Watterson Roundup: Carson Trafford helps raise level of play for boys golf team
The last time the Watterson boys golf program reached state was in 2014 when it competed in Division II and followed a third-place showing at district with a state runner-up finish.
This was the sixth consecutive season in which the Eagles competed in Division I and won’t be represented at state, but they inched closer because of the continued improvements of junior Carson Trafford.
On Oct. 13 in the district tournament at Apple Valley, Trafford started on the back 9 and shot 36 before finishing with 38 on the front 9 for a 74 that tied him with three others for seventh place.
Westerville Central’s Josh Qian earned medalist honors with a 70 for one of the individual state-qualifying berths, and St. Charles’ Leo Walling carded a 72 to finish third and take the other.
“I just couldn’t get many putts to drop,” Trafford said. “I left them all short, but all in all, it was a nice day out there. It’s a good experience for myself and Watterson.”
Trafford became the Eagles’ first representative at district since 2014 when he shot 73 to tie for third in a sectional Oct. 6 at Darby Creek. Watterson shot 334 to finish seventh as the top four teams advanced.
“I’m sure he’s a little disappointed because his putting (at district) let him down a little bit,” coach Olin Melaragno said. “Tee to green, he was tremendous. He started off with a birdie and a bogey on his front for a 36, then had a three-putt on the back side and tough last hole. All in all, I’m sure he’s disappointed, but I can’t be more proud of him because he’s worked so hard to get here.”
As a freshman, Trafford shot 79 at sectional to miss advancing to district by one stroke.
Last fall, however, he shot 86 as the Eagles placed fifth.
“Actually freshman year I did (come close to qualifying for district),” Trafford said. “Last year I kind of struggled at sectionals. My chipping has gotten a lot better. I just need to make some more putts, but I’m happy with how I played (this year).
“We could have done a lot better as a team (this season). We kind of fell short of our potential, but hopefully we’ll be back next year stronger.”
Watterson expects to return its entire postseason lineup.
Also at sectional, sophomore Deacon Pinson turned in the second-best score for the Eagles with an 83, and sophomore Noah Stauffer and freshmen Jonah Altiero and Cooper Struckel all shot 89.
Watterson finished as CCL runner-up (6-2) behind St. Charles (8-0).
“(Trafford) was a little disappointed he couldn’t be (at district) with his team because he’s used to being a leader for the team and here he’s playing for himself and it’s a different feeling, but it’s been a good year for us,” Melaragno said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been represented (at district).”
Most of girls golf
team to return
Of the girls golf team’s representatives in a Division I sectional Oct. 6 at Mentel Memorial, all are eligible to return except for senior Fifi Criswell.
Junior Anna Stauffer had the team’s best score with a 91 that tied her for 15th, but that left her seven strokes short of advancing to district.
Watterson shot 382 to place fifth as the top three teams advanced.
The other sectional competitors were juniors Katherine McGrath and Sofia Roncone and sophomore Sydney McKinney.
Seniors Hannah Ashmore and Victoria Alves and junior Amelia Walker were others in the program.
“Two of our starters missed most of the season due to injuries,” coach Mike Crotty said. “We started the season with a runner-up trophy (Aug. 5 in the North Union Invitational at Mill Creek) and our captain, Sofia Roncone, winning the tournament medalist trophy. ... We grew as a team and gained a ton of tournament preparation as well as confidence.
“We’ll be very strong next year with five returning players and three players that are fairly young in the game with a year of competition to rely on.”
Boys soccer team
Although it had just two wins at the time of the Division II district tournament drawing Oct. 11, the boys soccer team received the sixth seed of 16 teams.
The Eagles, who were 2-9-3 overall before playing Canal Winchester on Oct. 15, opened the postseason Oct. 21 at home against 14th-seeded Sparta Highland.
If Watterson won that game, it will play second-seeded Bloom-Carroll or 13th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the home of the better-seeded team.
The Eagles, who tied Bloom-Carroll at 2 on Oct. 1, picked up wins over Ready (10-0 on Sept. 25) and Hartley (2-1 on Sept. 29) to finish second (2-1) in the CCL behind DeSales (3-0).
Watterson also tied the district’s No. 1 seed, Granville, at 2 on Sept. 5 and played seven Division I programs during the regular season.
In a 3-1 loss to Columbus Academy on Oct. 10, junior midfielder Trent Maisano scored.
•CCL standings: St. Charles (8-0), Watterson (6-2), DeSales (4-4), Hartley (2-6), Ready (0-8)
•Seniors lost: Gavin Greene and Adam Pavliga
•Key returnees: Jonah Altiero, Deacon Pinson, Noah Stauffer, Cooper Struckel and Carson Trafford
•Postseason: Seventh (334) at sectional behind champion St. Charles (297)
•CCL standings: DeSales (5-1), Hartley (3-3), Watterson (3-3), Ready (1-5)
•Seniors lost: Victoria Alves, Hannah Ashmore and Fifi Criswell
•Key returnees: Katherine McGrath, Sydney McKinney, Sofia Roncone and Anna Stauffer
•Postseason: Fifth (382) at sectional behind champion Dublin Coffman (331)