Boys Golf: Westerville Central embraces high expectations

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Quinn Gallagher, a senior who was honorable mention all-league last season, shot a 72 to lead the Central boys golf team in the first round of the OCC-Ohio tournament Aug. 6 at Darby Creek.

Led by senior Josh Qian, the Westerville Central boys golf team expects to be among the top programs in central Ohio this fall.

The Warhawks began play in the realigned OCC-Ohio Division on Aug. 6 at Darby Creek, finishing second (311) behind Grove City (302) in the opening round of the four-round league tournament.

Qian missed the round because he was competing in an American Junior Golf Association event at Southpointe Golf Club in Pennsylvania.

"Josh has been putting in the work," eighth-year coach Kyle Baker said. "He deserves every accolade that he gets because of the work he puts in. It's great to have him back, but I'm excited for the team as a whole to see what they can do. They're really excited to compete."

Senior Quinn Gallagher led the Warhawks in the league opener with a 72.

"We're really looking forward to the season," Gallagher said. "I'm really glad that we have one. We can go pretty deep this year with four returning players. We're all playing pretty good golf right now."

Junior Ryan Dollenmayer (77), senior Grayson Harris (80), freshman Andy Wang (82) and junior Nick Van Allen (91) also competed.

Dollenmayer and junior Brady Urian also are returnees.

Baker expects his team to compete for the league title. Rounding out the first-round scores were New Albany (319), Gahanna (325) and Pickerington North (332).

"With golf, things can change so quickly because the kids put in so much hard work over the summer," said Baker, whose team played in the second round Aug. 12 at Apple Valley. "I've looked at our division and it's going to be difficult. Top to bottom, it's going to be really tough, but it's going to be really fun to compete, to be around some new coaches. The competition is good for the boys. We're looking forward to it."

Competing in his first Division I state tournament last season, Qian tied Ashland's Tyler Sabo for eighth (152) of 72 golfers behind medalist Tyler Groomes (142) of team champion Dublin Jerome (607).

Qian was OCC-Buckeye Player of the Year with a 72 average in league play. He also earned the honor as a sophomore.

Dollenmayer (78.25) was second-team all-league and Gallagher (83.5) was honorable mention all-league.

"We have a lot of competition," Baker said. "Five through 10 in our lineup is competing for that last spot. I love competition. It's rubbed off on the guys a little bit. They love to compete, so we try to play a lot of games during practice. We try to make sure that we're always competing against each other."

Offseason preparation could help Warriors

Eighth-year North coach Bob Markin is excited about the prospects of his team.

Several players put in the time in the offseason to improve their games. Add to that, the Warriors have four returnees from their postseason lineup in seniors Kobe Hunter and Jack Yancey and juniors Andrew Scurlock and Rocco Thomas.

"I'm excited, and I think we have a good chance to do well," Markin said. "Jack Yancey played in 12 tournaments over the summer and Rocco Thomas also played all summer. Jack, Andrew Scurlock and (senior) Griffin Hunley all worked at Royal American over the summer, so they have been around the game. Kobe Hunter spent the summer playing baseball but is a surprise because of the way he is playing early on."

Senior D.J. Bridge and sophomores Ian McComb and Cameron Wages also are returnees. Rounding out the roster are sophomores Collin Howard and Nick Peters and freshmen Christian Collins and Zachary Prenoveau.

North opened OCC-Capital play Aug. 6 at Turnberry, finishing fourth (352) behind Delaware (314), Dublin Scioto (326) and Big Walnut (327) and ahead of Canal Winchester (354) and Westerville South (359).

Thomas led North with an 83. Yancey (86), Bridge (91), Scurlock (92) and Hunter (101) also participated.

The second round was Aug. 12 at Darby Creek.

"We're still in it with South and I really like the makeup of the new (OCC division)," Markin said. "I think we fit well in the league and we have a good chance of doing well."

-- Scott Hennen

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Wildcats look to step up

With five golfers back, third-year South coach Dave Haney expects his team to improve this fall.

The Wildcats opened the OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 6 at Turnberry by finishing sixth (359) behind first-place Delaware (314).

"I like the maturity of this team," Haney said. "We have four seniors on the varsity. Everybody is a returning varsity player. I like the growth and the maturity with these guys."

Sophomore Michael Murray, who was the team's No. 1 golfer last season, led the Wildcats in the league opener with an 80.

Last season, Murray finished with a 90 average in three rounds of league play.

"Last season can only help him," Haney said. "Michael had a great summer. He's excited about the fall and the season because he's gotten so much better."

The remaining four returnees are seniors. Logan Hunn shot 90 in the league opener, followed by Andrew Collinsworth (91), Mason Campbell (98) and Ethyn Allen (123).

"Our lineup is the exact same as it was last year," Haney said. "The boys have stayed pretty much where they were."

South competed in the second round Aug. 12 at Darby Creek.

Haney is in his second stint with the program after guiding the Wildcats for six seasons beginning in 2009.

-- Frank DiRenna

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At a glance

CENTRAL

*Coach: Kyle Baker, eighth season

*Top players: Ryan Dollenmayer, Quinn Gallagher and Josh Qian

*Key loss: Heath Jeffers

*2019 OCC-Buckeye standings: Olentangy Liberty (19-1), Olentangy Orange (17-3), Westerville Central (11-9), Olentangy (9-11), Westerville North (3-17), Westerville South (1-19)

*2019 postseason: Fourth at sectional, 11th at district

NORTH

*Coach: Bob Markin, eighth season

*Top players: Kobe Hunter, Andrew Scurlock, Rocco Thomas and Jack Yancey

*Key losses: Elijah Rex and Drew Robinson

*2019 OCC-Buckeye standings: Liberty (19-1), Orange (17-3), Central (11-9), Olentangy (9-11), North (3-17), South (1-19)

*2019 postseason: 11th at sectional

SOUTH

*Coach: Dave Haney, third season

*Top players: Andrew Collinsworth, Logan Hunn and Michael Murray

*Key losses: None

*2019 OCC-Buckeye standings: Liberty (19-1), Orange (17-3), Central (11-9), Olentangy (9-11), North (3-17), South (1-19)

*2019 postseason: 13th at sectional

Rocco Thomas of North follows a tee shot during the first round of the OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 6 at Turnberry. Thomas, a junior, is among four returnees from the team's 2019 postseason lineup.