Now in his fourth season with the program, the Dublin Jerome High School boys golf team's new head coach, Taylor Harle, believes he knows what his biggest role is.
That has as much, or more, to do with the mental and emotional sides of the game than it does the physical.
"One of the biggest things was building stuff during the offseason with our camaraderie, not just on a golfing basis," said Harle, who took over in the offseason for Craig Zesiger, who stepped down after six seasons. "Building that chemistry is important. Being a high school golf coach, especially in Dublin, they have their own swing coaches. My job is to help them work on course management and the mental side of the game."
Jerome opened Aug. 8 by shooting a 294 to win the first round of the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament at Turnberry, ahead of Thomas Worthington (312), Scioto (330), Worthington Kilbourne (339), Hilliard Bradley (345), Hilliard Darby (357) and Delaware (378).
Seniors Davis Root and Blake Solomon and sophomore Ethan Snyder all shot 73 to lead the Celtics.
In the second round Aug. 14 at Apple Valley, Jerome shot 295 to finish first and improve to 12-0 in the league. Senior Will Birkholz was co-medalist with a 73.
As has been the case throughout much of the time since six-time state champion Jerome opened in 2004, there is little question regarding what the members of the program contain from a skill standpoint.
While the Celtics lost their top player from a year ago, Jack Herceg, to graduation, they have returned their next four top players from last season, when they won their 13th consecutive OCC-Cardinal championship and placed third at state. Herceg is playing for Miami University.
In addition to the returnees, a group of players from the Celtics' B team are expected to take on bigger roles this fall.
Junior Mason Wagner, who was not on varsity last season, was the team's top scorer during tryouts.
Solomon, Birkholz and junior Jackson Chandler are key returnees from the team that shot 308 in the state tournament's only round to finish behind Cincinnati St. Xavier (303) and St. Charles (307).
Solomon shot 73 to take third at state and averaged 73.3, while Chandler averaged 74.3 and Birkholz averaged 74.8. Root also competed at state last season.
Seniors Nick Karlik and Liam Miller are others who could see action this season.
"We have a great tradition at Jerome and we've had some great teams," Harle said. "The goal is win another league championship and make it to state, and the ultimate goal is to get to the winner's circle (at state)."
Girls golfers out for
more state success
After winning five consecutive Division I state championships from 2011-15, the girls golf team took fifth in last year's one-day state tournament with a 326.
Senior Abby Kiefer shot a 71 to earn a share of the individual state championship with Medina Highland's Madison Butler.
Kiefer and senior Taby Robinson are four-year regulars who will lead the way. Kiefer has committed to Xavier University and Robinson to Michigan State.
"They've both been playing well this summer," 12th-year coach C.D. Butcher said. "There's no pressure of recruiting for them and they're great friends. These girls are following in the tradition of the ghosts of the past at Jerome and have the technical skills."
Last season, Kiefer was district Player of the Year and averaged 77.5 to make first-team all-OCC-Cardinal as the Celtics tied Olentangy Orange at 26-2 to earn at least a share of their ninth consecutive league title.
Jerome, which has won 12 league titles in 13 seasons and eight consecutive sectional championships, also returns sophomores Caitlin Yant and Ash Abhang.
Rounding out the lineup is senior Meaghan Yant, Caitlin's sister.
Kiefer was joined on first-team all-league by 2017 graduate Mariana Erana (78.8 average), while Robinson (80.3) was second team and Caitlin Yant (83.5) and Abhang (87.0) were third team.
Jerome opened Aug. 4 by earning a runner-up finish (323) in the 18-team afternoon wave of the Panther Invitational at Turnberry, behind Centerville (319).
The Celtics began the four-round league tournament Aug. 9 at Westchester, carding a 303 to take first ahead of Delaware (388), Bradley (396), Kilbourne (414), Scioto (458) and Thomas (547). Darby did not have a team score.
Kiefer was overall medalist with a 73. Robinson shot a 75 and Abhang carded a 76.
The second round was Aug. 15 at Mentel Memorial.
"I think we'll be better than we were last year," Butcher said. "Abby and Taby are better and Caitlin and Ash have a year under their belts. ... When we play well, we can hit 305."
