Upper Arlington High School girls golf coach Kristi Ghidotti has regarded this season as a potentially special one for a couple years, even before the Golden Bears finished fourth in the Division I state tournament last fall.
Four players recording scores of 79 or better in a round of tryouts earlier this month did nothing to change Ghidotti's mind, but UA's 10th-year coach particularly liked something she saw throughout tryouts and into the early part of the regular season.
"Their course management is superb," said Ghidotti, who added that this year's tryouts were the lowest-scoring of her tenure. "The choices they make, the club selection they are making ... if they get in trouble, they punch out and move on. They don't try to take any trees down or anything like that. That's huge. Usually, you have to go through the thought process with them, (as in) 'what other thing could you have done?' They are making great choices."
Sophomores Maddie Frank and Emily Hummer return from UA's first state tournament team since 2009, and arguably are the most experienced at the varsity level. Junior Lilly Carine is the oldest player on a team with no seniors.
Sophomore Lizzie Murray and freshmen Reagan Nolan and Julia Rabadam round out the roster.
Rabadam regularly plays in regional and national tournaments, and finished ninth in the 12-13 age division of the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on April 2 in Augusta, Georgia. The event is an annual prelude to the Masters.
The Bears began their season Aug. 4 by shooting 329 in Pickerington North's Panther Invitational at Turnberry, finishing fifth in the 18-team afternoon wave behind champion Centerville (329).
Hummer led UA with a 79, the same score she shot in the only round of the rain-shortened state tournament last year, although she was disappointed that almost half of her shots -- 37 -- were putts. Frank added an 80, ahead of Murray and Rabadam (both 85), Carine (91) and Nolan (95).
"Emily has remained consistent," Ghidotti said. "Maddie added a lot of yardage on her drive over the summer, and I anticipate Julia will be shooting in the 70s before long. That's where she was all summer.
"The top three girls on this team will play very consistent and make good choices. Their club selection is superb. They didn't need much interaction from me."
UA began pursuit of its second consecutive league championship Aug. 9 with the first round of the four-round OCC-Central Division tournament at Cooks Creek. The Bears shot 299 to finish well ahead of second-place Dublin Coffman (324), Hilliard Davidson (369), Canal Winchester (384), Marysville (406) and New Albany (408).
Rabadam was overall medalist with a 69, followed by Frank (73), Hummer (78) and Carine (79).
The second round was scheduled for Aug. 15 at Westchester.
UA went 27-1 in the OCC-Ohio last year to win its first league title since 2007 and unseat four-time defending champion Pickerington North.
Boys golf team tries
to sustain success
Senior Dane Goodwin and junior Quinn Patterson return to lead the boys golf team, which has a new coach in Doug Smith and is aiming for its first Division I state berth since 2014.
Goodwin, who has committed to play basketball at Notre Dame, and Patterson consistently were in the top three last year as UA went 20-0 to win the OCC-Central championship ahead of runner-up Davidson (15-5).
Smith, who played college golf at both Florida A&M and Louisville and was the varsity B coach in 2014 and '15, replaced Steve Gdovin, who coached UA for two seasons.
"Quinn has the work ethic of other top amateurs in the area and country, but now he has this curiosity that's insatiable," said Smith, who worked with Goodwin, Patterson and senior Will Grabovac when he coached varsity B. "He wants to know how he should be working out, what he should be eating, what he should be thinking. ...
"I think Dane appreciates the alternate arena that golf offers him. It's an area where he can challenge himself and push others on the team to reach their greatest potential."
UA opened Aug. 5 by shooting a 315 in the Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry, finishing third of 23 teams, behind champion Van Buren (306).
The Bears are 9-1 halfway through the four-round league tournament, tied for first with Coffman.
In the first round Aug. 8 at Apple Valley, junior Matt Cramer carded a 77 as UA shot a 317 to finish second behind Coffman (312) and ahead of Davidson (321), Marysville (369), Central Crossing (420) and Westland (523).
In the second round Aug. 14 at Turnberry, Cramer's 74 led the Bears, who finished first (305) ahead of second-place Coffman (315).
Rounding out the roster are senior Nathan Kelley and junior Nick Dimickle.
Grabovac did not begin the season in the top five, but Smith expects him to challenge for a spot.
"Right now, I really have to teach the guys course management strategies and techniques," Smith said.
