The Worthington Christian High School football team will try to get off on the right foot this season when it opens Friday, Aug. 24, at home against Springfield Northeastern.
The Warriors lost their first four games last season on their way to finishing 5-5, while the Jets -- a Division VI program like Worthington Christian -- are coming off a 1-9 finish.
Northeastern, which is facing the Warriors for the first time, hasn't posted a winning record since going 6-4 in 2010 and has a new coach in Jake Buchholtz.
"There isn't a history between us and Worthington Christian, but I believe both teams are eager for the challenge," Buchholtz said. "I'm excited for the opportunity that this gives both schools and look forward to the matchup.
"Our team has a great group of seniors, many of whom have been four-year letterwinners. After a disappointing season last year, our team has worked hard and had a great offseason. I hope this team plays to its potential and competes each week."
The Warriors won four of their final six games last season but later received a forfeit victory over Fisher Catholic in Week 7.
Now in its second season under coach Jeff Hartings, Worthington Christian is expected to move from being primarily a running team to mixing the run and pass in a spread offense.
Senior Michael Hartings returns at running back after rushing for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. His brother, junior Lucas Hartings, has taken over as starting quarterback and senior wide receivers Michael King and Garrett Woodfin also are expected to be key contributors at the skill positions.
Junior defensive back Levi Ashley (6-foot-1, 155 pounds) and junior defensive end Cole Housman (6-0, 185) will lead a Northeastern defense that gave up an average of 39 points last season.
Buchholtz was the defensive coordinator last season under former coach Tim Houseman, who coached the program to an 8-22 mark in three seasons.
Senior quarterback Mac Davis (5-10, 170) is expected to lead the Jets' spread offense after scoring nine touchdowns and producing 756 total yards last season.
Senior wide receiver Max Queen (6-2, 160) had 680 total yards last season, while senior Garrett Miller (6-1, 275) and sophomore Jake Riggle (6-1, 270) lead the offensive line and sophomore Jake Nichols (6-2, 205) is the team's top running back.
Expected to lead the Warriors' defense are Michael Hartings and sophomore Braden Anderson at linebacker and senior Derek Holston on the line.
"Things have been going really well," Woodfin said. "It's a work in progress, but I like where we're going. It's a new offense, so we're trying to get that down."
Boys golfers look to defend state title
With all but one player back from last year's Division III state championship team, the boys golf team is expecting to remain one of Ohio's best this fall.
The Warriors finished third in the MSL-Ohio Division last year at 6-6, but again is battling with a pair of Division II powers in defending league champion Columbus Academy (11-1) and 2017 runner-up Bexley (10-2). During the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 7 at Westchester, Academy shot a 298, followed by Bexley (300) and the Warriors (305).
Worthington Christian shot a 313 at district last season to earn the lone state berth ahead of Wellington (318), which again figures to be its biggest competition for Division III superiority in central Ohio.
Senior Tyler Jones shot a 73 to finish as district runner-up, tied for fifth at state with a 152 and has committed to Marshall University.
The others who return after competing at state last year are senior Will Evans, who tied for 10th at state (155) and has committed to Tiffin, and seniors Blake Lawson and Cole Brooks.
Sophomore Ben Evans, senior Noah Elliott and freshman Sam Evans round out the roster.
"We have seven guys that could be in the mix to be in our (postseason lineup)," second-year coach Zac Hess said. "We're competing with the best in Ohio and we're privileged and blessed to be a part of the community. It's fun to compete against Columbus Academy, Bexley and Wellington. We want to beat those other teams, but at the end of the day we encourage one another and have a lot of fun getting after it together."
Girls golf team has veteran lineup
All five players on last year's roster have returned for the girls golf team, which opened with a runner-up finish (406) in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 7 at Airport behind Bexley (376).
Worthington Christian went 14-2 to win the league last season, as Rena So earned league Player of the Year honors. The sophomore shot a 77 to earn medalist honors in the first round of this year's league tournament.
