Canal Winchester boys golfer Noah Cox is mostly happy with his performance as the regular season winds down.
The junior is averaging in the mid-80s, including an 86.5 average in the four-round OCC-Capital Division tournament that concluded Sept. 11 at Apple Valley, but it's the holes on which his scores have ballooned that drive his quest for improvement. A three-year fixture in the Indians' top five, Cox regularly shot in the mid-90s and low-100s two years ago as a freshman before steadily trimming his average.
"I was on track to shoot a 76 (on Sept. 11), but I ended up finishing with an 87. I have to get rid of those big numbers and put bad shots behind me," Cox said. "It's just about being consistent and having a good mentality. I've worked a lot the last two years on controlling the things I can control all over the course."
Cox led the team in every round of the league tournament, including Sept. 11 when the Indians shot a 374 to place third behind Big Walnut (308) and New Albany (319) and ahead of Newark (380). Groveport did not have a team score.
Canal Winchester placed third in every round and finished third in the overall standings at 8-8, behind New Albany (15-1) and Big Walnut (13-3) and ahead of Newark (4-12) and Groveport (0-16).
The Eagles won their ninth consecutive league championship.
Also scoring Sept. 11 were Joshua Fair (93), Vincent Vatri (93) and Calvin Trigg (101). Drew Grilli shot a 104.
Cox, Vatri, Fair and Trigg all earned honorable mention all-league honors. The latter three averaged 93.5, 94.5 and 95.33, respectively, in OCC-Capital play.
"(Cox and Vatri) have been my steady guys," coach Rick Maharry said. "They've battled all year. They're capable of being at least in the mid-80s. I swear I saw Vincent lip out five or six putts (Sept. 11). He's so close to cutting his score down. He putts well and he uses his irons well. It's frustrating when you're so close to shooting a better score, but it's also pretty good motivation."
Cox, whose best competitive 18-hole round of the season was a 77 in Bexley's Bob Darwin Memorial Invitational on Aug. 31 on the Indians' home course of Westchester, credited much of his improvement to lessons from Eric Thielsen of Golf Tec for a few years.
Thielsen's clients have included former Bexley golfer Trevor Binau, who won the 2016 and 2018 Division II state championships and now competes at William & Mary.
"I've worked a lot more on controlling my draw the last few years and worked on having my clubface square at contact," Cox said. "I have to make sure my contact is perfect and not over-rotate my hands. I've definitely been more accurate."
Vatri, a senior, also began taking lessons from Thielsen last winter.
"Noah kind of recruited me. I saw how fast he progressed and I thought I had a chance to get better, too," said Vatri, who shot a 38 during an Aug. 8 match against Newark at Westchester and carded an 18-hole best round of 85 the previous day in the Mike Nesselroad Invitational at Oakhaven. "Eric's taught me everything I know. I've tweaked some things and I feel like I'm better technically. I've been more consistent with my irons and I've usually been hitting the greens when I need to. I've adjusted my grip and I feel like I'm in better position when my clubface hits the ball."
Experience guiding girls volleyball team
Girls volleyball coach Kellina Snyder acknowledged that this season is "unique" with six seniors on the roster, but added that there was nothing mysterious about the team's successful start.
Canal Winchester was 8-4 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital before playing Newark on Sept. 17.
"We're starting to mesh. Everybody is just doing their jobs," Snyder said. "This year is a little unique with six seniors because there's so much leadership. We're a strong hitting team and a really good defensive team. Hitting has really improved (throughout the season). We're working on playing smart and (exercising) better ball control. The girls have worked hard to be better students of the game."
After a 15-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 home loss to Big Walnut to start OCC-Capital play Sept. 4, the Indians swept Groveport (25-23, 25-14, 25-15 on Sept. 5) and Franklin Heights (25-13, 25-10, 25-10 on Sept. 10) in their next two league matches.
Amanda Rarick had a team-leading 148 kills through 12 matches, ahead of Natalie Rarick with 84 and Shalea Byrd's 67.
Emi Waller led the Indians in digs with 190.
"The girls are working hard just to stay in the lineup. We have a lot of good competition going on and practices have been more efficient and better because the girls are prepared," Snyder said. "We played well against Big Walnut and played extremely well against Berne Union (in a 25-22, 25-16, 25-11 win Sept. 9). We've struggled at times to finish a tight set and one of our goals lately has been to finish what we've started."
Boys soccer team wins OCC opener
In a season in which offense has been hard to come by at times, the boys soccer team began OCC-Capital play Sept. 10 with a 2-0 home win over Big Walnut.
Sam Dowden and Will Root scored for Canal Winchester, which was 2-5-1 overall before visiting Groveport on Sept. 17.
Ian Monesmith had a team-leading four goals and Sam Dowden had three through eight games for the Indians, who broke a four-game losing streak with the win over Big Walnut and had scored 11 goals all season before Sept. 17.
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 21 -- Celtic Clash at Dublin Jerome
Sept. 19 -- Bexley at Westchester
Sept. 24 -- DeSales at Westchester
Sept. 19 -- Pickerington Central at Turnberry
Sept. 21 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Sept. 23 -- Hilliard Darby at West-chester
Sept. 25 -- Gahanna and Pickerington North at Westchester
*Sept. 24 -- At Franklin Heights
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
Sept. 19 -- At Teays Valley
Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*Sept. 19 -- At Big Walnut. The Indians lost to the Golden Eagles 15-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 on Sept. 3.
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Hartley
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Groveport. The Indians defeated the Cruisers 25-23, 25-14, 25-15 on Sept. 5.