For some members of the Watterson girls tennis team, being a part of a program with large participation numbers has meant more than just strong intra-squad competition.
The Eagles, who had more than 25 players in tryouts, have focused on building relationships with one another.
"We have a lot of new girls, so it's so fun getting to know everyone," senior Abby Giesler said. "Everyone gets along really well."
That goes for Giesler and her partner at first doubles, Margaret Baur, as well.
Baur did not play last season because she was diagnosed with mononucleosis during tryouts but participated with the team as its "mascot" before returning to action this season.
The Eagles were 2-3 overall before playing Columbus School for Girls on Sept. 9 and 1-0 in the CCL before facing Hartley on Sept. 10.
Through five matches, Giesler and Baur were 4-1 at first doubles.
"It's so fun," Baur said. "We're the captains, so it's fun being able to organize things. All the girls talk to us. It's one of the closest teams in my four years."
Watterson opened CCL action Sept. 3 with a 5-0 victory over Ready as junior Caroline Goodlive (first singles), junior Isabella Roscoe (second singles), freshman Katherine Braidech (third singles), Giesler and Baur (first doubles) and senior Caroline Bouchard and junior Emily Hohlefelder (second doubles) were victorious.
Seniors Layne Geswein and Erin McClatchy also have been key contributors.
"They're doing pretty well," coach Susan Weil said. "We're still learning some things."
Football team out to build on strong start
The football team has faced Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit each of the past eight seasons, winning four of the matchups.
The past two meetings were close, with Watterson losing 37-34 in two overtimes in 2017 and winning 25-20 last season.
On Friday, Sept. 13, the Eagles will take a 2-0 record into their matchup at Walsh Jesuit.
"They're like us," coach Brian Kennedy said. "We feel like we're playing ourselves. They have a new coach who was (an assistant) at John Carroll. Plus, we've got to go up there and be on a bus for 2 1/2 hours, so you never know exactly how you'll respond."
Warriors coach Nick Alexander, who coached quarterbacks and ran the passing game the past two years at John Carroll, is working with a veteran quarterback in senior Cam Mayes.
In a 34-7 loss to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary on Sept. 6 that dropped Walsh Jesuit to 0-2, Mayes completed 10 of 21 passes for 126 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Junior wide receiver Dom Grguric had four receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Walsh Jesuit has lost 18 games in a row and hasn't had a winning season since 2014, when it went 7-4.
While the Warriors compete in Division II, Region 5, the Eagles are in Division III, Region 11 and already own a pair of wins over teams that could boost their eventual playoff hopes.
After beating Division I Lancaster 24-22 on Aug. 30, Watterson defeated Maria Stein Marion Local 31-7 on Sept. 6 at Ohio Dominican.
The Flyers were the Division VI state runner-up last season but are competing in Division VII this year. They have competed in eight consecutive state finals and have lost just eight games since the start of the 2011 season.
Against Marion Local, quarterback Jacob Hoying completed 10 of 22 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns, running back Tommy Bair had 14 carries for 84 yards and Andrew Bettendorf had five receptions for 169 yards and two scores.
Henry Blevins, Cam Nickelson and Dom Orcini each had one interception for the Eagles, who limited Marion Local to 120 yards rushing on 33 carries (3.6 average).
Marion Local and Watterson were on a one-year contract.
"They are really good, well-coached," Kennedy said. "These seniors on Marion Local are (43-4) in their career."
Runners earn Northland sweep
The cross country teams will compete Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone.
In another meet that featured several City League programs, the Eagles swept the titles at the 43rd annual Northland Invitational on Sept. 7 at Beechcroft.
The girls team finished first of seven teams as freshman Eden Brush won the race in 18 minutes, 47 seconds. Freshman Lily Goodfellow was second (19:00) and junior Brooklyn Brush placed third (19:04).
The boys team was first of 11 teams as junior Will Garey finished first (14:49) and sophomore Cris Kubatko was runner-up (15:18).
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 18 -- Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone
Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Hudson
Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame
Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
Sept. 14 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club
Sept. 14 -- Bloom-Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill
Sept. 16 -- Newark Catholic at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 18 -- Bloom-Carroll and Hartley at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 12 -- At Westerville Central
*Sept. 12 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 14 -- At Pickerington North
Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 12 -- At Pickerington North
*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 18 -- Home vs. New Albany
*Sept. 12 -- At DeSales. The Eagles lost to the Stallions 25-15, 24-26, 25-15, 25-16 on Sept. 3.
Sept. 14 -- At Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Hartley