Olentangy girls volleyball coach Travis Weitthoff learned shortly after he took the job last winter that he had a backup in case he ever forgot anything, up to and including a score in practice.
"Madyson will let me know if it's wrong," Weitthoff said of Madyson Chitty, his senior libero and a Rutgers commit. "She is basically a coach on the floor. She is one of the most competitive people I've ever known. I didn't know that going in. I only knew that I had one of the best volleyball players in the state on my team. But it's those intangibles, that extra 'whatever,' that makes her so valuable to us."
Chitty leads the Braves in digs (519) and aces (30), and Olentangy is 10-10 overall and 6-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division entering its league and regular-season finale Thursday, Oct. 10, at Liberty.
She doesn't dispute Weitt-hoff's assessment of her character.
"I like the challenge. I want to help this program be strong and stay strong after I'm gone," Chitty said. "I like to win, whether it's in practice or during a match. I'm just competitive."
Weitthoff also recalled a Sept. 26 match at Westerville Central, when the Braves lost the first game by 10 points before rebounding for a 15-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 win.
"Before anyone even got to the other bench, she'd already gathered the team to help us focus and keep our spirits high," Weitthoff said. "I saw an instant change in the team. I put a lot of responsibility on Chitty. She pretty much determines our defense on the court. When it comes to blocking, I let her decide what works. She'll pass as much as possible. She has a lot of self-confidence and that passes on to the rest of the team.
"I remember one time, the ball landed 5 or 10 feet away from her, obviously not hers, and she'll still say to me 'my bad, I'll get it next time.' And sometimes, she does."
Despite being only 5-foot-5, Chitty recorded one kill entering the week, in a 25-12, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23 win over Westerville North on Sept. 5.
"I hoped I'd get the opportunity," Chitty said, laughing. "I got the ball over the net and I don't think the other team expected it. It surprised me."
Chitty committed to Indiana before her sophomore year but decommitted the next summer after a coaching change. She did not let that move derail the goal she'd had for several years.
"My dream was always to play in the Big Ten. I worked hard to get my name out there," Chitty said. "Once Indiana had the coaching change, I wanted to look around and see where my best fit would be. Rutgers is it. I'm grateful and excited to have the chance to play in the Big Ten."
The Braves lost 25-16, 25-10, 25-18 at home to Orange on Oct. 3 and fell 25-14, 25-9, 26-24 at Watkins Memorial on Oct. 5.
Olentangy, which lost to Liberty 25-21, 25-11, 25-18 on Sept. 17, earned the 16th seed for the 49-team Division I district tournament and will play host to 37th-seeded Central Crossing in the first round Monday, Oct. 14. The winner will play 36th-seeded Thomas Worthington in the second round Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the home of the better seed.
Tennis team's Khayat heads to district
Nour Khayat will represent the girls tennis team in the Division I district tournament Thursday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Reynoldsburg.
Khayat went 3-2 and finished fourth in a sectional that concluded Oct. 5 at Reynoldsburg, losing to Liberty's Dani Schoenly 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in the third-place match. Khayat was seeded third.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district.
Also competing but failing to advance were the doubles teams of Khushi Agarwal and Sonia Chirravuri (2-1) and Mimi Kekalainen and Sydney Nickel (1-1), and singles players Archita Sriram (2-1) and Priyanka Agochiya (0-1).
At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles will advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Boys golfers advance two to district
Short of his entire team advancing to the Division I district tournament, boys golf coach Joel Glassburn got what he hoped for from a sectional Oct. 1 at Denison Golf Club.
Tyler Phillips and Bennett Zeitner both shot 76 and earned individual berths to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley. It was the first time Olentangy qualified two individuals to district since 2004, Glassburn's first season, when both John Helmsdoerfer and Danny Wessinger advanced.
"Both of them were solid. Bennett didn't have any three-putts all day," Glassburn said. "We'd certainly like to be going to district as a team, but the hope that we could at least advance a couple individuals (to district) played into my decision-making to go to Denison."
Olentangy finished seventh (332) of 14 teams behind champion Dublin Jerome (294). The top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district.
Also scoring were Braeden Gulley (86) and Ben Wilch (94).
The girls team's season came to an end the same day when it finished fourth (372) of 11 teams in a Division I sectional at Royal American behind champion Jerome (321). The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
Scoring were for the Braves were senior Sam Horton (88), junior Lauren Sommerfeld (88) and freshmen Olivia Drankwalter (96) and Claudia Novak (100).
Also eligible to return is freshman Gretchen Stone, who shot a 102.
Below are the coming schedules for the Olentangy cross country, field hockey, boys soccer and girls soccer teams:
Oct. 12 -- OCC-Buckeye meet at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 14 -- Home vs. 12th-seeded Bexley in first round of district tournament. Winner visits fifth-seeded Liberty in second round Oct. 16. The Braves are seeded ninth.
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Liberty
Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 46th-seeded Newark in first round of Division I district tournament. The Braves are seeded 19th.
*Oct. 10 -- At Liberty
Oct. 19 -- Home vs. 28th-seeded DeSales or 29th-seeded Hartley in second round of Division I district tournament. The Braves are seeded fifth.