Staying grounded paid off for the Dublin Jerome High School boys golf team on its way to a second consecutive Division I state championship.
Following back-to-back title performances with a 290 in a sectional Oct. 2 at Denison Golf Club and a 293 at district Oct. 9 at Apple Valley, the Celtics believed they had no place to go but up after shooting a 316 in the opening round of the state tournament Oct. 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Jerome gradually turned a five-stroke lead heading into the final round Oct. 20 into a 25-stroke victory by shooting a 309 for a two-day total of 625 that gave the program its eighth state title.
"(The night after the opening round) we had a little team conference and kind of just talked about how much this would mean to Jackson (Chandler) and I because we're seniors, and I think it was important for us to stay patient and have fun, honestly," Mason Wagner said. "For some of the young kids, I just told them to go out there and have fun and go win. Our five-shot lead definitely helped. For the younger kids that hadn't played (at state before), the first-day experience helped that."
Both Chandler and Wagner were better during the final round, with Wagner shooting rounds of 77 and 75 for a total of 152 that gave him a fourth-place tie and Chandler carding a 77 and 72 for a total of 149 to share medalist honors with Green's Maxwell Moldovan.
Both Chandler, who placed sixth at state last year and is an Ohio State commit, and Wagner, who tied for 11th at state a year ago and has committed to Xavier, earned first-team all-state honors.
"Going back-to-back is definitely something I'll never forget," Chandler said. "We had a 17-shot lead after the first day last year and none of us had been in that position with only a five-shot lead, so we knew it was going to be close. Obviously, five shots can be given up in one hole.
"I knew I was close (to earning medalist honors), but didn't know what I had to shoot. Somebody told me as I walked off the green that (I) tied for medalist. To win my last high school event is nice."
Junior Ethan Snyder tied for 12th (159), missing earning second-team all-state honors by just two strokes. Sophomore Tyler Groomes tied for 27th (165) and sophomore Ryan Miller tied for 46th (174).
Sophomores Jake Yarbrough and Logan Menning were contributors during the regular season for the Celtics, who went 28-0 in the four-round OCC-Cardinal Division tournament to win their 15th consecutive league title.
"You always rely on that senior leadership, and (Chandler and Wagner) along with Ethan showed it all year," coach Taylor Harle said. "We'll have Ethan next year as a senior and we had seven sophomores in our top 12, so there's a lot of young guys champing at the bit to possibly get here. The next couple years will be very competitive within our program, which can be a good thing."
Tennis team has rewarding season
After winning its 15th consecutive league championship, the girls tennis team ended up losing to 3-0 to Olentangy Orange on Oct. 16 in an OTCA district final to finish 12-6.
Getting back to that level despite losing four key players from 2017 to graduation and also having each of their three singles entrants advance to the OHSAA state tournament were among the biggest positives this fall for the Celtics.
"We had a lot of new players that didn't get much varsity time for us last year that were able to step up into some big situations for us this year," coach Ken Berlin said. "We're only losing two seniors in Sophie Williams and Katie Yao, so the majority of the team is coming back and with some more experience. Overall, it was a good year."
On Oct. 19 in the state tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, sophomore Lalasa Nagireddy lost to eventual runner-up Kelli Niehaus of Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, junior Reagan Resor lost to Westlake's Emma Peeler 6-0, 6-2 in the first round and junior Katherine Wang lost to eventual champion Anna Roggenburk of Rocky River Magnificat 6-1, 6-0 in a quarterfinal.
Wang, who played second singles behind Nagireddy for most of the season while Resor saw time at third singles and doubles, opened state with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Oregon Clay's Tori Gallaher.
"There was no pressure since going to state was my goal," Wang said. "It's been really fun. We got three singles players to qualify for states and we haven't had an individual state qualifier (since 2015)."
Nagireddy was sectional runner-up while Wang placed third and Resor was fourth, and the trio finished in the same order at district.
In doubles, junior Kavya Alagappan and sophomore Izzy Seikel placed third at sectional and lost in the first round at district and Williams and Yao lost in a sectional quarterfinal.
