The Westerville Central boys golf team is hoping to build momentum heading into the postseason.
The Warhawks competed in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Buckeye Division tournament Sept. 11 at Darby Creek, looking to maintain their third-place standing. They were 9-6 in the league, trailing Olentangy Liberty (14-1) and Olentangy Orange (13-2).
Last season, Central went 8-8 in the league to finish third behind champion Liberty (14-2).
"We have a lot of room for improvement," coach Kyle Baker said. "We have to learn to putt as a team, so we're really working hard on that. We seem to be improving a little bit."
Junior Josh Qian, who tied for seventh (75) last season in the Division I district tournament, again is leading the Warhawks. He had the top average in the league (72.67) entering the final round after being medalist (71) in the third round Aug. 27 at Denison Golf Club.
"I've been striking the ball really well," Qian said. "I have to keep doing that and then make a couple more putts."
Central will begin the postseason in a sectional Oct. 1 at Darby Creek or Denison Golf Club, or Oct. 2 at Turnberry.
"I keep telling the guys as long as they're playing their best golf by Oct. 1, we're good," Baker said. "We have a couple guys who can go low, but Josh has been playing well. Josh just needs to improve on his putting and he'll say the same, and once it all clicks for him, he can go as far as he wants to go."
Qian is seeking his first state tournament berth and hopes to be joined by teammates.
Sophomore Ryan Dollenmayer was second on the Warhawks with a 79 average in league play.
"I'm doing all right," Dollenmayer said. "I have a lot of things to grow on and work on as a player. I still have a lot to do mentally and a lot to grow up from. I'm trying to work on that. It's going to be a big step to take, but I'm trying to do my best on it."
Junior Quinn Gallagher was third with an 82.67 average.
"(Qualifying for state) would mean everything because it's what I've worked for and what I want to work for," he said.
Brady Urian (85.67) and Heath Jeffers (92.33) round out the lineup.
Qian, Dollenmayer and Gallagher also are playing for a worthwhile cause as they are collecting pledges to benefit Freedom al la Cart, an organization that provides assistance for survivors of human trafficking.
They were motivated by girls golfer Grace Welty, who is in her second season of raising money for the cause.
"Grace does an awesome job," Baker said. "If we could get one-tenth of what she gets that would be great. Grace is on another level. We're just trying to help her out."
Welty secures league's top honor
Led by Welty, the girls golf team finished second (15-5) in the four-round OCC-Buckeye tournament behind Liberty (20-0) and ahead of Olentangy (13-7), Westerville South (6-14), Westerville North (4-16) and Orange (2-18).
Welty earned league Player of the Year honors with an 80.3 average.
Katelyn Neil had a 91.5 average.
The Warhawks finished second (379) in the fourth round Sept. 4 at Royal American behind Liberty (359) as Welty tied Orange's Natalie Au for medalist honors with an 82.
Zoei Tee shot 97, and Neil had a 99.
Girls volleyball team suffers first loss
The girls volleyball team entered its match Sept. 10 against Olentangy looking to rebound from its first loss of the season.
The Warhawks fell to Orange 25-20, 25-15, 25-12 on Sept. 5. They were 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the league before playing the Braves.
"We just couldn't get our offense going (against Orange), but our defense stepped up against a solid team," coach Shelley Ebright said.
Central opened league play with a 25-15, 25-21, 25-15 win over North on Sept. 3. Ebright coached at North from 1988-99, leading the Warriors to the Division I state tournament in 1997 and three consecutive district titles from 1995-97.
Below are the coming schedules for the Central cross country, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 14 -- Galion Festival
Sept. 12 -- Marysville at Royal American
Sept. 16 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Worthington Hills
Sept. 18 -- Grove City at Royal American
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Watterson
*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 12 -- At Delaware
*Sept. 17 -- At Orange
Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Grove City
Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
*Sept. 12 -- At Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 14 -- Worthington Kilbourne Tournament
*Sept. 17 -- Home vs. Westerville South