The DeSales High School girls golf team's top three players to start the season were a junior and two sophomores, but that does not change coach Charlie Mitchell's conviction that the Stallions continue to take steps to better compete in Division I.

Junior Paige Verfurth entered the season in the top spot, ahead of sophomores Faith Corn and Amanda Pancake.

"We're still a reasonably young team," said Mitchell, whose fourth season began Aug. 6 when the Stallions won the first round of the four-round Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League tournament at Champions. "Those top three girls are my three best, but everybody keeps getting better. There's definitely a youth movement on this team. We're getting players who work at (the game).

"Usually at sectional, if you shoot 340 or 350, you have a shot to get out (to the district tournament). We have a shot at that this year, I think. We improved dramatically (at Division I sectionals) the last few years (from 404 in 2016 to 377 last year). We aren't there just to show up. This is a competitive team and we think we can advance if we keep improving."

Led by Corn's medalist round of 88, the Stallions shot 388 on Aug. 6 to finish ahead of Columbus School for Girls (405), Centerburg (447) and Licking Valley (449). Verfurth shot a 90, followed by Pancake (98) and sophomore Melina McSweeny (112).

Senior Stephanie Circelli also returns from last season, when DeSales went 15-2 in the MOGGL to place second behind Granville (12-1), which is not in the league this season. Classmate Maggie Sarle also is on the team.

DeSales finished seventh at sectional last year, four spots shy of the last district berth. Corn shot a team-best 88.

Because Mitchell does not make cuts, he called the first week of the preseason "seeding events" rather than "tryouts."

"(The order) is very interchangeable," Mitchell said. "The girls push each other in a good way. If somebody scores better, then they will have their chance to move up the lineup. It's not necessarily an indicator of who the best or worst player on the team is."

DeSales also will compete in the CCL for the first time this season. The league's preseason tournament was Aug.15 at NorthStar and the postseason tournament will be Oct. 6, the final Saturday of the regular season, on the same course.

"The schools definitely wanted this, but we had to have at least four teams (in the CCL) to form a league and we do," Mitchell said. "Ready and Hartley have enough girls to field teams now. It's nice because we have that natural rivalry with Watterson anyway and if we aren't playing for something when we see them, the rivalry loses a little bit. They're the benchmark for CCL teams. The big question for us is whether we can close the gap."

Cummins back to lead boys golf team

First-year boys golf coach Tony Pinson admitted there was a time he never would have seen himself wearing DeSales purple.

Pinson attended Watterson for three years before graduating from Wellington in 1993, and went on to golf for three years at Clemson and two years at Division II Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Once Pinson came on board at DeSales, a friend at Brookside Golf and Country Club let him know he would be glad he'd made that decision.

"Somebody at Brookside heard I'd took the DeSales job and he said, 'You're going to love Michael Cummins,'" Pinson said. "(Cummins) is an incredible young man. He leads by example. He's a quiet kid, but he is a hard worker."

Cummins, a junior who is the only returning full-time player from last year's top five, solidified his hold on the top spot in tryouts by shooting rounds of 77 and 78. According to Pinson, his combined score was more than 20 shots ahead of everyone else.

Joe Valentine, a senior returnee, expects to help lead a roster that also includes classmate Joey Kramer, juniors Andrew Connell, Ryan Ratchford and Kyle Zevchik, sophomore Jack Imlay and freshmen Scott Armstrong and Will Jordan.

Connell is a transfer from St. Charles. Zevchik recently moved back to the area from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but previously attended St. Matthew, a DeSales feeder school in Gahanna.

DeSales opened Aug. 6 with the Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry, finishing 17th (386) of 19 teams behind champion Dublin Jerome B (308).

"Our top five or six is pretty much set, and I haven't seen Michael shoot in the 80s yet (entering last week)," Pinson said. "Then we have a few kids right around 80 in Connor and Kyle, and a lot of guys right behind them. They've been competitive. We might not be a powerhouse, but we have some quality on our roster."

Pinson replaced Mike McGoldrick, who stepped down after two seasons.

This is Pinson's first varsity head-coaching job, although he has coached the baseball and boys basketball teams at St. Andrew in Upper Arlington for eight years.

The CCL preseason tournament was scheduled for Aug. 15 at Darby Creek. Last season, DeSales went 0-6 in the league, finishing fourth behind 10-time defending champion St. Charles (6-0).

"We should be decent," Pinson said. "I'm not saying we're going to knock off St. Charles, but our junior class is strong."

Girls tennis coach likes team's depth

Coming off its best season this decade, the girls tennis team features a deeper overall roster under third-year coach Tom Snyder.

