First-year coach Steve Ford doesn't hide his excitement and expectations for the Upper Arlington High School girls golf team.
With all but one player back from last year's team that came up one spot short of the Division I state tournament, Ford is certain the Golden Bears again will challenge for the district championship and more.
"This is a golf-mature group with many tremendous, respective individual accomplishments amongst the group," Ford said. "Most play a competitive golf schedule and their golf acumen is as high as I have seen for young ladies at this age."
Senior Lilly Carine, juniors Emily Hummer and Lizzie Murray and sophomores Reagan Nolan and Julia Rabadam comprise the lineup.
Earlier this summer, Hummer finished second in the Ohio Junior Girls Championship in Marion, losing to Olentangy Berlin junior Leila Raines in a two-hole playoff.
Rabadam participated in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals in 2017.
The only loss from last year was junior Maddie Frank, whose family moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina.
UA opened Aug. 6 by finishing fourth (318) in the 10-team Lady Lion Invitational at Jefferson Country Club behind champion New Albany (295).
Two days later in the first round of the OCC-Central Division tournament at Royal American, the Bears finished second (322) behind New Albany (301) and ahead of Dublin Coffman (329), Hilliard Davidson (390), Marysville (403) and Canal Winchester (406).
Rabadam shot a 79, followed by Murray and Nolan (both 80), Carine (83) and senior Anna Grillo (84).
Hummer did not compete because she was participating in the Big I National Championship in Charleston, South Carolina.
The second round of the league tournament was Aug. 15 at Cooks Creek.
UA won the OCC-Central title last year, going 20-0 to finish ahead of runner-up Coffman (16-4), and then placed third at district (311), four shots behind second-place Dublin Jerome for the final state berth.
Rounding out the roster are senior Clara Grillo and junior Natalie Horn.
"Like all golfers, our greatest challenge will be to mentally and emotionally handle the adversity that ... will be inevitable in a season," Ford said. "It is a not a matter of will this happen, but when as it always does in golf. It is our attitude and ability to persevere that will determine our level of success as a team."
Ford succeeds Steve Gdovin, who coached UA on an interim basis after 10-year coach Kristi Ghidotti resigned about a month into the season. Ford previously coached boys golf and girls basketball in southwest Ohio.
"We hope to enjoy the great opportunity to complete at a high level, and girls golf in central Ohio is outstanding," Ford said. "We hope to be in the mix of the discussion come October."
Cramer, Patterson pacing boys golfers
Matt Cramer and Quinn Patterson return to lead the boys golf team, and while they are two of four seniors on the roster, UA still is working in a handful of competitors new to varsity A under first-year coach Troy Arbaugh.
Patterson began the season as the Bears' top golfer. Cramer was in the second spot, ahead of sophomore Jud Turner, senior Grant Menke and junior Joe Mollica from third to fifth, respectively.
"Most guys are pretty aware of what they need to do to get better. It's just (a matter of) whether or not they're going to put in the work," Arbaugh said. "The whole team knows that I preach putting. When one club accounts for 40 percent of the strokes in a round, it needs to be constantly improved. We also work on decision-making and course management. ..."
UA opened Aug. 6 with the Olentangy Liberty Invitational at Denison Golf Club, finishing second (307) of six teams, behind the Patriots (303). Cramer shot a 74 and tied for medalist honors.
Patterson took the spotlight Aug. 7 in the first round of the four-round OCC-Central tournament at Turnberry, shooting a medalist round of 72 and leading a balanced team effort as UA shot a 303 to finish ahead of Coffman (304), Davidson (316), Marysville (347) and Westland (498). Central Crossing did not record a team score.
Cramer shot a 74, four shots ahead of Mollica. Menke and Turner each shot 79.
UA strengthened its hold on first place after the second round Aug. 13 at Denison Golf Club, shooting a 299 to finish first ahead of Davidson (319), Coffman (326), Marysville (350), Central Crossing (428) and Westland (547). The Bears are 10-0 in the league, ahead of Coffman and Davidson at 7-3.
Senior Ryan Mazzaferri and junior Max Sloan began the season on varsity B, but Arbaugh said they might have a chance to be promoted as the season progresses.
Arbaugh succeeds Doug Smith, who coached the Bears for one season. Arbaugh was a four-year letterman at Zanesville Maysville who coached UA's varsity B team a year ago.
"The experience was so great that when Smith resigned, I knew I had to stay and become the head coach," Arbaugh said.
UA went 20-0 in the OCC-Central last year to finish first, ahead of runner-up Coffman (16-4). The Bears finished fifth in the Division I district tournament, three spots and eight shots shy of their first state berth since 2014.
"I have plans to be here as long as they'll have me," Arbaugh said. "I have to sometimes stop and realize that I'm the head coach of the most decorated program in state history with 17 titles, not to mention it's the alma mater of the greatest player of all time (Jack Nicklaus)."
