New Albany boots Dublin Jerome from top finish at sectional
New Albany High School boys golf coach Andrew Norman knew his team was capable of putting up low numbers in the Division I sectional tournament Oct. 2 at The Players Club at Foxfire.
Yet, he was a bit surprised by the Eagles' performance.
Seeded fourth, New Albany shot a 298 to outperform defending state champion Dublin Jerome, the second seed. The Celtics placed second with a 305, with ninth-seeded Teays Valley (313) and 13th-seeded Olentangy (323) rounding out the top four.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team from each of the three sectional sites advanced to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley. The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team at district advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
“Anytime you knock out Jerome from the top spot, you’ve played well,” Norman said. “To shoot under 300 at this course is quite a feat. Our top four golfers were 1-under (par) at the turn, and that gives you some breathing room on the toughest part of the course.”
Advancing from the Darby Creek sectional were fifth-seeded Dublin Coffman (303), sixth-seeded Olentangy Liberty (312), 11th-seeded Westerville North (320) and 10th-seeded Hilliard Davidson (323). Qualifying from the sectional at Granville Golf Course were top-seeded Pickerington North (294), third-seeded Upper Arlington (295), seventh-seeded St. Charles (313) and 20th-seeded Mount Vernon (316).
“It was a dogfight between Upper Arlington and ourselves,” Pickerington North coach Casey Milligan said. “We’ve had some real battles all year. They’ve been the one team that’s played with us as well as anybody. I fully expected it to be a dogfight and it was.
“It’s just that with the two of us, our teams are going to fight tooth and nail when we see each other.”
Qualifying individually from The Players Club were Canal Winchester's Gentry Thompson (72), Grove City's Andrew Ray (77), Delaware's Grant Godfrey (80) and Reynoldsburg's Darnell Ellis (82). Ellis won a one-hole playoff for the final qualifying spot with Westerville South's Justin Arens and Westerville Central's Austin Kondratick.
Thompson and New Albany's Jack Carter and Avery Schneider each shot a 72 to share medalist honors.
The individual qualifiers from Granville were Granville's Nick Contini (73), Newark's Nick Shipley (74), Gahanna's Alex Vegh (74) and Thomas Worthington's Curtis Salmans (77). Salamans won a two-hole playoff with Licking Heights' Andrew Bailey for the final qualifying spot.
UA's Matt Arnold and Pickerington North's Alex Weiss each carded a 71 to share medalist honors.
Qualifying individually from Darby Creek were Lancaster's Trevor Cohen (72), Buckeye Valley's Clay Walter (75), Marysville's Morgan Tarrant (78) and Big Walnut's T.J. Cowans (78).
Cohen shared medalist honors with Hilliard Darby's Joo Lee (72) and Coffman's Nick Sparling (72). Lee advanced but will not compete at district because he will be playing in an AJGA tournament in Stillwell, Okla. As a result, Tarrant and Cowans weren't required to have a playoff for the final qualifying spot.
“We had a good score, but we definitely left some shots out there on the course,” Coffman coach David Woodmansee said. “The guys put themselves in a situation to where they could make a few mistakes coming in and still win.
“We have the potential to do better. This was the first time playing at sectional for a lot of our guys, and they can use their experience here to help them at district.”
Last season, Jerome won the district championship with a 296, with UA (297) and Coffman (299) also advancing to state. At state, the Celtics finished first in the 12-team field with a 36-hole score of 623. Centerville (626) was runner-up, with UA (629) and Coffman (636) placing third and fourth, respectively.
“Obviously, (placing second at sectional is) a little disappointing because our team goal when we tee it up is not to get second place,” Jerome coach Craig Zesiger said. “But in the postseason, the ultimate goal is to move on to next week and we were able to get that done. It’s still a little disappointing to come in second.
“If we play like we did (at sectional), our season will be over. I really believe it will take four scores in the 70s to go to state.”