Dave Haney faces a couple of challenges in his second stint as Westerville South High School boys golf coach.
Haney, who led the program for four seasons before stepping down in 2013 because of family commitments, must replace one of the best golfers in program history in Troy Taylor. The 2018 graduate now is competing at Michigan State after being a two-time Division I state qualifier, finishing fifth as a junior and tying for 21st as a freshman.
Also, because of low turnout, the Wildcats will be forced to play primarily a junior varsity schedule. They have only three golfers, with sophomore Ethyn Allen being the only returning player.
"We are not at a level to compete with varsity golfers, so we are going to have to change directions and play a j.v. schedule," said Haney, who was hoping to add golfers after school begins Thursday, Aug. 16.
Sophomores Andrew Collinsworth and Logan Hunn are in their first seasons playing competitively.
"We're just going to treat this as a build-up season," Allen said. "We're going to do a little bit better; we're going to practice. I'm looking forward to playing all the courses, just being out there doing a sport that I love doing."
Last season, Taylor was edged by Thomas Worthington's David LaLonde for the final state-qualifying berth from district. Both shot 73, requiring a playoff that LaLonde won in three holes.
The Wildcats went 0-20 in the OCC-Buckeye Division to finish sixth behind champion Olentangy Liberty (20-0). They will not compete in the league this season.
Haney replaced Ryan Rice, who stepped down after two seasons.
"I missed coaching and being around the young kids and staying young," said Haney, who also is a former assistant boys basketball and baseball coach at South. "I love the game and I just like being around these kids.
"I certainly enjoyed watching my own kids, but I wish I might have stayed with golf (at South). I would have loved to seen and coach (Taylor)."
Haney has invited former South golfer Mitchell Moore, who played for Haney, to offer clinics. Moore, a 2012 graduate, is the assistant men's coach at Cleveland State and a former player for the Vikings.
Haney also said former Otterbein player Matt Mohler has offered to provide instruction. Mohler's 1993 team at Otterbein was inducted into the school's hall of fame in 2012.
"We have a lot of people who are interested and certainly qualified to teach and coach and help me out in areas that I might need, so I'm looking forward to it," Haney said.
Girls golf squad under new leadership
The girls golf team also has a new coach as Matt Yingling has replaced Jeff Owdom, who stepped down after eight seasons.
"Things are going well," said Yingling, who previously coached at Genoa Middle School. "We're just getting started. It's good to get back into the season, meet the girls and get out there and play."
Sophomore returnees Katherine Blais and McKhala Eckert are competing for the No. 1 position, according to Yingling.
"They have the experience and right now they're hitting the ball better than everybody else, which is expected with the other girls just learning the game," Yingling said.
The roster also includes three first-year players in junior Amelia Kidder and sophomores Nia Cosby and Layla Goebeler.
South opened the four-round OCC-Buckeye tournament Aug. 8 at Mentel Memorial, finishing fifth (508) behind first-place Olentangy Orange (317).
The Wildcats went 0-20 in the league last season to finish sixth behind champion Orange (19-1), which went on to win its second consecutive Division I state title.
Girls tennis team expects to improve
The girls tennis team returns several players from last season as it looks to improve on a 1-13 finish.
"We have a lot of depth where we have a lot of girls around the same skill level, so I'm going to have them play each other to figure out spots," seventh-year coach Ryan French said.
Junior Dani Koehler and sophomore Megan Shoemaker return after going 2-1 in doubles in a Division I sectional last season.
Also back are seniors Diana Appiagyei, Emma Hite, Tuyen Quan, Kathryn Shaffer and Caroline Stoll.
Freshman Mary Pedrozo also is looking to contribute.
"The girls are working hard and I have some numbers," French said.
South opens Thursday, Aug. 16, against visiting Reynoldsburg and begins OCC-Buckeye play Aug. 23 at Olentangy.
Last season, the Wildcats went 0-5 in the league to finish sixth behind champion Liberty (5-0).
"I tried to schedule as many competitive matches as I could because our league is really tough," French said. "With scheduling and returning players, we have a good shot to be very competitive and win six to eight matches."
Aug. 6 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Aug. 7 -- Westerville Central at Royal American
Aug. 8 -- OCC-Buckeye at Mentel Memorial
Aug. 13 -- Olentangy Berlin at Royal American
Aug. 15 -- OCC-Buckeye at Westchester
Aug. 16 -- Grove City at Royal American
Aug. 23 -- Hilliard Bradley at Thorn Apple
Aug. 27 -- Westerville North at Royal American
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Buckeye at Royal American
Sept. 4 -- Westerville Central at Royal American
Sept. 12 -- OCC-Buckeye at Cooks Creek
Sept. 20 -- Licking Heights at Royal American
Sept. 25 -- Hilliard Bradley at Royal American
Sept. 26 -- Westerville Central at Royal American
Aug. 16 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
Aug. 21 -- at Upper Arlington
*Aug. 23 -- at Olentangy
*Aug. 28 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 4 -- at Westerville North
*Sept. 6 -- vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 10 -- at Newark
Sept. 11 -- vs. Northland
Sept. 12 -- at Grove City
Sept. 13 -- at Westland
Sept. 18 -- at Centennial
Sept. 19 -- at Franklin Heights
*Sept. 24 -- at Olentangy Orange
Sept. 25 -- Whetstone at Park of Roses
Sept. 26 -- vs. Fisher Catholic
Oct. 2 -- vs. Beechcroft
Below are the coming schedules for the South boys soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 17 -- At Worthington Christian
Aug. 21 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
Aug. 17 -- At Worthington Christian
Aug. 21 -- At Darby
Aug. 20 -- At Columbus School for Girls
Aug. 21 -- At Gahanna
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington