Make that, Four!
Four schools from the Toledo metro area will be represented at the state golf tournament tomorrow and Saturday in Columbus.
St. Ursula and Notre Dame earned two of the 12 girls state team berths out of last week s district competition, while St. John s Jesuit shot its way to a boys state team berth by weathering white-out conditions in last week s boys Division I district in Findlay.
No player survived that snowy round at Red Hawk Golf Course last Thursday better than Northview senior Chase Yacko, who took medal honors with a hard-earned 80. He will compete at Ohio State University s Scarlet Golf Course as an individual qualifier.
Girls competition is set for OSU s Gray Golf Course. Tee times tomorrow and Saturday for the girls and D-I boys tourneys begin at 8:30 a.m.
This will be the eighth state trip in the past nine years for St. Ursula, including four straight for eighth-year head coach Jim McGowan and his senior team leader, Jordan Fesh.
I think this is as good as any St. Ursula team ever, McGowan said. They ve just been solid all year, and we truly are five girls deep. There s only a couple of teams who will be there [at state] that we haven t competed against this year and we ve beaten all of them at least once. Some we ve split with.
Fesh, who has been in the varsity lineup since her first day as a freshman, led the Arrows district championship charge and 324 team total with a 76, followed by her junior teammates Ashley Garrison (81), Nicole Momsen (83) and Lisa Kitzler (84). The fourth junior in the lineup is Dana Presnell.
I am expecting a lot better this year, said Fesh of the team s 12th-place finish the past two trips to state. We have almost the same team as last year, but last year we were still pretty young. We have more experience now and I think we can take advantage of that.
Fesh carries a team-low nine-hole average of 39.2 this season, followed by Garrison (40) and Momsen (40.3). Kitzler and Presnell are just above 43. Fesh said she ll use a new approach in her final trip to state after shooting 91-89 there in 2003, 92-94 in 2004 and 92-91 last year.
I can t put so much pressure on myself, Fesh said. In the past I got down on myself too much and that got me further into a hole. This year I ve been a lot easier on myself and I ve played better golf because of it.
SUA s best finish at state came in 1999, when the Arrows placed second. They were fifth in both 2000 and 2001. Notre Dame, which has won two girls state championships, will be making its first appearance at the state tourney since 2000, when it placed 11th.
Unlike the Arrows, Notre Dame and coach Dan Lancaster were not expecting a trip to Columbus. But, a change in the players mental approach to their rounds seems to have done the trick in sparking the Eagles late-season turnaround.
ND s season scoring leaders have been juniors Emily Gedert (42.3), Heather Jorgensen (45.2) and Athena Smolka (45.3). Seniors Katie Halleck (51.2) and Adrienne Fox (51.3) round out the lineup.
The scores are deceiving, according to Lancaster, who has seen a dramatic turnaround of late.
I m delighted we were able to get this far, Lancaster said. If you look at our [scoring] averages you say, How the heck did they do it? But, these girls have the talent to shoot low. Last year these same girls shot 328 to beat St. Ursula in the sectional. They can be hot and cold, and lately we ve been running a little more warm.
Gedert paced the Eagles with a 79 in the district event at Sycamore Springs in Arlington.
We wanted to get to state, Gedert said. That was our goal all year, but we really didn t expect it. Right now this is pretty exciting. I think the problem [earlier in season] was that we focused too much on our scores instead of thinking about our next shot. Before the district, coach told us to take it shot by shot and we d be fine.
That s what we did.
The Eagles placed second to St. Ursula in the City League tournament with a 377 at Detwiler, qualified through sectionals at Heather Downs with a 355, and last week were second behind SUA at 337.
St. John s, which lost the City League team title to St. Francis de Sales the past two years, also got its act together in time to reach state for the first time since 2001, when the Titans placed eighth.
Fifth-year St. John s coach Mike Spencer isn t sure he has one of the best teams in the state field, but he is certain the Titans have played one of Ohio s most challenging regular-season tournament schedules. For that reason, he s confident his players won t be intimidated.
We have seen the majority of the state teams in tournaments during the season, so we ll be well prepared, Spencer said. Our guys aren t going to be in awe of the tournament. They re going to get down there and get to business.
Leading the way on the St. John s scoring list are senior A.J. Wiegand and junior Joe Kontak, who each averaged 37.5 in league play. Seniors Nathan Anderson (38) and Brad Seidel (40), and sophomore AlanKolovich (39) round out the lineup.
Was it a surprise to the Titan players they advanced beyond districts?
Yes, it really is, Wiegand said. We wanted to play our best and just see what happened [at district]. We knew we had the skill to get to state, we just all needed to play well on the same day. We did that, and the result is we re going to state.
Yacko, arguably the area s top player with a nine-hole average of 37.0, is making his second trip to state. He made it as part of a Wildcats team that qualified in 2004.
It ll be a lot different this time going as an individual, Yacko said, but I ll have a lot of people there to support me and I m very excited to be competing against the best in the state.
Yacko, a first-team All-Northern Lakes League and all-district player the past two years said he plans to continue his golf career at either Wheaton College in Illinois or Furman University in South Carolina.
Also qualifying for team competition from northwest Ohio was Napoleon. The Wildcats tied St. John s for first place at 350 in the district tournament, and won the team title on a tiebreaker. Sophomore Kyle Laberdee of Bowling Green qualified as an individual.
On the girls side, Eastwood freshman Allisa Schimel fired a 77 in district play to qualify as an individual.
Contact Steve Junga at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6461.