Building camaraderie throughout the program is one of the most important objectives for the Watterson High School girls tennis team.

To help accomplish that goal, sixth-year coach Susan Weil often has her best players spend time working on drills with members of the junior varsity.

"That's one of my philosophies," said Weil, whose team opened Aug. 15 at home against Dayton Chaminade Julienne. "It's about learning to appreciate the different levels that people are on. It's a really good team with great girls and there was a lot of unity even within the first two days of tryouts."

As has been the case throughout most of her prep career, senior Claire Ghidotti is the Eagles' top player.

After reaching the second round of the Division I state tournament in singles as a sophomore, Ghidotti lost to Westerville Central's Nicole Cardwell 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 7-5 in a quarterfinal of the district tournament last year.

The other returnees are junior Jenna Mar and sophomore Abbey Giesler. Mar lost in the first round of the Reynoldsburg sectional in singles last season.

Senior Hannah Thomas, juniors Paige Parker and Sam Vogel, sophomores Layne Geswein and Margaret Bauer and freshman Caroline Goodlive are others looking to contribute.

Last season, the Eagles went 9-9 overall and 4-0 in the CCL to win their seventh league title in eight seasons, including their second in a row.

Watterson lost the doubles team of Bridget Fountain and Haley Rague and the doubles team of Sami Morse and Sarah Jonesco to graduation. Both duos joined Ghidotti at district last year.

The other postseason competitor was 2017 graduate Gabby Kappel, who lost in a sectional quarterfinal in singles.

Watterson begins action in the Division I Ohio Tennis Coaches Association state team tournament against Teays Valley on a date to be determined.

"Our lineup will probably fluctuate a little bit after Claire," Weil said. "All the girls have been working on their games, which is exciting. They've all gotten consistently stronger."

Boys golf squad
returns strong group

The boys golf team has returned three of its five players who competed in the Division I sectional at Clover Valley last year when the Eagles finished fifth (326) to miss advancing to district by three strokes and one spot.

The No. 1 player during tryouts was senior Bobby Reis, who shot 81 at sectional.

Sophomores Fred Gilbert and Ryan Newcomb are the other returnees for the Eagles, who opened Aug. 7 by finishing seventh (339) in the 14-team Columbus Academy Shootout at Columbus Country Club, behind champion Academy (291).

Watterson opens league play with the CCL preseason tournament Thursday, Aug. 17, at New Albany Links.

"We've got nine players in our program who are back from last year and five new ones," 10th-year coach Olin Melaragno said. "With us being a smaller Division I school, for us to compete for a state championship would be very challenging, but we'll be trying to qualify for district and state."

Also on the team are senior Jack Geswein, junior Chris Finissi and sophomores Patrick Sellers and Bobby Reis.

Among the players the Eagles lost to graduation was Drew McQuade, who shot 78 at sectional to qualify for the district tournament at Apple Valley as an individual.

Watterson is hoping to again be an upper-echelon team in the CCL after tying Hartley for runner-up at 5-3 last year behind St. Charles (8-0). Bobby Reis finished seventh (163) and McQuade placed eighth (165) during the league's two rounds.

"We focus on not letting the game beat you up," Melaragno said. "Our biggest goal is to have fun, to learn to laugh at the bad shots and keep the positive shots in your mind."

Girls golf team
has high hopes

The girls golf team got off to a solid start.

On Aug. 4 in the 11-team morning wave of the Panther Invitational at Turnberry, the Eagles shot 359 to earn the runner-up trophy as junior Lizzy Steffensmeier shot 83, followed by seniors Erin Korn (84) and Shelby Six (92).

Independence was first (343).

"We did a lot of putting (at the tournament), but we had three pretty solid scores," third-year coach Debbie Weis said. "I'm sure some of the other players will rise up."

Junior Ava Gray is another key returnee for the Eagles, who do not compete in a league. The only other CCL schools with girls golf are DeSales and Ready.

Also on the team are senior Grace Kairis and sophomore Sammy Politz, both of whom gained some experience last season.

