New Albany Roundup: Girls golf team adds to legacy
Madison Spiess had more than the last shots of her high school career on her mind as she walked up No. 18 at Ohio State’s Gray Course during the final round of the Division I state girls golf tournament Oct. 24.
“I was thinking about everything that’s happened,” Spiess said of her four seasons with the Eagles, all of which ended at state. “Marissa (Wentzler, a former Centerville standout) was here watching me and I remember watching her win state when I was in her group (in 2018). I watched her eagle No. 15, I think. There are so many good players that have come through here. It’s awesome to think about what’s happened.”
New Albany remained dominant this season, winning its third consecutive state championship by 41 shots ahead of runner-up Mason (627).
Three Eagles finished in the top 10, led by Spiess, who shot a two-day total of 141 to win her first individual championship.
It was an eventful weekend for Spiess in particular. The Santa Clara commit shot a 71 in the first round Oct. 23 — which also was her 18th birthday — and then became the team’s second consecutive state medalist, after junior Anna Ritter shot a 138 in 2019.
The state tournament was another showcase of the Eagles’ depth. Ritter shot a 149, finishing fifth individually, ahead of classmate Kary Hollenbaugh (151, tied for sixth), freshman Emerson Purcell (152, tied for 10th) and sophomore Anna Coccia (154, tied for 16th).
Purcell shot a 71 in the first round despite topping her tee shot on No. 1, and Hollenbaugh set aside an 80 that same day to shoot a 71 in the final round.
“I just wanted to get under 80 and be happy with that,” Purcell said. “It definitely makes me feel good and that I can help my teammates out and maybe help them feel better about their own rounds, too. I’ve been in the top five (of our lineup) most of the year so I’ve contributed, but it’s a good feeling to do it (at state).”
That any of his players could provide a key round is something coach Rich Ritter said is understood rather than discussed.
“I think they’ve all done a good job, especially in the past month or month-and-a-half of being all in and playing hard for each other,” Ritter said. “Everybody knows they could be needed that day, but I don’t really talk about that. We’re just trying to get them prepared to play a tournament and talk about strategy.”
This season included New Albany’s first loss since the 2017 season, as the Eagles came in three shots behind Dublin Coffman (296-299) in the third round of the four-round OCC-Central Division tournament Aug. 26 at Mentel Memorial. New Albany finished 177-1 and is 593-1 over the past three years.
Still, the Eagles won sectional and district championships by a combined 88 shots and more than doubled their lead of 17 shots after the first round at state.
In addition to most of the top five, other players eligible to return include juniors Lily Canales and Ellie McNutt.
“It’s pretty amazing what we’ve done. Most of us are coming back,” said Hollenbaugh, who shot a program-record 63 in the team’s second tournament of the season, the Lady Lion Invitational on Aug. 10 at Jefferson. “We’re going to miss Madison. Next year should be interesting with so many of us back.”
Cross country teams
try for state berths
The boys cross country team muscled its way into the Division I regional meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North, placing three runners in the top seven to finish second (75 points) in the district 1 race Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby behind Hilliard Davidson (27) as 14 teams scored.
Victor Orsinelli was district runner-up in 15 minutes, 51.3 seconds, followed by Will Benseler (fourth, 16:11.5), Ethan McNichols (seventh, 16:25.4), Colin Swincicki (30th, 17:22.8) and Luke Weibel (34th, 17:35.3).
Girls standout Ellie McClelland was fourth in the district 2 race (19:21.2) to lead New Albany to the final regional berth, as it finished sixth (180) behind champion Coffman (55) as 17 teams scored.
Also scoring were Stephanie Thomas (27th, 20:21.2), Elise Hill (36th, 20:35.2), Alexis Curren (55th, 21:06.4) and Clara Doyle (58th, 21:11.1).
At regional, the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to state Saturday, Nov. 7, at Fortress Obetz.
Key contributors expected
back for volleyball team
Junior outside hitter Anna Lydia Siegenthaler had a team-leading 15 kills Oct. 22 in the girls volleyball team’s competitive postseason opener at Lancaster, but the 21st-seeded Eagles lost to the 19th-seeded Golden Gales 27-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-13.
Junior outside hitter Emily Heintzelman added nine kills for the Eagles, who fell behind 11-5 in the first game and then scored 12 unanswered points to take the lead and remained close throughout the remainder of the match.
“We came back and played really hard in (the second game). We have the talent and I kept telling the girls to stop being thinkers and start being doers, but I saw some great things from them,” said coach Karen Morlan, whose team finished 8-13 overall and went 2-7 in the OCC-Ohio. Not everything went our way, but they battled and I’m proud of the seven seniors that I have this season. They were strong leaders for us and they all had positive attitudes, which made it easy to coach them.”
Heintzelman led the team in kills (235) and aces (48) and was second in digs (81). Siegenthaler was second in kills (153) and freshman libero/outside hitter Addy McCallister recorded a team-leading 144 digs.
Other players eligible to return include juniors Sydney Arlin (middle blocker/opposite hitter) and Daniela Rank (opposite hitter/outside hitter) and sophomore Sophia Stall (middle blocker/outside hitter).
•OCC-Ohio standings: New Albany (19-1), Dublin Coffman (16-4), Upper Arlington (13-7), Marysville (8-12), Canal Winchester (3-17), Hilliard Davidson (1-19)
•Senior lost: Madison Spiess
•Key returnees: Anna Coccia, Kary Hollenbaugh, Emerson Purcell and Anna Ritter
•Postseason: First (286) at sectional ahead of runner-up Olentangy (346); first (294) at district ahead of runner-up Coffman (322); first (586) at state ahead of runner-up Mason (627)
•Record: 8-13 overall
•OCC-Ohio standings: Westerville Central (8-1), Gahanna (5-1), Pickerington North (7-2), Grove City (4-5), New Albany (2-7), Westland (0-10)
•Seniors lost: Madison Briggs, Hope Cook, Haley Dennis, Olivia Gittins, Julia Goldhardt, Olivia Machado and Riley McNabb
•Key returnees: Sydney Arlin, Emily Heintzelman, Addy McCallister, Daniela Rank, Anna Lydia Siegenthaler and Sophia Stall
•Postseason: Lost to Lancaster 27-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-13 in second round of Division I district tournament