Delaware Hayes Roundup: Girls golf squad playing with confidence
Featuring an experience-laden roster, the Delaware Hayes girls golf team is aiming for the top of the OCC-Cardinal Division this season.
It will be a challenge, but that speaks to the Pacers' main competition.
Delaware returns the 2019 OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year in junior Hayley Dye and is coming off a season in which it tied Hilliard Darby for second (20-6) in the league behind Dublin Jerome (26-0). The Celtics have won 15 league championships in their 16 seasons, but the Pacers are confident.
"Our ultimate team goal is we hope to win the OCC this year," first-year coach Nick Kitts said. "We have no reason that we shouldn't be able to accomplish our goal and be OCC champs."
The Pacers finished second (355) in the first round of the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament Aug. 12 at Mentel Memorial behind Jerome (325). Dye led the team with a 77.
The second round is Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Blacklick Woods.
Dye was league medalist last year with a 74.5 average. She then earned medalist honors in a Division I sectional at Royal American, shooting a 72 as Delaware placed fifth (377) behind champion Jerome (321).
As the Pacers' lone qualifier for district at New Albany Links, Dye shot an 82 to tie for 13th of 54 players.
"She's kind of going to be the heart and soul and the driver of our team," Kitts said.
"I want to beat my OCC average from last year," Dye said. "(Another) goal for myself is I need to capitalize more on par-5 opportunities."
Senior Faith Eden, juniors Isabel Crissinger and Lauren Girouard, senior Gabrielle Weckerly and junior Madison Brickler round out the lineup.
"We filled right back in with a lot of experience," Kitts said. "So we won't have a whole lot of shuffling at the top."
Delaware finished 19th (385) in the 27-team Panther Invitational on Aug. 7 at Turnberry behind champion Mason (307). Dye and Eden led the Pacers with a 77 and 90, respectively.
Boys team looks to continue climb
The boys golf team hopes to take another step forward this season.
The Pacers improved from 0-24 in the OCC-Cardinal in 2017 to 18-10 in 2018 to 19-9 last year, and fourth-year coach Andy Graham likes what he has seen so far.
"We have been doing a great job of getting better and better each year," he said. "I want these kids to build more and more confidence. I want them to do better and better."
Returning to lead the Pacers is an experienced lineup of juniors Mark Sulek, Brady Gazarek, Colin Bibler and Tyler Brown and senior Ben Madden.
Gazarek earned second-team all-league honors last season with a 78 average, while Sulek averaged 79 to earn third-team all-league honors.
"We've got five guys that score well," Graham said. "I think what makes us special is we don't have a (No. 1) guy -- it's the group -- and they kind of feed off of each other."
The Pacers began league play strongly, shooting a 314 on Aug. 6 at Turnberry to finish first in the opener of the four-round OCC-Capital tournament, 12 shots ahead of second-place Dublin Scioto. Sulek led Delaware with a 75, followed by Bibler with a 76.
The second round was Aug. 12 at Darby Creek. Gazarek led with a 79 and Madden followed with an 80 as the Pacers shot 322 to finish one stroke behind first-place Worthington Kilbourne (321).
"I think we have a very good chance of winning our conference this year," Bibler said. "The whole team has a goal of winning the OCC and going onto sectionals and going to district as a team or as individuals."
The Pacers shot a 301 in the Mike Nesselroad Invitational on Aug. 10 at Oak-haven to win the tournament. Bibler was medalist with a 72, while Sulek and Gazarek both shot 75.
Delaware followed with a second-place finish (312) in the Marysville Invitational on Aug. 11 at Darby Creek behind Olentangy Berlin (303). Gazarek paced Delaware with a 71 to tie Berlin's Bryce Reed as co-medalist.
At a glance
*Coach: Andy Graham, fourth season
*Top players: Colin Bibler, Tyler Brown, Brady Gazarek, Ben Madden and Mark Sulek
*Key losses: Sam Bonofiglio and Luke Gazarek
*2019 OCC-Cardinal standings: Dublin Jerome (27-1), Olentangy Berlin (22-6), Hilliard Bradley (20-8), Delaware (19-9), Hilliard Darby (11-17), Worthington Kilbourne (8-20), Thomas Worthington (4-24), Dublin Scioto (1-27)
*2019 postseason: Fifth at sectional
*Coach: Nick Kitts, first season
*Top players: Madison Brickler, Isabel Crissinger, Hayley Dye, Faith Eden, Lauren Girouard and Gabrielle Weckerly
*Key loss: Alyssa Stultz
*2019 OCC-Cardinal standings: Jerome (26-0), Delaware (20-6), Darby (20-6), Bradley (14-12), Scioto (8-18), Berlin (5-21), Kilbourne (5-21), Thomas (0-14)
*2019 postseason: Fifth at sectional
Below is the OCC realignment starting with the 2020-21 school year:
Buckeye: Central Crossing, Groveport, Lancaster, Newark, Pickerington Central, Reynoldsburg
Capital: Big Walnut, Canal Winchester, Delaware, Dublin Scioto, Franklin Heights, Westerville North, Westerville South, Worthington Kilbourne
Cardinal: Dublin Jerome, Hilliard Darby, Olentangy, Olentangy Berlin, Marysville, Thomas Worthington
Central: Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Davidson, Olentangy Orange, Olentangy Liberty, Upper Arlington
Ohio: Gahanna, Grove City, New Albany, Pickerington North, Westerville Central, Westland