As Caleb Davern stepped off the 18th green Oct. 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course, the senior for the Central Crossing High School boys golf team came to an emotional realization.
The Ohio State recruit had just played his final prep round and was fighting back tears.
Davern envisioned winning medalist honors in the Division I state tournament, but a first-round 81 on Oct. 19 all but ended that dream. He came out focused on the second day, shooting a round-low 1-under par 71 to finish with a 152 and earn first-team all-state honors.
"I had tears in my eyes the entire last hole," Davern said. "It's bittersweet to have the career I had and have it end this way."
Davern tied for fourth, four shots behind co-medalists Jackson Chandler of champion Dublin Jerome and Maxwell Modolvan of Uniontown Green.
"(On Oct. 19) I knew I was hitting the ball really well, but I didn't get my putts to fall," said Davern, who was the Comets' lone senior. "I made a couple decisions that probably cost me some shots. I stuck to a different game plan (Oct. 20) and hit the shots that I needed to."
It was Davern's third all-state performance after also finishing fourth last season and tying for fifth as a freshman. He did not qualify for state as a sophomore, shooting a 79 at district to tie for 28th.
"You don't often see an 81-71; usually it's the other way around because of nerves," said coach Justin Prati, who completed his 13th season. "Caleb knew coming in that he was playing for something today. We knew a (final) number that we knew we needed to be around -- 150 -- and he came close to that. He knew he had a big fight in front of him, and he found a little groove after a seesaw round (on the first day)."
Davern advanced to state as one of two individual qualifiers from the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley. He tied Olentangy Liberty's Grant Smeltzer for first as both shot 71, but Smeltzer -- the other individual qualifier -- earned medalist honors by winning a one-hole playoff.
In a sectional Oct. 2 at Denison Golf Club, Davern shot a 67 to earn medalist honors.
"Caleb's the best player I have seen in my coaching career in general," Prati said. "The footprint that he left on central Ohio golf has been really special. He's going to a high-level program (at Ohio State), and it's going to be an exciting four years with the Buckeyes."
Davern was the OCC-Central Division Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior. This year, however, he was only eligible for honorable mention all-league honors after missing the first round Aug. 6 to play in an American Junior Golf Association tournament. He averaged 74.33 in three rounds as Central Crossing finished fifth (3-17) behind champion Upper Arlington (20-0).
"We have a lot of young talent coming back, and we have kids buying into the game and trying to make themselves better," Prati said. "We have a couple guys working at Oakhurst now. Just staying around the game and making it a priority is how you get to places like (state)."
Cross country teams end seasons at district
The boys and girls cross country teams did not advance anyone to the Division I regional Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
The girls were 15th (478 points) of 16 teams in district 2 on Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby behind regional-qualifiers Granville (34), Olentangy Orange (63), UA (131), Marys-ville (143), New Albany (160) and Westerville North (175).
Sophomore Rachel Sinyuk was 80th (22 minutes, 54.3 seconds) to lead the Comets as the top 24 individuals advanced. Senior Mallory Lalonde (96th, 24:48.3) was next, followed by senior Mia Martinez (103rd, 26:10.6), sophomore Ellie Williams (104th, 26:36.8), junior Emma Thompson (106th, 27:33.5) and freshman Emma Bethel (112th, 31:08.2).
The boys were 19th (478) of 21 teams in district 3 behind regional-qualifiers Pickerington North (55), Liberty (84), Lancaster (109), Dublin Scioto (157), New Albany (205) and New Philadelphia (207).
Freshman Joey Taylor (75th, 18:28.2) led Central Crossing, followed by senior Avery Wright (97th, 18:50.8), sophomore Dominic Manson (101st, 18:52.4), senior Michael Fry (115th, 19:08.8), junior Noah Reardon (117th, 19:15.3) and sophomores Jake Archer (137th, 20:21.3) and Jon Carroll (146th, 21:18.9).
Girls soccer team falls in second round
The girls soccer team lost at third-seeded Jerome 4-0 on Oct. 18 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
The 30th-seeded Comets finished 7-8-2 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central.
In the first round Oct. 15, Central Crossing won at 24th-seeded Newark 3-2 in a shootout for the program's second postseason victory. The previous district victory came in 2016, a 1-0 win over Watkins Memorial in the first round.
Against Newark, freshman forward Georgia Lakso scored both goals for the Comets in regulation. Three seniors -- midfielders Hallie Fryman and Maddie Ross and defender Sofia Robledo -- all scored in the shootout with Robledo netting the decisive goal.
Senior goalkeeper Brittany Hanson had 16 saves.
Lakso and sophomore forwards Emma Malkowski and Emily Smits lead the expected returnees.
Girls volleyball team ousted by Jaguars
The girls volleyball team lost at 17th-seeded Hilliard Bradley 25-13, 25-18, 25-14 on Oct. 16 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
The 41st-seeded Comets, who had a first-round bye, finished 3-20 overall and 2-8 in the OCC-Central.
Central Crossing had two seniors in defensive specialist Jordan Beverly (61 digs) and middle hitter Taylor Weddington (130 kills, 23 aces, team-high 48 blocks).
Junior outside hitter Morgan Geddes had team highs in kills (245) and digs (112) and also had 28 blocks and 25 aces. Junior setter Olivia Castle led with 343 assists and had 21 aces and 66 digs.
Junior Mackenzie Keller (right-side hitter; 60 kills), sophomores Olivia Everett (outside hitter; 64 kills) and Delaney Pfeiffer (defensive specialist; 94 digs, 17 aces) and freshman Jordan Brothers (defensive specialist; 35 kills, 24 blocks) also are expected to return.
Boys soccer team loses to Golden Gales
The boys soccer team lost at 25th-seeded Lancaster 4-0 on Oct. 17 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
The 37th-seeded Comets finished 4-11-2 overall and 0-5 in the OCC-Central.
Central Crossing had 12 seniors led by midfielder Xavier Bradley, forward Tony Trujillo and defenders Sel Adehe, Connor Livingston, Diego Lopez-Herrera and Willy Vazquez.
Juniors Ben Kelley (midfielder), Christian Petry (goalie) and Marcos Rios-Gutierrez (midfielder) and sophomore Tyler Terrell (forward) are the top players expected to return.