Westerville Central golfer Josh Qian thrives in pressure situations, and the junior showed it during the Division I boys district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
Qian earned the second of two individual-qualifying berths to state by shooting par on the second playoff hole against Gahanna's Mitchell Soma.
"There's definitely pressure," Qian said. "I've never made it to state before and I feel like it was my time. There was a lot of pressure out there. It was fun. I embraced it."
Qian and Soma finished in a three-way tie for the two state berths with Pickerington North's Carson Bellish after all three shot 70. Bellish parred the first playoff hole to move on to state, while Qian and Soma each bogeyed the first hole.
"It's good to see all of (Qian's) hard work pay off," Warhawks coach Kyle Baker said. "You feel bad for the kid from Gahanna, you feel awful for him, but I'm proud of Josh. He gave Josh new life on the first hole. It's experience. It's tough. You have all these people out here, but I just feel for (Soma). You shoot 70 and you don't get to compete at state, which I think is crazy."
Qian will compete in his first state tournament Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Qian is Baker's first state qualifier in his seventh season at Central.
"I'm proud for him," Baker said. "I'm happy for him. He's put in all the work. I'm looking forward to walking the course with him. Thursday, Friday (and) Saturday will be a fun three days for myself as well as him. I know he's going to do well, but no matter how he does, it's just experience and we're looking forward to it together."
Central finished 11th (321) of 12 teams at district behind state-qualifiers Dublin Jerome (300) and Olentangy Liberty (303).
Ryan Dollenmayer (81), Quinn Gallagher (82), Brady Urian (88) and Heath Jeffers (93) also competed for the Warhawks.
Cross country teams run in league meet
The boys and girls cross country teams competed in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet Oct. 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
Tara Will led the girls, finishing sixth of 57 runners in 19 minutes, 43 seconds as Central was third (62) behind Liberty (38) and Olentangy Orange (39) and ahead of Westerville North (118), Westerville South (120) and Olentangy (156).
Ashley Hockstok was seventh (19:47.3), followed by Kayla Jones (12th, 20:17.2), Rylee Mensel (13th, 20:18), Ellie Mallon (27th, 20:49.7), Lauryn Chapman (33rd, 21:16.5), Chloe Stefan-Adams (39th, 21:35.7), Kylie Hansen (45th, 21:56.9), Kennedy Callow (50th, 22:32.7) and Remington Schultz (52nd, 22:36.7).
Haden Fulkerson led the boys, finishing ninth of 59 runners in 16:40. Chip Smith was 16th (16:58.1), followed by Dominic Iquina (26th, 17:25.5), Evan Kienle (36th, 17:52.1), Evan Radecki (42nd, 17:58.6), Jeremy Gellner (43rd, 17:59), Matt Bartrum (44th, 18:00.2), Danny Gubser (48th, 18:28.6), Joey Clegg (55th, 18:57.8) and Ryan Kerrigan (57th, 19:24.9).
The Warhawks finished fourth (116) behind Orange (32), Liberty (42) and Olentangy (81) and ahead of South (131) and North (152).
Welty leads girls golf team
Senior Grace Welty capped her prep career by leading the girls golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at New Albany Links.
Welty carded an 84 as Central finished seventh (378) of nine teams behind state-qualifiers New Albany (305) and Upper Arlington (314).
Welty was OCC-Buckeye Player of the Year with a 79.3 average.
"Grace is just a great golfer," coach Aaron Starkey said. "She is so consistent at this point. It is nice as a coach when you can always count on your No. 1 to give you a low score. I've taken it for granted a bit. She certainly earned her Player of the Year title and I am happy to see her achieve it, especially during her senior year."
Juniors Katelyn Neil (88) and Zoei Tee (98) and seniors Anna Borders (108) and Paige Dieter (116) also competed at district.
"It was a tough day for all at district," Starkey said. "Most teams scored around 15 strokes higher than their average for 18 holes. We actually played right around our average score, so I was pleased with our performance."
Neil (89) was second-team all-league and Tee (98.3) and Borders (103.3) were honorable mention all-league.
Junior Alexis Jacobson and sophomore Lucia Parrill also are eligible to return.
Girls tennis team closes season
Three members of the girls tennis team competed in the Division I district tournament Oct. 10 at Reynoldsburg.
Junior Levi Burks went 0-1 in singles, losing to Orange's Caroline Sproule 6-0, 6-3 in the first round.
Senior Madison Lane and junior Vivian Baker lost to Watkins Memorial's Walter and Kissel 6-2, 6-0 in the first round in doubles.
Juniors Hannah Lyons and Dilara Sen, sophomores Alyssa Boyd, Kaylie Gibson, Annabel Krueck and Audrey Rupp and freshman Sidney Choo also are eligible to return.
Central finished 9-10, and coach Brad Baker is pleased with the program's development.
"What I'm seeing now is the development of the middle school program," he said. "We have 50 kids in high school and middle school combined who are now playing tennis and taking lessons year-round. We're going in the right direction."
Below are the coming schedules for the Central cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 19 -- Boys: Division I, district 2 meet at Hilliard Darby. The top five teams and top 20 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. Girls: Division I, district 2 meet at Darby. The top six teams and top 24 individuals advance to regional Oct. 26 at North.
Oct. 15 -- Played 36th-seeded Hartley in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays at 21st-seeded Thomas Worthington in second round Oct. 17. Winner plays fourth-seeded Pickerington North, 35th-seeded Delaware or 38th-seeded Whetstone in district semifinal Oct. 22 at home of better seed. The Warhawks are seeded 23rd.
Oct. 19 -- Home vs. 27th-seeded Newark or 31st-seeded Westerville South in second round of Division I district tournament. Central defeated South 3-0 on Oct. 10. Winner plays top-seeded Dublin Coffman or 45th-seeded Columbus West in district semifinal Oct. 23 at home of better seed. The Warhawks are seeded 25th.
Oct. 17 -- At sixth-seeded Watkins Memorial or home versus 44th-seeded Walnut Ridge in second round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays fourth-seeded Hilliard Bradley, 45th-seeded West or 49th-seeded Franklin Heights in district semifinal Oct. 24 at Whitehall. The Warhawks are seeded 15th.