Claire Ghidotti is headed back to Mason for her final prep competition.

After making it to a quarterfinal at the Division I state tournament in 2015, the Watterson High School girls tennis player lost in a quarterfinal at district last season.

Ghidotti easily won her first two district matches Oct. 12 at Hilliard Bradley to qualify for state for the second time. She went on to finish third at district Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington.

The state tournament is Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

"Sophomore year I was probably a lot more nervous because I was younger," Ghidotti said. "Whatever happens this year, there's not a lot of pressure. My forehand was pretty good. I've been struggling with it."

Ghidotti opened district with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Thomas Worthington's Sarina Xie and followed with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Dublin Scioto's Ashley Lambillotte to qualify for state.

On Oct. 14, she lost to Pickerington North's Cassie Alcala 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in a semifinal but bounced back to beat Olentangy's Kathleen Jones 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the third-place match.

"I faced (Xie) earlier this year and beat her so I was pretty confident," Ghidotti said.

Ghidotti's older sister, 2014 graduate Lauren Ghidotti, won the district title and was state runner-up as a senior in 2013.

"(Claire has) definitely gotten better since her sophomore year," coach Susan Weil said. "She's playing smart, playing patient and playing with a lot of variety. It's very exciting for her to get there her senior year. Last year, it was a tough because she had tough matches (at district) and didn't qualify."

Football team blows past Cards

The football team picked up a confidence boost with a 31-7 victory over St. Charles on Oct. 13.

The Eagles snapped a six-game losing streak and improved to 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the CCL. They close the league schedule Oct. 27 at DeSales.

On Friday, Oct. 20, Watterson plays at Dublin Jerome, which is 5-3 and is battling for a playoff spot in Division I, Region 2.

"The lesson we've learned is that it takes time," first- year coach Brian Kennedy said. "The kids are still positive. (We were) as healthy (against St. Charles) as we've been."

Watterson has committed 20 turnovers on the season.

Running back Nick DePalma has rushed for 377 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Cole Andrews is 118-for-216 passing for 1,268 yards with nine touchdowns.

Kuraly wins CCL cross country title

Nick Kuraly of the boys cross country team enters the Division II, district 1 meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial coming off a CCL championship.

Kuraly ran 16 minutes, 57.43 seconds in the league meet Oct. 14 at Otterbein University to capture the league title as the Eagles scored 54 points to finish behind St. Charles (24) in the five-team meet.

"I tried to run at my own pace and step it up each mile," Kuraly said. "You're always more confident after a win. It makes me more confident in my abilities and tactics."

Also competing for the Eagles were Shane Merklin (eighth, 17:37.87), Matthew Hartel (12th, 18:02.79), Patrick Monnin (13th, 18:07.89), Will Garey (20th, 18:38.11), Matthew Lamb (22nd, 18:55.72) and Charlie Nowinski (23rd, 19:07.84).

Emily Latshaw took third (21:19.49) for the girls team in the CCL meet as the Eagles scored 52 points to finish behind DeSales (37) and Hartley (45). Watterson had won the past three league titles.

"The race went well and it was one of my better races this season," Latshaw said. "I felt strong. I'm really proud of how the team has been running this season."

According to coach Matt McGowan, some of his girls runners made a wrong turn during the race, which hurt their finishes.

Danielle Grim had the team's second-best run, placing ninth (22:17.23), followed by Brooklyn Brush (10th, 22:24.94), Bridget Dougherty (14th, 23:28.72), Sarah O'Brien (16th, 24:00.55), Emily Vais (25th, 25:39.34) and Sarah Heink (26th, 25:55.55).

The girls team will compete in the Division I, district 2 meet Oct. 21 at Watkins Memorial, where the top six teams and top 24 runners advance to the regional meet Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.

In the boys' district race, the top three teams and top 12 runners qualify for regional.

Volleyball team preps for tourney

The 10th-seeded girls volleyball team opens the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 19, at home against 29th-seeded Reynoldsburg or 31st-seeded Eastmoor Academy in a second-round match.

The winner plays seventh-seeded Gahanna, 21st-seeded Chillicothe or 44th-seeded Teays Valley on Oct. 26 in a district semifinal at Whitehall.

Watterson closed the regular season on a five-match winning streak and is 14-8.

In a 25-14, 25-16, 25-10 win over Westerville South on Oct. 11 in the Eagles' regular-season finale, Karylyn Hannewald had nine kills, Josie Vondran had three blocks and 21 assists and Callie Cloran had 11 digs.

Soccer teams open postseason

The boys and girls soccer teams began their respective postseasons this week.

The girls team was seeded 15th in the Division I district tournament and opened Oct. 16 at home against 37th-seeded Licking Heights in a Division I first-round game.

The winner plays 22nd-seeded Westerville South on Thursday, Oct. 19, in a second-round game at the home of the higher seed. That winner will play third-seeded Gahanna, 29th-seeded Reynoldsburg or 31st-seeded Marion Harding in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is Oct. 28.

The Eagles were 6-7-3 before playing Licking Heights.

The sixth-seeded boys team had won three games in a row before opening the Division II district tournament Oct. 17 at home against 22nd-seeded Eastmoor Academy.

The winner plays 10th-seeded Independence or 17th-seeded Hartley in a second-round game Saturday, Oct. 21. That winner faces eighth-seeded Beechcroft, 12th-seeded Jonathan Alder or 13th-seeded Heath in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at a neutral site to be determined. The district final is Oct. 28.

Gilberto Quintero scored two goals as Watterson beat Lancaster 3-0 on Oct. 14 in its regular-season finale to improve to 8-6-1.

Field hockey team preps for tourney

The fifth-seeded field hockey team opens the district tournament Thursday, Oct. 19, against 13th-seeded Columbus School for Girls at Thomas Worthington.

Watterson, which beat CSG 6-0 on Sept. 5, is 8-8.

The winner plays third-seeded Granville or 14th-seeded Hartley in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the higher seed. The district final is Oct. 28 at Olentangy Liberty.

Strong nucleus to return in girls golf

Lizzy Steffensmeier of the girls golf team shot a 74 to tie for seventh in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek, but the junior came up short of advancing to state by two spots.

"I was really anxious but excited in the beginning, but I calmed down and tried to take things hole by hole and shot by shot," Steffensmeier said. "I started out pretty consistent, and the last two holes I bogeyed, so that was kind of hard."

Senior Erin Korn (80), sophomore Sammy Politz (99), junior Ava Gray (101) and senior Shelby Six (104) also competed at district for the Eagles, who shot a 354 to place last of nine teams as Olentangy Orange (304) and Jerome (307) advanced to state.

Watterson placed third (365) in a 10-team sectional Oct. 3 at Royal American to advance to district.

"Erin started playing to her potential later in the season and that helped our scoring," coach Debbie Weis said. "Grace Kairis surprised us all a few weeks ago and shot a 40 at Champions in a torrential downpour. Lizzy has been our steady No. 1 player. Shelby has been a pleasant surprise. ... This team did a nice job getting back to district."

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