Zoey Weil has two goals during her final season with the Centennial High School girls tennis team, and she's hoping they don't conflict.
After finishing third in singles in the Division I state tournament the past two years, the senior standout is hoping to reach the championship match this fall and win it. Her other goal is to make her college decision, which she admits could take time away from the court.
"It's going to be a hectic fall," said Weil, who is 26-3 over the past two seasons. "I plan on using all of my five college visitations and I have no idea when or where they will be. I do know that college is my future and if I absolutely have to miss sectional or district to get to a college visitation appointment, I'd do that.
"I'm hoping I can schedule around the tournament, but sectional, district and state are the first three weeks of October. I'm really nervous to see if we can work it all out."
Coach Barbara Stevenson, in her 21st year leading the Stars, plans to enjoy Weil's final season.
"Getting a player like Zoey is a once-in-a-lifetime thing in high school, especially in the City League," Stevenson said. "Zoey is a very strong player who should make a third consecutive trip to the state tournament, where I believe she will finish on top this time.
"She had some struggles with injuries last year and gutted it out. She plays all year-around in tournaments and is working on her endurance."
This summer, Weil and partner Kelli Niehaus of Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame won the doubles title in the Ohio Valley District Qualifier and in the USTA Midwest Closed Junior Championships in Indianapolis in the girls 18U division. Weil also won the singles title in the Ohio Valley tournament.
"I had a great summer working on my three goals -- playing with more power, finishing points faster and moving forward to the net better," Weil said. "I'm excited for my senior year and I will play enough to remain eligible for the tournament and hopefully we can plan around the postseason tournaments."
The Stars open Aug. 27 at home against Northland in a City-North Division match.
Also returning are senior Emma Young and sophomores Champa Bista, Nicole Kaiser and Ana Neruda.
Sophomore Michaela Smith is new to the program, which also includes freshmen Cristela Cruz, Elizabeth Grazier, Jessica Guijosa, Ayana Jackson, Erica Natividad, Campbell Steward and Isabella Viera.
"All of these girls have contacted me, but some of them may not show up until school starts," Stevenson said. "So our lineup and roster could change. But as of right now, I think Emma and Michaela will be playing singles with Zoey. In doubles, it looks like Ana Neruda, Nicole Kaiser, Erica Natividad and Jessica Guijosa will be playing."
Last season, Centennial finished 3-5 overall and 3-1 in the City-North to place second behind Whetstone. Weil won the league title at first singles.
Boys golf team boosts numbers
The boys golf team has a young roster and four girls this season.
There are eight athletes on the roster, but seven are first-year golfers. There are four boys and four girls who will play in City matches before going their separate ways to compete in their respective Division I sectionals.
First-year coach David Leatherwood is a librarian at the school who was an assistant last fall under Barry Baker, who stepped down after five seasons.
"One of our goals is to grow the team (and) get more kids out here who want to learn a lifelong sport," Leatherwood said. "My assistant is Anestis Kalagidis, who is a physical-education teacher here who is working with First Tee, an organization that gets young kids interested in the game. We're hoping that will help us at the elementary level and carry over into high school.
"With four girls this season, we'd like to eventually be able to offer a girls golf team. But the City League doesn't offer girls golf and we're trying to find out how many girls would be interested city-wide."
The returnee is senior Chris Sfikas, who averaged 50.7 last season for nine holes and was first-team all-league.
The other boys are juniors Max Napier and Turner Wolfenberger and freshman Gabe McIntire. The girls are senior Adjyannah West, juniors Anna Dixon and Lura Patterson and freshman Anna Dixon.
"We are a new team full of enthusiasm and excitement and ready to put forth our best effort," Leatherwood said. "The team obviously is centered around Chris, a three-year veteran. Turner is a great putter. ... Anna also has much potential and is a strong player who has been working in the offseason to get ready for high school golf."
Last season, the Stars finished second in the City as Whetstone won the league title for the ninth time in 10 years.
Sfikas and senior Myles Martinez represented Centennial in a Division I sectional. Martinez, who did not return this season after being injured in baseball last spring, also was first-team all-league. The Stars lost two golfers to graduation, including Ethan Perry, who was honorable mention all-league.
"Our goals this year are to develop our seven newcomers and getting them to hit the ball greater than 100 yards consistently," Leatherwood said. "We also would like to see them do better than double of whatever par is for the hole. So if they could shoot a 6 or 7 on a par-3, 8 on a par-4 or a 10 on a par-5 that would be really good growth for these new golfers."
*Aug. 28 -- Briggs and Northland at Raymond Memorial
*Aug. 30 -- Independence and Mifflin at Mentel Memorial
*Sept. 4 -- South and West at Airport
*Sept. 6 -- Walnut Ridge and Whetstone at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 11 -- League match at TBA
*Sept. 13 -- League match at TBA
*Sept. 18 -- League match at TBA
*Sept. 20 -- League match at TBA
Sept. 27 -- City League tournament at Airport
Note: The second round of league play is determined after the first round is completed.
*Aug. 27 -- vs. Northland
Aug. 28 -- at Village Academy
Aug. 29 -- at Westerville South
Aug. 30 -- vs. DeSales
Sept. 5 -- vs. West
Sept. 6 -- at DeSales
*Sept. 10 -- at Beechcroft
Sept. 11 -- vs. Village Academy
*Sept. 12 -- at Whetstone
*Sept. 17 -- at Mifflin
Sept. 18 -- vs. Westerville South
Sept. 24-25 -- City League coaches tournament at TBA
Oct. 1 -- vs. Delaware
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Licking Valley
Aug. 22 -- At Reynoldsburg
Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Licking Heights
*Aug. 23 -- At Linden-McKinley