Columbus Academy Roundup: Girls tennis squad expects more success

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Sydni Ratliff returns to lead the Columbus Academy girls tennis team after winning the Division II state singles championship last season.

Led by the defending Division II state singles champion and a first-year coach, the Columbus Academy girls tennis team expects to remain one of the top programs in the area.

Senior Sydni Ratliff is back after winning the Vikings' first state title in singles. She defeated Gates Mills Gilmour Academy's Carly Cohen 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

Ratliff also reached the state final in her freshman and sophomore seasons, losing both times to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown's Nicole Gillinov.

"We're excited to have Sydni back. I've (coached) her since seventh grade," said coach Marc Wurtzman, who has replaced Tom Haddow. "It's nice to see her mature into a leader."

Haddow stepped down after five seasons to take over the girls program at Wellington, where he also is the boys coach.

Wurtzman was an assistant under Haddow last season after previously guiding Academy's middle school team. Wurtzman also is the boys coach at Academy.

"The goals are still the same," he said. "Every day it's going to be about putting in 100 percent and working hard. We don't really put too much pressure on them on the end-all, be-all goal. If we work as hard as we can, hit the weight room and stay healthy, things can fall into place. We have to keep going in the right direction."

Academy opens Thursday, Aug. 20, by visiting Mason and Cincinnati Indian Hill.

The Vikings will play host to Wellington on Sept. 10 in an MSL-Ohio Division match. Academy finished 14-4 overall and 7-0 in the league last season, edging Wellington (6-1) for the title.

"I look forward to that match," Wurtzman said. "Coach Haddow and I get along really well, but it's fun to compete against each other."

Also back is senior Lauren Motta, who is hoping to earn a state berth in doubles. Motta and senior Carolyn Tsung were expected to be contenders for a state berth last season, but they had to withdraw prior to a sectional semifinal because Tsung had a previous school commitment.

"I'm ready," Motta said. "It's a new season. It's a fresh start. I'm excited to hopefully get a chance to play at state this year."

Other players are senior Sophia Sommer, sophomores Anna Chang, Naomi Chen and Emily Motta and freshmen Yasemin Bilgin, Arya Chabria and Grace Philip.

Girls golfers begin second season

The girls golf team got out to a good start in its second season.

Competing in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 11 at Turnberry, Academy finished second (373) behind Columbus School for Girls (352) and ahead of Buckeye Valley (445), Worthington Christian (452) and Bexley (496).

Sophomore Grace Luo finished third (86) to lead the Vikings. Sophomore Eva Baker (92), freshman Angela Hu (93) and sophomores Eliza Freytag (102) and Maggie Crain (104) also competed.

Freshman Morgan Richards rounds out the team.

"We have a good team this year," second-year coach Maggie Freytag said. "We have several returning players as well as a new senior with experience and several freshmen who have experience."

With 12 girls in the program, coach Freytag was able to form a junior varsity team. There were eight players in the program last season.

Sejal Jindal, the program's lone senior, is playing on the j.v. team.

"People are talking about the sport," coach Freytag said. "We have more people who are interested in playing and wanted to maybe try something new, so they decided to come out. It's great.

"We're very excited about the season. We have a lot more experience this year. We have several girls who trained throughout the offseason and that's really showing in their confidence and how they're playing."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

At a glance

GIRLS GOLF

*Coach: Maggie Freytag, second season

*Top players: Eva Baker and Grace Luo

*Key losses: None

*MSL-Ohio standings: Columbus School for Girls (16-0), Bexley (12-4), Buckeye Valley (6-10), Columbus Academy and Worthington Christian (both 3-13)

*2019 postseason: Fourth at sectional

GIRLS TENNIS

*Coach: Marc Wurtzman, first season

*Top players: Lauren Motta, Sydni Ratliff and Carolyn Tsung

*Key loss: Alex Graham

*Last season: 14-4 overall

*2019 MSL-Ohio standings: Academy (7-0), Wellington (6-1), Bexley (5-2), Worthington Christian (4-3), CSG (3-4), Buckeye Valley (2-5), Grandview (1-6), Whitehall (0-7)