Runners advance to regional level
The girls cross country team and two individuals from the boys program are headed to the Division I regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to the state meet Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
On Oct. 20 in the district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby, the girls team finished fourth (117 points) behind champion Thomas Worthington (36) as the top five teams advanced.
Audrey Cook led the Celtics with a 15th-place finish (20 minutes. 23.6 seconds), followed by Ava DiMasi (19th, 20:43), Lauren Metzger (21st, 20:50.7), Manaka Yamaucki (30th, 21:35), Abby Lenz (32nd, 21:37.2), Madison Weigle (38th, 21:54.5) and Kelly McLoughlin (48th, 22:09.8).
The boys team took sixth (126) in the district 1 meet behind champion Gahanna (63), but only the top five teams moved on.
Cook's brother, Elliott Cook, captured the championship in 15:57.4 and Arjun Dhankani placed 16th (16:48.6) to advance individually.
Also competing for the boys team were Kyle Von Cannon (25th, 17:17), Carson Smith (41st, 17:43.9), Travis Cline (43rd, 17:54.5), Gunnar Grass (63rd, 18:31.7) and Andrew McPherson (65th, 18:39.1).
Volleyball team reaches semifinal
The 12th-seeded girls volleyball team played third-seeded Olentangy in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 23 at Whitehall.
The winner faces sixth-seeded Pickerington Central or eighth-seeded Watterson in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Whitehall. The district champion plays Orange, Delaware, Grove City or Watkins Memorial in a regional semifinal Nov. 1 at Worthington Kilbourne.
On Oct. 17, the Celtics beat 43rd-seeded Marion Harding 25-13, 25-18, 25-16 in a second-round match to improve to 16-8.
Girls soccer team rolls past Comets
With a 4-0 victory over 30th-seeded Central Crossing on Oct. 18 in the second round of the Division I district tournament, the third-seeded girls soccer team advanced to a district semifinal Oct. 23 at home against 16th-seeded Olentangy Liberty.
Jerome lost to the Patriots 2-0 in a regional final last season.
The semifinal winner plays ninth-seeded Upper Arlington or 12th-seeded Darby in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a neutral site. The district champion faces Watterson, Marysville, Gahanna or Westerville North in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Jerome. The regional final is Nov. 3.
Against Central Crossing, Emma Sears had two goals and Riley Mullady and Kirsten Mitchell both scored one as the Celtics improved to 13-3-1.
Boys soccer team plays in semifinal
The 11th-seeded boys soccer team played second-seeded New Albany in a Division I district semifinal Oct. 24.
The winner faces fifth-seeded Coffman or 22nd-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a neutral site.
The district champion plays St. Charles, Reynoldsburg, Worthington Kilbourne or Scioto in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Westerville Central. The regional final is Nov. 3.
Behind three goals by Luke Fassett, the Celtics beat 40th-seeded Watterson 3-1 on Oct. 20 in the second round of the district tournament to improve to 8-5-5.
Field hockey team takes steps forward
In its first season under coach Cara Wolfgram Evans, the field hockey team set the program record for wins in a season by finishing 7-10.
The 11th-seeded Celtics lost to sixth-seeded Olentangy Orange 1-0 in the second round of the district tournament Oct. 16.
Jerome is losing six seniors, led by Aleyah Bonaventura (defender), Jaqueline McCully (forward) and Brynna Pope (forward).
Among those eligible to return are juniors Audrey Evans (defender), Jane Goodstein (midfielder), Riley Morgan (midfielder/forward), Olivia Spencer (defender), Sydney Stone (midfielder) and Yuna Takahashi (forward) and sophomores Olivia Brooks (midfielder), Lauren Finley (goalkeeper) and Katelyn Root (midfielder).
McCully finished with 12 goals, Pope scored six and Root had five, while Evans led in defensive saves with six.
“I felt like our team grew tremendously this season,” Wolfgram Evans said. “The team met and surpassed all my expectations I had coming into the program. My goal was to win more games than the team did the previous year and to improve the passing and communication of the team. I look forward to continuing to build Jerome field hockey into a competitive team.”