Zoey Weil will begin her quest to return to the Division I state tournament when she and her Centennial High School girls tennis teammates compete in a sectional Thursday, Oct. 5, at Reynoldsburg.
"I've been working real hard to get back to state and win it all," said Weil, a junior who finished third last season. "Generally, I've been working on my consistency and fitness. Specifically, I'm trying to step into my shots from the baseline and use my body to generate more power."
Weil finished 15-1 last season. Her lone loss was 7-5, 6-2 to eventual state champion Molly Sandberg of Hudson in a state semifinal at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"Zoey is better than last year because she has built more weapons to win points," coach Barb Stevenson said. "She's very knowledgeable and such a pleasure to watch."
Weil hasn't played much with the Stars, who finished 3-5 overall and 3-1 in the City League-North Division, because she's getting private coaching three or four times a week.
"I'd love to win the state title and that's obviously my goal," Weil said. "But there are several girls in the Central District who are very good. Then there are a few in the Cleveland area and two excellent girls from the Cincinnati area. It'll definitely be a challenge and a lot will depend on the state matchups and who plays well that day."
The sectional semifinals and final will be Saturday, Oct. 7, at Reynoldsburg. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district, which begins Oct. 12 at Hilliard Bradley and concludes Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington.
Weil is the top seed at Rey-noldsburg. Also for the Stars, Julia Zeid and Maria Karakay will play singles and the doubles teams will be comprised of Nicole Kaiser and Lanie Niehoff and Emma Young and Ana Neruda.
"We have so many girls who are playing tennis for the first time, so it's been a learning process for them," Stevenson said.
"They've gotten a lot better. My goal for them is to win a (sectional) match, but I'll be happy with them if they just play well and incorporate the things we have worked on all season."
to face Beechcroft
The football team broke through for a 63-27 victory over East on Sept. 29, but coach Donte Goosby said the Stars quickly turned the page with a trip to Beechcroft coming on Friday, Oct. 6.
"Beechcroft is traditionally the cream of the crop in the City-North," Goosby said. "They're fast and physical and have kids who have played a lot of football. They're well-coached and they have an extra week to prepare for us."
The Cougars enter the contest 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the league. They did not play Sept. 29, having an open week after a 41-0 win over East on Sept. 22.
"We've got to come out and play our best football," Goosby said. "We have to have everyone showing up to practice and working hard with a great mindset. It's great that we beat a very young East team and our kids were rewarded for their effort. But now we've got to repeat the process and hopefully repeat the outcome."
After scoring a combined 14 points during the first three weeks, the Cougars outscored their first two league opponents 55-8 to extend their league winning streak to 22 games. They beat Mifflin 14-8 on Sept. 15.
The Cougars are led offensively by quarterback Jovaughn Hill and running back Shemar Samuel. Hill was 11-for-14 passing for 168 yards and three touchdowns against East, while Samuel ran for 148 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. Receiver Sincere Henderson had seven catches for 48 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown, and also returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown from his defensive back position.
Centennial scored 35 of the final 41 points to pull away from East after leading 28-21 in the second quarter.
Running back Luchene Davis rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries, and Jaylen Gilbert was 8-for-13 passing for 144 yards with touchdowns to running back Marquise Scott (45 yards) and receiver Craig Burt (70, 7 yards).
"Davis, Scott and (Parker) Johnson all ran the ball well and our offense executed pretty well overall," Goosby said. "Once our defense settled in, they made stops. East scored on two of their first three possessions, but we got better from there.
"Johnson led the team in tackles for the second week in a row from safety and Khari Woods was strong at end with two tackles for loss and four quarterback pressures. (Cornerback) Nigel Harris had two pass breakups and had solid coverage against their top receiver (Shahqim Edwards)."
Boys golfers finish
second in City
The boys golf team finished second in the City after totaling 40 points combined in the regular season and in the league tournament Sept. 28 at Airport.
Whetstone won the title with 46 points after shooting a season-best 192 in the tournament to finish ahead of the Stars (211), Walnut Ridge (246), Mifflin (269), Northland (270), Independence (281) and Briggs (284). West and South did not have complete teams.
Completing the standings were Walnut Ridge (34), Mifflin (28), Northland (18), West (12), Briggs (10), Independence (6) and South (0).
Myles Martinez and Chris Sfikas both shot 47 to lead Centennial. Dhruvin Patel (57), Ethan Perry (60) and Evan Massey (67) followed.
Martinez had a 48.7 average in the City and Sfikas was at 50.7. Both made first-team all-league, and Perry (64.6) was honorable mention.
Martinez and Sfikas represented the Stars in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 3 at Turnberry. The top four individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Apple Valley, where the top two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to state Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 11 -- City League meet at Whetstone
Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Hartley
Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Watterson
Oct. 5 -- At Dublin Scioto
*Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Beechcroft. The Stars beat the Cougars 25-17, 25-8, 25-4 on Sept. 12.
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Northland. The Stars beat the Vikings 22-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-15 on Sept. 14.