Any anxiety members of the Upper Arlington High School boys golf team might have felt as the final scores for the Findlay Trojan Invitational on Sept. 22 at Findlay Country Club were being tabulated lasted only a few minutes.
Tied for first with New Albany with a 310, the Golden Bears were awarded the championship as senior Josh Wick's round of 80 gave them the fifth-player tiebreaker. A short time later, senior Will Mason defeated New Albany's Jackson Moss on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture medalist honors.
The championship was UA's 10th this season, but coach Ron Mautz was glad such a scenario happened 10 days before the Bears compete in the Division I sectional tournament on Oct. 2 at Granville Golf Course.
"We've had a very good year and a number of big tournament wins, but as you get closer to (the) sectional, district and state (tournaments), you have experiences to draw on," Mautz said.
The Bears went 27-1 in the four-round OCC-Central Division tournament to win the championship. Dublin Coffman (24-4) was second, followed by Olentangy Liberty (21-7), Thomas Worthington (13-15), Hilliard Davidson (12-16), Marysville (11-17), Central Crossing (4-24) and Westland (0-28).
Each of UA's top five golfers -- Mason, Wick, senior Matt Arnold and sophomores Justin Wick and Seth Roman -- entered this week averaging between 75 and 76 strokes per 18 holes, according to Mautz.
"The strength of this group is those numbers are so similar," Mautz said. "We're a very deep team. We have any number of guys who can be a medalist on any given day. It gives us a chance to be successful."
UA is seeded third in the district and will be in the same group in the 13-team sectional as top-seeded Pickerington North and seventh-seeded St. Charles. The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
"The guys like (Granville)," Mautz said. "They've been successful at that course. The reason we're going there is we think we can do even better if we play with other good teams."
UA won the Granville sectional last season, shooting a 298 to finish five strokes ahead of runner-up St. Charles (303). The Bears went on to qualify for state, where they shot a two-round total of 629 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course to place third behind Dublin Jerome (623) and Centerville (626).
Girls golfers getting ready for sectional
The girls golf team will get no respite as it prepares for the Division I sectional tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Mentel Memorial.
Not only did UA have three matches and a tournament this week, but its group in the nine-team sectional includes second-seeded Coffman and eighth-seeded Marysville. The Bears are seeded sixth.
The top three teams and the top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
"I want us to have a strong week right before the tournament with some quality matches," coach Kristi Ghidotti said. "
UA, which advanced to district last season and had one individual state qualifier in 2012 graduate Jackie Hobson, competed against Coffman and Marysville on Sept. 26 at Worthington Hills. It will travel to Toledo on Saturday, Sept. 29, for the St. Ursula Invitational at Inverness.
The Bears finished 24-4 in the four-round OCC-Ohio tournament to place second, behind Pickerington North (28-0) and ahead of Watkins Memorial (20-8), Thomas (13-15), Gahanna (12-16), Davidson (11-17), Lancaster (4-24) and Hilliard Darby (0-28).
Seniors Hannah Harper, Katie Hosket and Carly Starkey and junior Leah Mills have secured their spots in the Bears' postseason lineup, but Ghidotti still is deciding between senior Emily Scott and freshmen Alex Dentresca and Kelli Kahle for the fifth spot.
Football team falls to Liberty in OCC game
Trailing 24-21 at halftime Sept. 22 in a game that had been suspended the previous night because of lightning, the football team was shut out in the second half of a 37-21 loss to Olentangy Liberty.
UA dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central and Liberty improved to 4-1 and 2-0.
Senior running back Gus Ackley ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns (15, 55 and 34 yards) on 21 carries, and sophomore quarterback Kyle Kaparos was 11-of-19 passing for 111 yards and an interception.
Liberty defensive back Matt Muntean ended the Golden Bears' first possession of the second half, returning an interception 37 yards to the 2-yard line.
Two plays later, running back Daryian Davies scored on a 3-yard run to put Liberty ahead 31-21.
"I think that (Muntean's interception) was the play of the game," coach Mike Golden said.
"We were in a very good position (at halftime). We were doing some things well, but we just couldn't sustain it."
The Bears travel to Central Crossing on Friday, Sept. 28, for a league contest. The Comets are 1-4 and 0-2.