis, who was a Division I state qualifier a year ago, is the only player with significant varsity experience.

He shot a 73 to lead the Raiders in the first round of the OCC-Ohio Division tournament Aug. 7 at Darby Creek. Reynoldsburg finished sixth (351) behind Pickerington North (295), Grove City (318), Gahanna (329), Lancaster (339) and Pickerington Central (347) and ahead of Newark (446).

"The team as a whole didn't do so well (in the first round of the league tournament), but as individuals, everyone met most of our coach's expectations," Ellis said.

The Raiders also were sixth (351) in the second round of the league tournament Aug. 12 at Turnberry, behind champion North (292), as Ellis was co-medalist with a 70.

Ellis, who competed for Columbus Academy as a freshman, quickly emerged as the Raiders' top player a year ago.

Senior returnees Tommy Coley and Evan Durkin were not regular starters last year and did not compete in the 12-team sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire when the Raiders placed ninth (358) behind champion New Albany (298).

During tryouts, freshmen Zac Peters and Reece Strohm had the second- and third-best scores, respectively, behind Ellis.

Also looking to contribute are freshmen Chase Collins and Trevor Strohm, who is Reece's twin brother.

"What we have this year is a lot of youth and inexperience, so it's going to be a great teaching year and I'm looking forward to that," coach Chip Warren said. "When you get to work with a lot more personalities, it makes it a lot of fun.

"Darnell plays all year and plays in tournaments all over the Midwest. He has a tremendous upside. Last year for him getting to state as a sophomore was really something."

Last season, Ellis was the only underclassmen in a lineup that included 2013 graduates John Hildebrand, Nate Wallace, Connor Davis and Corbin Davis. That group helped Reynoldsburg finish fifth in the OCC-Ohio at 9-15 behind champion North (24-0).

Ellis led the Raiders at sectional with an 82 and was their only district qualifier. He shot a 74 at district at Apple Valley to qualify for state, where he carded an 84 in the opening round on Ohio State's Scarlet Course and an 81 in the final round to tie four others for 27th.

"It's going to be a challenging year and a learning process," Warren said. "For all of those kids (other than Ellis), and even for the seniors, this is their first time playing in varsity competitions on a regular basis."

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