The Worthington Kilbourne boys golf team is hoping balance and consistency will go a long way in improving on last season.
Despite losing three-time Division I district qualifier John Catanzarite to graduation, 14th-year coach Gavin Meeks thinks the Wolves could put up better team scores than they did last season when they finished fifth in the four-round OCC-Cardinal Division tournament and sixth in a Division I sectional.
"Our strength this year is we are a team," Meeks said. "We have five players that are capable of putting up good scores and that want to support one another. We are also fortunate to have experience and strong upperclassmen leadership to set the tone. They truly enjoy being together and playing together."
Senior Garrett Meeks and junior Mark Towns are in their third varsity seasons and are joined by senior Jack Hale and junior Isaac Henry, who also were on the roster last season.
Junior Sam Marano and freshman Owen Cotterman are newcomers.
"Sam is coming off of a shoulder injury from baseball, but has recovered very nicely and is really hitting the ball well," coach Meeks said. "Owen is an exceptional player. He was a standout in middle school and he is making the transition to high school very well. We are looking forward to some good scores from him."
The Wolves shot a 360 in the first round of the league tournamentAug. 6 at Apple Valley to place seventh behind Dublin Jerome (301), Olentangy Berlin (308), Delaware (315), Hilliard Bradley (321), Hilliard Darby (335) and Thomas (353) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (375).
Hale led Kilbourne with an 84, followed by Towns (86), Cotterman (93), Meeks (97) and Marano (101).
In the second round Aug. 12 at Turnberry, the Wolves finished sixth (339) behind Jerome (297), Bradley (300), Berlin (306), Delaware (316) and Darby (321) and ahead of Thomas (358) and Scioto (366). Cotterman led with an 81, followed by Henry (83), Towns (87), Meeks (88) and Hale (93).
The third round is Aug. 28 at Darby Creek and the final round is Sept. 11 at Denison Golf Club at Granville.
Last season, the Wolves went 9-19 in the league and shot a 319 in the sectional at Darby Creek to finish four strokes behind Upper Arlington, which earned the fourth and final district-qualifying berth.
"Our goals this year are to improve on the scores we put up last year and to make a run at getting to the district tournament," coach Meeks said.
Depth concerns girls golf coach
The girls golf team is seeking growth this season.
Juniors Hannah Kramer and Cassidy Oyer have returned and are joined by three newcomers for second-year coach Jon Baird.
"Hannah and Cassidy are our anchors," Baird said. "I love their spirit and positive attitude. They stuck with the program as we transitioned through several coaches recently and I appreciate their dedication. Both were extremely busy this summer with other sports and activities, so they are working hard to get their games up to par."
Last season, when Baird became the program's third coach in three seasons, the Wolves finished 1-18 in the OCC-Cardinal and 11th (469) in a Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial.
"We hope the girls can exhibit growth in knowledge and skill level and have a positive experience," Baird said. "Depth remains a major issue, but I believe we can get this program back to being competitive. We do have a middle school co-ed program that has been dominant the past several years, so hopefully that is one thing that may help.
"We are exploring other opportunities and activities throughout the season and school year to attract female golfers of all ages. We still need players. I'm hoping we can pick up a few more once school starts. I've told the players that they should ask their friends. It's not too late, just have some girls contact me."
The newcomers are junior Maeli O'Briant, sophomore Presley Zwayer and freshman Gabriella McElwain.
"Presley has exhibited natural ability," Baird said. "Her first experience on an actual course was during tryouts at Safari Golf Club on the back nine and she shot a 55. That's an incredible score for a first-time golfer. She shot 58 at Royal American in our first match."
Zwayer carded a team-best 105 in the first round of the league tournament Aug. 7 at Mentel Memorial, as Kilbourne shot 484 to place sixth behind Jerome (320), Delaware (350), Darby (376), Bradley (381) and Scioto (420). Berlin did not have a team score and Thomas isn't competing at the varsity level this season.
Kramer was next for the Wolves with a 111, followed by Oyer (126), O'Briant (142) and McElwain (162).
The second round was Aug. 14 at Blacklick Woods. The third round is Aug. 28 at Royal American and the final round is Sept. 4 at New Albany Links.
Girls tennis team has added depth
Sixth-year girls tennis coach Steve Metzmaier was uncertain how his roster would shake out ahead of the opening match against Hartley on Aug. 14.
But he was clear about one thing.
"We have a lot more depth and we have 10 girls who are ready to play on varsity right now," Metzmaier said. "We've got a ton of younger girls and new girls and we're going to be a step above where we were last year."
The Wolves finished 5-10 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal last season.
Six players who competed in a Division I sectional at Upper Arlington last season have returned in seniors Libby Costello, Elise Elliott and Hannah Lindaman, junior Rhea Taneja and sophomores Eva Bomsta and Ellie Needleman.
Lindaman played first singles the past two seasons and should retain that spot, while Taneja is expected to play second singles.
"Hannah is stronger and is playing more aggressive shots this year," Metzmaier said. "She's long and lanky and I'd like to see her play with more intensity this year. Rhea is a tiny girl who plays with consistency and tenacity and stamina. She lacks power, but will play you forever. I think Elise has really improved. She's a fighter and competes so hard."
The only other player to earn a varsity spot as of last week is freshman Lily Hershey.
The Wolves open league play Thursday, Aug. 15, at home against Jerome.
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis, girls volleyball and water polo teams:
Aug. 17 -- OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway
Aug. 17 -- Kent Miller Invitational at Hiawatha
Aug. 19 -- Big Walnut, Dublin Scioto and Westerville North at Worthington Hills
Aug. 20 -- Marysville at Darby Creek
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Aug. 20 -- At Westerville Central
*Aug. 15 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
*Aug. 20 -- At Hilliard Darby
Aug. 21 -- At Westerville South
*Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
Aug. 16 -- Girls: At Upper Arlington Invitational