Upper Arlington High School girls golf coach Steve Ford has not seen anything the past two weeks to change his belief that he has one of the top golfers in the state in junior Emily Hummer.

"There are clearly 10, as many as 12, girls capable of winning a state championship. Emily is one of them," Ford said.

Numbers seem to back him up, but Ford doesn't need them.

Hummer, who will compete in the Division I state tournament Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Ohio State's Gray Course, is one of 13 qualifiers who shot 75 or better in district play. Hummer shot a 75 at district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek to lead the Golden Bears to a team score of 319 and third place behind champion New Albany (298).

The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.

Leila Raines of Olentangy Berlin shot a 72 to earn the other individual berth. Olentangy Orange (315) also advanced as a team.

Hummer is making her second appearance at state. She shot a 79 two years ago when UA finished fourth in a tournament shortened to one round from the usual two because of bad weather.

"It's no surprise to me (that Hummer advanced)," Ford said. "There are lots of great players like Leila Raines, all the girls from New Albany and Kayla Davis from Gahanna to name a few, and Emily is right in that group. She is one of the best golfers in the state. This is no fluke.

"She has incredible mental toughness I haven't seen in a junior in high school in a long time. She doesn't get rattled in any way. Some kids don't like pressure and some thrive on it. Emily thrives on it. Her drive might be her strongest weapon; she's in the upper echelon as far as distance off the tee, but she's a very good putter, too. She just has a strong all-around game."

Also scoring for UA at district were Julia Rabadam (78), Lilly Carine (81) and Reagan Nolan (85). Eileen Murray shot a 93.

"We did well on the front nine as a team but then we stumbled some on the back nine," Ford said. "Orange is a pretty good enough and they passed us."

Tennis team's Holman, Shi return to state

Evelyn Holman and Wendy Shi of the girls tennis team feel even more prepared for the Division I state tournament this year than last, when they went 1-1.

Holman and Shi went 3-1 and finished second in doubles in the district tournament that concluded Oct. 13 at Reynoldsburg, losing to defending state champions Maddie Atway and Dani Schoenly of Olentangy Liberty 6-0, 6-3 in the final. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

"I think we make more shots and hit our shots better than last year," Shi said. "We work together better as a team. We get on top of the net together and we can read each other more. That just comes from experience."

Also competing in doubles were Ella Hazelbaker and Noah Mizer, who lost to Orange's Kortney Reed and Erin Storrer 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in a state-qualifying match Oct. 11.

UA suffered its first loss of the season last week, falling to visiting Orange 4-1 in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district final. The Bears went 11-1 in dual matches.

Holman is making her third consecutive appearance at state, all in doubles. Shi advanced for the first time last year.

UA is being represented at state for the fifth consecutive year and 24th time in 25 seasons.

"We're used to playing under that pressure since we got there last year," Holman said. "We have experience with different styles, adjusting to them and thinking more."

Heuerman leads runners at league meet

After finishing as OCC-Central Division runner-up each of the past three years, Heidi Heuerman of the girls cross country team won the individual championship during the league meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Davidson.

Heuerman was first in 18 minutes, 17.2 seconds to lead UA to 76 points and third place behind Davidson (20) and Dublin Coffman (59) and ahead of Marysville (84), Westland (163) and Central Crossing (172). Also scoring for the Bears were Megan Kiehl (15th, 20:14.6), Eileen Dunn (19th, 20:32.6), Mallory Sharp (22nd, 20:45.6) and Elizabeth Clingan (24th, 20:56.5).

The boys team placed three runners in the top 10 to finish second (46) behind Davidson (23) and ahead of Coffman (82), Marysville (93), Central Crossing (151) and Westland (177).

Thomas Richter was fourth (16:19.2), followed by Jack Amling (seventh, 16:31.3), Charlie Nowinski (10th, 16:48.6), Daniel Owens (12th, 16:52.4) and Nathaniel Swords (13th, 16:56.1).

Both teams will participate in the Division I, district 2 meet Saturday, Oct. 20, at Hilliard Darby.

In the boys race, the top five teams and top 20 individuals will advance to regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional from the girls race.

Girls water polo team returns to state

The girls water polo team enters the state tournament Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at Cincinnati Princeton riding its longest winning streak of the season.

UA has won eight matches in a row dating to Sept. 16 and is 21-11. The Bears closed the regular season Oct. 10 with a 7-3 win over Worthington Kilbourne.

Grace McCarty had a team-high 40 goals as well as 11 assists through 31 games. Abby Hendershot had 27 goals and Lilli Swanson had 21, and Hendershot led UA in assists with 37.

Seeded third of 10 teams in the state tournament, UA will take on sixth-seeded Thomas Worthington in a second-round game Oct. 19. The winner will play second-seeded and defending state champion Napoleon, seventh-seeded Milford or 10th-seeded Princeton in a semifinal Oct. 20, and the winner would advance to the final later that night.

