The Thomas Worthington High School boys golf team has gone lower than expected this season.
Entering the fourth and final round of the OCC-Cardinal Division tournament Sept. 13 at Clover Valley, the Cardinals were in second place behind Dublin Jerome.
"It's been a wonderful season thus far," coach Jay Addy said. "Not only have we finished second in each of the first three rounds, but we've challenged Jerome at times and that says a lot. We led them at the turn at Apple Valley."
In the first round Aug. 8 at Turnberry, Thomas posted a 312 and Jerome had a 294. In the second round Aug. 14 at Apple Valley, the Cardinals shot a 299 and the Celtics had a 295. In the third round Aug. 30 at Darby Creek, Thomas posted a 320 and Jerome shot a 298.
"I reminded the boys that when they all go low on the same day, they can be right there with Jerome, which obviously is one of the best teams in the state," Addy said. "That shows how much potential we have. I think if we have a day like that, we might be able to squeeze into the state tournament as a team."
Thomas had three of the league's top four individual averages entering the final round.
Junior Aaron Zeller led the league with a 72.3 average, shooting a 74 in both the first and third rounds and a 69 in the second. Jerome's Ethan Snyder (73.3) was second.
The golfer who finishes the OCC-Cardinal tournament with the top average is named league Player of the Year.
"There is a little extra pressure to be OCC Player of the Year, but I just want to play my best in every round, regardless of whether it's a league round," Zeller said. "I like where we are as a team and what we're doing. When you can put four scores together and be five shots from beating a team like Jerome, that means something and shows what we're capable of doing."
Seniors David LaLonde (76.3) and Curran Gimeson (77) had the third and fourth best league averages, respectively, entering the final round.
"We knew Aaron had potential, but he's been lights-out and very consistent," Addy said. "He's been on fire and we're hoping that continues all year. I think he finally has adjusted to his body growth. He grew six inches from his freshman year to this year. I thought he and Curran would be close in average, but I didn't see (Aaron) as a dominant No. 1 and that's what he's become.
"Curran has grinded out some tough rounds and leads the team in birdies, but he's been having one or two bad holes per round that have been biting him. But I still see him making a run for (an individual) state berth if we come up short as a team."
Last year at district, Gimeson started on the back nine at Apple Valley and reached No. 7 in good shape, but three-putted that hole and finished with a 75. He would have qualified for state with a 73 and would've been in a playoff for the final state berth with a 74.
"I started well this season, but have slowed a bit," Gimeson said. "I've been right there in every round and would be having a great season except for three or four holes. My goal is to get to state this year. Last year, I made a mistake (at district) and it cost me. I want another chance."
Also competing in the first three league rounds were seniors Bailey Utterback (84.7) and Jake Savage (90.3).
Boys water polo
team rolling along
The boys water polo team finished second in the Ohio Cup on Sept. 10 and improved to 14-3.
The Cardinals were ranked second in the state behind St. Charles before the Ohio Cup, which began Sept. 9 at Thomas. The Cardinals defeated St. Charles 13-7 in a semifinal before losing to Cincinnati St. Xavier 10-3 in the final.
"Thomas has 11 seniors and a lot of experience," said Rick Yurich, who is in his third season coaching both Thomas and Kilbourne. "They are very good. They also have a lot of freshmen, and the seniors and freshmen are working really well together. They are continuing to grow together, and that has me excited."
Against St. Charles, senior Taylor Weinsz scored three goals and senior Jack King had two goals and seven steals. Senior goalkeeper Owen Roesch made 13 saves and had seven steals.
"Owen is a third-year starter in goal and is one of the best goalies in the state," Yurich said. "Jack is like the point guard in the pool, an assist guy. Taylor also is one of the leaders, along with (senior) Brendon Zurovchak, who would be like a center in basketball. All three of those guys are great all-around players."
Last season, the Cardinals finished 20-10 and placed third in the state tournament. They were seeded third and lost to seventh-seeded St. Xavier 17-8 in a semifinal before defeating fourth-seeded Dayton Oakwood 9-3 in the third-place game. St. Xavier beat St. Charles 13-1 in the champion-ship game.
