Nate English brings an analytical approach to the Olentangy Orange High School boys golf team.
The senior breaks down shots with angles and visualization, which has helped shave nearly nine strokes off his league average from last season.
English, who averaged 87 last fall in the four rounds of OCC-Buckeye Division play, was at 78.3 entering the final round of the league tournament Sept. 13 at Darby Creek.
Carrying a 4.0 GPA and aspiring to major in mechanical engineering, no wonder English carries the classroom onto the course.
"Obviously math helps me out in the yardage and also in figuring out the wind and how it's going to affect the shot and the distance of the ball," he said. "Also, it has helped me to read the greens and judge how the ball is going to break off the slope."
Coach Andrew Fraley said English plays with confidence because he understands the game and knows how to handle situations on the course.
"Nate has confidence in himself and he has a good short-term memory to let stuff go and move on from a bad shot," Fraley said. "He's able to evaluate himself and slow things down. I have always marveled at how he closes his eyes before he takes a shot and takes two or three practice swings with his eyes still closed, already envisioning his shot before he hits it. He hits the ball really well off the tee and his short game is getting better."
English shot a 71 in the first round of league play Aug. 8 at Turnberry, just one stroke behind medalist Cole Corder of Liberty. He followed that with a 78 in the second round Aug. 14 at Clover Valley and an 86 in the third round Aug. 30 at Apple Valley.
"I started off well and played well at Turnberry in the first OCC and played well (Aug. 11 in the Mount Vernon Invitational) at Chapel Hill," he said. "Ever since school started, we have been struggling a little bit, but we're hoping to get back on track. I feel like that's normal with school starting because the focus changes and concentration weakens a little bit because we're not playing six times per week."
Fraley said the maturation of English was on display at Chapel Hill. After a difficult start, he was able to rebound and save his round.
"In one of the first tournaments of the year at Chapel Hill, Nate got an 8 on the first hole for a 4-over par and then bogeyed the next hole to start off 5-over," Fraley said. "After that he went 4-under and finished with a 1-over 73. A lot of kids would have given up after a quadruple bogey to start, but he knew he still had the whole course in front of him and was able to stay focused and have a good round."
English helps lead a lineup that can feature as many as three freshmen in Corbin Bentley, Nathan Brown and Jonathan Green.
Green led the Pioneers in league average at 76.67 through three rounds.
"I definitely see my role as a leader and being the moral support besides the coach," English said. "I don't want to make (the underclassmen) feel uncomfortable or bring them down at all. That would have a negative impact on their games and probably toward mine.
"(Being a leader) helps my confidence when I'm trying to help them gain confidence as well so we can perform the best we can. It's great to have two or three freshmen on varsity because it will help a lot in the future."
Fraley said English is a perfect example for the younger players.
"Nate's everything you would want in a golfer," said Fraley, whose team was fourth (8-7) behind first-place Liberty (15-0) heading into the final round of league play. "I have had him for four years and watched his maturation process to his senior year.
"He always is positive and has a great attitude. He's accountable for his actions and he embodies that positive reinforcement that comes from having confidence in his game and his teammates. He's the complete package, in my mind, and I wish I had six more just like him."
Girls volleyball team
continues strong play
The girls volleyball team remained unbeaten in OCC-Buckeye play entering the week, as it was 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the league before facing Westerville South on Sept. 12.
The Pioneers won league matches last week against Liberty (25-15, 25-19, 25-22 on Sept. 5) and Westerville Central (25-14, 25-15, 25-15 on Sept. 7).
"Everyone has really stepped up in one match or another this year but against Liberty we got a huge performance from junior Sidney Gossard, who had a hitting percentage of 41.2 percent," coach Katie Duy said. "That was big for us. I think the key to our success has been depth and a balanced offense."
Orange lost to Dublin Coffman 25-12, 25-13, 25-20 on Aug. 29. The Shamrocks were ranked third in the first Division I state poll behind Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame and Cincinnati Ursuline.
The Pioneers defeated Hartley 25-17, 25-17, 17-25, 18-25, 15-11 on Sept. 9 as Carrigan O'Reilly had 45 assists and Megan McCollum added 29 digs.
Girls tennis team
finishes second in league
The girls tennis team finished 4-1 in the OCC-Buckeye to place second behind Liberty (5-0).
The Pioneers lost to the Patriots 4-1 on Aug. 24 with Kortney Reed winning at third singles.
In other league matches, Orange defeated Central 4-1 on Aug. 29, South 5-0 on Aug. 31, Olentangy 4-1 on Sept. 5 and Westerville North 5-0 on Sept. 7.
Against North, Erin Storrer, Grace Bezold and Abigail Butler won in singles. The doubles teams of Madison Bastian and Gabrielle Valiulis and Teresa Hawk and Shreya Kodi also were winners.
The Pioneers were 9-1 overall before playing Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 12.
Below are the coming schedules for the Orange cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 16 -- Boys: Otterbein Invitational; Girls: Louisville (Ky.) Trinity-Valkyrie Invitational
Sept. 16 -- At Granville
*Sept. 18 -- At Dublin Coffman
Sept. 16 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 18 -- Delaware County Bank Cup at Bent Tree
Sept. 20 -- Big Walnut at Royal American
Sept. 14 -- Lancaster and Thomas Worthington at Blackhawk
Sept. 18 -- Pickerington North and Upper Arlington at Raymond Memorial
Sept. 16 -- At Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 19 -- At Westerville Central
Sept. 16 -- Home vs. New Albany
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Central
*Sept. 7 -- At Westerville North
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 13 -- At Columbus Academy
*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Olentangy
*Sept. 19 -- At North