Girls tennis team
loaded with talent
After having 35 players participate in tryouts last season, the girls tennis team had 39 try out this year.
"Honestly, none of them were awful," second-year coach Ken Berlin said. "They all can kind of play."
The Celtics planned to have nine players on varsity when they open Thursday, Aug. 17, at Kilbourne in an OCC-Cardinal match.
On Monday, Aug. 21, Jerome will play at Lancaster in the first round of the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament. The Celtics are coming off a season in which they went 20-2 overall and finished third in the OTCA tournament.
Neha Dudipala, Jiaqi Liu and Justine Nardone are senior returnees who are expected to fill key roles in singles or doubles.
Senior Vicki Chang, who was a key player as a freshman and sophomore but did not play last season, has returned and could see time at first singles.
Junior Erin Zhao and sophomores Kavya Alagappan and Reagan Resor are other returnees.
Sophomore Katherine Wang, a transfer from Coffman, is expected to be a key addition.
The other newcomer is freshman Arya Dudipala, Neha's sister.
Juniors Sophie Elia, Sophie Williams and Katie Yao and sophomore Bella Turk are others vying for playing time.
Neha Dudipala and Resor beat 2017 Jerome graduates Charlotte Berman and Natalia Gomez for a sectional title last year.
At district, 2017 graduate Emily Neal -- who played first singles most of last season -- and both doubles teams lost in the second round, while Zhao and Liu each lost in the first round in singles.
"I'm going to sound like a broken record because I said it last year, but our one through nine is just solid and our depth is one of the strengths of our team on paper," Berlin said. "I have good reason to feel optimistic. We're hoping to make a deep run into the fall."
Aug. 8 -- OCC-Cardinal at Turnberry
Aug. 9 -- Westerville Central Invitational at Rattlesnake Ridge
Aug. 10 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Links
Aug. 12 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier Invitational at Makatewah
Aug. 14 -- OCC-Cardinal at Apple Valley
Aug. 15 -- Dublin Invitational at Golf Club of Dublin
Aug. 19 -- Cincinnati Moeller Invitational at Walden Ponds
Aug. 21 -- Toledo St. John's Invitational at Inverness
Aug. 26 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle
Aug. 28 -- Centerville Invitational at Yankee Trace
Aug. 30 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek
Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 10-11 -- Kiely Cup at Canterbury
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal at Clover Valley
Sept. 16 -- Trojan Invitational at Findlay Country Club
Sept. 18 -- Generals Cup at Wooster Country Club
Sept. 23 -- Upper Arlington Master Invitational at Scioto
Sept. 25 -- Akron Hoban Invitational at Brookside Country Club
Sept. 30 -- Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational at Tartan Fields
Aug. 4 -- Panther Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 7 -- Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson
Aug. 9 -- OCC-Cardinal at Westchester
Aug. 14 -- Hudson Invitational at Lake Forrest
Aug. 15 -- OCC-Cardinal at Mentel Memorial
Aug. 19 -- Midwest Classic at Skyland Pines
Aug. 21 -- Centerville Invitational at Yankee Trace
Aug. 28 -- Lexington Invitational at Westbrook
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Cardinal at Royal American
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Cooks Creek
Sept. 16 -- Arrow Invitational at Highland Meadows
Sept. 23 -- St. Medici Invitational at Makatewah
Oct. 7 -- Pickerington North Fall Classic at The Links at Groveport
*Aug. 17 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Aug. 21 -- at Lancaster in OTCA tournament
*Aug. 22 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Aug. 26 -- at Toledo Central Catholic with Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Aug. 31 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Delaware
*Sept. 7 -- at Dublin Scioto
Sept. 9 -- Mason and Cincinnati St. Ursula Academy at Pickerington North
Sept. 12 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 14 -- vs. Olentangy
Sept. 19 -- at Olentangy Orange
Sept. 21 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 25 -- at Gahanna
Sept. 27 -- vs. New Albany
Sept. 28 -- at Pickerington North
Oct. 3 -- at Columbus Academy
Oct. 10 -- at Watterson
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
*Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Scioto
Aug. 19 -- At Cincinnati Sycamore
Aug. 22 -- At Olentangy
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Aug. 19 -- Marysville Spike-Off Invitational
*Aug. 22 -- At Worthington Kilbourne