Aaron Zeller of the Thomas Worthington High School boys golf team kept his poise and displayed his maturity on the closing holes in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry to keep his season alive.
The senior made a 25-foot putt on his final hole, No. 9, to avoid a playoff and advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley with the fourth and final individual qualifying berth.
"I'm just happy to make it," said Zeller, who shot a 77. "We started on the back nine and I opened bogey-bogey and missed a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 12. It wasn't my best round. I shot 41 on the back (nine) and never got into any consistent groove and actually had an errant tee shot that led me to a bogey on 18.
"But my goal the whole day was to shoot 75 to 78 because I figured that would get out. ... My best stretch was Nos. 5 through 9. I went 2-under in that stretch."
Zeller was the Cardinals' lone representative at district, where the top two individuals not on one of the two qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
"It wasn't Aaron's best round and we all knew he had to make that putt on No. 9," coach Jay Addy said. "It was survive and advance and he gutted it out and was able to do that. When he made that putt, we all went crazy."
The Cardinals placed fifth in the 13-team sectional with a 320, as Olentangy Liberty (303), Gahanna (304), Pickerington Central (307) and Pickerington North (311) advanced.
"It was our season-low score, but the funny part is I'm sure each one of them could've saved one or two shots during the round and we'd be right there," Addy said. "We were just nine shots away from fourth."
Sophomore Noah Jackman carded a 78 to fall one stroke shy of forcing a playoff for a district berth. Also competing for the Cardinals were freshman Paari Kaviyarasu (80), sophomore Colin Corbett (85) and junior Josh Towns (88).
"Noah had his season-best round, Paari had one of his top-three rounds and Colin also had one of his best rounds," Addy said. "Overall, we were very happy with the way we performed out there.
"Noah had two bad holes or he may have gotten to district as well."
Xie reaches district tennis tourney
Sarina Xie of the girls tennis team became a four-time district qualifier when she finished second in singles in a Division I sectional Oct. 5 and 6 at Hilliard Bradley.
Xie will be looking to finish in the top four in the district tournament Thursday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Reynoldsburg to earn her first berth to the state tournament, which will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Seeded second, Xie rolled into the sectional semifinals, losing just three games in three matches on Oct. 5. The next day, she beat Liberty's Anna Gardner 7-6, 6-3 to reach the final, where she fell 6-1, 7-5 to top-seeded Nicole Santoso of Dublin Scioto.
Xie, who will play Dublin Jerome's Katherine Wang in the first round at district, was the only Thomas player to win a sectional match.
In first-round singles matches, senior Ellie Brown lost to Grove City's Lexi Townsend 0-6, 6-1, 6-1 and junior Riley Dodson lost to Hilliard Davidson's Kaitlyn Quinn 6-2, 6-1.
In first-round doubles matches, junior Sydney Cooke and Katie Haydel-Brown lost 6-0, 6-0 to Athens' Ami Brannan and Kiki Chen and senior Anna Kravtsova and sophomore Winney McKahan lost 6-1, 6-2 to Scioto's Julia Trotti and Sydney Davis.
Field hockey team wins league title
The field hockey team defeated Upper Arlington 8-0 on Oct. 3 to win the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division title.
The Cardinals beat Ann Arbor (Michigan) Pioneer 1-0 on Oct. 5 and Kilbourne 4-1 on Oct. 8 and were 14-1 overall before playing Watterson in the regular-season finale Oct. 10.
Bella Avila and Sarah Charley both scored three goals against UA. Althea Chan and Mollie Estepp also scored and goalkeeper Isabelle Perese made three saves.
Against Kilbourne, Avila scored twice and Charley scored her 100th career goal. Rachel Rinaldi also scored.
The Cardinals, who finished 8-0 in the COFHL-West, are seeded second in the district tournament behind Columbus Academy and have a first-round bye. They will play host to 17th-seeded Lancaster in the second round Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Academy, which beat Thomas 4-0 on Sept. 26, is in another district bracket and wouldn't face the Cardinals until the state tournament.
Runners shine in Eisenhart meet
The cross country teams are preparing for the OCC-Cardinal Division meet Saturday, Oct. 13, at Davidson.
In their final tuneup, the Cardinals played host to the Les Eisenhart Invitational on Oct. 6.
The girls team placed second (65 points) of 20 teams, behind Centerville (59), and had three of the top-10 finishers.
Gia Napoleon placed fourth in 19 minutes, 2 seconds, Carina Napoleon was seventh in 19:15 and Lydia Miller was 10th in 19:45. Also scoring were Tori Banks (16th, 19:59) and Morgan Edwards (28th, 20:50).
Zubin Jha placed fifth (16:14) to lead the boys team, which finished seventh (167) of 21 teams, behind champion Gahanna (115).
Also scoring were Nate Johnson (15th, 16:45), Noah Silliman (46th, 17:35), Jack Caine (49th, 17:40) and Andrea Mira (54th, 17:41).
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 17 -- Home vs. 33rd-seeded Northland in first round of Division I district tournament. The Cardinals are seeded 21st.
Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 26th-seeded DeSales in first round of Division I district tournament. The Cardinals are seeded 25th.
*Oct. 11 -- At Kilbourne. The Cardinals lost to the Wolves 25-22, 25-14, 25-20 on Sept. 13.
Oct. 15 -- At 15th-seeded Delaware in first round of Division I district tournament. The Cardinals are seeded 25th.