Getting into swing of things

The high school golf season is perhaps the busiest season of all the sports seasons at the prep level.

A few days of tryouts and then a steady stream of matches on a daily basis. It’s not uncommon for golf teams to be playing four to five times a week. The season which starts at the beginning of August in sweltering heat and continues well into the cool days of October.

Area boys teams are working hard, keeping busy and building for the postseason.

Jonathan Alder

The Pioneers have the look of a team capable of making noise in the postseason this fall. With a collection of experienced returnees, coach Mitch Koester has plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

“This year’s team should be very solid,” Koester said. “We have five of our top six golfers returning including our top four off of last year’s team. We look for big things this year. We look to build on our MOAC title from last year and improve upon our fourth place finish in sectionals last fall.”

Alder will welcome the return of seniors Joey Petrella and Zach Otto. A strong sophomore class led by Hayden Mitchell, Mychal McKelvey and Tyler Hilbert are all back. They all earned varsity letters last year.

The Pioneers will compete in the Central Buckeye Conference this fall for the first time. That change will be a challenge for Alder, but Koester’s team should be prepared.

“It gives us new courses to play that we haven’t seen before, but we took the returning letterwinners to play all of these courses throughout the summer, so we should be prepared when we show up for those matches,” Koester said. “The CBC should be more competitive and there are some very solid programs in the league.

“Last year, Springfield Shawnee and Bellefontaine were really solid and they both have some good players coming back.”


The Golden Eagles have a few returnees and a collection of older veterans on the squad this season.

The roster includes varsity returnees Ian Bowshier and Clay Grear. Both juniors were members of the Madison-Plains High School team that finished fourth at last year’s D-II sectional tournament and start the season at the top of the order. Also back this season is Joseph Siler.

Joining the mix are freshmen Adyn Gammell, Gabe Garrison and Spencer Baker.

Madison-Plains High School should challenge for the Ohio Heritage Conference title this fall.


The Red Raiders are still young, but the team is already way ahead of where it finished a year ago.

In its first match of the season London High School fired a round which was 15 strokes better than its best mark last season. And with just one senior on the roster, the team has plenty of growing still to do.

“We return six or seven guys, but we still only have one senior and one junior so we’re still pretty young,” coach Dillan Shumaker said. “We’re really happy with the progress these guys have made.”

Senior Joseph Johnson and junior Andy Fullmer are the lone upperclassmen who return. Also back are sophomore Nick Berchtold and Drew Herman. Freshman Cade Smith has come and established himself as one of the top players on the team. Sophomore Grant Carpenter is on the team for the first time this fall.

London High School is competing in the Mid-State League one of the toughest golf leagues in the state. But the coach knows that even though competing in the league is tough, his players are being challenged constantly.

“It’s bittersweet, it stinks to have to go up against Bexley, Columbus Academy, Grandview and Worthington Christian on a regular basis but it gives you a good idea of where you are and where you want to get to,” the coach said. “It’s a good measuring stick.

“If our guys beat any of those kids they know they’ve played well.”

West Jefferson

A new league has the golfers at West Jeff looking forward to the season.

Getting out of the MSL Ohio Division and into a new league (Ohio Heritage Conference) will likely be a liberating experience for the Roughriders.

“We should be more competitive in the OHC than were in the MSL,” coach Bob Hunter said. “We need numbers 3-6 to be able to deliver.”

Junior Matt McClish, a district qualifier last year, Joe Thompson another junior are expected to be the team’s top two players. Ethan Hoenie (junior), Kyle Howard (sophomore) and Brianna Crigger (sophomore) also return.

Newcomers Cade Brintlinger, Scottie Hunter and Brendon King are all three juniors. The lone freshman is Isabel Swindal who has some experience playing at National Road. There are no seniors on the Roughriders roster.

“The new league will give our kids a chance to gain all-league honors. Whereas the MSL was dominated by state powers Bexley and Academy, along with Worthington Christian and Grandview. The teams in the OHC are not nearly as deep as those teams. Southeastern has a state qualifier returning. Mechanicsburg, Fairbanks, Triad and Northeastern are also very good.

“The kids on our team have worked harder this off season more than any team I’ve had. They all get along very well and are all a joy to coach.”

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West Jefferson junior Joe Thompson is back for the Roughriders this season. He will be counted on to be one of the team’s leaders. Jefferson junior Joe Thompson is back for the Roughriders this season. He will be counted on to be one of the team’s leaders. File photo

London’s Andy Fullmer, a junior, is one of only two upperclassmen on the Red Raiders roster this fall.’s Andy Fullmer, a junior, is one of only two upperclassmen on the Red Raiders roster this fall. File photo

By Chris Miles

Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.