After not having any Division I district qualifiers the past three seasons, the Delaware Hayes boys golf team had two this year.
Senior Luke Gazarek and his brother, sophomore Brady Gazarek, both competed at district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley, with the former shooting a 78 to tie for 26th of 72 golfers and the latter carding an 84 to finish 54th.
Pickerington North's Carson Bellish and Westerville Central's Josh Qian both carded a 70 to qualify for state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
"The kids have worked hard," coach Andy Graham said. "It's sad to see (the season) come to an end."
After improving from 0-24 in the OCC-Cardinal Division in 2017 to 18-10 last season, the Pacers took another step forward this season, going 19-9 in the four-round league tournament to finish fourth behind champion Dublin Jerome (27-1).
Brady Gazarek averaged 78 to earn second-team all-league honors and Luke Gazarek and sophomore Mark Sulek averaged 79 and 80.75, respectively, to make third-team all-league. Sophomore Colin Bibler (82.75) was honorable mention.
Then at sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry, Luke Gazarek shot a 75 to tie for third and Brady Gazarek shot 79, winning a two-hole playoff to advance to district.
"It was (a) really good (season) and they'll be really good the next two years," Luke Gazarek said. "I'll miss being with them. I was impressed with how well they improved, especially my brother. I felt like my ball-striking was better and that I was making a lot more putts and was just more confident this season."
Dye closes girls golf season at district
Sophomore Hayley Dye of the girls golf team shot an 82 in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at New Albany Links to tie for 13th of 54 competitors.
Grove City's Lizzie Saur carded a 78 to earn the second and final individual berth for state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Dye shot a 72 in a sectional Oct. 1 at Royal American to earn medalist honors and advance to district.
Last season, she shot a 79 at sectional and an 85 at district to tie for 26th.
"She was a lot more consistent this season," coach Rob Stultz said. "Her average is almost a full stroke better and her mindset is so much better this year. She was striking the ball so much better. She made a couple tweaks to her swing and it's really done a nice job."
Delaware had just one senior who was regularly in its lineup in Alyssa Stultz.
At sectional, the Pacers were fifth (377) of 11 teams as the top three teams moved on, with junior Faith Eden turning in the team's second-best score with a 92.
Junior Gabrielle Weckerly and sophomore Izzy Crissinger also were key players.
Dye was overall medalist in the OCC-Cardinal tournament with a 74.5 average, with Eden averaging 94.8 to earn second-team all-league honors and Crissinger averaging 97.3 to make honorable mention as the Pacers tied Hilliard Darby for second (20-6) behind Jerome (26-0).
Most of tennis lineup to return
With a lineup led mostly by sophomores and juniors, the girls tennis team finished 9-8 overall for a two-win improvement over last season.
The Pacers' season ended Oct. 3 in a Division I sectional at Hilliard Bradley.
At that event in singles, junior Lily Tope lost to Dublin Scioto's Nicole Santoso 6-2, 6-0 in the second round, junior Alana Kay lost to Grove City's Emma Smith 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 in a feed-in match and sophomore Evelyn Mignanou fell to Hilliard Davidson's Kaitlyn Quinn 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.
In doubles, seniors Abbey Eyerman and Sydney Wolf lost in the second round to Dublin Coffman's Claire Feit and Emily Yoshino 6-0, 6-0, and juniors Meredith Keller and Grace Martin lost to Davidson's Ella McWherter and Olivia Temelkoff 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) in the first round.
The only other senior in the program was Olivia Wallace, who played doubles.
Sophomores Chloe Kannally, Sophia Midura and Eliza Riggs are others eligible to return for the Pacers, who finished 9-8 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fifth behind champion Jerome (7-0).
Football team looks for better finishes
During each of its first three OCC-Cardinal games, the football team held a lead during the third quarter only to lose.
With that in mind, the Pacers have been stressing toughness down the stretch as they prepare for the final three weeks of the season.
"We have to be able to play better toward the end of games," coach Scott Wetzel said. "We play well at times offensively and play well at times defensively, but we've just got to be a little bit more consistent. We have to be able to overcome adversity a lot faster than we are. We're trying to put that in our practice time: how to be in a bad situation and be able to overcome it more quickly."
Delaware lost to Worthington Kilbourne 36-21 in an OCC-Cardinal contest Oct. 4 and was 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the league before playing Jerome on Oct. 11.
On Friday, Oct. 18, the Pacers will play host to Thomas Worthington in a rematch of a game they won 21-20 last season. The Cardinals were 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the league before playing Darby on Oct. 11.
Thomas opened league action with a 20-13 win over Kilbourne on Sept. 20 but got blown out by Bradley (43-10 on Sept. 27) and Jerome (31-0 on Oct. 4).
Sheron Phipps had four interceptions through six games and Cam Beatty had an interception in each of the two games before Thomas played Darby to lead the Cardinals' defense.
Thomas was held to just 49 total yards and six first downs by Jerome.
Delaware, which has beaten Thomas each of the past three seasons, led Kilbourne 14-13 at halftime and outgained the Wolves 352-345 in total yards but lost three fumbles and were limited to 88 yards passing.
Running back Jahi Broussard-Nash had one of his best games of the season, rushing for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
"We've been a little hit and miss (in our passing game)," Wetzel said.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 19 -- Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top five teams and top 20 runners advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 38th-seeded Whetstone in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at fourth-seeded Pickerington North in second round Oct. 17. That winner plays 21st-seeded Thomas Worthington, 23rd-seeded Westerville Central or 36th-seeded Hartley in district semifinal Oct. 22. The Pacers are seeded 35th.
Oct. 16 -- Home vs. 35th-seeded Mount Vernon in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 10th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in second round Oct. 19. That winner plays fifth-seeded Olentangy, 28th-seeded DeSales or 29th-seeded Hartley in district semifinal Oct. 23. The Pacers are seeded 26th.
Oct. 14 -- At 23rd-seeded Dublin Jerome in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 10th-seeded Gahanna in second round Oct. 16. That winner plays seventh-seeded Dublin Scioto, 29th-seeded Reynoldsburg or 42nd-seeded Northland in district semifinal Oct. 22. The Pacers are seeded 25th.