New Albany Roundup: Multisport athletes holding court for girls tennis team
New Albany girls tennis coach Marc Thomas is used to having plenty of talent on his team, given that the Eagles won 13 OCC-Capital Division championships in the past 14 years and even had a Division I state championship doubles tandem in 2012 with sisters Cristina and Francesca DiLorenzo.
Still, Thomas sees a difference this year in that arguably his top three players are multisport athletes.
Girls golf standouts Kary Hollenbaugh and Madison Spiess return for their third season on the team, and freshman Paige Cornelius also plays field hockey. Spiess, Cornelius and Hollenbaugh played first, second and third singles, respectively, in the Eagles' season-opening 4-1 home win over Watterson on Aug. 12.
Spiess is a senior, one grade ahead of Hollenbaugh.
"Girls who are among the best athletes in the state in their respective sports, and then they come here and they are still playing at an incredibly high level," said Thomas, who is in his 10th season. "I am impressed with how this team manages the responsibility of being a New Albany tennis player. Our doubles teams, I have challenged them to do different things and be aggressive and they have responded to help us play with the best teams in the state.
"I am incredibly excited to see what this team can do. We have a lot of upside."
Senior Roshni Chandawarkar, juniors Justina Sung and Helen Wang and sophomore Demi Shostak also return from last year's team that went 14-6 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Capital.
Freshman Elizabeth Campbell rounds out the roster.
Shostak and Sung played first doubles against Watterson, and Campbell and Chandawarkar teamed at second doubles.
Thomas is excited about the team's depth, especially given that the Eagles could be without any combination of Cornelius, Hollenbaugh and Spiess depending on their other teams' schedules.
"You throw Helen in and that makes us a lot deeper, too," Thomas said. "There are days I'll need different girls to be ready to go."
As part of conference realignment, New Albany now is in the OCC-Ohio with Gahanna, Grove City, Pickerington North, Westerville Central and Westland.
North, for which Thomas was an assistant coach before coming to New Albany, has won the past two league championships and three since 2016.
The Eagles begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 25, at home against Grove City.
"We will get better continuously. (Winning) the league is our No. 1 priority," Thomas said. "Going out and playing well in the league is the first step. After that, we're focused on the OTCA (Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district tournament).
"We are a team that some other teams might not want to play toward the end of the season. Our experience is going to be valuable later on."
Hollenbaugh sets golf program record
The girls golf team added yet another lofty achievement to an already impressive era Aug. 10 when Hollenbaugh shot a round of 63 during the Lady Lion Invitational at Jefferson.
The score was a program and course record.
Whether it is a state record is not known. The Ohio High School Athletic Association does not keep regular-season records for golf.
That was New Albany's second tournament of the season but its first with all of its returning top four -- Hollenbaugh, Anna Coccia, Anna Ritter and Spiess -- that led the Eagles to their second consecutive undefeated Division I state championship last year.
New Albany, which shot a 284 on Aug. 10 to finish 29 shots ahead of runner-up Dublin Coffman (313) in the 15-team invitational, was 444-0 since the start of the 2018 season before participating in the Midwest Classic on Aug. 15 at Skyland Pines.
The Eagles began OCC-Central competition Aug. 12 by shooting a 288 in the first round of the four-round league tournament at Royal American, finishing ahead of Coffman (308), Upper Arlington (314), Marysville (377), Canal Winchester (385) and Hilliard Davidson (401). Ritter earned medalist honors with a 68.
At a glance
*Coach: Marc Thomas, 10th season
*Top players: Roshni Chandawarkar, Paige Cornelius, Kary Hollenbaugh, Demi Shostak and Madison Spiess
*Key losses: Thalia Fuentes and Maya Klein
*Last season: 14-6 overall
*2019 OCC-Capital standings: New Albany (5-0), Big Walnut (4-1), Newark (3-2), Canal Winchester (2-3), Groveport (1-4), Franklin Heights (0-5)