The Groveport Madison High School boys golf team is expected to have only two individuals this season.
Junior Preston Nanthavong and sophomore Ricky Cooper were the only two on the roster when the Cruisers opened Aug. 8 with the first round of the OCC-Capital Division tournament at Clover Valley.
Last season, the Cruisers had seven golfers and none were seniors.
"Obviously, we'd like to have more guys in order to compete as a team," seventh-year coach Joe Rinkes said. "But with only two, they will get undivided attention and really work hard to improve their game."
Nanthavong shot a 91 in the Division I district tournament at Apple Valley last season after carding an 80 in the sectional at Darby Creek to earn the fourth and final individual district-qualifying spot.
"My goal is to make it to state," said Nanthavong, who averaged 82.3 in the league tournament a year ago to earn second-team all-league honors. "I had an up-and-down summer because I switched coaches and am working on a swing change. I'm trying to use less of my hands and stay more one-piece. It's been a struggle, but I'm getting there."
Nanthavong, who shot an 81 in the first round of the OCC-Capital tournament, should have time to work on his game, as the Cruisers have a light competition schedule.
The league tournament accounts for half of Groveport's eight scheduled matches. The second round was Aug. 14 at Darby Creek. The final two rounds are Aug. 30 at Turnberry and Sept. 13 at Apple Valley.
"(Nanthavong is) going to need repetitions with it and that's not something that is easy to do in the middle of competitive rounds," Rinkes said. "It's hard and can be frustrating to work on that during rounds. He needs to work on his technique on the range.
"But he is very committed and a strong worker. He may chip and putt for two hours and then go play nine holes. He's got a great work ethic and that makes him a tremendous role model for younger kids."
Groveport's non-league schedule includes a pair of duals against Westland and Franklin Heights.
Cooper, who competed at sectional last season, missed the first round of the league tournament while vacationing.
"Ricky is very athletic and is a basketball player who golfs," Rinkes said. "I think he could be good if he could put in the time, but golf isn't his priority. He has gotten better from last season, but he's got a way to go. He will be rusty when he gets back out here, but I do expect to see him improve."
Seniors Tucker Falter and Clayton Saunders competed at sectional last season but have not returned. Also not back from last year are senior Casey Spicer and sophomores Isaiah Brown and Kaley Falter.
"It'd be nice if we could pick up some players once school begins, but right now I'm only planning on having Preston and Ricky," Rinkes said.
Girls tennis team
again has new coach
The girls tennis team has returned five letterwinners and will open Thursday, Aug. 17, at Pickerington Central with its third coach in as many seasons.
Seniors Aleah Brown and Raaya Cummings, juniors Deonia Coleman and Anahi Herrera and sophomore Kelsey Caldwell are returning starters for new coach Phil Hankins, who replaced Jordan Gilmore during the offseason.
Gilmore coached one season after replacing Cody Masters.
"My goals for them are to improve and for us to have a winning record," said Hankins, who also is the boys tennis coach at Hamilton Township.
A winning record is a high bar, as the Cruisers finished 1-11 last season.
Newcomers are seniors Indigo Stanley and Sydney Crabtree and junior Serena Musungu.
Brown and Cummings, both of whom are three-year letterwinners, played doubles in the Division I sectional at Pickerington Central last season and lost 6-4, 6-4 to Amber Baez and Sofia Villaveces of Westerville Central in the second round.
Coleman and Herrera also played doubles at sectional and lost 6-2, 6-0 to Lancaster's Stephanie Drapp and Emily Carson in the first round.
Groveport will open OCC-Capital play Aug. 24 at Franklin Heights. The Cruisers finished 1-4 in the league last year, defeating the Falcons 5-0.
Aug. 8 -- OCC-Capital at Clover Valley
Aug. 14 -- OCC-Capital at Darby Creek
Aug. 23 -- Westland at Oakhurst
Aug. 30 -- OCC-Capital at Turnberry
Sept. 6 -- Westland at The Links at Groveport
Sept. 13 -- OCC-Capital at Apple Valley
Sept. 20 -- Franklin Heights at The Links at Groveport
Sept. 27 -- Franklin Heights at The Links at Groveport
Aug. 17 -- at Pickerington Central
Aug. 22 -- at Central Crossing
*Aug. 24 -- at Franklin Heights
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Canal Winchester
*Aug. 31 -- at New Albany
*Sept. 5 -- at Newark
Sept. 6 -- Fisher Catholic at Rising Park
*Sept. 7 -- at Big Walnut
Sept. 13 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll
Sept. 20 -- Hartley at Ohio Dominican
Sept. 27 -- at Hamilton Township
Sept. 28 -- Hartley at Ohio Dominican
Below are the coming schedules for the Groveport Madison cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 21 -- New Albany Invitational
Aug. 22 -- At Reynoldsburg
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central
Aug. 23 -- At Millersport