Senior David LaLonde survived a three-hole playoff and will represent the Thomas Worthington High School boys golf team in the Division I state tournament Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
LaLonde shot a 73 in the district tournament Oct. 10 at Apple Valley to tie Westerville South's Troy Taylor for the second and final individual state berth. The two went to a playoff, where they matched scores on holes No. 1 and No. 2 before LaLonde won with a par on No. 3.
"The playoff was intense and he had the edge on No. 1 when I drove into the rough," LaLonde said. "But he burnt the edge on a 10-foot uphill putt for birdie and I survived. On the third hole, he hit out of bounds and all I had to do was shoot for par and that's what I did."
LaLonde will play a practice round at Scarlet Course on Thursday, Oct. 19.
"I've only played it once before and it was with friends during the summer," he said. "I'm excited, but also kind of nervous. I'm looking to hold those nerves in and challenge myself because these are going to be the best golfers in the state."
Coach Jay Addy was impressed with LaLonde's nerves at district.
"It was pretty exciting stuff. There was a large gallery of around 50 players and coaches watching all three holes," he said. "After Troy missed the 10-footer, David hit a great drive on No. 2 and Troy missed the fairway but managed to hit the green and he two-putted. David hit to 15 feet and just missed his putt, so they tied again.
"David played an excellent round overall. He had a triple-bogey early on, but continued to battle, which showed a lot about his character. What he did in the playoff, under those conditions, was amazing. I'm extremely proud of him."
The Cardinals shot 311 at district to finish third of 12 teams, behind state-qualifiers Dublin Jerome (294) and Olentangy Liberty (307). St. Charles (312) was fourth.
Central Crossing's Caleb Davern (71) was the top individual state qualifier.
"The team had a great day and it was very exciting to watch," Addy said. "We started on the back nine and turned at 154, which was a better back nine score than when we shot a 299 (at Apple Valley on Aug. 14 in the second round of the four-round OCC-Cardinal Division tournament).
"Unfortunately, we had a few tough breaks on our second nine. However, we were the leader in the clubhouse through, I believe, the first eight teams. When we realized we got St. Charles by a shot, there was a period we thought we had a real good chance. But the final player in for Olentangy Liberty shot really well."
Curran Gimeson and Aaron Zeller both shot 77 for Thomas and Bailey Utterback carded an 84. Jake Savage (99) also competed.
Boys, girls runners defend OCC titles
The boys and girls cross country teams both repeated as OCC-Cardinal champions Oct. 14 at Hilliard Darby.
The boys had four of the top eight placers and rolled to the title, scoring 35 points to finish ahead of Jerome (61), Darby (81), Dublin Scioto (83), Kilbourne (108), Hilliard Bradley (143) and Delaware (224).
Arjun Jha won the league title in 15 minutes, 23.84 seconds, while Andy Payne placed second (15:41.67).
Isaac Wise (seventh, 16:47.99), Zubin Jha (eighth, 16:48.48) and Ryan Gimeson (17th, 17:14.19) completed the scoring.
"It's neat that the boys and girls both went back-to-back," coach Bill Darling said. "It wasn't a great day for times, but I'm incredibly happy with their efforts and with them sticking to the race strategy. I think we're peaking at the right time. The objective is to win. It may be a bit disappointing for them in terms of times because it was hot and humid, but comparing our times to others across the OCC (on Oct. 14), we did great."
The top seven runners earned first-team all-league honors, while Nos. 8-14 were second-team honorees and Nos. 15-21 made third team.
The girls also had four of the top eight placers, as Gia Napoleon (19:05.1), Carina Napoleon (19:10.74) and Lydia Miller (19:42.6) finished third through fifth, respectively. Tori Banks was eighth (19:58.82) and Sydney Cropper was 27th (21:51.75).
The Cardinals totaled 47 points to finish ahead of Darby (74), Bradley (88), Jerome (94), Kilbourne (101), Scioto (110) and Delaware (158).
"The girls are really running well," coach Andy Cox said. "The top four have been very, very good. The girls are competitive, working hard and pushing each other. It's unbelievable how well they get along for how competitive they are. They're hungry, but yet it's a very nice atmosphere.
"Plus, our top seven or eight are all underclassmen, which is so exciting."
Both teams are gearing up for the Division I district meet Saturday, Oct. 21, at Watkins Memorial.
