Wellington School boys golf coach Craig Mosier has been pleased by his team's start to the season, especially when taking into consideration that it lost four of its top five players from a year ago to graduation.
The Jaguars finished in the top half of each of the first six tournaments they competed in, including a fifth-place finish (313) in the 15-team Dayton Oakwood Invitational on Aug. 13 at Dayton Country Club behind champion Cincinnati Moeller (294).
"We had to be realistic and expect some kind of drop-off at the beginning of the season since we lost four experienced seniors," Mosier said, referring to Quinten Henricks, Nick Mayne, Alex Schilling and Jon Taylor. "We knew we weren't going to start off as hot as we had in previous years, and that has been the case, but the drop-off has actually been a lot smaller than I was expecting.
"All of our guys have been playing really well and we're making our way in a positive direction. With how well we're already playing, I wouldn't be surprised if we win a couple of tournaments before the season is over."
Wellington returned two players in junior Justin Perdue and sophomore Princeton Ball.
Rounding out the roster are junior Noah Goss and sophomores Temidayo Dairo, Chris Doody and Matthew Xin.
"We don't have a lot of experience, so we're trying to find our team's identity," Mosier said. "But we've been really lucky because Justin and Princeton have improved their games considerably, and they've been the best 1-2 punch we've ever had this early in a season."
Wellington is hoping to make another postseason run this year. It won the Division III state championship in 2011 and finished second at state last season, shooting a 651 over 36 holes at NorthStar to finish behind Ashland Crestview (646).
Henricks and Perdue each shot a 159 to tie for ninth and earn second-team all-state honors. Also competing at state were Taylor (166, tied for 28th), Ball (167, tied for 31st) and Schilling (176, tied for 48th).
Columbus Academy also shot a 651, but Wellington took home the runner-up trophy by winning the fifth-score tiebreaker. Schilling finished three strokes better than Academy's Vincent Dong (179).
Wellington and Academy both shot a 309 in the district tournament at Cumberland Trail, but the Jaguars also won that fifth-score tiebreaker -- Ball (81) edged Dong by two strokes -- to capture the title.
"It's going to be a bigger challenge since we lost so much senior leadership, but our goal is always to win the state tournament," Mosier said. "We built our reputation by winning the 2011 state championship, and after that people noticed us everywhere we played and they were gunning for us.
"We have a bunch of new faces now, but I think we still have the talent to compete with anyone in the state. I'm confident that when this season is all said and done that people will notice us once again."
Girls golf team moves on without Miller
The girls golf team has begun the post-Annie Miller era.
Miller, a 2013 graduate, was medalist in 13 of the 16 events Wellington competed in last year and was the Jaguars' lone Division II state qualifier the past two seasons. She shot a 158 over 38 holes at state last fall at Ohio State's Gray Course to place eighth after shooting a 153 at state in 2011 to tie for second behind Warren John F. Kennedy's Haley Harford (146).
Wellington opened Aug. 7 by shooting a 434 to place seventh of 11 teams in the first round of the MOGGL tournament at Mentel Memorial behind champion Watterson (328).
The Jaguars finished ninth (468) in the second round Aug. 13 at Phoenix behind champion Watterson (340) before placing sixth (450) in the 10-team North Union Invitational on Aug. 14 at Mill Creek behind champion Watterson (341).
"We've had a good start," coach Bill Miller said. "We scored fairly well in the North Union tournament. Annie's going to be hard to replace, but we want the girls to really enjoy the game of golf until they become motivated to get better."
The roster consists of seniors Katie King and Sarah Wayman, juniors Sophie Hess and Kate Miller and sophomores Quinn Coleman, Julia Doran and Regan Price.
"These girls aren't year-round golfers, but they've worked to shave down their scores," coach Miller said. "Katie and Regan both have a lot of potential."
Boys soccer team looking to improve
The boys soccer team took a good first step toward bouncing back from last season by defeating Grove City Christian 4-0 in its opener Aug. 17.
Wellington finished 4-12-1 last year after going 8-8-1 in 2011.
Sophomore midfielder Bakari Brown had two goals against Grove City Christian and freshman defender Connor Weber and sophomore midfielder Roth Dehlendorf each scored one. Junior midfielder Elliott Fite had two assists.
The Jaguars also defeated Harvest Prep 10-1 on Aug. 19, as Dehlendorf scored three goals and senior midfielder Shabach Tyus scored two.
"We had a bit of a dip in our record last year as compared to the previous season," coach Michael Byrne said.
"A lot of that had to do with our youth and inexperience. We had five or six freshmen in our starting lineup last year. Now, our combination play is so much better than it was last year."
The Jaguars returned nine starters in Brown, Dehlendorf, Fite, seniors Nick Hammond (defender), Chris Jones (defender), John Schoellkopff (midfielder) and Ben Smith (forward) and sophomores Jack Chester (defender) and Alex Tannous (goalkeeper).
Also starting are Weber and freshman Teddy Knowles (midfielder).
Rounding out the roster are seniors Michael Doran (midfielder) and Will Edwards (midfielder), junior Henry Bacha (defender) and sophomores Mohsen Abdali (defender), Sterling Adiansingh (defender), Mikhail Hunker (defender), Max Muir (midfielder) and Jacob Wobbrock (defender).
"With nine returning starters, we're going to try to make this the best record that Wellington's had," Byrne said.
"We want to win eight or more games. A bigger goal would be to get past the first and second round of the (Division III district) tournament."
Girls soccer team wins coach's debut
The girls soccer team posted a win in Steve Reymann's first game as coach, defeating Northland 11-2 in its opener Aug. 17.
Reymann replaced Burak Ergezen, who stepped down after guiding Wellington to a 4-12-1 record last fall in his only season as coach.
"The girls are responding well to our new style of play and are embracing our emphasis on possessing the ball longer and attacking wide," Reymann said.
The Jaguars have four seniors in Annie Postle (midfielder), Gab Smith (goalie), Mallory Tannous (defender) and Sarah Wakeman (forward).
Also on the team are junior Carolyn Faller (defender), sophomores Zoe Mak (defender) and Abbey Mayne (forward) and freshmen Taylor Adams (defender), Brett Hairston (midfielder), Jasmine Haraburda (midfielder), Maddy McClinchie (defender), Cassie Robbins (goalie), Simone Robinson (midfielder), Emma Ruk (midfielder) and Cassie Smith (goalie).
"Our midfield is going to be a big strength and we're developing a strong backline," Reymann said. "We have a small number of players, but our team is incredibly resilient and the girls never quit."