Li returns to lead tennis team
The DeSales High School girls tennis team expects to be much improved this season after finishing 5-9 overall last season.
Senior My Linh Li, who placed third in singles in the Division II state tournament last year, is back to lead the Stallions, who opened Aug. 14 against Jonathan Alder and play Thursday, Aug. 16, at Pickerington North.
"Li had a sensational summer playing in all sorts of tournaments against some of the standouts in the Midwest," second-year coach Anthony Tienprasid said. "I think where she has improved most is her mental toughness. Playing that competition makes you tougher."
Li won her first two matches at state before losing to Millersburg West Holmes' Rachel Nelson 6-1, 6-3 in a semifinal. She then bounced back to beat Cincinnati Country Day's Danielle Wolf 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the third-place match.
Li is one of five returning senior letterwinners for DeSales. The others are Lauren Asman, Izzy Ocampo, Sarah Shockling and Chandler Starkey. Ocampo and Starky were district qualifiers in doubles last year.
Also returning are junior Maura McCabe and sophomore Emma Clark. Rounding out the roster are junior Maddie Lyons and sophomore Bri Ellis.
Expected to join Li at singles are Shockling and Asman.
"Shockling is a power hitter with consistency," Tienprasid said. "She keeps the ball in play and is steady and mentally tough. Asman also is very, very consistent at keeping the ball in play. She has a lot of fun out there and is open to advice.
"I think we're very solid at singles and first doubles, but we're still working on getting the second-doubles team secured."
Ocampo and Starky return at first doubles and Clark is expected to be part of the second-doubles team, according to Tienprasid.
"Starky and Ocampo will be three-year varsity players, and although they played together for the first time just last season, they're a good team," he said. "All of them worked hard to improve, so I think that will be reflected in our overall record. They also want to contend for the CCL title and I don't see a reason why they can't."
Last season, DeSales placed third in the CCL at 2-2, behind Watterson (4-0) and Columbus School for Girls (3-1) and ahead of Hartley (1-3) and Ready (0-4).
The Stallions open league play Sept. 4 at CSG.
Helin returns for boys golf team
Junior Danny Helin is expected to lead the boys golf team after competing in the Division II state tournament the past two seasons.
Last year, he shot a 179 to tie for 35th when he competed as an individual at NorthStar. As a freshman in 2010, he carded the team's second-best score (169) to place 14th, which helped the Stallions finish seventh (696) at Ohio State's Scarlet Course behind champion Dayton Oakwood (656).
"He has a complete game, from driver to putter," third-year coach Tom Eckl said. "He's a two-time state qualifier who has improved his all-around game. We're definitely expecting big things from him again. I think we'll be much improved as a team, too. He's going to lead us because of his talent and experience and because we have no seniors."
DeSales, which opened Aug. 13 in the Mount Vernon Invitational, finished second (326) behind Bexley (325) in a sectional last season at Granville Golf Course to advance to district, where it shot a 331 at River Greens in West Lafayette to finish five strokes behind state-qualifiers St. Clairsville (326) and Watterson (326).
Helin shot a 76 to secure the second and final indi- vidual state-qualifying spot, one stroke behind medalist Matt Miller of Byesville Meadowbrook.
"Our goals are always to reach the state tournament, produce a 10-win season and improve every match," Eckl said. "We have so many guys on this team who are capable of shooting low rounds. Right now, they're all chasing Danny."
Also returning after being in the postseason lineup a year ago are junior Ben Dumm and sophomore Jacob Erwin.
Other returning letterwinners are sophomores Chris Modie and Dominic Ridley. Rounding out the team are junior Hunter Chapman, sophomore Holden Chapman and freshman Kyle Ransom. Ridley and Holden Chapman are left-handers.
Ransom is the brother of 2012 graduate Chad Ransom, who finished 10th at state as a junior in 2010 but did not advance individually last season.
"Kyle won the CCL tournament in eighth grade last season when he shot a 78," Eckl said. "I think he learned a lot by watching his brother and he's going to be real strong for us in the future."
The Chapmans are brothers of Sarah and Samantha Chapman. Sarah (2011 graduate) was a district qualifier in 2009 and 2010 and Samantha (2012 graduate) was a district qualifier the past two seasons.
Numbers rise for girls golf program
Growth in the number of participants has helped the girls golf program become more competitive in recent seasons.
This season, eighth-year coach Jeff Montenaro had 15 girls show up for tryouts, so he made two junior varsity teams in addition to the varsity.
"It makes the competition better and it ensures that the program will remain strong," he said. "Rather than cut a lot of people, you want these younger girls out there competing and improving and getting ready to take varsity positions in the next few seasons."
The Stallions have two senior returnees in Angela Patton and Megan Leach. Patton shot a 96 for the team's second-best score in the Division I sectional at The Links at Groveport last season, but did not advance to district after qualifying as a sophomore.
The Stallions finished fifth (410) at sectional, behind district-qualifiers Pickerington North (354), Upper Arlington (375) and Canal Winchester (398) as well as Dublin Scioto (402).
DeSales was represented at district at Bent Tree by 2012 graduate Samantha Chapman. She shot a 90 at sectional to secure the third and final district-qualifying spot and then shot a 92 at district to finish 15 strokes behind the second and final state qualifier.
Also back is sophomore Kenzie Kotten, who shot a 127 at sectional last year.
"Patton and Leach will play the biggest roles in our success and Kotten looks solid, too, and has shown how much work she put into her game in the summer opens," Montenaro said. "Those three should lead us.
"Angela is very dedicated to the sport, is a fantastic leader and played in junior tournaments all summer working on her short game. Megan looks like she has a more controlled, more compact swing and is giving up some yardage for accuracy. Her course management is a whole lot better. Kenzie has gone from a ball hitter to a scorer by working hard on her accuracy off the tee and with irons."
Also in the program are juniors Claire Alexander, Emilie Brosner, Lisa Deakin, Alexis Lemon, Midori Marang, Emily Mosca, Rachel Putnam, Sarah Schabar and Keyonna Williams, sophomore Gabby Marino and freshmen Jennifer Ciaciura and Kailen Kelly.