The strength of the Wellington School boys golf team during the regular season was its depth, as each of its five players earned team medalist honors at least once.
The defending Division III state champion's depth has continued to shine during the postseason, as the Jaguars shot a 309 to tie Columbus Academy for first in the 12-team district tournament Oct. 2 at Cumberland Trail and won their second consecutive district championship on the fifth-score tiebreaker.
Seniors Quinten Henricks (76), Alex Schilling (77) and Jon Taylor (78) and sophomore Justin Perdue (78) scored for Wellington, and freshman Princeton Ball (81) edged Academy's Vincent Dong by two strokes to give the Jaguars their fourth district title in five seasons.
"All five of our players were within five strokes of each other, so this really was a team effort," coach Craig Mosier said. "We always talk about how important all five scores are and it's nice to have this kind of depth.
"It's kind of funny because the last time our district was held at Cumberland Trail (in 2009), we also won on a fifth-score tiebreaker (against Sugarcreek Garaway when both teams shot a 318)."
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team at district advanced to the state tournament Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at NorthStar. Also qualifying for state were Tree of Life (319) and Garaway (321).
Last year, Wellington captured its first state championship by shooting a 674 over 36 holes at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Lima Central Catholic and Middletown Christian each shot a 685, with Central Catholic earning the runner-up trophy because it had a lower fifth-player score.
Taylor led the way for the Jaguars with a 78 in the final round and totaled a 162 to place sixth.
Henricks carded a 164 (83-81) and tied Middletown Christian's Erik Gregory and Cedarville's Jordan Reese for seventh. Senior Nick Mayne was next for the Jaguars, tying for 21st with a 173 (87-86), followed by Perdue, who placed 24th with a 175 (89-86), and Schilling, who finished 35th with a 178 (89-89).
Taylor and Henricks both made second-team all-state.
"The pressure is off of us because our guys have already won a state championship and they know what it takes to win another one," Mosier said. "But we're marked men and the target on us is huge. We'll have to be better than we were last year because the rest of the teams have improved and we'll get a good battle from everyone at state."
Mosier is hoping his players' collective state experience will give them an edge.
"The atmosphere at state is so different because the finality of the tournament really looms," he said. "There's a lot of pressure on every swing and putt, and you've got to be patient and stay strong mentally for two days.
"This is our fifth consecutive state tournament appearance and all of our guys, except our freshman, will be making their second, third or fourth appearance there. That should help calm their nerves and allow them to focus on playing their best on those days."
Wellington finished second in the 12-team sectional Sept. 25 at Darby Creek, as the Jaguars shot a 307 to finish two strokes behind Academy (305). The top two teams advanced to district, with Grandview (357) finishing a distant third.
Ball led the way for the Jaguars with a 73 to earn medalist honors. Also competing were Henricks (77), Taylor (78), Perdue (79) and Mayne (87).
"We never quite bring it at sectional and we've only won sectional once in the past five years," Mosier said. "It's a tournament with no trophy and we played like it. Columbus Academy played well to beat us there and we knew they were going to be a considerable threat at district, too."
Miller returns to state in girls golf
Senior Annie Miller of the girls golf team earned a return trip to the Division II state tournament by shooting a 75 at district Oct. 1 at Pickaway Golf Course.
Miller secured the first of three individual state-qualifying spots with the third-lowest score behind Uhrichsville Claymont's Shelby Thompson (71) and Logan Elm's Taylor Saxton (73). Thompson and Saxton advanced to state as part of their respective teams.
Also qualifying individually for state were Academy's Chloe Bradburn (77) and Centerburg's Faithe Carr (81).
The state tournament is Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Ohio State's Gray Course.
"Annie had the right mental attitude to qualify for state," said coach Bill Miller, who is not related to Annie. "She was in command and her putts were falling."
Last season, Miller shot a 153 at state to tie Pepper Pike Orange's Brynn FitzGerald for second behind Warren John F. Kennedy's Haley Harford (146).
"Annie's 18-hole scores have been consistently good and she's been medalist in all but two tournaments she's competed in this year," coach Miller said. "She has as good a shot as anybody to win state. It will come down to who gets a good bounce or sinks an extra putt there."
Miller advanced to district by earning medalist honors in the sectional Sept. 24 at Blacklick Woods with a 78.
Wellington placed sixth (422) in the 16-team sectional to fall one spot shy of qualifying for district as a team. Bexley won the sectional title with a 375, with Licking Valley (402), Centerburg (402), Jonathan Alder (406) and Granville (408) also advancing to district.
Also competing at sectional for the Jaguars were junior Katie King (108), freshman Regan Price (114), freshman Quinn Coleman (122) and sophomore Sarah Wayman (130).
The top five individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district, with Tree of Life's Lindsay Augustyniak securing the final spot with an 88.
"Annie played really well and the rest of the girls shot around their average, so we probably weren't going to be able to make up enough strokes to catch those other teams," coach Miller said.