With his prep career winding down, Westerville South High School boys golfer Troy Taylor already is looking forward to what comes next.

Taylor will compete at Michigan State, reaching a level he has pointed to for a long time.

"I'm definitely excited and counting down the days. I have about 353 days until my first college event," Taylor said Sept. 8.

"I don't want to rush my high school (career) because you can only do this once and I want to enjoy my senior year, but I'm definitely excited and ready to get to the next stage of my life in college and college golf."

Before he takes that next step, Taylor has a final goal in his prep career: Winning the Division I state title.

The postseason begins with sectional play Oct. 3 at Clover Valley, Darby Creek or Turnberry. The state tournament is Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

Taylor fell short of that goal last season when he finished fifth of 72 golfers, shooting a 74 to earn first-team all-state honors in his second state tournament appearance. Play was limited to one day because of bad weather.

"His motivation last year was to make all-state (and) he did that," coach Ryan Rice said. "He doesn't say it out loud, but I think his goal this year is to win state. I have to think knowing Troy, he's thinking state champion or bust. I firmly think that he can do it and he's the caliber of golfer that can beat anybody else in Ohio."

After missing the first round of OCC-Buckeye Division tournament play Aug. 8 at Turnberry because of PGA junior commitments, Taylor finished second Aug. 14 at Clover Valley with a 70 and earned medalist honors Aug. 30 at Apple Valley with a 68.

Taylor is not eligible for all-league honors since he missed the first event.

"I haven't been playing up to my standards, but it's been good enough to get the job done," he said. "My standards are if I shot around 68 every time I'd be very pleased with that."

With Taylor as the lone player on the squad with significant varsity experience, the Wildcats have struggled in team play and were 0-15 entering the fourth and final round of the league tournament Sept. 13 at Darby Creek. Olentangy Liberty led the league at 15-0.

While golf is a major part of his life, education is a major emphasis for Taylor's parents, Troy Sr. and Sheila. His father is a physical education teacher at Mifflin and his mother is a biology teacher at Briggs.

"My mom and dad are both teachers, so they don't let me go practice until I get my homework done," Taylor said. "I definitely have to stay up on my grades or there is no golf. Same rules will go in college. My mom told me she's going to make sure the coach locks down the facility for me to make sure I get my work done. She's serious."

Taylor's long-range goal is to play professionally, but as part of the process stressed by his parents, he must first focus on his college degree. He is undecided on a major at Michigan State.

Through his first three years at South, Taylor had a 3.93 GPA.

He played in his first golf tournament at 6 years old, participated in flag football and basketball in elementary school and later competed on the freshman boys basketball team at South. He opted to leave the sport his sophomore year.

Troy Sr. played basketball at Ohio State in the 1980s.

"I told my dad in middle school that golf was going to be my main sport," Taylor said. "I played basketball my freshman year, but I stopped after that so I could focus on golf. Basketball is probably my second favorite sport."

Girls volleyball team
looks for improvement

First-year girls volleyball coach Veronica Brownlee said several injuries have contributed to her team's slow start.

The Wildcats were 2-7 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Buckeye before playing Olentangy Orange on Sept. 12.

"It's not at all what I expected," Brownlee said. "The team is playing well, but having a challenging time finishing due to many players playing out of position. I am looking forward to a healthy team during the second half of the season."

Boys soccer team
off to good start

The boys soccer team was 4-1-1 before opening OCC-Buckeye play Sept. 12 against Olentangy.

The Wildcats recorded consecutive shutouts last week, defeating Pickerington Central 3-0 on Sept. 5 and Lancaster 5-0 on Sept. 7.

Against Central, Desmond Williams, Malani Lungu and Mohamed Abusaiid scored.

Abusaiid, Dylan Gary, Desmond Koranteng, Christopher Lytus and Chip McGrew scored against Lancaster.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the South cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 16 -- Bobcat Invitational at Grandview

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 16 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills

Sept. 19 -- Newark at Trout Club

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 19 -- Westerville Central at Royal American

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*Sept. 19 -- At Olentangy Liberty

Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Pickerington North

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Liberty

Sept. 21 -- At Thomas Worthington

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 15 -- At Reynoldsburg

Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Big Walnut

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Westerville North

*Sept. 19 -- At Central

*League contest