The boys will compete in district 3 and the girls will be in district 2. In each race, the top six teams and top 24 runners advance to regional Oct. 28 at Pickerington North.
Tennis season ends for Xie
Junior Sarina Xie of the girls tennis team lost to Watterson's Claire Ghidotti 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of singles play in the Division I district tournament Oct. 12 at Bradley.
Ghidotti went on to finish third. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to the state tournament Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"Sarina came out of sectionals playing her best tennis all year, but for whatever reason, she didn't play well (at district)," coach Andrew Sinclair said. "It's a shame, because I think she had a good chance to qualify for state if she was at the top of her game.
"But overall, it was a great year for her. She peaked at sectional instead of district, but she'll have one more chance to get there next year."
Xie won the title at sectional Oct. 6 and 7 at Upper Arlington. Seeded fourth, she went 5-0, beating second-seeded Elizabeth MacDowell of Liberty 6-2, 6-1 in the final after defeating top-seeded Alexis Brengartner of Liberty 6-3, 6-4 in a semifinal.
Also competing for Thomas in singles at sectional were seniors Olivia Burrier and Montana Siddle. Burrier went 1-1, losing 6-1, 6-0 to UA's Masha Manilchuk, who finished fourth. Siddle lost 6-0, 6-2 to UA's Sarah Marti in the first round.
In doubles, seniors XiaoYa Zhang and Emily Flottman-Mullen lost in the first round and sophomores Riley Dodson and Ellie Brown lost in the second round after winning by default in the first.
"We only have three of our top seven coming back, so we're going to miss our seniors," Sinclair said. "I thought Montana had a great season, but just had a bad sectional draw."
The Cardinals finished 9-7 overall and went 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to place third behind Jerome (6-0).
Field hockey team rolls in first round
The field hockey team began defense of its state title Oct. 16 by blanking 17th-seeded Lancaster 9-0.
The top-seeded Cardinals, who are the two-time defending state champions, will play host to eighth-seeded Olentangy or 12th-seeded New Albany in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24. The winner likely plays third-seeded Granville or fifth-seeded Watterson in the district final Oct. 28 at Liberty.
Thomas defeated Olentangy 8-0 in the season opener Aug. 21 and beat Watterson 6-1 on Oct. 9.
The Cardinals defeated Kilbourne 6-0 on Oct. 12 behind three goals by Rachel Rinaldi and two by Bella Avila. Maya McDaniel also scored and goalkeeper Isabelle Perese made two saves.
Against Lancaster, Avila scored three goals and Sarah Charley and Althea Chan added two apiece.
Postseason underway for volleyball team
Seeded 32nd of 50 teams, the girls volleyball team had a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament and played at 25th-seeded Scioto or 28th-seeded Logan in the second round Oct. 18.
The winner likely faces top-seeded Coffman in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Whitehall. The district final is Oct. 28.
Thomas was swept by Scioto in OCC-Cardinal play, losing 25-11, 25-15, 25-23 on Sept. 5 and 25-19, 26-24, 25-18 on Oct. 3. The Cardinals entered the tournament 9-13 overall after beating Buckeye Valley 18-25, 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8 on Oct. 12.
Girls soccer team wins tourney opener
Seeded 26th of 42 teams, the girls soccer team opened the Division I district tournament Oct. 16 at home by beating 33rd-seeded Hamilton Township 8-0.
The Cardinals improved to 4-8-5 and played at fifth-seeded Bradley in the second round Oct. 18, with that winner facing eighth-seeded Liberty or 39th-seeded Franklin Heights in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the higher seed. The district final is Oct. 28.
The Cardinals, who lost to Bradley 2-0 in OCC-Cardinal play Aug. 29, defeated Kilbourne 1-0 on Oct. 10 to finish 2-3-1 in the league.
Boys soccer team starts postseason
Seeded 13th of 47 teams, the boys soccer team played 33rd-seeded Mifflin in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18.
The winner plays host to 42nd-seeded Walnut Ridge in the second round Saturday, Oct. 21. That winner likely plays at second-seeded Dublin Coffman in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 25. The district final is Oct. 28.
Thomas entered the tournament 8-5-2 overall after beating Whitehall 3-1 on Oct. 12. The Cardinals lost to Kilbourne 5-1 on Oct. 10 to finish 3-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.