Boys Golf: Olentangy Orange, Westerville Central’s Josh Qian win Division I district titles
Olentangy Orange boys golf coach Jerrod Ross knew his team had turned in a good score after being a part of the first group to tee off in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at Apple Valley, but that didn’t make the next hour easy to sit through.
In a tight battle between four teams for the two state-qualifying berths, the Pioneers’ 298 stood up to give them the championship and advance them to state for the first time since 2008.
“It’s relieving,” Ross said. “We’ve always known we have the team to get to the state championship, but actually pulling it off today feels very, very good. These kids are very excited about doing it.”
Three-time defending state champion Dublin Jerome got a 71 from its No. 1 player, junior Brett Podobinski, as it finished with a 302 to edge St. Charles (303) and Olentangy Liberty (304) for the other berth to state Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
Westerville Central (312), Olentangy Berlin (316), Upper Arlington (317), Dublin Coffman (319), Grove City (321), Pickerington Central (324), New Albany (324) and Pickerington North (324) rounded out the scoring.
“I thought we were playing really well on the front and had a good lead, but we didn’t,” Podobinski said. “They just told me to get (a good score) on the last (hole) and I made about a 15- to 20-foot putt.”
As he did last season when he earned the second individual state-qualifying spot, Westerville Central senior Josh Qian fired a 70, this time giving him medalist honors.
“It feels good that I made it through (to state) individually, but it kind of stinks that we couldn’t make it through as a team,” Qian said. “Really my ball-striking was really good. My putting kind of let me down, but I hit the ball beautifully today.”
The other individual state-qualifying berth went to St. Charles freshman Leo Walling, who shot 72.
“I hit the ball really solid and I played smart,” Walling said. “Being a freshman I was excited and felt like I owed it to my seniors. (It’s) too bad we couldn’t (qualify as a team).”
UA junior Daniel Goldberg, Berlin senior Bryce Reed and Orange senior Jonathan Green each shot 73.
Watterson junior Carson Trafford, Orange senior Corbin Bentley, Orange junior Luke Johnson and Liberty senior Grant Smeltzer all shot 74.
Rounding out the Pioneers’ scoring were senior Nathan Brown (77) and junior Mitch Perdue (79).
Jerome’s lineup also featured senior Tyler Groomes (76), who is the defending individual state champion, as well as classmates Ryan Miller (76), Jack Kuhlman (79) and Jake Yarbrough (83).