High school golf has teed off in Ohio.
Both West Union teams have proved dominant in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference in recent years, but several others are aiming for the top of the team standings and individual leaderboards when the league’s tournaments get underway in September.
Georgetown will try to reach the top of the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic conference with the return of their top golfer this fall.
Here’s a look at The Ledger Independent’s Ohio coverage area golf teams:
The Dragon Dynasty drew the most attention during the basketball and baseball seasons in 2017, but the West Union golf teams have been finding success for years.
The boys’ team has turned the SHAC into the Dragon Empire, winning 14 of the last 15 league titles, and they’ll look to keep it that way with another one this season.
“I feel we should be at the top of the league again this year. Manchester is going to have a strong team this year and I feel the league title will be a battle between both teams,” said West Union coach Carl Schneider in an email to The Ledger Independent. “Our goal is to get back to the State Tournament again this year. Manchester, Crooksville and West Union should all be fighting for the one spot from our district.”
They’ll have to do it without the top golfer from previous years, however.
Elijah McCarty – the 2017 District Player of the Year – has graduated and is awaiting his first tournament playing for Shawnee State University. McCarty won the SHAC Tournament three times, was on the All-SHAC team four times and made three trips to the OHSAA Division III State Golf Tournament. In addition to McCarty, the Dragons lost Eli Fuller.
They’ll bring back a core group of seniors in Jacob Pell, Carson McFarland and Andrew Sapp, but Schneider believes the key to success this season will be the play of sophomores Clayton Jones and Alex Hirsch after they played in the six and seven spots last year. They’ll also bring in twin freshmen Dakota and Derrick Pell, who Schneider says will both be pushing for playing time this year.
The Dragons have shown success early on, claiming the Portsmouth Invitational last Thursday with a team score of 324. McFarland led the way with a 77 and Jacob Pell was right behind with a 78. Jones stepped up with an 83, Sapp shot an 86 and Dakota Pell shot a 97.
Manchester also played in the event, finishing third with a team score of 343.
The Lady Dragons will return all of their golfers from a SHAC championship team last year, but Schneider’s daughter, Marci Schneider, will take over responsibility of the team this fall after playing at the collegiate level for Wheeling Jesuit University.
“The girls should win the league this year once again,” said Carl Schneider. “The expectation is to get to the state meet this year. We have been knocking on the door the past three seasons and hope the door opens this year.”
West Union returns four senior girls that made the All-SHAC team last season in DeAnna Caraway, Lindsey Daniel, Alex Clark and Lucy Kersey. Caraway was the tournament champion last season, firing an 85 in the two-day, 18-hole event. Daniel was second, Clark was third and Kersey was sixth.
The Lady Dragons’ coaches are also expecting a lot out of Madison Fulton and Linda Lynch.
West Union most recently won a match at Lynchburg-Clay on Friday.
The Blue Jays will rely on the experience of Corey Germann and Peyton Fyffe this season, after the two helped the team to fifth in the SHAC last season.
Fyffe posed the lowest nine-hole average at 45.2 last season. He’s already received co-medalist honors in a tri-match with Eastern Brown and Lynchburg-Clay and medalist honors against Fairfield this season. Germann posted the third-best average on the team last fall.
“They are athletic. They have played varsity golf since their freshmen year, so they have experience. They are long off the tee and have nice short games,” said Ripley coach Michael Scanlan in an email to The Ledger Independent. “They are all-league candidates who will be leaders of the team this year.”
Ripley lost the leadership of Brian Dunn from last year’s squad, but are hoping to rely on the young talent of sophomore Cody Germann, as well as freshmen Braydon Hanson and Gabe Fyffe.
Scanlan believes the keys to the team’s success include a commitment from his players on improving, consistency and the development of his younger players.
“If they make strides of improvement along the way, then we will be more competitive in the league tournament in September,” said Scanlan. “We have two solid and mature golfers at the top, but we have some immaturity and potential below them.”
Ripley has matches against Manchester and Georgetown circled on their schedule, as it’ll give them an indication of how they stack up before postseason play starts.
“How well we perform against Manchester will determine our standing in the league and prepare us for the S.H.A.C. Tournament. How well we perform against Georgetown will determine how well we may compete with them and other schools in the O.H.S.A.A. Div. III Sectional Tournament in Cincinnati,” said Scanlan.
The Greyhounds return seniors Logan Hayslip and Dylan Colvin from a team that finished third in the SHAC last season. Hayslip also finished third individually while Colvin placed sixth. With West Union’s Elijah McCarty and North Adam’s Noah Lung graduated, Hayslip would be the one projected to possibly take the SHAC title this season.
Coach Adam Poole has high expectations for his team, that also includes freshman Daulton McDonald and Luke Hayslip.
“I have very high expectations this year. With two strong returning seniors and two talented freshman, any of the four are capable of shooting in the mid to high-70s at any time,” Poole said. “I feel we will finish in the top two to three teams of the SHAC and qualify as a team for District play, the first time is many years for Manchester.”
The Greyhounds will look forward to SHAC conference play, the Adams County Cup which takes place on Wednesday at Hilltop Golf Course, along with sectional and district play. The Adams County Cup could be a good precursor to what happens in the end of season SHAC tournament as the top three teams were West Union, North Adams and Manchester.
Matches you are looking forward to? All four SHAC Matches, the Adams County Cup, Sectional & District play.
Juniors Zach James and Sam Creiver, sophomores Chase McDonald and Kyle Reaves and freshman Isaiah Scott, Denton White, Zander White, Wyatt Taylor and Brayden Young round out the roster for the Greyhounds.
Manchester is not fielding a girls’ team this season.
The G-Men will look for Lance Sininger to lead the way again this fall, after a successful junior campaign that saw a Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference title and a Southwest Ohio Division III district title.
He’s been playing tournaments throughout the summer and finding success, including a title in the Junior Chippeways at Maysville Country Club.
He was named the 2017 SBAAC National Division Player of the Year, after claiming the title in the eight-round event by 66 strokes. Georgetown finished second to East Clinton as a team in the National Division last year.
“I think our team will be competitive in the league, possibly finishing first or second,” said Georgetown coach Sheri Griffith in an email to The Ledger Independent.
The G-Men return two other seniors with Carson Ralston and Kyle Cornette. They’ll also bring back juniors Kaden Mountain and Austin Meranda. Griffith expects her sixth player to vary between Aaron Teagarden, Robert Aubry, Greg Vaughn and Jonathan Robinson.
Griffith is expecting a learning curve with some new players on the girls’ side. The will have four seniors, with Lexie Gray, Mia Johnson and Lizzie Powell returning. Kennedy Underwood has joined the team in her final year of high school.
They’ll also return Karlie Offutt for her junior year, while adding two new sophomores in Hayley Burnett and Rylie Bridges.
“We have a few beginner golfers and it will take a few matches to get us going but I expect we will improve throughout the season,” said Griffith. “I have high hopes for both teams and most importantly want them to enjoy this game. This is a game they can play the rest of their lives.”
The Lady Indians are coming off a fourth place finish in the SHAC tournament and return two golfers from that team in senior Nicole Burns and junior Anna McElwee. Burns finished seventh in the SHAC individually while McElwee was 10th.
“The returning girls have improved drastically over the past 2 years and with continued practice and determination they should lead our team to multiple wins this season,” Lady Indians coach Rachel Herman said.
New to the team is Kaelin White, although new, White has been playing for several years.
Despite losing three seniors, Herman expects good things for her team this year that included a lot of offseason work.
“The work these girls put in during the off season will help to make up some of that lost ground. Our goal is to be competitive with our league teams and score better at sectionals. It will hurt losing one senior this year but by next year this team should be one of the best girls golf teams to come through Peebles,” Herman said.
The Lady Indians are looking forward to playing some teams outside of the SHAC, including Jackson at Franklin Valley Golf Course. They also look forward to playing county teams (Manchester, West Union and North Adams) as well as league meets.
The rest of the roster consists of Tessa Gaffin, Sarah Laxton, Carrington McGlothin, Holly Niswander and Jasmine Francis.
Attempts to reach out to Peebles boys’ coach Vohn Hoop were unsuccessful. The Indians lost their top golfer in Bostin Robinson to graduation. Sophomore Oakley Burba and Connor Myers were the other two golfers that competed in the SHAC tournament last season.
The Warriors finished eighth in the SHAC while the Lady Warriors placed second behind West Union.
Attempts to reach out to Eastern’s golf coach were unsuccessful.