A hula hoop played a major role in Viviane Banion's prowess on the golf course.
The senior for the Bexley girls team started playing the game by hitting balls into a hula hoop in her backyard.
Banion has competed in the No. 1 spot for the Lions since joining the program as a freshman and has a 41.7 nine-hole average this season. She is part of a five-player senior class that helped Bexley win the MSL-Ohio Division title last fall, the program's first since 2012.
"I have been playing competitively since the seventh grade, but when I was a kid my dad (Brian Banion) bought me a set of clubs and I would chip into a hula hoop in my backyard," she said. "My dad would go golfing with his friends and I always wanted to do that. My dad has helped with golfing since I first got those clubs."
Banion found out about the golf program like most girls her age in Bexley when Mike Rogers came to her sixth-grade gym class as an introduction to the sport. Rogers coached the middle school program but moved up to the high school to coach Banion and her classmates for two seasons. He died after the 2016 season.
"I hit a couple of balls for Mr. Rogers, and he asked me to join the (middle school) team," Banion said. "It was a dream come true for both me and my dad."
Coach Brycen Baugh said Banion is not only fundamentally sound on the course, but she has the right temperament for success.
"Viviane knows exactly what is wrong with her game," said Baugh, whose team competed in the MSL-Ohio postseason tournament Sept. 17 at Airport. "If her putting isn't good, she can fix it on the fly.
"If Viviane hits a bad shot, she's over it and goes on to her next shot. ... She looks forward and starts to figure out what she needs to do to make her next shot. She doesn't look back."
Banion was first-team all-league as a sophomore and junior. She has been playing at a high level this season, including shooting below 40 for nine holes for the first time on the Lions' home course, Blacklick Woods.
On Sept. 9, Banion shot a 39 for medalist honors as Bexley defeated Buckeye Valley 183-218 in a league dual. Two days later, she carded a 37 as medalist in a 175-203 win over Worthington Christian in another league contest.
"What I like about golf is the feeling of being in control of your own game," Banion said. "I need to play well for myself and not just for a team.
"You're not competing against a person on your own team. In reality when you are out there on the course, you have no idea how everyone else is doing. You have to compete against yourself and you have to be able to handle the pressure of competing against yourself. Being able to do that is one of the most satisfying parts of the game."
Banion would like to play golf in college if the opportunity arises, but it would have to be the right fit. She has a 3.97 GPA and has not narrowed her study options.
"I thought I wanted to go into medicine, but I directed a musical play over the summer -- a youth musical version of 'Mary Poppins' -- and I had so much fun," she said. "So, I might go into the business end of productions."
Such a decision would make sense. Both her father and mother, Elise DesChamps, are opera singers.
"Singing is something that requires a lot of passion," Viviane said. "After watching my parents have to depend on it for their livelihood, I'm not sure I want to do that.
"I'm an officer in vocal ensemble (at the high school), and I also play the cello. I think musical theater is what I enjoy more (than vocals)."
Golf also is Banion's passion. She has learned to dial back a little and just enjoy the experience each time she is on the course.
"I try to be Zen and just have fun," she said. "I try to take the pressure on the course and make it fun. I have learned that having fun is the most important thing, which is so cliche, but it really has helped my game so much."
Football team set to open league play
Looking to break a 10-game league losing streak, the football team opens MSL-Ohio play Friday, Sept. 20, at Grandview.
The Lions' last league victory came against Grandview, 28-6 in the final week of the 2016 regular season.
The Bobcats are 3-0 after beating visiting Bucyrus 29-0 on Sept. 13. Darreion Davis rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, and Luke Lachey had six catches for 45 yards and one score. Kyle Casey was 12-for-19 passing for 111 yards and one touchdown.
"They throw the ball a bit," said coach Mike Golden, whose team is 1-2 after losing to Hamilton Township 28-7 on Sept. 13. "They have an excellent receiver in Lachey, and they have a good, tall quarterback that delivers the ball on time."
Mistakes mounted in the second half in the Lions' loss to the Rangers. Leading 7-0, Bexley fumbled and Hamilton Township's Jaylan Baldwin returned the loose ball 32 yards to tie the score midway through the third quarter.
Bexley then had a bad punt snap that was downed at the Lions' 1-yard line. Baldwin then scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns in the fourth.
"We were ahead 7-0 in middle of the third quarter and they picked a fumble up and ran it in for a touchdown to tie it," Golden said. "We had a bad snap on a punt that they recovered at the 1-yard line and they punched it in to go up 14-7.
"What disappoints me the most is that it seemed to break our spirit. That's something we'll have to work on."
For the Lions, Ethan Fosnaugh caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Bloebaum and Noah Lyons rushed for 43 yards on 11 carries. Michael Agriesti and Troy Redmond both had interceptions.
Field hockey team's win streak snapped
The field hockey team had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 loss to Olentangy on Sept. 16.
The Lions were 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East before playing Lancaster on Sept. 18.
They defeated Olentangy Berlin 3-0 on Aug. 29, Dublin Coffman 2-1 on Sept. 4 and Granville 1-0 on Sept. 12 in league play.
Phoebe Snowdon had three goals during the three-game stretch, and Audra Fleming had two.
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:
Sept. 21 -- Dublin Jerome Invitational
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
Sept. 21 -- At Cincinnati Indian Hill
Sept. 23 -- At Jerome
*Sept. 25 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 19 -- Canal Winchester at Westchester
*Sept. 19 -- Columbus Academy at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 23 -- Pickerington North at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Warsaw River View
*Sept. 25 -Home vs. Grandview
*Sept. 21 -- At Worthington Christian
Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Hartley
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington B
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Wellington
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Sept. 19 -- At Whitehall. The Lions defeated the Rams 25-6, 25-13, 25-9 on Aug. 27.
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Academy. The Lions defeated the Vikings 25-27, 27-25, 25-23, 25-18 on Aug. 29.