The Bexley girls golf program has been pointing to this season for three years.
The Lions are coming off their first league championship since 2012 and have five returning seniors.
Coach Brycen Baugh believes big things are about to happen for his team.
"We have our five seniors and I cannot think of a better group in terms of being good golfers and good people," said Baugh, who is in his second season. "Their work ethic is incredible.
"The girls have done a great job of setting realistic goals of winning the (MSL-Ohio Division). Worthington Christian is good. (Columbus School for Girls) joined the league, and they are pretty good. (Columbus) Academy has a team this year. We'll have to work for it."
In the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 6 at Airport, the Lions finished second (362) behind CSG (353) and ahead of newcomer Buckeye Valley (399), Worthington Christian (400) and Academy (411). Wellington did not have enough golfers for a team score.
Senior Viviane Banion tied Worthington Christian's Rena So for medalist honors with a 79.
Last fall, Bexley and Worthington Christian tied for the league title at 5-2.
"Our five seniors have been pretty consistent over the past few years, and we want to drop strokes," Banion said. "We have a lot of personal and team expectations. One of those is breaking the (program) record of 360 (for an 18-hole round)."
Senior Emma Segerman was next for the Lions in the MSL-Ohio opener with a 91, followed by senior Kate Maynard (95), senior Audrey Lauerhass (97) and junior Isabella Minkin (97). Senior Abbey Elizondo shot 102.
"Isabella Minkin went to CSG last year and adding her has given us a sixth quality golfer," Baugh said. "It's nice to be able to have a sixth person we can count on to take the pressure off the other girls."
The league standings are calculated by placement in the preseason and postseason tournaments as well as head-to-head matchups throughout the season. Bexley opened league duals Aug. 12 against Wellington, which had only two golfers. The Lions shot 190 led by Banion's 46.
The league postseason tournament is Sept. 17 at Airport.
"(Baugh) really makes sure we stay positive," Banion said. "Even though we have pressure on ourselves, it's not the end of the world if something goes wrong on the course. He makes sure we keep things light as we play."
Boys golf program enters new territory
The boys golf program is dealing with two major changes this season, losing Division II state medalist Trevor Binau to graduation and moving up to Division I for postseason play.
"We have 271 boys and will be competing against schools that have as many as 1,300. That's a tough pill to swallow," said coach Jimmy Ryan, who is in his 17th season. "We're going from being a Division II powerhouse to where it may be tough to even get out to district. We still have a good golf team, but it's a different beast in Division I."
Binau, who now plays for William & Mary, won the individual state title last fall with a two-day total of 146 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. He was eight strokes better than Ashtabula Edgewood's Dylan Fitchet and Academy's Ali Khan, who tied for second.
The Lions return three players from their 2018 varsity lineup, including senior Tyler Roberts, who joined Binau in a four-way playoff for the lone individual state-qualifying berth from district at Denison Golf Club after shooting a 75.
Also returning are senior Micah Rubinstein and junior Will Meyer.
"We have talent back with three of our top five from last fall," said Ryan, whose team finished second (6-3) to Academy (7-2) in the MSL-Ohio last season. "We're playing good golf early on."
The Lions were second (310) to Academy (291) in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 6 at Westchester. Wellington (320) was third, followed by Buckeye Valley (334) and Worthington Christian (343).
Meyer shot 75 to lead Bexley behind medalist Griffin Mitchell (71) of Academy. Roberts and junior Ricky Walsh were next with 77, followed by Rubinstein (81), junior Lee Hillman (88) and senior Max Gardner (89).
The MSL-Ohio midseason tournament is Saturday, Aug. 17, at Turnberry.
Freshman Morgan Agriesti also could play varsity.
Girls tennis team returns talented group
Shelby Cheses has a strong nucleus of talent returning in her 13th season coaching the girls tennis program.
The Lions have five seniors and return six of seven starters from last season, when they finished 9-4 overall and 3-2 in the MSL-Ohio.
Seniors Katie Benedict, Maxine Giller, Ava Grossman and Ellie Levy return, as do juniors Sydney Elliott and Stefanie Lehman. Ilsa Evans is the other senior, and freshman Leah Baumann should work her way into the lineup.
"We have a good core group," Cheses said. "We have a lot of experience, especially in doubles. We just need to get some match play under our belts."
Elliott, Grossman and Lehman should play singles. Grossman missed much of last season after undergoing surgery for a foot injury.
"Sydney played third singles last year," Cheses said. "Stef and Sydney are fighters, and Ava put a lot of time in to improve her game. They all have the drive to win."
The two doubles courts should be filled by a combination of Baumann, Benedict, Evans, Giller and Levy.
The Lions opened Aug. 12 with a 5-0 win over Delaware. They begin MSL-Ohio play Aug. 22 against Whitehall.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 19 -- New Albany Invitational
Aug. 21 -- At New Albany
Aug. 17 -- MSL-Ohio midseason tournament at Turnberry
*Aug. 15 -- Columbus School for Girls at Blacklick Woods
*Aug. 19 -- Buckeye Valley at Oakhaven
*Aug. 20 -- Worthington Christian at Blacklick Woods
Aug. 16 -- At Hartley
Aug. 16 -- At Westerville Central
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central
Aug. 15 -- At Granville
Aug. 17 -- CSG Doubles Tournament
Aug. 21 -- At Reynoldsburg
Aug. 17 -- Home vs. West Jefferson
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Northridge