The entire lineup returns, other than 2018 graduate Alex Foos, from a team that went 12-7 overall. That was DeSales' best record since going 15-3 in 2009.

Senior Erin Miller and junior Megan Husslein were one win shy of qualifying for the Division I district tournament in doubles, and they lead a group of returnees that also includes seniors Izzy Arbona, Miranda Draminski, Allison Goetz and Aubrey Wilcox and junior Cate Leithauser.

Leithauser led the Stallions with 17 wins last year, while Draminski and Wilcox each won 10 matches.

"We're so much deeper than when I took over the program," Snyder said. "There are a number of players who spent the offseason, including most of the summer, playing tennis. It's allowed us to keep a much higher number of girls in the program than in previous seasons because of the level of skill.

"We've essentially split our team of 27 in half and the practices have been good and competitive. There's not much of a drop-off in our top 13."

According to Snyder, Arbona, Draminski, Leithauser and senior Anne Ryan will play singles. Most other players will play doubles or alternate between singles and doubles.

Rounding out the roster are junior Elaina Murray and freshman Molly Ballard.

DeSales opened Aug. 10 at Central Crossing. The Stallions' designated home opener was Aug. 15 against Whetstone at Park of Roses, although they will not play a true home match all season because of construction on their courts.

DeSales begins CCL play Aug. 28 against Ready at Westgate Park. The Stallions went 2-2 in the league last year, finishing third behind champion CSG (4-0).

"Our league is tough with CSG and Watterson at the top. For us to close the gap on them, we have to continue to play year-round," Snyder said. "At the end of the day, I understand where we are as a program and I'm happy with that. We're moving in the right direction and we're having a lot of fun in the process."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 6 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 10 -- Bloom-Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill

Aug. 14 -- Bloom-Carroll and Newark at Pine Hill

Aug. 15 -- CCL preseason tournament at Darby Creek

Aug. 18 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha

Aug. 27 -- Hilliard Davidson at Champions

Aug. 28 -- Marysville and Watterson at TBD

Sept. 1 -- Bexley Invitational at Westchester

Sept. 4 -- Westerville Central at Champions

Sept. 5 -- Bexley at Westchester

Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry

Sept. 10 -- Canal Winchester at Westchester

Sept. 11 -- Big Walnut at Champions

Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club

Sept. 18 -- Westerville Central at TBD

Sept. 20 -- Hartley at Champions

Sept. 22 -- Watterson Invitational at Clover Valley

Sept. 23 -- CCL postseason tournament at Apple Valley

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 6 -- MOGGL at Champions

Aug. 7 -- Ready at Foxfire

Aug. 10 -- Panther Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 13 -- MOGGL at Champions

Aug. 14 -- Dublin Scioto at NorthStar

Aug. 15 -- CCL preseason tournament at NorthStar

Aug. 16 -- Pickerington North at Royal American

Aug. 21 -- Columbus School for Girls at Blacklick Woods

Aug. 29 -- Dublin Scioto at TBD

Sept. 4 -- Hartley and Westerville North at NorthStar

Sept. 10 -- Watterson at Champions

Sept. 11 -- MOGGL at Village View

Sept. 12 -- Columbus School for Girls at NorthStar

Sept. 13 -- Delaware and Olentangy at Oakhaven

Sept. 17 -- Ready at NorthStar

Sept. 18 -- MOGGL at Village View

Sept. 19 -- Watterson at NorthStar

Sept. 20 -- Pickerington North at NorthStar

Sept. 25 -- Westerville North at Royal American

Sept. 27 -- Hartley at New Albany Links

Oct. 6 -- CCL postseason tournament at NorthStar

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 10 -- at Central Crossing

Aug. 11 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Kenyon College

Aug. 15 -- Whetstone at Park of Roses

Aug. 16 -- at Wilmington with Clarksville Clinton-Massie

Aug. 18 -- Westerville North Doubles Tournament

Aug. 21 -- at Granville

Aug. 27 -- Hamilton Township at Park of Roses

*Aug. 28 -- Ready at Westgate Park

Aug. 29 -- at Reynoldsburg

*Sept. 4 -- Hartley at Park of Roses

Sept. 5 -- Big Walnut at Otterbein University

Sept. 10 -- at Worthington Christian

Sept. 12 -- at Westerville North

*Sept. 13 -- Watterson at Park of Roses

Sept. 15 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament

Sept. 18 -- at Grove City

Sept. 20 -- at Hilliard Bradley

*Sept. 25 -- at Columbus School for Girls

Sept. 27 -- at Delaware

Oct. 2 -- Mount Vernon at Woodward Park

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 17 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

Aug. 21 -- At Hilliard Davidson

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 21 -- At Sparta Highland