Big Walnut Roundup: Boys golf team working 'to get better each day'
The scorecard for the Big Walnut boys golf team looks different from this time last season.
But third-year coach Charlie Brodhead also knows his mostly inexperienced group can grow.
"Our scores are high right now, compared to last year," he said. "That shows just how good that group was. But we're going to work to get better each day."
Gone are 2020 graduates Reno Overbaugh, Kenny Schneider and Kyle Williams, all of whom helped the Golden Eagles finish second (13-3) in the OCC-Capital Division behind New Albany (15-1).
Two seniors, Austen Bennett and Blake Shade, lead Big Walnut's seven-player roster this season, followed by juniors Kolin McKee, Corbin Borchers and Ryan Tripp and sophomores Nick Bello and Evan Leff.
Bennett, McKee and Shade are the returning letterwinners.
"Kolin is playing really well," Brodhead said. "He has the potential of getting into the lower 70s. He's right in there. Austen still hasn't found his game. He's been up and down. Blake has really come on. He's been averaging about 80 and has had a couple rounds in the 70s. I'm really pleased with his development."
In the second round of the four-round OCC-Capital tournament Aug. 12 at Darby Creek, the Golden Eagles shot 332 to finish third behind Worthington Kilbourne (321) and Delaware (322) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (353), Westerville North (353), Canal Winchester (367) and Westerville South (379). Shade had a 77.
In the first round Aug. 6 at Turnberry, Big Walnut finished third (327) behind Delaware (314) and Scioto (326) and ahead of North (352), Canal Winchester (354) and South (359). McKee shot a 77 and Shade had a 78.
Heading into the second round, Brodhead had yet to settle on a lineup, with Borchers, Tripp, Bello and Leff all averaging around 90.
"Right now, some are struggling at putting, and these are things we can work on," Brodhead said. "Tripp's first match was a junior varsity match, but he shot a 78. He's capable, but he's just got to be able to get his distance and put it all together. They have the potential."
Girls golfers hope to take next step
After helping mold a group of mostly inexperienced, first-time golfers last season, second-year girls golf coach Lloyd Huffer has five returning letterwinners this year.
"We saw scores drop constantly throughout last year, and most of the girls built off that this summer," he said. "I'm hoping to see that continue."
In the opening round of the four-round OCC-Ohio tournament Aug. 12 at Blacklick Woods, the Golden Eagles shot 419 to finish behind Grove City (327), Pickerington North (332), Gahanna (357) and Pickerington Central (395).
The second round is Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Royal American.
Big Walnut opened the season Aug. 10, defeating Scioto 189-206 as sophomore Danielle Maynard shot a 42 and junior Emma Doty, a returning letterwinner, had a 47.
Maynard was the Golden Eagles' No. 2 player much of last season and "probably the most consistent and one of the hardest workers," Huffer said.
Seniors Kat Brehm, Audrey Hofer and Grace Unger and junior Skylar Overbaugh are the other returning letterwinners.
Huffer said Brehm, Unger, junior Jaylee Barnett and sophomore Jenna Sutton have "all made strides."
Junior Atalie Klingensmith also is expected to contribute but currently is battling a hand injury.
"All nine (players) on varsity have the ability to have a great match," Huffer said. "It will be interesting to see who keeps grinding and if any of them take their foot off the gas. The ones who continue to grind will continue to grow. The scorecard won't lie."
At a glance
*Coach: Charlie Brodhead, third season
*Top players: Austen Bennett, Kolin McKee and Blake Shade
*Key losses: Reno Overbaugh, Kenny Schneider and Kyle Williams
*2019 OCC-Capital standings: New Albany (15-1), Big Walnut (13-3), Canal Winchester (8-8), Newark (4-12), Groveport (0-16)
*2019 postseason: Eighth at sectional
*Coach: Lloyd Huffer, second season
*Top players: Kat Brehm, Emma Doty, Audrey Hofer, Danielle Maynard, Skylar Overbaugh and Grace Unger
*Key losses: Jenna Allen and Emily Kuederle
*2019 OCC-Ohio standings: Grove City (18-2), Pickerington North (16-4), Gahanna (13-7), Pickerington Central (9-11), Big Walnut (4-16), Lancaster (0-20)
*2019 postseason: Eighth at sectional