The Central Crossing girls tennis team continues to improve by keeping a positive mental approach.
Third-year coach Lauren Hendricks said the Comets go into matches believing they can win instead of being in awe of the top-notch competition they routinely face.
"I think this season we have really turned a corner as far as the mental mindset going into matches," said Hendricks, whose team is 3-10 overall and finished fifth (1-4) in the OCC-Central Division behind champion Upper Arlington (5-0). "They see that their hard work is paying off and they are seeing we can put up a fight (in 4-1 losses) against teams like (Hilliard) Davidson (on Aug. 29), Grove City (on Aug. 15), Westerville South (on Sept. 24) and Hartley (on Sept. 25). These teams have beaten us pretty badly in the past, but the girls are seeing that we have the potential to win some courts against really good teams."
The Comets begin postseason play in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Hilliard Bradley. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg.
Senior Madison Wallner has played first singles throughout the season but has been nursing a sore right hamstring. She said she would be ready for sectional play.
"Coach always preaches to make yourself proud when you are out there on the court," Wallner said. "We have a lot of new girls who start out playing here, but we need to have fun and work to get better.
"I like to be able to come out on the court and not have anything to worry about but playing tennis. The stress of school, life and applying for colleges and things like that go away. I'm able to be myself and have fun with my team."
Senior Emily Creasap and sophomore Sophia Toscano will play the other singles spots at sectional.
"Emily Creasap has really done a good job for us at third singles," Hendricks said. "She always plays hard and never gives up on a point, no matter the score. She plays with a lot of heart."
Senior Julia Patterson and junior Emily Wright are one doubles team and two sisters -- senior Katie Meleshchuk and junior Irina Meleshchuk -- make up the other.
The sisters "are on the same page on the court without having to communicate," Hendricks said.
Taylor leads runners at London meet
Joey Taylor finished 24th for the boys cross country team in the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic on Sept. 28 at London Country Club.
The sophomore completed the course in 18 minutes, 20.8 seconds as the Comets finished 16th (407 points) of 21 teams behind champion Olentangy (55).
Hunter Armstrong (68th, 19:43.2), Jake Archer (89th, 20:38.6), Jon Carroll (107th, 21:40.3) and Landon Gilchrist (135th, 24:24.4) also scored.
The girls did not participate in the varsity race.
Football team begins OCC-Central play
The football team hopes to continue the momentum gained from one of its best offensive performances of the past few seasons into its OCC-Central opener Friday, Oct. 4, at Davidson.
The Comets amassed 397 yards of offense in a 49-0 rout of visiting Newark on Sept. 27 in improving to 2-3. That was their most yards since amassing 424 in a 49-48 win over Grove City in 2017.
Quarterback Logan Green completed seven of nine passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns, wide receiver Anthony Lowe made two catches for 132 yards and a score and slotback Jahaan Upchurch rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Lineman Trent Rivers had eight tackles to lead the defense.
"Probably the best thing is that we played a complete game. We came out in the third quarter and didn't let them get back in the game," coach Trevor White said. "We got a surge from our offensive line. All the skill guys stepped up and made plays. Defensively, we were in some bad situations but got out of them. Anthony Lowe had an interception and (four) tackles. Winning games is hard enough to do but shutting a team out is even harder."
The Comets set two program records in the win.
Not only had Central Crossing never recorded two shutouts in a season -- the first being a 10-0 win at Beechcroft on Sept. 6 -- but Green's 80-yard touchdown to Lowe with 15 seconds left in the first quarter was the longest pass in program history, according to team statisticians Matt Hiser and Christopher Howell.
At 3-2, Davidson is coming off back-to-back losses to area powers Olentangy Liberty (22-10 on Sept. 13) and Pickerington Central (28-7 on Sept. 20). Central held the Wildcats to 127 total yards, all coming on the ground.
Davidson is averaging 206 yards of offense per game. The Wildcats had no passing yards in four of their first five games, the only exception being a 5-yard pass against Liberty.
"You know what you're getting with Davidson; there are no real surprises and it's still not easy to stop them," White said. "They have a few losses, but they're to two of the best teams in the area. They're just sound."
Central Crossing is trying to break a four-game losing streak to Davidson, during which it has been outscored 134-3 overall and 98-0 the past three seasons.
-- Dave Purpura
Below are the coming schedules for the Central Crossing boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 2 -- Competed in Division I sectional at Turnberry. The top four teams and top four individuals not on those teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Oct. 1 -- Competed in Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial. The top three teams and top three individuals not on those teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
*Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Dublin Coffman
Oct. 7 -- At Grandview
*Oct. 3 -- At Coffman
Oct. 5 -- At Buckeye Valley
Oct. 8 -- Home vs. Chillicothe Unioto
*Oct. 3 -- At Coffman. The Comets lost to the Shamrocks 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 on Sept. 12.