Third-year coach Lauren Hendricks has experienced athletes as well as younger players who enjoy taking the time to improve their skills on the court for the Central Crossing girls tennis program.

"I get a really positive energy from these girls," Hendricks said. "We had six seniors graduate, which is a bit of a setback, but we had several juniors waiting in the reserves. We should be a strong team from that experience.

"I think it's a nice balancing out. We have five freshmen on the team, which I think is great. We have some girls we can train and bring up over the next few years while also holding our own on the varsity court."

The Comets have seven seniors, including Emily Creasap, who is vying for the third-singles spot with classmate Alina Marko.

"The vibe is really awesome," Creasap said. "Everyone is super-uplifting of each other. We've been really positive, and it's been a fun group to be around."

Hendricks said senior Madison Wallner and sophomore Sophia Toscano will play on the first two singles courts.

Creasap or Marko will play doubles, with several athletes competing for the final three spots. Those players include seniors Katie Meleshchuk and Julia Patterson and juniors Irina Meleshchuk, Alina Semchishin and Emily Wright.

"I'm looking forward to a positive season," said Hendricks, whose team finished 5-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Central Division a year ago. "The girls are willing to be out here working hard at all hours of the day. They continue to not only work to get better, but they ask questions. They just want to be better at the sport."

The Comets opened with a 5-0 loss to DeSales on Aug. 9 and finished as runners-up (9 points) in the South-Western City Schools tournament Aug. 10, behind host Grove City (14) and ahead of Westland (5) and Franklin Heights (1). They continued their busy opening week Aug. 12 against Bloom-Carroll, Aug. 13 against Canal Winchester and Aug. 14 against Ready.

"They need to work on confidence and some competitive edge," said Hendricks, whose team begins league play Aug. 22 against defending champion Upper Arlington. "They are great kids, and they are really nice. They need to get on the court with that competitive edge and do what they need to do to win. It's a learning curve for them. They are out there to have fun, but I would like to see them be more competitive."

Boys golfers make strides in offseason

For the past four seasons, the boys golf team was led by one of the top performers in the state in 2019 graduate Caleb Davern, who now competes at Ohio State.

As a junior, Davern finished fourth in the Division I state tournament with a two-round total of 148. Last fall, he tied for fourth with a 152.

This season, the Comets are looking for improvement during each round they play, and coach Justin Prati said he saw that when his team opened Aug. 5 with a 188-221 win over Westland at Mentel Memorial. Juniors Jackson Phillips and Jimmy Schwinne were co-medalists as both shot 46.

"We shot a 188, which is quite a growth (for us) in one calendar year," said Prati, who is in his 14th season. "The kids really made golf a priority in the offseason."

The Comets have eight players on their roster, including seniors Courtnie Sprouse and Sam White. Sprouse tied for 48th (119) of 57 participants in the Division I girls golf sectional at Mentel Memorial last year.

Prati said Sprouse would like to compete in the girls postseason again this fall.

Rounding out the roster are juniors Aiden Phipps and Miles Pingree and sophomores Brandon Dildine and Austin Estep.

"They saw the high level that Caleb was playing and they wanted to get better," Prati said. "They didn't put the sticks away after the season and go pick them up right before tryouts. They worked on their games in the offseason."

On Aug. 6 at Turnberry, the Comets finished fifth in the opening round of the four-round OCC-Central tournament. They shot a 397, behind UA (299), Dublin Coffman (318), Hilliard Davidson (342) and Marysville (370) and ahead of Westland (452).

Phillips and Schwinne both shot 96, followed by Phipps (101), White (104) and Estep (109).

The second round of the OCC-Central was Aug. 12 at Denison Golf Club.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 19 -- New Albany Invitational

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Centennial

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 15 -- At Grove City

Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg