It took only three events into its inaugural season before the Olentangy Berlin High School boys golf team picked up its first tournament hardware.
The Bears won the Marysville Invitational on Aug. 8 at Darby Creek with a 295, easily outdistancing the runner-up Liberty B team by nine strokes.
The win was a pleasant surprise for coach Andrew Fraley, who came into tryouts still learning about his players.
"We had some low scores at tryouts, so I knew we had some talent," said Fraley, who coached at Orange the past four seasons, including the past two as head coach. "The thing is you never know what to expect until they are out there playing 18 holes.
"When I was at Orange, it was a little different because I knew the eighth-graders I had coming up and I would know their siblings and could project what I would have. In a first-year program like this, you're never quite sure what to expect. I knew I had some kids coming from Olentangy, but wasn't sure about who was coming from Liberty or who was coming from what middle school."
At Darby Creek, Berlin was led by junior Leila Raines, who shot a 3-under par 69 to share medalist honors with the Patriots' Caden Gallagher. Raines, who previously attended Olentangy, is playing for the boys team because she was one of only three to try out for the girls program.
"Since we don't have the four girls necessary to be considered a team, Leila will play with the boys program in the regular season and then play in the girls postseason," athletics director John Betz said. "If we were to get a fourth girl, she would have to play on the girls team in order to be eligible to play in the girls postseason."
Raines, a Michigan State commit, finished seventh (72) in the Division I state girls tournament as a freshman. She did not play last fall, opting to compete in several top-flight amateur events.
Sophomore Bryce Reed, the low-scoring player for the Bears in their first two events, shot a 73 at Darby Creek. Junior Tanner Shimp (75), sophomore Ethan Hegg (78), freshman Braeden Castro (81) and junior Layne Comyns (86) also competed.
Berlin followed that up by winning the Mike Nesselroad Invitational on Aug. 9 at Oakhaven. Raines was medalist with a 71 as the Bears (312) finished ahead of runner-up Delaware (323).
The Bears opened by finishing fourth (318) in the Fairfield Federal Invitational on Aug. 6 at Turnberry behind the champion Dublin Jerome B team (308). Reed shot a 77.
One day later, Berlin played in the opening round of the four-round OCC-Cardinal Division tournament at Apple Valley and finished second (317) behind defending champion Jerome (298). Delaware (319) was third, followed by Hilliard Bradley (323) Hilliard Darby (344), Thomas Worthington (348), Worthington Kilbourne (349) and Dublin Scioto (369).
Competing were Reed (73), Hegg (79), Raines (80), Shimp (85) and Casto (86).
"They know each other from tournaments and being in the neighborhood," Fraley said. "They got together and played golf over the summer and got things running and are a close-knit group."
In the second round Aug. 13 at Turnberry, Berlin was third (319) behind Jerome (296) and Bradley (311) and ahead of Delaware (330), Kilbourne (346), Thomas (350), Scioto (360) and Darby (362).
Rounding out the roster are juniors Brody Moore and Logan Wright, sophomore Caleb Haaser and freshman John Kirkwood.
Girls golf team features two players
Two athletes currently comprise the girls golf team. Junior Sierra Cardi competed for Olentangy last fall and freshman Michele Starner played in middle school.
Coach Bethany Dlesk said the two Bears would play as individuals in all four rounds of the OCC-Cardinal tournament but the remainder of the schedule still is being finalized.
"We are still going to have matches, but those are still in the works," Dlesk said. "We want to take some of the duals we originally scheduled and add a third team, so that way our opponents can have someone to go head-to-head against. We also will try to get into some invitationals as individuals."
In the opening round of league play Aug. 8 at Westchester, Cardi was fourth (83) behind medalist Hayley Dye (73) of Delaware. Starner shot a 100.
Jerome was first (338), followed by Delaware (362), Bradley (388), Scioto (426), Kilbourne (459) and Darby (476). Thomas also did not have enough golfers for a team score.
The second round was Aug. 15 at Royal American. The third round is Aug. 30 at Cooks Creek, and the final round is Sept. 5 at Mentel Memorial.
"We hope that once the school year starts that we can recruit some girls in the hallways to come out for us," Dlesk said. "If we can get girls that are not bogged down with a lot of fall activities to come out that would be great."
Girls tennis team begins journey
Coach Josh Matusky had 10 athletes try out for the girls tennis program.
Freshman Ella Franz was expected to play first singles when the Bears opened Aug. 15 against Watterson.
"Ella plays in tournaments throughout the city and plays year-round," said Matusky, who also is the boys coach at Liberty. "She is an overall strong player, especially in her positioning on the court. She's left-handed and also is small and quick, which helps her agility on the court."
Junior Vidya Puttagunta was expected to be at second singles after playing third singles at Olentangy last season. Sophomore Janna Harris was expected to play third singles.
Matusky said he still was trying to figure out the doubles combinations with juniors Maddie Reger and Maggie Torlone and sophomores Virginia Porter, Emma Reger and Sydney Webb in the mix.
Completing the roster are sophomore Juniya Franks and freshman Raaga Chakilam.
"They are a fun, hard-working group, and they seem to get along well," said Matusky, whose team opens OCC-Cardinal play Thursday, Aug. 16, at Scioto. "Everyone has a willingness to work hard and get better. They are very energetic and excited about the season."
Aug. 6 -- Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 7 -- OCC-Cardinal at Apple Valley
Aug. 8 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Aug. 9 -- Mike Nesselroad Invitational at Oakhaven
Aug. 11 -- Steve Youmans Classic at Oakhaven
Aug. 13 -- OCC-Cardinal at Turnberry
Aug. 18 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha
Aug. 21 -- Grove City at Bent Tree
Aug. 23 -- Marysville at Darby Creek
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek
Sept. 1 -- Pinnacle Classic
Sept. 6 -- Olentangy Orange at Bent Tree
Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Cardinal at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 17 -- Delaware County Bank Cup at Royal American
Sept. 20 -- Big Walnut at Bent Tree
Sept. 22 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 24 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders
Sept. 25 -- Grove City at Pinnacle
Sept. 27 -- Olentangy Orange at Bent Tree
Oct. 6 -- Wedgewood Showcase
Aug. 15 -- vs. Watterson
*Aug. 16 -- at Dublin Scioto
*Aug. 21 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
Aug. 22 -- vs. Columbus Academy
*Aug. 23 -- at Dublin Jerome
Aug. 25 -- Watterson Invitational
*Aug. 28 -- at Thomas Worthington
Aug. 29 -- at Marysville
*Aug. 30 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 4 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 6 -- vs. Delaware
Sept. 11 -- vs. Bexley
Sept. 12 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 13 -- vs. Olentangy
Sept. 18 -- vs. Wellington
Sept. 19 -- vs. Hartley
Sept. 21 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 24 -- at Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 25 -- at Worthington Christian
Below are the coming schedules for the Berlin field hockey, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
*Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Aug. 17 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Aug. 21 -- At Whitehall
Aug. 17 -- Home vs. Orange
Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Hartley
Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
Aug. 22 -- At Big Walnut