The consistency of a strong senior class paid off in another championship for the Whetstone boys golf team.
On Sept. 26 at Airport, the Braves shot a 181 in the nine-hole City League tournament to capture the championship, ahead of Walnut Ridge (219), Centennial (238), Mifflin (246), West (253), Northland (257) and Independence (no team score).
At the center of Whetstone winning its 11th City title in 12 seasons was senior Spencer Ball, who shot a 42 to earn league medalist honors for the second consecutive season and averaged 43 for nine holes during the regular season as the Braves went 15-0.
"I made a couple mistakes and the wind kind of messed me up, but overall it was pretty good," Ball said. "It's been fun. I've enjoyed goofing off (with my teammates), but also taking it seriously. I've been here for two years and it's been a lot of fun. They just know how to keep you up and not let you get down."
Ball attended Watterson as a freshman and sophomore before transferring last year.
He and his teammates competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Last season, Ball shot an 85 at the Darby Creek sectional to tie for 41st as the Braves finished 13th (411). The final individual district qualifier last season shot 76.
Also at the City tournament, senior Nairan Normand and sophomore Eli Krabill both shot 46, senior Jay Johnson carded a 47 and juniors Brian Charnas and Eric Verway-Cohen both shot 52.
During the regular season, Johnson and Normand both averaged 47.
Whetstone didn't compete in any 18-hole matches before the sectional but did have a practice 18-hole round last weekend.
"We had a good day (at the City tournament)," coach Tom Philip said. "(Ball is) a good player. He works on his long game a lot. All these kids like to bomb it."
Football team looks to bounce back
After opening City-North Division action with a 49-12 victory over Linden-McKinley on Sept. 23, the football team was forced to come back four days later to play two-time defending league champion Northland.
The result wasn't what the Braves were hoping for, as they gave up 382 yards of offense and lost 42-7 to the Vikings to fall to 2-3 overall.
Whetstone will try to rebound Friday, Oct. 4, at Mifflin, which beat Linden 20-6 on Sept. 27 but is just 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the City-North.
The Braves' game against Linden on Sept. 20 initially was postponed until the next day because of bad weather but later was moved to Sept. 23.
"We had a pretty adverse week," coach Tom Jones said. "These guys banded together in some ways that I liked."
Mifflin was shut out in three of its first four games and trailed Linden 6-0 after the first quarter before seizing control.
The Punchers are led by senior quarterback Jalen Owens, senior running back MihAnthony Carlisle, senior wide receiver Karon Mitchell and junior wide receiver Ajoure Lawrence-Long.
Against Northland, junior quarterback Alex Hurd was 9-for-24 passing for 45 yards with three interceptions, senior Rashaun Broomfield rushed for 56 yards and junior Darric McClinton ran for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Whetstone has been playing without two-way starter Ben Paugh, a senior linebacker and offensive lineman who has been injured. His status going forward is uncertain.
"The last two weeks have been really hard because we've had a lot of injuries," Jones said. "We plug a guy in and he'd go down. We're just now starting to get healthy again, but unfortunately, we had two games (last week)."
Soccer teams sweep Stars
The boys and girls soccer teams remain on track to finish with winning records this season.
Each beating Centennial last week helps in that pursuit.
On Sept. 26, the boys team beat the Stars 3-1 to earn its first victory over Centennial since 2005. The teams tied in 2007, '08, '14 and '17, but Whetstone lost to the Stars 2-0 last season.
The Braves were 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the City- North before playing International on Oct. 1 in their league finale.
The girls team defeated Centennial 1-0 on Sept. 24 behind a goal by Mira Dush and two saves by goalkeeper Salma Kebe.
The Braves were 6-3-3 overall before playing Lakewood on Sept. 30 and 3-0 in the City before playing West on Oct. 1. They already have secured a matchup with the Stars in the City championship game Oct. 15.
Last year, Whetstone lost to Centennial 1-0 during the regular season and 4-1 in the City title game. In 2017, the Braves won the regular-season matchup but lost to the Stars in the City final.
Whetstone won four consecutive City titles from 2013-16.
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:
Oct. 9 -- City meet at Walnut Ridge
Oct. 3 -- Home vs. Horizon Science
Oct. 8 -- At Watterson
Oct. 7 -- Home vs. Tree of Life
Oct. 3, 5 -- Division I sectional at Hilliard Bradley. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 10 and 12 at Reynoldsburg.
*Oct. 3 -- At Northland. The Braves beat the Vikings 25-13, 25-15, 25-19 on Sept. 10.
*Oct. 8 -- At Linden-McKinley. The Braves beat the Panthers 25-10, 25-10, 25-8 on Sept. 12.