"We have a talented bunch of guys that, once they grow their golfing IQ, are going to be a tough bunch to beat. Through the tryout process, there were a lot of strategy mistakes and purposeless golf shots. Each shot needs a specific goal, and once our guys learn what that looks like and experience what success feel like shot-to-shot, we will contend for championships immediately."
among tennis leaders
That the girls tennis team has two returning Division I state qualifiers is nothing new, but 14th-year coach Shawn Stamps noted one difference leading up to the season opener Aug. 16 at home against Lexington.
"It's competitive like every year, but most years we usually have a clear top one or two players and then it's a matter of whose else steps up," Stamps said. "But just watching them through tryouts, all the matches have been close. They all battled. Everybody has played as though they were fighting for a singles spot, and a lot of times there will be players who are clearly better or more comfortable with doubles.
"I'm still getting to know the players and where they are right now. The lineup could change quite a bit."
Senior Masha Manilchuk and junior Evelyn Holman were parts of separate doubles teams that advanced to state last year but did not win a match there. Other returnees are senior Lily Goldberg and sophomores Angela Li, Sarah Marti and Wendy Shi.
Shi was a district qualifier in singles a year ago.
UA has been represented at state four consecutive years and 23 times in the past 24 seasons.
Stamps expected that other underclassmen might make their way onto varsity at some point, but the roster had not been finalized entering the week.
UA begins OCC-Central play Aug. 24 at Central Crossing, seeking its first league championship since 2014.
Last season, the Bears finished 9-5 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Central, second behind Coffman (5-0).
"We're just looking forward to another great year," Stamps said. "These girls have improved during the offseason and they want to represent Upper Arlington the best they can. The freshmen coming in are learning from some good veterans and these players want to start their own legacy."
Aug. 5 -- Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 7 -- Lakota East Invitational at Brown's Run
Aug. 8 -- OCC-Central at Apple Valley
Aug. 9 -- Westerville Central Invitational at Rattlesnake Ridge
Aug. 10 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Links
Aug. 12 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier Invitational at Maketewah
Aug. 14 -- OCC-Central at Turnberry
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 Elk Invitational at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace
Aug. 30 -- OCC-Central at Clover Valley
Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 11 -- Gdovin Memorial Invitational at Zanesville Country Club
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Central at Darby Creek
Sept. 18 -- Lion-Cardinal Classic at Quail Hollow
Sept. 23 -- Upper Arlington Masters Invitational at Scioto 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-Central at Cooks Creek
Aug. 15 -- OCC-Central at Westchester
Aug. 19 -- Midwest Classic at Skyland Pines
Aug. 21 -- Centerville Elk Invitational at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace
Aug. 23 -- Canal Winchester and Gahanna at Raymond Memorial
Aug. 26 -- Bear-Lion Fall Open at Cooks Creek
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Central at Mentel Memorial
Aug. 30 -- Olentangy Orange and Pickerington North at Turnberry
Sept. 2 -- Lady Thunderbird Invitational at Lost Creek
Sept. 7 -- Olentangy Orange and Pickerington North at Blackhawk
Sept. 11 -- Canal Winchester and Gahanna at Kyber Run
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Central at Royal American
Sept. 14 -- Dublin Coffman and Olentangy Liberty at Scioto Reserve
Sept. 18 -- Olentangy Orange and Pickerington North at Raymond Memorial
Sept. 20 -- Canal Winchester and Gahanna at Westchester
Sept. 23 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Sept. 30 -- Canal Winchester Invitational at Westchester
Oct. 7 -- Pickerington North Fall Classic at The Links at Groveport
Aug. 16 -- vs. Lexington
Aug. 17 -- vs. Westerville Central
Aug. 18 -- vs. Dayton Chaminade Julienne
Aug. 22 -- at Olentangy
*Aug. 24 -- at Central Crossing
Aug. 26 -- Canfield Doubles Tournament
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Aug. 31 -- at Westland
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Marysville
*Sept. 7 -- at Dublin Coffman
Sept. 14 -- vs. Centennial
Sept. 16 -- Lexington Invitational
Oct. 2 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Below are the coming schedules for the Upper Arlington field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys water polo and girls water polo teams:
Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Lynx
Aug. 22 -- At Columbus Academy
Aug. 18 -- Home vs. St. Charles
Aug. 22 -- At Olentangy Liberty
Aug. 18 -- At Thomas Worthington
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
BOYS WATER POLO
Aug. 18-19 -- Early Bird Invitational at Ann Arbor (Michigan) Huron
GIRLS WATER POLO
Aug. 18-19 -- Upper Arlington Invitational