Jerome defends state title
An example of how close the scoring was in the Division I state tournament came just after the Dublin Jerome High School girls golf team took its final shot Oct. 20 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
That's when coach C.D. Butcher began breaking the news to his players that they'd come up short by one stroke behind Medina Highland.
It wasn't until Butcher started receiving congratulations a few minutes later that he and his players fully learned the difference a shot or two can make during a two-day tournament.
The Celtics, who won the championship by 14 strokes a year ago, shot 629 to edge Highland by one stroke for the title.
Jerome would have lost the tiebreaker based on fifth-player score.
"I thought we were down three with three holes to go, but we came through," Butcher said. "I told all the girls that we had lost by one stroke, but (then) my wife actually said 'Congratulations,' and I said, 'For what?' I'm still sort of stunned."
Jerome shot 313 during the opening round Oct. 19 to trail both Highland (311) and Massillon Jackson (309). Then in the final round, Jackson stumbled to a 328 but the Celtics carded 316 and Highland shot 319.
Junior Lexie Toth was four strokes out of the lead after shooting 71 in the first round but settled for a tie for fourth (149) with Lexington's Theresa-Ann Jedra after shooting 78 in the final round. Highland senior Jessica Porvasnik, who shot a state-record 68 for 18 holes in the opening round, shot 72 on Oct. 20 to win medalist honors with a 140.
The only other players to finish ahead of Toth were Avon Lake sophomore Nikolette Schroeder (147) and North Canton Hoover senior MacKenzie DiPietro (148).
"I didn't finish well in my last three holes," said Toth, who double-bogeyed No. 16 and bogeyed No. 17 before getting par on No. 18. "But I putted really well the whole weekend. I only had two three-putts for the two days, so that helped me a lot.
"It feels a lot better than last year. It's a lot more meaningful the second time since it's a repeat and the (Jerome) boys won, too."
While Toth made first-team all-state, sophomore Maite Erana shot 76 during both rounds for a 152 that gave her a ninth-place tie with four others and second-team all-state honors.
Although Erana double-bogeyed No. 16 in the opening round and bogeyed the hole the next day, she shot 37 on the back nine in both rounds.
Next season, her sister Mariana Erana could join her and Toth as key players. Mariana is an eighth-grader who often shot in the 70s as a member of the Grizzell Middle School boys team this fall.
"This feeling is irreplaceable," Maite Erana said. "I'm really, really happy because all the hard work has come through."
She said the Celtics were determined to bounce back from their runner-up finish in the district tournament Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek. That day, both Jerome and Dublin Coffman shot 314, but the Shamrocks won the tiebreaker on fifth-player score.
Also competing at state for the Celtics were senior Jenna DiPaolo, sophomore Sybil Robinson and freshman Kennedy Jackson.
DiPaolo shot 80 in the opening round and 81 in the second for a 161 that gave her a 25th-place finish.
Robinson shot rounds of 86 and 81 for a 167 that tied her for 32nd. Jackson shot 95 and 103 for a 198.
A year ago, 2012 graduate Joon-Hee Shim shot 151 to tie for fourth, followed by Robinson (158), Maite Erana and Toth (159 each) and DiPaolo (168).
This season, the Celtics won their eighth league title in nine seasons, including their fifth in a row. Jerome went 24-0 to win the OCC-Cardinal Division ahead of Olentangy Liberty (20-4), Olentangy Orange (16-8), Olentangy (12-12), Dublin Scioto and New Albany (5-19 each) and Pickerington Central (2-22). Toth was league medalist with a 73.7 average, and Robinson (74.0), Maite Erana (74.3) and DiPaolo (76.25) took the next three spots.
Jerome shot 323 to win the Oakhaven sectional Oct. 2 as Toth was medalist with a 77.
Toth and Maite Erana each shot 75 at district.
"To win (state) by one shot is amazing," DiPaolo said. "We all got together (after the opening round) and had an ice cream party, and we made little inspirational cards. Since I'm a senior I gave everyone a motivational speech, saying, 'Play your game and stay focused.' We knew if we would be patient, everything would fall for us."
Coffman takes fourth at state
After shooting 318 during the opening round of the state tournament, Coffman shot 328 the next day for a 646 and fourth place.
Sophomore Kamerine Taylor shot 155 to place 16th. Sophomore Lexie Long was 27th with a 162 and juniors Charley Benefield and Kylie Raines and sophomore Nicole Smiley all shot 167 to tie for 32nd.
Raines and Benefield each competed at state two years ago when Coffman shot 661 to place seventh. Last season, the Shamrocks settled for fourth at district and missed state by six strokes.
"Two of us were here from the team that was at state two years ago, and they gave us some advice to help us," Taylor said. "I think it's good that we were here because it got us all the experience and next year hopefully we'll do even better. I think the most exciting thing about this year was winning the district title."
Coffman went 24-0 to win the OCC-Capital ahead of Hilliard Bradley (17-7), Marysville (16-8), Worthington Kilbourne (12-12), Westerville Central (11-13), Westerville South (4-20) and Westerville North (0-24). The Shamrocks have won four consecutive league titles.
Raines was the OCC-Capital medalist with a 75.75 average, followed by Long (77.0), Taylor (79.5) and Smiley (80.25). Benefield (84.5) made second-team all-league.
Coffman won the Mentel Memorial sectional Oct. 2 with a 309 as Long was medalist with a 73.
At district, Long shot 74, followed by Taylor (76), Benefield and Smiley (82 each) and Raines (84).
"First of all I've got to give credit to Jerome and C.D. Butcher," Coffman coach Randy Patton said. "It's tough to get there and it's tough to stay there. We struggled around the greens all weekend. I think it got a little into our heads, but we're proud to be district champs, sectional champs and OCC champs and with everything we've accomplished. All of our girls are coming back, and looking at things at the end of the day, fourth in the state is not a bad thing."