"I'm hoping they continue to work at it and peak at the right time," Yurich said. "I want to see them in the final game at state because I think they have that potential."
Other seniors on the roster are Ethan Armitage, Tim Berridge, Grant Cross, Parker Jones, Jack Knotts, Grant Kucinski and Carter St. Pierre. Completing the roster are sophomores Yashar Bakhshaeisarand, Evers Brandt, Jack Cochran and Derek Taylor and freshmen Riley Boots, Benjamin Greeson, Eddie Helm, Ashton Roderer, Grant Simeone, Kevin St. Pierre and Collin Terrien.
Girls water polo
team preps for Cup
The girls water polo team is preparing to play host to the Ohio Cup, which begins Saturday, Sept. 16, and concludes the following day.
The Cardinals are 5-5 and looking to find their groove after returning seven key players from a team that finished 12-11 last season and placed third in the state tournament.
"The goal for Thomas is to win a state championship," said Olivia Miranda, who is in her third season coaching both Thomas and Kilbourne. "Thomas has the ability to be in the state championship game, but it will be a tough road to get there.
"We are trying to incorporate some of our newer players into major roles so there have been some growing pains throughout the first half of the season, but they are getting better every game. They are going to have to continue to work hard and step up."
At state last season, Thomas lost its semifinal 18-1 to top-seeded Upper Arlington, which went on to win the state title. The Cardinals defeated Cincinnati Sycamore 7-6 in the third-place game.
Among the returnees are seniors Caroline Girard, Elaine Miller and Becca Taylor, juniors Bianca Crank, Maddie Holub and Julia Nelson and sophomores Mallory Hartsell, Tatum Shank and Audrey Taylor.
"Caroline Girard is a force to be reckoned with in goal," Miranda said. "Her length and treading abilities give her a significant advantage. Caroline has been working hard on her strength and reaction time. She is a great leader in and out of the water and sets the tone for the team.
"Elaine Miller has one of the strongest work ethics I have ever seen and is one of the most talented players in the state. Sometimes we struggle to get her the ball, but she is always giving it her all and values team accomplishments over individual recognition. Becca Taylor is a newer player to the sport, but her swimming abilities and strength help our team a lot in the pool."
Rounding out the roster are sophomores Leah Lindenmeyer and Sloan Phallen and freshmen Nataliya Kallergis, Maia Lin, Izzy Thomas and Nevin Woods.
Aug. 11-12 -- Courtney Fisher Sprint Classic at Napoleon
Aug. 18-19 -- Boys: Early Bird Invitational at Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer; Girls: Upper Arlington Invitational
Aug. 25 -- Boys: Mason Invitational
Sept. 1-2 -- Girls: Milford Invitational
Sept. 9-10 -- Boys: Ohio Cup at home
Sept. 13 -- Boys: vs. Upper Arlington
Sept. 15 -- Boys: at Cincinnati St. Xavier
Sept. 16-17 -- Girls: Ohio Cup at home
Sept. 22-23 -- Boys: Packer Classic at Cincinnati Princeton; Girls: Dave McClennon Invitational at Cincinnati Sycamore
Sept. 29-30 -- Boys: Upper Arlington Duals
Oct. 4 -- Boys: at St. Charles; Girls: vs. Hartley at St. Charles
Oct. 10 -- vs. Kilbourne
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 16 -- Trinity/Valkyrie Invitational at Louisville, Ky.
Sept. 15 -- At Shaker Heights
Sept. 16 -- At Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Columbus Academy at Hamilton Field
*Sept. 20 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Sept. 16 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 19 -- Olentangy at York
Sept. 14 -- Lancaster and Olentangy Orange at Blackhawk
Sept. 18 -- Hilliard Bradley at Thorn Apple
Sept. 19 -- Hilliard Davidson at Buck Ridge
Sept. 14 -- At Olentangy Orange
Sept. 21 -- At Reynoldsburg
Sept. 14 -- At Marysville
Sept. 20 -- At Pickerington Central
*Sept. 14 -- At Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome