An encouraging second half to the regular season has the Reynoldsburg High School girls tennis team feeling positive as it heads into the Division I postseason.
The Raiders lost seven consecutive matches between Aug. 23 and Sept. 6 but won their next four, including beating Marysville 4-1 on Sept. 26, and were 6-8 before playing Newark on Oct. 1, Watkins Memorial on Oct. 2 and Northland on Oct. 3.
Senior Nandi Rowe, who has played third singles since late August, has helped solidify the lineup.
"My biggest surprise the entire season is Nandi Rowe," coach Les Somogyi said. "She's been winning at third singles. She has wheels. She doesn't have any major weapons, but she keeps it in play. She runs everything down, and she's winning. We brought her up from (junior varsity) and said, 'Let's see what you've got.' I've been so incredibly pleased with her performance."
The Raiders compete in their home sectional Thursday, Oct. 4. The semifinals and finals will be Saturday, Oct. 6.
Rowe faces Watterson's Caroline Goodlive, the Eagles' first-singles player, in the first round in singles.
Also in first-round singles matches, junior Hope Chaffin, who has played No. 1 for the Raiders, faces Newark's Noel Zarnosky and senior Alexa Matan, who has played second singles, faces Westland's Katie Murray or Newark's Alex Powelson.
Senior Katelyn Whetsel and junior Abi Swift, who have played first doubles, and juniors Nia Harris and Feaven Gebrezgi, who have been at second doubles, both have first-round byes.
New Albany, Pickerington North and Dublin Jerome were among the top programs to also choose the sectional at Reynoldsburg.
In the Raiders' win over Marysville, Chaffin, Matan and Rowe all won their singles courts and Gebrezgi and Harris won at second doubles.
Reynoldsburg lost to Westerville Central 4-1 on Sept. 27 as Gebrezgi and Harris won at second doubles.
Runners prep for league meet
The boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the Les Eisenhart Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Thomas Worthington in their final meet before competing in the OCC-Ohio Division meet Oct. 13.
Both teams have been progressing with the regular season winding down.
On Sept. 29 in the Pickerington North Invitational, the boys team finished seventh (200 points) of 15 teams, behind champion Shaker Heights (53), and the girls were eighth (189) of 14 teams, behind champion Shaker Heights (38).
Sophomore Mars Davis led the boys team with a 19th-place finish (18 minutes, 11.71 seconds), while sophomore Dominic Sabo (31st, 18:36.84), seniors Brody Swisher (54th, 19:00.1) and Andy Young (56th, 19:01.33), juniors Wendesen King (58th, 19:03.64) and Grant Boone (77th, 19:28.4) and senior Liam Bryan (83rd, 19:32.53) rounded out the Raiders' top seven.
Sophomore Avril Moyer earned a seventh-place finish (20:12.58) to lead the girls team, followed by sophomore Kasey Lichtner (25th, 22:05.54), freshman Abby Robinson (33rd, 22:26.06) and senior Natalie Castello (76th, 23:44.28).
Sophomores Alyse Powell and Macey Thompson and freshmen Sydney Hurt and Bemnet Shewaye also have been key runners for the Raiders.
Postseason begins for boys golfers
The boys golf team opened the postseason Oct. 2 by competing in a Division I sectional at Turnberry.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the district tournament Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Sophomore Jamison Boykins shot a 79 at sectional last year at Turnberry, but the final two individual district qualifiers carded a 78. The Raiders finished 10th (358) at sectional as the top four moved on.
On Sept. 29, the Raiders finished 16th (383) of 17 teams in the Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry as Hilliard Davidson shot a 305 to win the title.