The Whetstone girls tennis team earned its 11th consecutive City League championship in dominating fashion this season.
The Braves won all four of their City-North Division matches by a 5-0 score and then beat Independence 5-0 in the City championship match Sept. 30, giving them a final overall record of 13-3.
"I love the team," sophomore Stella Thompson said. "It's really fun. We all love each other."
In the City League coaches tournament Oct. 7 at home, Thompson played sophomore teammate Alysia Swinehart in the singles final and senior Emma McAdams and junior Maizy Pratt played senior teammates Grace Djaodo and Anita Tamang in the doubles final.
In the finals against Independence, Thompson (first singles) won 6-0, 6-0, both doubles teams won by a 6-0, 6-0 score and Swinehart (second singles) and sophomore Izzy Park (third singles) both won by a 6-1, 6-0 score.
Then in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Hilliard Bradley, Thompson lost to the Jaguars' Nina Kisin 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.
"Stella didn't lose a match this year (until the sectional)," coach Bucky Walters said.
The Braves' other expected postseason competitors elected to withdraw from the sectional because of school commitments, according to Walters.
"I was nervous, so I was not playing my best at all (at the sectional)," said Thompson, a Columbus Alternative student who was 14-1 before Oct. 7. "(Kisin) had a good serve and a good forehand, too. I could have been playing better. I think I was a lot more consistent this year and my serve definitely got better. I'm much better at match play than I was last year."
Football team to face Cougars
With a 12-6 victory over Mifflin on Oct. 4, the football team improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the City-North.
The Braves already have equaled their overall win total and their league win total from last season when they went 3-7 and 2-4, respectively, despite having four games remaining, including three in the league.
On Friday, Oct. 11, Whetstone will play host to Beechcroft, which has beaten the Braves each of the past 20 seasons.
Beechcroft lost to Centennial 28-7 on Oct. 4 to fall to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.
The win over Mifflin marked the second time in three weeks that Whetstone gave up 12 points or fewer, with the other coming in a 49-12 victory over Linden-McKinley on Sept. 23.
"We've always got to be humble," said senior defensive lineman Bud Nutter, who had three sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown against Linden and registered 8.5 tackles in a 42-7 loss to Northland on Sept. 27. "(Our defense is) very aggressive and fast-paced. We've still got a lot to work on, but we've come a long way."
Against Mifflin, Whetstone scored on a fumble return by Kiefer Young and got two field goals by Joren Clem.
Beechcroft took a 7-0 lead over Centennial on a 27-yard run by Davon Wooden in the first quarter but was limited to 87 total yards, including just 4 yards passing.
On the season for the Cougars, Diante Latham has rushed for four touchdowns and DeShannon Butler has rushed for two scores and has thrown three touchdowns to Wooden.
Season ends for golfers at sectional
About half of the boys golf team is eligible to return, but the Braves will have to find a new No. 1 player after senior Spencer Ball filled that role the last two seasons.
After shooting an 85 to tie for 41st at a Division I sectional at Darby Creek last season, Ball led the Braves with an 89 in a sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry as Whetstone shot a 412 to finish 15th behind champion Pickerington North (306).
Seniors Jay Johnson (97), Nairan Normand (112) and Brian Charnas (123) and sophomore Eli Krabill (114) also competed at sectional.
Juniors Eric Verway-Cohen and freshmen Paul Buterbaugh and Demond Smith are others who should vie for playing time next season.
On the season, Ball averaged 43 strokes per nine holes to lead the Braves. Johnson and Normand both averaged 47, Charnas averaged 49 and Krabill and Verway-Cohen both averaged 53.
In City action, Ball averaged 42.3 to earn overall medalist honors. Johnson averaged 44.2 to finish third in the league and Normand averaged 45.7 to finish fourth.
The Braves won the City tournament with a 181 on Sept. 26 at Airport and totaled 38 points in league play to finish first, ahead of runner-up Walnut Ridge (32).
"Eli will be OK (heading into next season)," coach Tom Philip said. "It's been a fun season and the kids are fun."
Below are the coming schedules for the Whetstone boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 10 -- At Lancaster
Oct. 15 -- At 35th-seeded Delaware in first round of Division I district tournament.The Braves are seeded 38th.
Oct. 15 -- Centennial in City championship game at Mapfre Stadium
Oct. 16 -- At 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in first round of Division I district tournament. The Braves are seeded 36th.
Oct. 15 -- At 31st-seeded Westerville North in first round of Division I district tournament. The Braves are seeded 35th.