The Worthington Christian girls tennis team had a pair of Division II district qualifiers last season in singles in sisters Amanda Mayotte and Abby Mayotte.
Amanda was one of five players lost to graduation, but her family name figures to remain strong within the program given the return of Abby and the addition of their younger sister, Meghan.
Abby, a junior, figures to see significant time at first singles, while Meghan, a freshman, also is expected to be one of the team's top singles players.
Their mother, Stefanie, is in her fourth season as coach.
"I kind of thought that there would be a little bit of a drop-off, but I think the freshmen coming in will be good," coach Mayotte said. "(Meghan) will for sure be varsity and we've got another (freshman) who is right on the cusp, so I feel like our strength across from varsity to (junior varsity) will be a little higher than last year and that our varsity will be good.
"(Abby and Meghan) have never gotten to play on a team together because they've always been two grade levels apart, so I think they'll like that."
The Warriors, who opened Aug. 13 with an MSL-Ohio Division match against Grandview, finished 7-8 overall and 2-3 in the league last season. The MSL-Ohio now consists of eight teams with the addition of Columbus School for Girls and Buckeye Valley.
Other top returnees include seniors Amber Ralston and Laura King. Ralston reached the second round at sectional in doubles last year with 2019 graduate Emma Morris and King made it to the second round at sectional in singles.
Also looking to fill spots in the lineup are sophomores Audrey Mousa, Bekah Shively and Lily Rettstatt.
Last season, Abby Mayotte reached district for the first time and Amanda Mayotte advanced for the second time. Both lost in the opening round at district.
"I like to schedule good competition," coach Mayotte said. "We didn't come out with a very good record last year, but I just want to have the girls get better and have them compete and not be satisfied with easy wins. We'd like to come out with a little better record than last year."
Girls golfers brings back strong group
Last season, the girls golf team shot 383 to win a Division II sectional title and shot 379 at district to tie Bloom-Carroll, which won the fifth-score tiebreaker to capture the title and advance to state.
It was the closest the Warriors have come to qualifying for state.
Junior Rena So, who carded a 78 to earn a district runner-up finish as only the individual medalist moved on to state, is the top returnee.
The Warriors have a new coach in Hannah Bard, a third-grade teacher at Worthington Christian. She replaced Rick Kelley, who coached the program during its first three seasons.
"I started playing because my husband played a lot and I've grown to love the golf game," Bard said.
The Warriors return three other varsity regulars from last season in senior twins Anna Opava and Natalie Opava and junior Zoe Holston.
Also on the team is senior Naysa Dunlap.
The only player lost from last season was Abigail Stevenson, a 2019 graduate who shot a 92 at district to tie for ninth for the Warriors' second-best score. Anna Opava and Natalie Opava shot a 100 and 109, respectively, at district.
The Warriors opened Aug. 6 by finishing fourth (400) in the five-team MSL-Ohio tournament at Airport behind CSG (353), Bexley (362) and Buckeye Valley (399) and ahead of Academy (411).
"We have a really good, tight-knit group, so all of the girls are very encouraging to one another and seem to be comfortable with one another," Bard said. "Even though golf is an individualized sport, they play for the benefit of each other."
Boys golfers to build around Evans brothers
The boys golf team enters this season with just one key returnee after losing six players to graduation, including last year's Division III state champion in Tyler Jones.
The Warriors are hoping the depth they built last season, combined with a family connection, will keep them competitive.
Junior Ben Evans is the top returnee after being the team's No. 4 player last fall when Worthington Christian shot 296 but finished runner-up at district to eventual state champion Wellington (295) as only the champion advanced to state.
"We've got one returning player from our varsity from last year and one who had a little experience, so we lost a lot of experience, but I think the guys are excited to get this season started," third-year coach Zac Hess said. "I only have five kids this year, so I'm not all that concerned about where they're at (in the lineup). They realize what they need to do to compete and are going to compete with each other, but they realize to succeed as a team they all have to contribute."
Jones is now competing for Marshall University after shooting a 145 to win the two-day state tournament at NorthStar. Noah Elliott, Will Evans and Blake Lawson also were lost to graduation.
Sophomore Sam Evans, the younger brother of Will and Ben Evans, will be a key player this fall.
Rounding out the lineup are senior J.R. Bowers, sophomore Nathan Ball and freshman Chase Steininger.
The Warriors finished third (5-4) in the MSL-Ohio last season behind Columbus Academy (7-2) and Bexley (6-3). Buckeye Valley and Wellington have joined the league this season.
The Warriors opened Aug. 6 by finishing fifth (342) in the five-team MSL-Ohio tournament at Westchester behind Academy (291), Bexley (310), Wellington (320) and Buckeye Valley (334).
The MSL-Ohio midseason tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, at Turnberry.
"Generally speaking, our four kids back from last year's team have all improved from where they were a year ago or are close to where they were a year ago," Hess said. "Ben and Sam both had phenomenal summers and J.R. has improved. I'm excited about what Chase brings as a freshman."
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 17 -- MSL midseason tournament at Turnberry
Aug. 15 -- Buckeye Valley at Oakhaven
Aug. 19 -- Grandview at Blackhawk
Aug. 20 -- Bexley at Blacklick Woods
Aug. 16 -- Home vs. Watterson in opener
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Johnstown
Aug. 16 -- Home vs. Hartley in opener
Aug. 20 -- At Newark
Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Grove City
*Aug. 20 -- At Columbus School for Girls
*Aug. 15 -- Home vs. Grandview
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Centerburg