Senior Abigail Stevenson, juniors Anna Opava and Natalie Opava and sophomore Zoe Holston are the other returnees. Stevenson was first-team all-league last year.
The Warriors were runners-up at the Mill Creek sectional last year and went on to take third at district as only the champion advanced to state.
"We definitely want to get to district again," third-year coach Rick Kelley said. "We got to district last year and with this whole team returning, there's really no reason we can't get there again. Only one team gets out of district, so you go there and give it your best shot.
"Rena has been playing tournaments all summer long and has definitely been working on her game. (Stevenson) is involved in so many different things outside of sports, but she'll get back into the groove."
Tennis team expects another strong year
The girls tennis team returns four of its top seven players after going 12-7 overall last season and placing third in the MSL-Ohio at 3-3.
On Aug. 14, the Warriors opened with a 3-2 loss to Westerville Central, as sophomore Abby Mayotte won at second singles and seniors Liz Mason and Emma Morris won at second doubles.
Seniors Amanda Mayotte, Anna Kremnitzer and Caroline Mousa join Abby Mayotte as key returnees.
Amanda Mayotte lost in the first round of the district tournament last season and is at first singles.
Kremnitzer and Mousa lost in the second round of doubles at the Columbus Academy sectional last season. Kremnitzer is seeing time at third singles this fall.
Senior Liz Mason and juniors Laura King and Amber Ralston are others who are playing doubles.
"We're hoping for good, strong seasons for all of the seniors," third-year coach Stefanie Mayotte said. "(We want) aggressive net play from the doubles teams, (an) offensive mindset for the singles players and positive attitudes."
Aug. 6 -- Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Invitational at Silver Lake
Aug. 7 -- MSL-Ohio preseason at Westchester
Aug. 9 -- York Challenge
Aug. 10 -- Mount Vernon Invitational at Chapel Hill
Aug. 11 -- Steve Youmans Classic at Oakhaven
Aug. 14 -- Warrior-Jaguar Classic at NorthStar
Aug. 18 -- Garaway Pirate Invitational at Willandale
Aug. 21 -- Gahanna at Little Turtle
Sept. 1-2 -- Bell Cup at Pine Needles
Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 9-10 -- Kiely Cup at Canterbury
Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 17 -- MSL-Ohio postseason at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 22 -- Upper Arlington Masters at Scioto Country Club
Sept. 24 -- Nolan Belden Invitational at Brookside
Oct. 6 -- Wedgewood Showcase
Aug. 7 -- MSL-Ohio preseason at Airport
Aug. 9 -- Fredericktown at Blackhawk
Aug. 13 -- Grandview at Airport
Aug. 22 -- Bexley at Blackhawk
Aug. 23 -- Wellington at Raymond
Aug. 28 -- Fredericktown at Hiawatha
Aug. 30 -- Grandview at Blackhawk
Sept. 6 -- Bexley at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 10 -- Wellington at Blackhawk
Sept. 18 -- MSL-Ohio postseason at Airport
Aug. 14 -- vs. Westerville Central
Aug. 20 -- at Upper Arlington
Aug. 21 -- at Grove City
Aug. 23 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
*Aug. 28 -- at Grandview
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Sept. 6 -- at Granville
Sept. 10 -- at DeSales
*Sept. 11 -- at Wellington
*Sept. 13 -- at Bexley
Sept. 17 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*Sept. 18 -- vs. Whitehall
Sept. 20 -- at Big Walnut
Sept. 22 -- MSL tournament at TBA
Sept. 24 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 25 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Sept. 27 -- vs. Olentangy
Sept. 28 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Oct. 1 -- vs. Hartley
Oct. 2 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 25 -- Buckeye Valley Invitational
Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Madison Christian
Aug. 25 -- Home vs. Tree of Life
*Aug. 29 -- At Grandview
Aug. 25 -- At West Liberty-Salem
*Aug. 29 -- Home vs. Grandview
*Aug. 23 -- At Grandview
Aug. 25 -- Home vs. Berne Union