Intent on being ready for the postseason, the Delaware Hayes High School girls golf team intentionally will have its busiest stretch of the fall toward the end of September.
Don't expect Hayley Dye, the team's No. 1 player and one of just two freshmen in the program, to wilt under the added stress.
Despite being in the same OCC-Cardinal Division as six-time Division I state champion Dublin Jerome, Dye earned league medalist honors with a 301 over the four rounds, including winning the opening round Aug. 8 at Westchester.
"She's very, very good," coach Rob Stultz said. "She's focused and she plays a lot of golf. She played (Sept. 1 and 2) at a tournament in Indianapolis, played (Sept. 3 at Mentel Memorial) on her day off so she would know the course. She played (Sept. 4) at Bent Tree, played another 18 holes (Sept. 5) and will play nine holes (Sept. 6).
"I loaded the back end of our season so that when it came time for sectionals and whatever else we needed, we were ready to go. It could backfire and they could be tired, but I decided to go heavy on the back side to get them in rhythm."
In the final round of the league tournament Sept. 5 at Mentel Memorial, Jerome shot a 324 to take first and finish 20-0 overall, while Delaware shot a 363 to finish second and close league play at 16-4. The Celtics have won 14 league titles in 15 seasons.
Dye shot a 75 in the final round to finish second behind Jerome's Caitlin Yant (72) and one stroke ahead of Jerome's Ash Abhang (76).
Yant won each of the final three rounds of the league tournament but couldn't overcome the 81 she shot in the opening round and finished second overall with a 303. Abhang was third (313).
"I've been feeling very good," Dye said. "I've shot a lot of good rounds. Our team has been doing well. I play in a lot of tournaments and I know a lot of (my teammates). I was on the middle school team with most of them in seventh grade. We're all friends and love playing golf.
"I feel like my putting has improved greatly from this summer and especially from two years ago. I've really been buckling down, practicing a lot of putting. I wanted to have a good average under 40, but I didn't have too many expectations. I would like to make it to states. That is a very big goal of mine, but I feel like I could do it and I'm ready to go."
The seeding meeting is Sept. 16 and the postseason begins with sectionals Oct. 2.
Also during the final round of the league tournament, sophomore Sophie Zehner and junior Alyssa Stultz both shot a 95, followed by senior Kenzie Collett (98) and sophomore Faith Eden (99).
Collett averaged 96.8 and Alyssa Stultz averaged 98 while playing in each of the four rounds of the league tournament, and Zehner averaged 94.3 while playing in three rounds.
"All in all, my girls are having a great season," coach Stultz said. "I coached the middle school team for two or three years before (taking over as varsity coach last season), so I've coached a lot of these girls. We're doing pretty well."
Football team to face another county foe
The football team tried to continue its fast start Sept. 7 when it played at Westland in its final non-league game of the season.
On Sept. 14, the Pacers will face their second Delaware County opponent of the season when they play host to first-year Olentangy Berlin in their OCC-Cardinal opener. They opened Aug. 24 with a 24-7 win at Buckeye Valley but aren't playing Big Walnut this season and won't play any of the other three Olentangy programs for the third year in a row.
Berlin opened with a 53-22 victory over Briggs on Aug. 24 and lost to Canal Winchester 27-13 on Aug. 31 before playing Toledo St. John's on Sept. 7.
Bears running back Johnny Spinner, who rushed for 235 yards and five touchdowns against Briggs, was held to 36 yards on 15 carries by Canal Winchester. Quarterback Jacob Moeller was 12-for-31 passing for 87 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions against the Indians.
Corey Hill returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown and the Bears' Jacob Lewis made field goals of 46 and 41 yards to complete the scoring against Canal Winchester.
"(Berlin is) probably about a 10-minute drive from the school," coach Scott Wetzel said. "Once you leave the east side of Delaware, Berlin is right there. The only bad thing is that some of the rivalries have kind of lost their luster with the growth of the (Olentangy school district). Delaware-Marysville used to be a big rivalry. Marysville is a great football team, but I don't think it's a big rivalry anymore."
Delaware beat Marysville 17-16 in overtime Aug. 31.
Jahi Broussard-Nash ran for a 4-yard touchdown in overtime to give Delaware a 17-10 lead. Marysville quarterback Walker Heard then ran for a 12-yard touchdown but was stopped short of the goal line on the two-point conversion attempt by a group of defenders.
According to Wetzel, junior defensive lineman Everett Beach led the defense and senior wide receiver Sam Lagando also was impressive in the passing game.
"It was a home win for us and it was a nice win," Wetzel said. "We needed that kind of proof that we can play with people. Marysville is a good football team and we battled with them. Playing teams from the OCC each week is a new adventure."
Boys golfers prep for final OCC round
The boys golf team will compete in the final round of the OCC-Cardinal tournament Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Denison Golf Club.
The Pacers are tied for third in the eight-team league with Hilliard Bradley at 14-7, behind Jerome (21-0) and Berlin (17-4).
Junior Luke Gazarek is tied for ninth in league average (79.3) and freshman Mark Sulek is tied for 12th (79.7).
The addition of Sulek has made a big difference for Delaware, which went 0-24 in the league last season. Sulek led the Pacers during the first and second rounds of the league tournament before shooting an 82 in the third round to finish third on the team behind Gazarek (74) and junior Jake Ross (80).
Other key players have included sophomore Ben Madden and freshmen Colin Bibler and Brady Gazarek.
The Pacers have four remaining tournaments before the postseason, including Saturday, Sept. 15, when they compete in the Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club.
The Division I seeding meeting is Sept. 16.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 15 -- Galion Festival at Amann Reservoir
Sept. 13 -- Big Walnut at Oakhaven
Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 10 -- Olentangy at Oakhaven
Sept. 11 -- Thomas Worthington at Oakhaven
Sept. 12 -- Dublin Scioto at Golf Club of Dublin
Sept. 13 -- Olentangy at Oakhaven
Sept. 15 -- Bloom-Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Groveport
*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 13 -- At Thomas Worthington
Sept. 10 -- Hartley at Wolfe Park
Sept. 11 -- At Marysville
Sept. 12 -- At Reynoldsburg
Sept. 13 -- At Westerville North
Sept. 15 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament
Sept. 11 -- At Westerville North
*Sept. 13 -- At Olentangy Berlin