State qualifiers back for girls tennis team
All four of the girls tennis team's Division I state qualifiers from a year ago have returned, but 15th-year coach Shaun Stamps said tryouts were every bit as competitive as in recent years.
Senior Evelyn Holman, junior Wendy Shi and sophomores Ella Hazelbaker and Noah Mizer all will try to build on their successful 2017 seasons. Holman and Shi went 1-1 as a doubles team at state, and Hazelbaker and Mizer lost their first-round state doubles match.
"It was a stressful, hot week (of tryouts)," Stamps said. "We ended up keeping 12 girls. A lot of scores were so close in the tryout matches. We have some freshmen we think can make an impact."
UA opened Aug. 10 with a 5-0 win at Dayton Chaminade Julienne.
According to Stamps, Hazelbaker will play first singles, but he added that the rest of the lineup has not been decided and will be flexible for at least the first several matches. Holman and Shi played second and third singles, respectively, on Aug. 10, Marti and sophomore Emma Wang were at first doubles and senior Isabelle Triplett and freshman Lauren Thompson played second doubles.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Angela Li and Melanie Macszal, junior Sarah Marti, sophomore Rena Zhao and freshman Olivia Westin.
The Bears' home opener was Aug. 15 against Olentangy Orange.
UA begins pursuit of the OCC-Central championship Aug. 23 at Central Crossing. The Bears, who have won 28 league titles in the past 29 seasons, went 9-2 overall and 5-0 in the league a year ago to finish a match ahead of runner-up Coffman (4-1).
Aug. 6 -- Olentangy Liberty Invitational at Denison Golf Club
Aug. 7 -- OCC-Central at Turnberry
Aug. 8 -- Westerville Central Invitational at Rattlesnake Ridge
Aug. 9 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Links
Aug. 11 -- Maketawah Invitational at Maketawah
Aug. 13 -- OCC-Central at Denison Golf Club
Aug. 14 -- Dublin Classic at Golf Club of Dublin
Aug. 18 -- Cincinnati Moeller Invitational at Walden Ponds
Aug. 20 -- Toledo St. John's Invitational at Inverness
Aug. 27 -- Centerville Elk Invitational at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Central at Apple Valley
Sept. 1 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle
Sept. 4 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club
Sept. 8 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 10 -- Gdovin Memorial Invitational at Zanesville Country Club
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Central at Darby Creek
Sept. 16 -- Lion-Cardinal Classic at Quail Hollow
Sept. 22 -- Upper Arlington Masters Invitational at Scioto Country Club
Sept. 29 -- Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational at Hickory Hills
Aug. 6 -- Lady Lion Invitational at Jefferson
Aug. 8 -- OCC-Central at Royal American
Aug. 10 -- Panther Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 13 -- Pickerington North and Watterson at Raymond Memorial
Aug. 15 -- OCC-Central at Cooks Creek
Aug. 18 -- Midwest Classic at Skyland Pines
Aug. 20 -- Lady Elk Invitational at Centerville
Aug. 25 -- Bear-Lion Open at Cooks Creek
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Central at Mentel Memorial
Sept. 1 -- Lady Thunderbird Invitational at Lost Creek
Sept. 4 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Country Club
Sept. 8 -- Eagle-Panther Invitational at Cooks Creek
Sept. 10 -- Olentangy Liberty at Raymond Memorial
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Central at Westchester
Sept. 15 -- Toledo St. Ursula Arrow Golf Invitational at Highland Meadows
Sept. 17 -- Pickerington North at Turnberry
Sept. 20 -- Lady Bear Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 22 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Sept. 26 -- Pickerington North and Watterson at TBD
Aug. 10 -- at Dayton Chaminade Julienne
Aug. 15 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Aug. 16 -- at Westerville North
Aug. 20 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Aug. 21 -- vs. Westerville South
*Aug. 23 -- vs. Central Crossing
Aug. 25 -- Canfield Doubles Tournament
*Aug. 28 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 29 -- vs. Lexington
*Aug. 30 -- vs. Westland
*Sept. 4 -- at Marysville
*Sept. 6 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 15 -- Wellington Cup
Sept. 17 -- vs. Lancaster
Sept. 19 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 24 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Sept. 26 -- vs. Chillicothe
Oct. 1 -- at Pickerington Central
Below are the coming schedules for the Upper Arlington boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys water polo and girls water polo teams:
Aug. 17 -- At Westerville Central
Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Aug. 17 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Granville
Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
BOYS WATER POLO
Aug. 17-18 -- Early Bird Invitational at Ann Arbor (Mich.) Huron
GIRLS WATER POLO
Aug. 17-18 -- Upper Arlington Invitational