April Parkin is easy to pick out on the golf course when playing with the Hilliard Bradley girls team.
The junior sets herself apart with her spirited blue hair as well as her low scores for the Jaguars.
Parkin made second-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division with a team-best 94.5 average in the four-round league tournament.
"In June, I decided to dye my hair blue because it's the color of our school," she said. "I've done black and red, why not blue?"
Coach Chuck Burkhart said Parkin is able to balance levity with a competitive fire on the course.
"April is kind of a nut. She's a free spirit," Burkhart said. "She's pretty easy-going off the course, but competitive on it. She seems like it wouldn't matter that much, but she gets on the course and gets competitive. She actually does better playing with the other teams' No. 1s because it doesn't intimidate her as much."
Parkin shot a 92 to lead the Jaguars in the final round of league play Sept. 4 at New Albany Links, as Bradley finished fourth (14-12) in the overall OCC-Cardinal standings behind Dublin Jerome (26-0) and Delaware and Darby (both 20-6).
She said humor helps her deal with tough moments on the course.
"Some people are really focused, but I use humor to handle the pressure," Parkin said. "I tell funny stories from being at school or from being on the golf course. Every time I play at Mentel (Memorial), I remember playing the fifth hole during my sophomore year when I hit a coach's golf cart on my tee shot. That always gets a laugh.
"I like the fact that we can make friends on the course because you're stuck with the same people for four to six hours. You meet a lot of people and make friends."
Parkin became interested in golf because her grandfather, Dwight Rust, and her older sister, Alyssa, a 2014 Bradley graduate, played the sport.
"The best part of my game is definitely my short game," Parkin said. "I chip it in the hole or three feet away a lot of the time.
"My drivers are really inconsistent. With a driver, it's harder to get your timing right on your swing, so I always spend 20 minutes working on that when we're at the course."
Parkin also gives herself a pep talk before each match.
"I look at myself in the mirror in my collared shirt and I'm like, 'You are going to play well today. It's going to happen,'" she said. "If I shoot under a specific score like under 45 or 46 (for nine holes), I will go out to Taco Bell or Chipotle or somewhere good afterward. If I have a bad score, my grandparents pick the place."
Parkin, who has a 3.8 GPA, is considering majoring in architecture in college and would like to continue her golf career at that level.
"I would like to go to Mount Union because they have cute golf uniforms, and it's a smaller school so I don't have to worry about big crowds," she said. "I don't appreciate big crowds, which is why I'm on the golf team. There are no more than six of us on the course at once. That's one of the best parts of it."
Boys golfers finish third in league
The boys golf team went 20-8 in the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament to finish third behind Jerome (27-1) and Olentangy Berlin (22-6) and ahead of Delaware (19-9), Darby (11-17), Worthington Kilbourne (8-20), Thomas Worthington (4-24) and Dublin Scioto (1-27).
In the final round Sept. 11 at Denison Golf Club, the Jaguars shot a 328 to place third behind Jerome (299) and Delaware (322).
Tison Alexander led Bradley with a 77, followed by Luke Lehman (82), Michael Chapman (84), Tyler Mordarski (85) and Griffin Dixon (88).
Mordarski was first-team all-league with a 77.0 average and Chapman (78.5) made second team. Alexander (80.25) and Lehman (80.75) were third-team all-league.
Bradley will compete in a Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Darby Creek.
Boys soccer team out to good start
The boys soccer team was 4-2-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Delaware on Sept. 17.
Last week, the Jaguars lost to Kilbourne 3-0 on Sept. 10 and DeSales 4-1 on Sept. 12. The Wolves are ranked fourth in the Division I state poll.
Through eight games, Tony Baxendell, Devon Hess and Avery Ramsey each had two goals and goalkeeper Dominic Williams averaged 7.9 saves per contest.
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 21 -- Celtic Clash at Dublin Jerome
Sept. 21 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 23 -- OCC Shootout at Little Turtle
Sept. 21 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Sept. 24 -- Delaware and Dublin Scioto at The Ridge
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Jerome
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 24 -- At Jerome
Sept. 19 -- At Reynoldsburg
Sept. 21 -- Kim Shepherd Doubles Classic at Davidson
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Westerville North
*Sept. 19 -- At Worthington Kilbourne. The Jaguars defeated the Wolves 25-23, 25-21, 25-16 on Aug. 27.
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Delaware. The Jaguars defeated the Pacers 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 on Aug. 29.