The UA-Thomas loser would place no better than fifth.

The Bears are seeking their fourth state championship in five years, seventh in nine years and 18th overall. UA lost to Napoleon 10-9 in last year's final.

The boys water polo team is 23-8 and has this weekend off before competing in its state tournament Oct. 26 and 27 at Mason and Princeton.

Boys soccer team prepares for tourney

The boys soccer team finished the regular season last week against two of the top five seeds in the Division I district tournament, and finds itself in the same bracket with two other top 10 seeds as the postseason begins this weekend.

UA tied Coffman, the fifth seed in the 48-team tournament, at 2 to finish OCC-Central play Oct. 9 and lost to the second seed, New Albany, 4-1 in its regular-season finale Oct. 11. UA finished OCC-Central play at 3-0-2, second behind Coffman (4-0-1).

The Bears, who are seeded ninth, are 8-4-4 overall and will play host to 21st-seeded Thomas or 33rd-seeded Northland in the second round Saturday, Oct. 20. UA defeated Thomas 2-1 on Sept. 11.

Also in the same bracket are fourth-seeded Pickerington North and sixth-seeded Olentangy.

"We definitely have a little motivation with Thomas Worthington basically choosing to play us again should they win their opener ... so that will help keep us focused," coach Kevin Donovan said. "All in all, our draw provides us with opposition that requires our full attention, and in my opinion that is a good thing."

The second-round winner will play Olentangy, 43rd-seeded Big Walnut or 48th-seeded Marion Harding in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24, on the better-seeded team's home field. The district final is Oct. 27.

Girls soccer team begins tourney

After playing to three consecutive ties to end the regular season, the girls soccer team beat visiting and 36th-seeded Whetstone 10-0 on Oct. 15 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

Abby Reisz scored three goals to lead UA, which is seeded ninth of 44 teams and will play host to 43rd-seeded Mifflin in the second round Thursday, Oct. 18. The winner will take on 12th-seeded Darby or 44th-seeded Westland in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the better-seeded team's home field.

Of those teams, the Bears routed Westland 12-1 in OCC-Central play Sept. 25.

UA is 10-4-3 overall.

The Bears finished 2-1-2 in the OCC-Central with a 3-all tie against league champion Coffman on Oct. 9 after a scoreless tie Oct. 2 against Marysville. They also played Lexington to a 2-all tie Oct. 13.

Reisz scored two goals to lead the Bears against Coffman and now has a team-leading 16 on the season. Sydney Lape and Jackie Yerke each scored against Lexington.

Volleyball team advances in tourney

The girls volleyball team came from behind to defeat visiting and 30th-seeded Teays Valley 20-25, 25-9, 19-25, 25-18, 25-11 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15, and earned another home match with a win.

Seeded 10th of 49 teams, UA was 17-6 overall before playing host to 11th-seeded DeSales in the second round Oct. 17 and finished 8-2 in the OCC-Central.

Both of the Bears' league losses came to Coffman, which wrapped up its 12th consecutive league title with a 25-12, 25-14, 25-22 win over UA on Oct. 11.

The UA-DeSales winner will play ninth-seeded Dublin Scioto or 44th-seeded Briggs in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Franklin Heights. The district final is Oct. 27.

Of those teams, the Bears beat Scioto 25-22, 21-25, 25-18 on Sept. 15.

Field hockey team begins postseason

The field hockey team broke a three-game losing streak and ended the regular season with a 2-0 win at Coffman on Oct. 10 before beginning the district tournament Oct. 15 with a 2-0 win over 15th-seeded Hartley.

UA, which was seeded seventh of 17 teams, was 10-6-1 overall before a second-round game Oct. 17 at fifth-seeded Liberty and finished 5-2-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West.

The UA-Liberty winner will visit third-seeded Kilbourne or 14th-seeded Columbus School for Girls for a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The district final is Oct. 27.

Boys golf season ends at district

The boys golf team posted its second-highest score of the season in the Division I district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley, shooting a 328 to finish 10th of 12 teams behind champion Dublin Jerome (293).

The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.

Seniors Matt Cramer and Quinn Patterson each shot an 80 to lead UA.

"It's definitely not what we expected," coach Troy Arbaugh said. "It was tough out there, but we had a good season."

Also scoring for the Bears were senior Grant Menke (83) and sophomore Jud Turner (85). Junior Joe Mollica shot an 86.

St. Charles (309) earned the other team berth to state.

Patterson, who has committed to the University of Akron, earned OCC-Central Player of the Year honors. He averaged 73.5 in the four rounds of the league tournament, 1.5 shots ahead of runner-up Cramer, as UA went 20-0 to win the league title.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave