A slow start didn't prevent the St. Charles Preparatory School golf team from qualifying for the Division I state tournament.
The Cardinals finished as runners-up (309) in the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley behind defending state champion Dublin Jerome (293). With only the top two teams advancing to state Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course, there was little margin for error.
Olentangy Orange was third, just four shots behind St. Charles.
"We all started real rough, but I'm proud of the way we kept things together and battled our way through," said sophomore Reece Yakubov, who led the Cardinals with a 75. "I had a rough start, too. By the time I made the turn, I was aware that we were going to need every last shot (and) that they were all going to count.
"My teammates hung in there and finished well and I was able to make a few shots, too. Oliver (Mauntel) had a great finish. I'm so happy for him. We were trying to shoot around 300, but we'll take this."
Mauntel, a senior who played his way into the fifth and final spot in the starting lineup, finished with a 76 that included a 36 on the back nine.
"We're feeling pretty good right now, but we weren't real sure about things there for a while," said Mauntel, who had birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. "I was pretty happy with my round and really happy with my finish.
"I said to myself, 'We need to make a few good scores here,' and I wasn't afraid to get a little aggressive at the end. I was right there for birdie putts on 17 and 18 and I told myself to relax and knock them down. We needed them."
The Cardinals are going to state for the first time since 2014 when they finished second by edging Upper Arlington (both 645) in a scorecard playoff. Cincinnati Moeller (636) won the title.
That was the first time St. Charles had been at state since winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
"This means a lot," coach Brian Unk said. "We're young. We have one senior (in Mauntel) who's our (No. 5 player). We have two sophomores and two juniors, so the only one in our top five who has played (at district) before is Reece. We had four rookies playing."
Junior Vince Campagni and sophomore Jason Zehala both shot 79, and junior Michael Shyu added an 82.
"I was concerned with the way we started," Unk said. "We had an ugly score through the first four or five holes. But the kids did a nice job of managing from there and didn't panic.
"The funny thing with Oliver is that he was on the fifth-sixth line most of the season, but he played much better late in the season and then he won a challenge to be in the lineup here. As a senior, winning that challenge and being here for the first time, he did wonderful. For him to finish his round like that and put up a score like he did ... wow, that shows a lot. I'm very happy for him."
Central Crossing's Caleb Davern and Olentangy Liberty's Grant Smeltzer both shot 71 to advance to state as individuals. Smeltzer won a one-hole playoff for medalist honors.
Unk said reaching the state tournament was the hard part for the Cardinals, who are ready to see how they measure up on the big stage.
"We settled for silver here (at district), but we're happy with that," he said. "At least we got out and maybe we can put it all together (at state) and see what happens."
Cross country team wins another CCL title
The cross country team won its 12th consecutive CCL championship and its 19th in 20 seasons Oct. 13 at Otterbein.
The Cardinals had four of the top six runners to total 28 points and double up runner-up Watterson (56). DeSales (64), Hartley (90) and Ready (137) rounded out the scoring.
Iain Karas finished first (17 minutes, 0.56 of a second), ahead of Owen Karas (third, 17:11.86), Ethan Encarnacion (fifth, 17:31.15), Liam O'Reilly (sixth, 17:38.58), Will Blubaugh (13th, 18:09.86), Andrew Sarff (14th, 18:13.6) and Jacob Franz (15th, 18:22.16).
St. Charles competes in the Division I, district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 20, at Hilliard Darby. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
Football team preps for KIPP Columbus
The football team is 3-5 overall entering its game Friday, Oct. 19, against visiting KIPP Columbus.
The Jaguars play a limited varsity schedule and are 1-3. They are coached by Andrew Mensah, who says his program runs a spread offense and a 3-3 stack defense.
In the program's second season, KIPP has a roster of 20 players, including three juniors and eight sophomores. The Jaguars have no seniors.
St. Charles dropped to 0-2 in the CCL by losing to Watterson 37-6 on Oct. 12. The lone score came on a 78-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Mason to Roland Rowe.
Mason was 6-for-15 passing for 145 yards and Rowe had three receptions for 98 yards. Taylor Bryant rushed for 105 yards on 18 carries and Peter Griffith caught three passes for 47 yards.
Soccer team ready for district tourney
The soccer team was 11-3-2 after losing to New Albany 1-0 on Oct. 13 to close the regular season.
After a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament, the third-seeded Cardinals will play 25th-seeded Lancaster or 37th-seeded Central Crossing on Saturday, Oct. 20, at home.
If they win that game, they will play host to 18th-seeded Reynoldsburg, 27th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley or 30th-seeded Watkins Memorial in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The district final is Oct. 27.
Will Byorth, Drew McClimon and Owen Sullivan scored in a 3-0 win over Bexley on Oct. 9. Goalkeeper Joseph Marchionda made three saves as the Cardinals earned their fourth consecutive shutout and ninth of the season.