Grant Smeltzer seized his opportunity during the Division I district boys golf tournament, erasing what he perceived as a disappointing regular season.
By shooting a 71 and then beating Central Crossing senior Caleb Davern in a one-hole playoff for medalist honors Oct. 9, the Olentangy Liberty High School sophomore heads into the state tournament with momentum.
He’ll compete Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
“I feel like I struggled a little bit over the season, and to be able to bring out a great round was very pleasing,” Smeltzer said. “My ball striking (was strong). I’m going to work on my short game (heading into state) because there’s a lot of tough shots around the green there.”
Last season, Smeltzer shot a 156 to tie for 17th at state as Liberty earned a runner-up finish.
In OCC-Buckeye Division action this fall, Smeltzer averaged 78 to rank third on the Patriots as he made second-team all-league.
He made a birdie on the first playoff hole against Davern.
“I’m really happy for him,” coach Ryan Snivley said. “He puts in a lot of work, and like he did say, he struggled this year. A couple things disappointed him throughout the year so it’s nice to have a reward at the end.”
Liberty placed fifth (317) at district as Dublin Jerome (293) and St. Charles (309) advanced to state. Andrew Blosser shot an 80, followed by Josh Steyer (81), Logan McCarrell (85) and Caden Gallagher (86).
Tennis team sending doubles duos to state
Sophomores Maddie Atway and Dani Schoenly will have a chance to defend their Division I state girls tennis doubles championship Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
They’ll also have company after winning the district championship Oct. 13 at Reynoldsburg in senior teammates Lexie Brengartner and Ellie MacDowell, who placed fourth at district.
Atway and Schoenly beat Orange’s Erin Storrer and Kortney Reed 6-1, 6-2 in a semifinal and Upper Arlington’s Evelyn Holman and Wendy Shi 6-0, 6-3 for the championship.
Brengartner and MacDowell lost to Holman and Shi 6-3, 6-4 in a semifinal and to Storrer and Reed by the same score in the consolation. They defeated Orange’s Livie Mauger and Caroline Sproule 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in their state-qualifying match.
“It was fun to be a part of it,” coach Will Thieman said. “It’s kind of like you don’t want to see anybody lose (in the quarterfinal match) because of how hard everybody played.”
Also at district, senior Anna Gardner lost to eventual singles champion Cassie Alcala of Pickerington North 6-0, 6-0 in a first-round match.
Field hockey team sweeps sister schools
With an 8-1 victory over Olentangy on Oct. 11, the field hockey team earned a sweep of their school district rivals.
The win also locked up a runner-up finish in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West at 7-1, behind Thomas Worthington (8-0), as Sienna Sakich and Anna Benton both scored two goals.
“(We’re) very proud of defending the title (between the Olentangy schools),” coach Marianne Flannery said. “It’s great to have a new school in the district. We take those games seriously and respect each program. Earning those victories is a big pride point for our team.”
Fifth-seeded Liberty was 13-3 overall before opening the district tournament Oct. 17 against seventh-seeded Upper Arlington or 15th-seeded Hartley. The winner plays third-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 14th-seeded Columbus School for Girls on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in a district semifinal.
Volleyball team goes into tourney unbeaten
The top-seeded girls volleyball team entered its Division I district tournament opener Oct. 17 against 29th-seeded Groveport or 33rd-seeded Canal Winchester with a 22-0 record.
If Liberty won that match, it will play 17th-seeded Hilliard Bradley, 24th-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 41st-seeded Central Crossing in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Franklin Heights.
The Patriots beat Olentangy 25-22, 25-15, 30-28 on Oct. 11 to win the OCC-Buckeye at 10-0 after sharing the title with Orange last fall.
“We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are and I couldn’t be prouder,” senior Taylor Karlo said. “It also means a lot to win the OCC because last year we were co-OCC champs with Orange and we were a little upset about that so we made sure this year we were going to prove that we deserved it.”
Runners finish second in league
On Saturday, Oct. 20, at Hilliard Darby, the boys cross country team will compete in the Division I, district 3 meet and the girls will run in district 1.
The top six teams and top 24 individuals in district 3 and the top five teams and top 20 individuals in district 1 advance to the regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
The girls scored 44 points to finish second to Orange (38) in the OCC-Buckeye meet Oct. 13 at Davidson as Gracie Sprankle won in 17 minutes, 59.1 seconds. She was followed by Linnea Kunesh (fourth, 19:02.2), Audrey Piero (sixth, 19:29.7), Lauren Buddie (16th, 20:19.6) and Lauren Woodruff (17th, 20:22.3).
The boys were second (47) behind Orange (34) as Jack Humenay (fifth, 16:14.1) , Joseph Johnson III (sixth, 16:29.1), Jacob Feldmaier (10th, 16:52.8), Tanner Sutton (12th, 16:58.1) and R.J. LaRosa (14th, 16:59.5) scored.
Boys soccer team to start tourney play
The top-seeded boys soccer team opens the Division I district tournament Saturday, Oct. 20, at home against 23rd-seeded Delaware or 41st-seeded Whetstone in a second-round game.
Should Liberty win, it will play host to 12th-seeded Darby, 26th-seeded Mount Vernon or 28th-seeded Pickerington Central on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in a district semifinal.
On Oct. 13, the Patriots lost to the state’s No. 1-ranked team, Cleveland St. Ignatius, 2-0. Liberty was third in last week’s state poll.
The Patriots are 13-2 overall. They wrapped up a 5-0 finish in the OCC-Buckeye with a 3-0 victory over Olentangy on Oct. 9 as Ludwig Conrad, Nathan Rothert and Graydon Shook scored and Theren Handlon made four saves.
Girls soccer team to open postseason
On Thursday, Oct. 18, the 16th-seeded girls soccer team plays host to 21st-seeded Reynoldsburg or 31st-seeded Teays Valley in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
The winner plays third-seeded Jerome, 24th-seeded Newark or 30th-seeded Central Crossing in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed.
After losing 1-0 to Olentangy on Oct. 9 to finish 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye, the Patriots lost 2-1 to Watterson on Oct. 11 to drop to 5-9-2 overall.
Manocha just misses state golf tourney
In the Division I district girls golf tournament Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek, senior Kavya Manocha shot a 76 to place eighth overall and just one stroke behind the second of two individual state qualifiers, Upper Arlington’s Emily Hummer.
“I didn’t think I played as well as I could have, but I did have a few good holes,” Manocha said. “I’m happy with how I did. I think my
putting was pretty good because I had five birdies, but I had two doubles and that kind of brought my score down a little.”
Her performance helped the Patriots place sixth (336) as the top two advanced to state.
The other four postseason competitors are eligible to return. Sophomore Juliana Renda had an 84 at district, followed by junior Sarah Latzke (87), sophomore Gracie Baun (89) and freshman Taya Buxton (95).
In OCC-Buckeye action, Manocha finished second with a 75.8 average and Baun averaged 86.3 as both earned first-team all-league honors. Buxton (91.8) and Renda (92.3) made the second team and Latzke (82) was honorable mention.