The Canal Winchester High School girls golf team might have been only the third-happiest team after the third round of the OCC-Ohio Division tournament Aug. 30 at The Links at Groveport, but the Indians didn't care.

The Canal Winchester High School girls golf team might have been only the third-happiest team after the third round of the OCC-Ohio Division tournament Aug. 30 at The Links at Groveport, but the Indians didn't care.

Coach Greg Hippler saw his team meet one of its goals for the year by shooting 369, and the Indians' top two golfers carded solid rounds in the 80s as Grace Hippler shot 83 and Rachel Hatley carded an 85.

"It's coming together a little better. Our goal coming into this year was shooting 370 in these tournaments, and we hit 369 (on Aug. 30)," coach Hippler said. "That's about where we will come in most of the time. Our quality of play has been pretty good this year. The numbers might be about the same as they've been the last few years, but considering we lost three four-year letterwinners, I like where we are."

Coach Hippler owes some of that to his daughter, a fourth-year varsity player who was averaging 41 per nine holes before an Aug. 31 match against Lakewood at Westchester.

"He definitely leans on me sometimes," Grace Hippler said. "I talk to the girls and get them focused. I definitely help them out in that area. He's just a great coach."

Grace Hippler began golfing at age 5, but stepped up her commitment in eighth grade by dropping soccer and track and field to concentrate on the game full time. She said she has talked to coaches at Baldwin Wallace and Otterbein about competing in college.

"I need to work on getting off to a better start. If I can do that, I will shoot some lower numbers," said Hippler, whose best career rounds are 36 for nine holes, set last year, and 76 for 18 holes, set during tryouts in early August. "It's definitely mental. It can be hard to focus, especially if I didn't hit well on the range or if you are just thinking about other things. You have to focus more, settle down and pay attention to what you are doing."

Coach Hippler lauded his daughter's aggressive approach on the course, but said she is willing to dial that back depending on the situation.

"She came out playing fairly conservative (Aug. 30), and out of all the kids, Grace typically goes for shots when she allows herself to do so," coach Hippler said. "She isn't double-jointed, but her shoulders are so loose that she can get a huge wind-up and generate so much power. Her misses can be severe so we are trying to dial her back a little bit while staying aggressive. We want her to be aggressive. That's who she is."

Hatley was second on the team before Aug. 31 with a nine-hole average of 45.6, followed by Emily Clubb (47.3), Leah Arndt (50.1) and Abby Vaughan (59.3).

The Indians celebrated their scores Aug. 30 alongside Upper Arlington, which shot a 334 to win the third round and take control of the OCC-Ohio race, and Gahanna, which was second with a 345 to finish three shots ahead of third-place Pickerington North and deal a serious blow to the Panthers' hopes of winning their fifth consecutive league championship.

Canal Winchester was fourth in the third round, ahead of Hilliard Davidson (383), Lancaster (413) and Hilliard Darby (495). Thomas Worthington did not record a team score.

The Indians are fourth (11-10) in the league standings entering the final round Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Mentel Memorial, behind UA (20-1), North (18-3) and Gahanna (16-5) and ahead of Davidson (10-11), Lancaster (6-15), Darby and Thomas (both 1-20).

Football team prepares for Stallions, Booth

Improving to 2-0 was the first thing on the football team's mind as it played host to Athens on Sept. 2, but the Indians knew a meeting with a former teammate was in the offing as they prepared to visit DeSales on Friday, Sept. 9.

The Stallions' top running back is senior Alonzo Booth, who played for Canal Winchester his freshman and sophomore years before transferring. He rushed for 551 yards and eight touchdowns on 121 carries as a sophomore and earned special mention all-OCC-Cardinal honors.

Booth thrived as a junior, rushing for a team-high 915 yards and 13 touchdowns on 116 carries as DeSales went 10-2, losing to Zanesville 9-3 in a Division III, Region 9 semifinal. Booth, who also made one start at linebacker, ran for a school-record 266 yards against Watterson and was named second-team all-district.

In this season's opener Aug. 25 against Lancaster, Booth rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in the Stallions' 28-7 win. DeSales played Mississauga (Ontario) Clarkson on Sept. 2.

Other top players for the Stallions include two-way linemen Luke Barber, Drew McLuckie and Derrius Mullins and wide receiver and defensive back Ryan Corkrean. Mullins committed to Indiana in July.

This will be the second meeting between the Indians and DeSales. The Stallions won 27-22 last season.

A win over Athens would give the Indians a chance at their first 3-0 start since 2008.

Harper remains top man for boys golfers

Boys golf coach Kevin Barhorst wants to see four solid rounds simultaneously from his players, but the Indians might have an uphill climb ahead with the potential loss of their No. 2 golfer.

Sophomore Trevor Mays recently injured his left knee playing baseball and was scheduled to undergo an MRI late last week. Barhorst expected that he might miss significant time.

Mays generally has been Canal Winchester's second-best scorer behind John Harper, including in a dual match Aug. 25 against Pickerington Central at Westchester in which Harper shot 37 and Mays carded a 40.

"That would be a blow (to lose Mays)," Barhorst said. "We've had a few strong rounds here and there at the same time, but we're still trying to get to the point where we have four on the same day. We are just trying to improve and lower our scores as we go. John has usually been able to shoot in the low 40s or under. We've taken a good look at where we're losing strokes, whether that's on drives or on the green."

The Indians remained in third place in the OCC-Capital by finishing third (386) in the third round of the league tournament Aug. 31 at Darby Creek. Jake Eggleston and Harper each shot 88 to lead the team, ahead of Mason Kamer (102), Joshua Fair (108) and Spencer Boyer (109).

Canal Winchester is 9-6 in the OCC-Capital, third behind New Albany (15-0) and Big Walnut (12-3) and ahead of Newark (6-9), Groveport (3-12) and Franklin Heights (0-15).

Those standings mean Indians golfers will be grouped with Big Walnut and New Albany in the final round of the league tournament Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Turnberry.

"Our guys will get a great chance to see where they stack up against some pretty good golfers," Barhorst said.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 10 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 8 -- Grove City Christian and Millersport at Mentel Memorial

Sept. 10 -- Liberty Union Invitational at Pine Hill

Sept. 13 -- Hilliard Darby at Thorn Apple

Sept. 14 -- OCC-Capital at Turnberry

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 13 -- OCC-Ohio at Mentel Memorial

Sept. 14 -- Gahanna and Upper Arlington at Westchester

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Gahanna

*Sept. 13 -- At Big Walnut

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 8 -- At Dublin Coffman

Sept. 10 -- At Granville

*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Big Walnut

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 8 -- Home vs. Newark

Sept. 10 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Invitational

Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Westland

Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 8 -- Home vs. Groveport

Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Amanda-Clearcreek and Upper Arlington

*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights

*League contest