Last season, Watterson won the 10-team Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial with a 337 before placing seventh (353) in the nine-team district tournament at The Links at Groveport as the top three advanced to state.

Among those lost to graduation from a year ago was Abbey Meyers, who is now competing for Loyola University Chicago and shot 77 at sectional.

Korn and Steffensmeier both carded an 80 at sectional, and Korn led the team at district with an 85.

"We want to get to state and get ourselves out there for colleges," said Steffensmeier, who finished first in one local tournament and runner-up in another over the summer.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS GOLF

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

Aug. 8 -- Cleveland St. Ignatius Invitational at Red Tail

Aug. 9 -- Medina Invitational at Shale Creek

Aug. 10 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Links

Aug. 12 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier Invitational at Maketewah

Aug. 14 -- Liberty Township Lakota East Invitational at Browns Run

Aug. 15 -- Dublin Coffman Invitational at Golf Club of Dublin

Aug. 16 -- St. Charles at The Lakes

Aug. 17 -- CCL preseason tournament at New Albany Links

Aug. 19 -- Cincinnati Moeller Invitational at Walden Ponds

Aug. 22 -- Marysville at Darby Creek

Aug. 26 -- Upper Arlington Invitational at Pinnacle

Aug. 28 -- Hilliard Davidson at Heritage

Sept. 5 -- Eagle Cup vs. Big Walnut and New Albany at New Albany Country Club

Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside

Sept. 12 -- Bexley at Westchester

Sept. 16 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills

Sept. 23 -- Watterson Invitational at Clover Valley

Sept. 24 -- CCL postseason tournament at The Players Club at Foxfire

Sept. 27 -- Teays Valley at The Players Club at Foxfire

Sept. 30 -- Dublin Jerome Invitational at Tartan Fields

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 4 -- Panther Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 7 -- Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson

Aug. 14 -- Hudson Invitational at Lake Forest

Aug. 17 -- Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty and Pickerington North at Oakhaven

Aug. 19 -- Open Saturday Invitational at Cooks Creek

Aug. 21 -- Olentangy Liberty at Scioto Reserve

Aug. 22 -- Olentangy Orange at Black Hawk

Aug. 26 -- Cooks Creek Invitational

Sept. 6 -- Gahanna at Kyber Run

Sept. 7 -- Dublin Coffman at Marysville Golf Club

Sept. 9 -- Eagle/Panther Invitational at Cooks Creek

Sept. 11 -- Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty and Pickerington North at Airport

Sept. 13 -- Gahanna at Champions

Sept. 18 -- Pickerington Central at Turnberry

Sept. 21 -- Newark Catholic at The Links at Echo Springs

Sept. 25 -- Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty and Pickerington North at Turnberry

Sept. 26 -- Olentangy Orange at Safari

Sept. 28 -- Upper Arlington and Olentangy Liberty at Raymond

Sept. 30 -- Canal Winchester Invitational at Westchester

Oct. 7 -- Panther Fall Classic at Cooks Creek

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 15 -- vs. Dayton Chaminade Julienne

Aug. 16 -- at Wellington

Aug. 17 -- at Teays Valley

Aug. 19 -- Watterson Invitational at home

*Aug. 22 -- at Ready

Aug. 26 -- Olentangy Invitational

Aug. 28 -- at Thomas Worthington

Aug. 30 -- vs. Olentangy

Sept. 6 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 7 -- at Columbus School for Girls

*Sept. 12 -- vs. DeSales

Sept. 13 -- at Pickerington North

Sept. 14 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

*Sept. 19 -- vs. Hartley

Sept. 21 -- at Dublin Coffman

Sept. 26 -- at New Albany

Sept. 27 -- at Columbus Academy

Sept. 28 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

FIELD HOCKEY

*Aug. 21 -- At Hartley in opener

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 18 -- At Jonathan Alder

Aug. 22 -- At Wellington

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Marysville

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Ursuline Academy

*League contest