To reach the last two Division II state tournaments, the Bexley High School boys golf team played its best when it meant the most.
The Lions entered the postseason hoping history would repeat itself.
They competed in a sectional tournament Sept. 26 at The Players Club at Foxfire, and if they were one of the three teams that advanced, they'll play in the district tournament Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Denison Golf Club at Granville.
At district, only the championship team and the top individual not on that team advance to state Oct. 13 and 14 at NorthStar. That's where the Lions won the state title in 2015.
"I really like where we're at as a team," Will Hoyer said. "We have been progressing all year and we're peaking now at the right time.
"We have really been pulling together as a team. We're all capable of shooting well and getting out of district. It's just a matter of doing well on that day."
Last fall, the Lions won their second consecutive district title by shooting a 299 at Apple Valley, edging runner-up Columbus Academy (312) for the only state berth. At state on Ohio State's Scarlet Course, Bexley finished fourth (654) behind champion Cincinnati McNicholas (627).
"We really need four solid rounds and as long as we do our jobs, that will be enough," said Trevor Binau, who was state medalist last year with a two-round total of 144. "We are playing pretty well and things have started to come into view. We have to ramp it up a little bit and keep getting better from here on out."
One of the only recent blemishes for Bexley has occurred in MSL-Ohio Division play, as Academy clinched its second consecutive league championship last week.
After falling short to the Vikings in the first two rounds of MSL-Ohio play, the Lions won the postseason tournament Sept. 18 at Westchester with a 300. The Vikings were runners-up (301), followed by Worthington Christian (317), Grandview (352) and London (359).
However, Academy finished 11-1 in the league and Bexley went 10-2.
Hoyer was medalist in the final round with a 73, followed by Binau (74), Micah Rubinstein (76), Zander Kauffman (77), Tyler Roberts (81) and Aaron Meyer (93).
"The kids scored well despite having some bad holes," coach Jimmy Ryan said. "Will had a triple-bogey and still shot a 73, and Micah Rubinstein had a triple-bogey and a double-bogey and still shot a 76. They were able to put those holes behind them and stayed focused."
Bexley finished second (300) behind Academy (297) in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 8 at Cumberland Trail. The Lions also took second (298), one stroke behind the Vikings, in the midseason tournament Aug. 26 at Turnberry.
Binau was league Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, averaging 71.67 per round. Hoyer was runner-up with a 72.0 average.
"We're closing in (on Academy)," Ryan said. "They have more depth than we do, but we have four really good golfers. We just can't have anyone blow out. If we play well we can advance, and if we make it back (to state) we can win it."
If the Lions reached district, they will be playing on a familiar course. They won a district title at Denison Golf Club at Granville in 2015 and have played several rounds there this season.
On Sept. 16, they won the 16-team Rodney Butt Classic on that course with a 315 as the Vikings were runners-up with a 319.
"We've been practicing there a lot for the past couple of years, going out there on Sundays and playing," Hoyer said. "It's a course that plays well if you stay below the holes. If you get above the hole it can cost you three or four shots, so you have to be consistent."
to face Academy
The football team will look for its first victory of the season when it plays host to Academy on Thursday, Sept. 28, in an MSL-Ohio game.
The Lions lost to Grandview 49-0 on Sept. 22 to fall to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the league. They have been shut out twice and limited to one touchdown two other times, averaging 8.2 points while surrendering 40.2 per game.
"We have faced some adversity, but the kids are still focused and working hard to get their first win," coach Nathan Castorena said. "They want it even more so because they are facing a rival.
"We have made some youthful mistakes, but we have all of the pieces. It's a long season and there are still five games left. They are still with it and there's no quit in them."
The Vikings improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio by defeating Whitehall 31-14 on Sept. 22. They are averaging 34 points and giving up 10.4 with three shutouts.
For the season, Bexley quarterback Anthony Welsh is 25-for-44 passing for 283 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. He also has rushed for 85 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries.
Running back Isaiah McFadden has 159 yards rushing on 39 carries, and Mason Remeis has 11 receptions for 107 yards. Tyler Mitchell has four catches for 87 yards and two scores.
Linebacker Patrick Beck leads the defense with 21 tackles, including four for loss, and two sacks. Lineman Grant Robinson also has 21 tackles.
Girls golf team
now in Division I
The girls golf team competes in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Royal American.
It's the first time the Lions have competed in Division I. The change took coach Mike Rogers by surprise.
"I was seeding the Division II teams and they told me that I was in Division I," Rogers said.
"We weren't prepared for that because we hadn't played the (Division I sectional) course. We'll play Royal American some this week to get ready for it."
At sectional, the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.
Last season, the Lions placed third (422) behind fellow district-qualifiers Newark Catholic (353) and Columbus School for Girls (371) in a Division II sectional at Blacklick Woods.
The Lions finished second (12-4) in the MSL-Ohio behind Worthington Christian (14-2) and ahead of Grandview (9-7), London (4-12) and Wellington (1-15).
In the league's postseason tournament Sept. 16 at Turnberry, Bexley was second (413) behind Worthington Christian (389) and ahead of Grandview (434) and London (486). Wellington did not have enough golfers for a team score.
Viviane Banion (87) led the Lions, followed by Abbey Elizondo (106), Emma Segerman (108), Grace Brigdon (112), Kate Maynard (118) and Audrey Lauerhass (122).
Tennis team finishes
third in league tourney
The girls tennis team placed third (5 points) in the MSL-Ohio tournament Sept. 23 at Academy, behind the host Vikings (15) and Wellington (9) and ahead of Worthington Christian (4), Grandview (1), London (1) and Whitehall (0).
All five courts for the Lions went 1-1. Participating in singles were Haley Wilson (first), Avery Weisman (second) and Ava Grossman (third). Katie Benedict and Ellie Levy (first) and Maxine Giller and Olivia Williams (second) played doubles.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley cross country, field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:
Oct. 4 -- Hartley at Jeffrey Mansion
*Sept. 28 -- At Columbus Academy
*Oct. 3 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Oct. 4 -- At Academy
*Oct. 4 -- At Academy
Sept. 28 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central
Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman