Led by three underclassmen, the Westerville Central High School boys golf team is looking for a strong finish to the regular season.
"I'm happy with the guys, especially the young ones," coach Kyle Baker said. "They've been very impressive so far. It's been a good start to the season. The young guys have really stepped up and led our team. We're going sophomore, freshman, sophomore to start, so it's been fun to watch the young guys."
The Warhawks have been led by sophomore Joshua Qian, who had a team-best 75 league average heading into the fourth and final round of the OCC-Buckeye Division tournament Sept. 12 at Darby Creek.
Qian, who plays in American Junior Golf Association events during the offseason, has high hopes as he tunes up for the Division I postseason.
"I made it to district, but I didn't make it to state last year," said Qian, who shot a 75 at district to lead Central. "The goal is to win state this year. If I put two good rounds together I can definitely do that."
Last season, Qian was first-team all-league.
"Josh just continues to keep working at it and continues to work on the things that he feels he struggles at," Baker said. "He's out there working every day. I'd like to see how he can do in only his second year of high school."
Qian, who began playing in tournaments at 9 years old, would like to play in college with a long-range goal of possibly competing professionally.
"Playing these (offseason) tournaments gets you ready for high school," he said. "It keeps you sharp."
The Warhawks entered the final round of league play at 6-6, tied with Olentangy for third behind Olentangy Liberty (10-2) and Olentangy Orange (7-5).
Last season, Central went 12-8 in the league to finish third behind champion Liberty (20-0).
Heading into the final round, Central's best performance came Aug. 28 at Denison Golf Club as it finished second (319) behind Orange (318). Qian's round of 74 led the Warhawks.
"We have a lot of potential and we can go really low when it matters," Qian said. "As a team, we're doing all right, but we can definitely be a lot better."
Freshman Ryan Dollenmayer had a 75.67 average heading into the final round, followed by sophomore Quinn Gallagher (85.67) and seniors Mwangi Kihara (87) and Cory Blankenship (88.33).
Although Kihara and Blankenship have played behind the underclassmen, they have been solid leaders, according to Baker.
"They have taken the young guys under their wings, driving them to practice, so they've been a big help," Baker said. "I don't see any animosity towards the young kids, so it's a cool group to watch. We still have a lot of room for improvement one through five, so I'm excited to see what we can do in the last month."
The postseason begins with a sectional tournament Oct. 2 at Darby Creek, Denison Golf Club or Turnberry. The seeding meeting is Sunday, Sept. 16.
Girls soccer team looks to stop skid
After beginning the season 4-0, the girls soccer team was looking to rebound from three consecutive losses, including a 1-0 setback at Westerville North on Sept. 10 in the OCC-Buckeye opener.
The Warhawks outscored their first four opponents 14-1, but were shut out in losses to New Albany (4-0 on Aug. 30), Gahanna (2-0 on Sept. 4) and North.
Goalies Payton McCarthy (8) and Taylor Hickman (2) combined for 10 saves against New Albany, and McCarthy had two saves in against Gahanna.
Boys soccer team tops Jerome
The boys soccer team bounced back from a 2-0 loss to visiting Gahanna on Sept. 4 to defeat Dublin Jerome 2-0 on Sept. 6, also at home.
The Warhawks were 3-2-2 before opening OCC-Buckeye play Sept. 11 against Westerville North.
Blake Barna and Andrew Jaicks scored against Jerome, and goalkeeper Jacob Borcila made six saves. Borcila had three saves against Gahanna.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 15 -- Otterbein Invitational
Sept. 13 -- Westerville North and Westerville South at Medallion
Sept. 17 -- Hilliard Davidson and Olentangy at Royal American
Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Olentangy Berlin
Sept. 15 -- At Bexley
Sept. 18 -- At Berlin
Sept. 13 -- At Pickerington North
Sept. 18 -- At Marysville
*Sept. 13 -- At Olentangy
Sept. 15 -- Worthington Kilbourne Tournament
Sept. 18 -- At Berlin