Columbus Academy boys golf coach Craig Yakscoe believed his team was in a good place as it began postseason play.
The defending Division II state champion Vikings opened the postseason by competing in a sectional tournament Sept. 25 at Oakhaven. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Denison Golf Club, where the top team and the top individual not on that team qualify for state Oct. 12 and 13 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The Vikings earned the No. 1 seed in the district.
"I like where we are right now," Yakscoe said before the sectional. "We started the season very strong, went through a little dip midseason and we're starting our way back up."
Academy earned its eighth state title last season and its first since winning the Division III championship in 2014.
The Vikings prepared for sectional by finishing first in the MSL-Ohio Division postseason tournament Sept. 18 at Denison Golf Club, shooting a 302 to outdistance Bexley (313) and Worthington Christian (324). Grandview did not have enough golfers for a team score.
Ali Khan finished second (70) behind medalist Trevor Binau (66) of Bexley. Griffin Mitchell was third (75), followed by Kahmar Byers (tied for fourth, 78) and Matthew Cammeyer (sixth, 79).
Academy won the league title at 7-2, ahead of Bexley (6-3), Worthington Christian (5-4) and Grandview (0-9). It's the Vikings' third consecutive league title and sixth in seven seasons.
"I just have the kids focus on this being one of the important matches of the year," Yakscoe said. "We ask them to step up their game as well as at sectional, district and state -- knock on wood we make it (back to state)."
Entering the sectional, Khan led Academy with a 72.25 average, followed by Cammeyer (77.44), Byers (77.71), Mitchell (78.86), Russell Ahmed (80.56) and Aditya Reddy (81.75).
Football team preps for key league game
The football team will look to bounce back from a 37-23 loss at Whitehall on Sept. 20 when it plays host to undefeated London on Friday, Sept. 28.
The Vikings are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio, while London is 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the league.
The Red Raiders are averaging 59.2 points and allowing just 6.8 per game after defeating Circleville 81-7 on Sept. 21.
London is led by senior running back K.J. Price, who rushed for 210 yards and four touchdowns on just four carries against Circleville. He was the Division IV district Offensive Player of the Year last season, rushing for 25 touchdowns and collecting more than 2,700 total yards.
"London is the real deal," coach Robin Miller said. "We have to simplify things. We need to block and we need to tackle ... neither (of which) we did against Whitehall. The game is a simple game that gets overcomplicated by coaches. If we block and tackle, we're a better football team."
Academy trailed Whitehall 30-9 heading into the fourth quarter before closing to within 30-23 on touchdown passes of 51 and 47 yards from Brady Hess to Dorrian Moultrie.
Raymell Byrd then ran 71 yards for a touchdown to secure the win for Whitehall.
For the season, Hess has completed 65 of 99 passes for 789 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.
"Our only choice is to get back to work," Miller said. "That's the great thing about sports. You get another chance the next week unless you're in the playoffs. We'll correct our mistakes and work to get better."
Girls soccer team deals with key injury
The girls soccer team is playing the second half of the season without a key player in goal.
Freshman Sophie Spolter injured her right wrist during warmups before a game against Worthington Christian on Sept. 5, according to coach Matt Thompson.
Spolter played in goal against the Warriors, who beat Academy 2-1.
Thompson said Spolter will not need surgery and has seen time at other positions.
Freshman Kennedy Jackson has replaced Spolter in goal "and is doing a nice job for us," Thompson said.
The Vikings were 4-3-2 overall before playing Licking Heights on Sept. 24 and 0-2-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Bexley on Sept. 26.
Academy tied Hartley at 1 on Sept. 17 and lost to West Liberty-Salem 3-0 on Sept. 22.
Katie Schiano scored and Jackson had five saves against Hartley.
"I'm not thrilled with our inconsistencies, but that's to be expected with a young team," Thompson said. "When we're playing well, we're doing some really nice things, but we're a little up and down."
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy field hockey, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Watterson
Sept. 27 -- Westerville South at Royal American
Sept. 29 -- Dublin Jerome Invitational at Hickory Hills
Sept. 29 -- At Lancaster
*Oct. 3 -- At Grandview
Oct. 1 -- At Fairfield Union
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Grandview
Oct. 3 -- At New Albany
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian. The Vikings defeated the Warriors 25-13, 25-15, 25-9 on Aug. 30.
*Oct. 4 -- At Bexley. The Vikings defeated the Lions 25-17, 26-24, 25-23 on Aug. 21.