Columbus Academy senior boys golfer Cole Walter still has bitter memories of last season's disappointing finish.

For Walter and the Vikings, only one thing can atone for 2016: Winning the Division II district tournament to qualify for state.

Last season ended at district at Apple Valley, as Academy placed second (312) and Bexley (299) earned the lone state berth.

"That was pretty disappointing because we won the (MSL-Ohio Division title ahead of Bexley) and to have Bexley beat us that day was pretty disappointing, because we felt we were with them all season, but they just had a better day," Walter said. "We all have our own goals, but we're trying to win the district this year. It would be a great way to end my career."

Fourth-year coach Craig Yakscoe said he likes what he has seen so far. In the 24-team Fairfield Federal Invitational on Aug. 5 at Turnberry, the Vikings finished 11th (331) behind champion Van Buren (306) as sophomore returnee Ali Khan was medalist with a 70.

"The boys are looking good," Yakscoe said. "There's potential on paper."

Academy, which went 14-1 in the MSL-Ohio last season to finish ahead of Bexley (13-2), began defense of its league title Aug. 8 by finishing first (297) in the preseason tournament at Cumberland Trail ahead of second-place Bexley (300).

The Vikings return a solid group led by Walter, who is in his fourth season with the program and helped Academy win the Division III state title in 2014 as a freshman. It was the Vikings' first state championship since 1999.

"I began my career with a state championship and I'd love to end it that way," Walter said. "I'm definitely trying to get back there. We have a very good team this year, a lot of returning guys."

Seniors Alec Freytag, Abhi Rama-swamy and Sam Vogel and sophomore Kahmar Byers also return and are competing for starting positions.

Walter was first-team all-league last season. Freytag, Khan and Ramaswamy were second-team all-league, and Byers was honorable mention.

Others looking to contribute are seniors Chase Kallmerten and Bilal Mohsin and sophomores Matthew Cammeyer, Griffin Mitchell, Miles Razek and Ryan Wahl.

Yakscoe expects the Vikings to compete with Bexley for the league title.

"It's nice to win the league first and then move on to the postseason with sectional, district and, knock on wood, state this year," Yakscoe said.

A key loss to graduation was Michael Zhang, who was first-team all-league last season.

Senior, freshman to
lead girls tennis team

Led by senior Georgia Tuckerman and freshman Sydni Ratliff, the girls tennis team again should be one of the area's strongest programs in Division II.

Tuckerman qualified for the state tournament last season but lost in the first round.

Third-year coach Tom Haddow expects Ratliff to compete with Tuckerman for the first-singles spot. Ratliff has earned several United States Tennis Association titles, including the Midwest Section Closed Junior championship in the 16s division in June.

"She's really good," Haddow said. "It will be fun to see how she does. Even though she's young, she's coming in with a lot of USTA experience."

Junior Himaja Reddy is expected to play third singles. Other returnees are senior Lexis Hughes, juniors Maddie Tuckerman and Haylee White and sophomore Alex Graham.

Freshman Lauren Motta rounds out the team.

The Vikings opened Aug. 14 against North Canton Hoover.

Academy went 5-0 in MSL-Ohio matches last season and finished with 43 points to win the league title ahead of Bexley (4-1, 31). Haddow said winning the league title is his team's first goal, followed by success at the district and state levels.

In the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament last season, the Vikings lost to Columbus School for Girls 3-2 in a district final. They finished 13-5 overall.

"I would assume we're the favorites to win the league," Haddow said. "We'll be strong in singles. We have to work on our doubles."

The Vikings open league play Wednesday, Aug. 23, at home against Worthington Christian.

Key players lost to graduation include Jacinta Cresta-nello and Sarah Wexner, who lost in the first round in doubles at state last season.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 4 -- Granville Shootout at The Links at Echo Springs

Aug. 5 -- Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 7 -- Columbus Academy Shootout at Columbus Country Club

Aug. 8 -- MSL-Ohio preseason tournament at Cumberland Trail

Aug. 9 -- Warrior-Jaguar Invitational at NorthStar

Aug. 11 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Chapel Hill

Aug. 16 -- Gahanna at Little Turtle

Aug. 17 -- Bexley at Westchester

Aug. 19 -- Kent Miller Invitational at Hiawatha

Aug. 26 -- MSL-Ohio midseason tournament at Turnberry

Aug. 31 -- Worthington Christian at The Lakes

Sept. 7 -- Pickerington North at Columbus Country Club

Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside

Sept. 12 -- Grandview at Blacklick Woods

Sept. 16 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club at Granville

Sept 18 -- MSL-Ohio postseason tournament at Westchester

Sept. 19 -- Marysville at Clover Valley

Aug. 23 -- Upper Arlington Invitational at Scioto Reserve

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 14 -- vs. North Canton Hoover

Aug. 19 -- Watterson Invitational at Park of Roses

*Aug. 23 -- vs. Worthington Christian

*Aug. 31 -- at Whitehall

Sept. 6 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 7 -- vs. London

Sept. 12 -- vs. Wellington

*Sept. 14 -- at Bexley

Sept. 18 -- vs. Olentangy

*Sept. 19 -- vs. Grandview

Sept. 28 -- vs. New Albany

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy field hockey, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

FIELD HOCKEY

Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Tree of Life