Claire Waggener realizes that her time with the Hilliard Bradley High School girls golf team is ticking down.
The senior played in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament Sept. 12 at Cooks Creek, and she knows the start of the postseason is just around the corner, as the Division I sectional tournament will be held Oct. 3 at Mentel Memorial, Royal American or Westchester.
"It's my senior year and that's kind of bittersweet because it seems like my freshman year was just a week ago," said Waggener, a fourth-year varsity player. "(Being a senior) is not that different, but there is more responsibility. As a senior, you need to lead by example and not do anything stupid or careless."
Coach Jeff Pontius said he has noticed a sense of urgency with Waggener, who led the team with an 89.3 league average through three rounds.
"Once kids get to their senior year, they realize that it's time to buckle down," Pontius said. "When they go to tournaments such as the Marysville Invitational, they know it's the last time that they will be playing at that event and it's time to focus a little more and do as well as they can. I know Claire had taken lessons and played in some summer tournaments, and that has helped her game."
Last season, Waggener was second-team all-OCC-Capital with a 94.5 average. She has shaved five strokes off her league average this fall.
"I have been hitting my driver really well and that's probably the strongest part of my game," Waggener said. "I find a tree or object out a little farther in the fairway and I find like a divot in front of my ball. If I swing out over the divot into the target, (the ball) should go the desired direction."
Waggener shot an 89 in the opening round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 19 at Westchester and carded the same score in the second round Aug. 15 at Mentel Memorial. She shot a 90 in the third round Aug. 29 at Royal American as the Jaguars finished second (404) behind league-leading Dublin Jerome (313).
"Probably the toughest part of the game is the mental aspect," Waggener said. "It's easy to get down on yourself if you have a bad shot or a bad putt, and it's hard to bounce back from that sometimes.
"I have been working on that over the years. I try to look toward the next shot, taking things shot by shot and not really worrying about the past."
Pontius said Waggener has continued to improve her game by managing those difficult situations during rounds.
"Her course management has gotten better over the years and she handles adversity better," he said. "As you get older, you figure out that getting frustrated doesn't help your game, but it hurts you on the course."
Bradley also has shown a marked improvement as a team over last year. It finished fifth (14-14) in the OCC-Capital tournament last fall, behind champion Dublin Coffman (28-0). This season, the Jaguars were third (13-5) in the OCC-Cardinal through three rounds, behind Jerome (18-0) and Delaware (14-4) and ahead of fourth-place Dublin Scioto (7-11).
"Last year we struggled, but now we have a lot of experience between the five of us, especially in OCCs," said Waggener, who would like to play at the college level and is looking into her options. "Last year we had some newer girls that had never played in that situation before, so I think just the experience factor of playing in those events has helped us the most."
Tennis team wins
Big Walnut tourney
Junior Corinne Dixon and freshman Nina Kisin went 4-0 in the first flight to help the girls tennis team win the five-team Eagles Doubles Tournament on Sept 8 at Big Walnut.
Bradley edged Worthington Christian 84-83 for the championship. Mount Vernon (72) was third, followed by Big Walnut (49) and Westerville North (28).
The Jaguars were runners-up in the other three flights, each of which went 3-1. Seniors Faith Carlisle and Megan Thurston were in the second flight, senior Casey Mignery and junior Cat Whetstone were in the third flight and senior Brittney Burchett and freshman Reyann Askar were in the fourth flight.
The Jaguars were 7-3 overall before playing Olentangy on Sept. 12 and are 4-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
Bradley lost to Jerome 5-0 on Aug. 31 in a league match that doubled as an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district tournament match. In other league matches, the Jaguars defeated Worthington Kilbourne 5-0 on Aug. 24, Delaware 5-0 on Aug. 30, Scioto 3-2 on Sept. 5 and Darby 4-1 on Sept. 7.
The Jaguars close league competition Monday, Sept. 18, at home against Thomas Worthington.
Boys soccer team
has long layoff
The boys soccer team had not played this month until facing Kilbourne on Sept. 12 in an OCC-Cardinal game.
The Jaguars were 3-2 overall after defeating Teays Valley 9-0 on Aug. 31. Senior forward Ryan Kayalar scored four goals in the win and junior midfielder Ethan Love added two.
Bradley lost to Thomas 4-0 on Aug. 29 in its league opener.
Through five games, Kayalar had a team-high six goals, while Love and senior midfielders Jacob Castro and Hugo Vargas each had two.
Girls soccer team
off to quick start
The girls soccer team had three shutouts in its first seven games.
The Jaguars were 5-1-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Kilbourne on Sept. 12.
Sophomores Macy Enneking and Emily Keck have rotated in goal for the Jaguars. Both had 18 saves through seven games.
Freshman forward Avery Jantonio had a team-high six goals, while senior midfielder Gabbi Viggiano had three goals and sophomore midfielder Shea Stephens had two.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 16 -- Galion Festival at Amann's Reservior
Sept. 14 -- Dublin Scioto at Darby Creek
Sept. 16 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 19 -- Grove City at Darby Creek
Sept. 20 -- Pickerington Central at Turnberry
Sept. 18 -- Thomas Worthington at Thorn Apple
Sept. 14 -At Westerville South
Sept. 16 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 19 -- At Delaware
Sept. 17 -- At Whitehouse Anthony Wayne
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Delaware
Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Gahanna
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder
*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington. The Jaguars lost to the Cardinals 26-24, 25-19, 21-25, 20-25, 15-9 on Aug. 22.
*Sept. 20 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto