Senior Aaron Zeller is the lone returning starter on the Thomas Worthington High School boys golf team.

The Cardinals lost four starters from a team that finished 17-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division last season to place second behind Dublin Jerome (23-1).

Among the graduation losses was David LaLonde, a Division I state qualifier.

"Aaron is our only returning varsity player, but he's a senior who had an outstanding junior season," 12th-year coach Jay Addy said. "Last season, Aaron was voted first-team all-district and also was first-team all-OCC. He averaged 74.9 last season and was a tournament medalist at five invitationals. I'm looking for big things from Aaron this year."

Newcomers are senior Stephen Jackman, junior Josh Towns, sophomores Colin Corbett and Noah Jackman and freshman Paari Kaviyarasu.

"Paari qualified as our No. 2 man as a freshman," Addy said. "He has a great swing and huge upside. He seems to be very consistent off the tee. I look for him to continue to grow and improve this season and be a big part of our campaign.

"Noah Jackman is switching over from soccer and he entered the season after qualifying as our No. 3 man. He also has a great swing and has shown great work ethic during the offseason."

In the first round of the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 7 at Apple Valley, the Cardinals finished sixth (348) behind Jerome (298), Olentangy Berlin (317), Dela-ware (319), Hilliard Bradley (323) and Hilliard Darby (344) and ahead of Kilbourne (349) and Dublin Scioto (369).

Zeller carded a team-best 78, followed by Kaviyarasu and Corbett (both 89), Noah Jackman (92) and Towns (99). Zeller's score tied for fifth overall.

Zeller tied for fifth overall in the second round Aug. 13 at Turnberry with a 75, but Thomas placed sixth (350) behind Jerome (296), Bradley (311), Berlin (319), Delaware (330) and Kilbourne (346) and ahead of Scioto (360) and Darby (362).

"We are coming off the best season in all my years as head golf coach," Addy said. "We finished with a record of 227-70 last season, winning two invitationals, placing in the top three in six tournaments and in the top five in 10 tournaments. However, most impressive was placing third at our district behind Jerome and Olentangy Liberty, who went on to place first and second at state. But we graduated four starters."

The Cardinals shot a 311 at district at Apple Valley, as Jerome (294) and Liberty (307) advanced to state.

"Our goal this season will be to continually improve from the start of the season to the end," Addy said. "My hope is to always look back at the end of the season and be able to see growth from the beginning of the season."

Girls golf team has new coach

The girls golf team has three returning letterwinners and four players overall this season for first-year coach Rodney Hopkins.

Senior Eva Baird is the only player who competed last season when the Cardinals went 3-21 in the OCC-Cardinal tournament to finish seventh behind champion Jerome (24-0).

However, seniors Kate Burnam and Catherine Podolski played as sophomores before sitting out last season.

"Kate and Catherine look to play in the team's top two spots," said Hopkins, the former football coach for Thomas who replaced four-year girls golf coach Mike Crotty.

"We only have four girls, so we obviously aren't very deep. But we will be looking to improve throughout the season and compete week to week."

Completing the roster is freshman Kerry Burnam.

"As our only non-senior, Kerry looks to be a promising prospect to carry the torch for us," Hopkins said. "But she is new to the sport."

The Cardinals did not post a team score in the first round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 8 at Westchester, as only Podolski (103) and Baird (143) competed. Jerome (338) finished first, followed by Delaware (362), Bradley (388), Scioto (426), Kilbourne (459) and Darby (476). Berlin also did not have a team score.

The second round was Aug. 15 at Royal American.

Xie returns to lead girls tennis team

Senior Sarina Xie, a three-time Division I district qualifier, is back to lead the girls tennis team, which opened Aug. 14 against Bexley and begins OCC-Cardinal play Thursday, Aug. 16, at Bradley.

Last season, Xie lost 6-2, 6-2 in the first round at district to state-qualifier Claire Ghidotti of Watterson after winning the Upper Arlington sectional.

Also returning are senior Ellie Brown and junior Riley Dodson.

"Sarina had a great year last year, but struggled at district," third-year coach Andrew Sinclair said. "She peaked at sectional instead of district, but she can change it this year. This is her last chance."

Dodson and Brown were paired in doubles at sectional and went 1-1.

"Riley will start the season playing second singles. But at this moment, I'm not sure of the rest of the lineup," Sinclair said.

Also back are two other letterwinners in senior Anna Kravtsova and junior Sydney Cooke. Newcomers are senior Kim Ann Brown and sophomore Kate Haydel-Brown.

Last season, the Cardinals finished 9-7 overall and went 4-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to place third behind Jerome (6-0).

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

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Schedules

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 4 -- Thomas Preview at Delaware Golf Club

Aug. 6 -- Olentangy Liberty Invitational at Denison Golf Club

Aug. 7 -- OCC-Cardinal at Apple Valley

Aug. 8 -- Westerville Central Invitational at Rattlesnake Ridge

Aug. 9 -- Eagle Invitational at New Albany Links

Aug. 10 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Chapel Hill

Aug. 11 -- Steve Youmans Classic at Oakhaven

Aug. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal at Turnberry

Aug. 14 -- Dublin Invitational at Golf Club of Dublin

Aug. 18 -- Kent Miller Invitational at Hiawatha

Aug. 21 -- Pickerington North at Denison Golf Club

Aug. 29 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek

Sept. 4 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club

Sept. 6 -- Dublin Scioto at Glenross

Sept. 8 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside

Sept. 10 -- Steve Gdovin Invitational at Zanesville Country Club

Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Denison Golf Club

Sept. 18 -- Central Crossing, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty at York

Sept. 22 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills

Sept. 24 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders

Sept. 25 -- Dublin Scioto at York

Sept. 27 -- Worthington Cup at Worthington Hills

Sept. 29 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 6 -- Hilliard Davidson at Mentel Memorial

Aug. 7 -- Hilliard Bradley at Rolling Meadows

Aug. 8 -- OCC-Cardinal at Westchester

Aug. 14 -- Hilliard Darby at Rolling Meadows

Aug. 15 -- OCC-Cardinal at Royal American

Aug. 20 -- Dublin Scioto at The Ridge Golf & Gardens

Aug. 22 -- Hilliard Darby at Rolling Meadows

Aug. 23 -- DeSales at Mentel Memorial

Aug. 30 -- OCC-Cardinal at Cooks Creek

Sept. 4 -- Hilliard Bradley at Thorn Apple

Sept. 5 -- OCC-Cardinal at Mentel Memorial

Sept. 6 -- Dublin Scioto at Glenross

Sept. 10 -- Hilliard Davidson at The Ridge Golf & Gardens

Sept. 11 -- Delaware at Oakhaven

Sept. 17 -- Olentangy Orange at Blackhawk

Sept. 18 -- Delaware at Mentel Memorial

Sept. 20 -- Olentangy Berlin at Glenross

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 14 -- at Bexley

*Aug. 16 -- at Hilliard Bradley

*Aug. 21 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

Aug. 22 -- at Hartley

*Aug. 23 -- at Delaware

Aug. 27 -- at Columbus Academy

*Aug. 28 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin

Aug. 29 -- at Whetstone

*Aug. 30 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

*Sept. 4 -- at Hilliard Darby

Sept. 5 -- at Olentangy Orange

*Sept. 6 -- vs. Kilbourne

Sept. 8 -- Worthington Cup at home

Sept. 15 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament

Sept. 17 -- vs. Grove City

Sept. 19 -- vs. Upper Arlington

Sept. 24 -- vs. Worthington Christian

Sept. 27 -- at Westerville Central

Oct. 2 -- vs. Watterson at Park of Roses

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas cross country, field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys water polo and girls water polo teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 18 -- OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway

FIELD HOCKEY

Aug. 20 -- At Olentangy

*Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 17 -- At Upper Arlington

Aug. 21 -- At Olentangy

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Aug. 21 -- At Hilliard Bradley

Aug. 22 -- At Westerville South

BOYS WATER POLO

Aug. 17-18 -- Knight Invitational at Toledo St. Francis

GIRLS WATER POLO

Aug. 17-18 -- Upper Arlington Invitational

*League contest