Celtics make it three in a row
As the Dublin Jerome High School girls golf team accepted the disappointment of settling for second in the Division I district tournament on a warm day Oct. 8, coach C.D. Butcher described his players as "mudders" who often play their best when the weather worsens.
During the second day of the state tournament Oct. 19 on Ohio State's Gray Course, the Celtics came through when they got the rain and cold that senior Lexie Toth said they had been "praying for."
Jerome trailed by three strokes entering the final round after an opening-round 313 on Oct. 18, but the 309 that the Celtics carded the next day gave them the championship for the third consecutive season with a 622.
Massillon Jackson was second (632), followed by Rocky River Magnificat (640) and Dublin Coffman (646). Magnificat led with a 310 after the opening round.
Jerome shot 627 to win the 2011 title and 629 to capture the title last year.
"We love (the bad weather)," junior Sybil Robinson said. "It really separates the good players from the players that can get away with shots in good weather. I think telling ourselves we're good in the cold helps us."
"You lose half the field because of the cold weather," said Toth, who shot 73 in the first round and 78 in the second for a 151 that gave her a tie for fourth with four other players as she made first-team all-state.
Watterson junior Erin Harper won the individual championship with a 145.
Robinson's performance in round two also was crucial, as she followed an opening-round 80 with a 75 for a 155 that gave her 11th place overall and second-team all-state honors. Junior Maite Erana and her freshman sister, Marianna Erana, each shot 80 on the first day and 78 on the second for a 158 that tied them for 17th.
Also competing was sophomore Reagan DiIorio (185).
Jerome was four strokes out of the lead entering the final day of competition a year ago and edged Medina Highland by one stroke. Toth, Robinson and Maite Erana were starters each of the last three years.
"It definitely was my goal to go out with a bang, and things worked out," said Toth, who will play for Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. "Sybil really helped us (in the second round). We were down by four strokes last year and won. Three strokes can be made up in one hole. I always feel like when we come here it's like our home course."
Marianna Erana spent the last two seasons watching her sister help the Celtics to titles. Both were thrilled to share in the experience this time.
"It's absolutely amazing," Maite said. "We've always played with her and she's just a true inspiration."
"It's amazing not being on the sidelines and actually being a part of it this year," Marianna said. "Having a chance to play with my sister just gave me so much to play for. We knew we had to just keep working really hard and we left it all on the course."
The state title followed a season in which the Celtics won their sixth consecutive league title and fifth sectional title in a row.
Jerome went 24-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place ahead of Olentangy Liberty (20-4), Olentangy and Dublin Scioto (14-10), New Albany (8-16), Pickerington Central (4-20) and Olentangy Orange (0-24). Toth averaged 70.8 to earn medalist honors, followed by Maite Erana (72.8), Robinson (74.5) and Marianna Erana (76).
The Celtics shot 299 to win the 10-team Oakhaven sectional Oct. 1 before taking second (308) in the nine-team district at The Links at Groveport behind Coffman (300).
Entering the state tournament, Coffman had defeated Jerome seven of 10 times this season.
"We really, truly love the challenge," Butcher said. "Having four scores in the 70s (during the second day of state) in this weather is ridiculous. I just told them to stay below the hole and breathe all day long."
Coffman takes fourth at state
Coffman expects to return three of its top five players after taking fourth at state for the second consecutive season.
Senior Kylie Raines followed an opening-round 81 by carding 75 the second day for a 156 that earned her second-team all-state honors.
Junior Lexie Long shot 157 to place 15th, followed by junior Kamerine Taylor (162), senior Charley Benefield (171) and junior Nicole Smiley (186).
The Shamrocks trailed Magnificat by 14 strokes and Jerome by 11 entering the final round after shooting 324 on Oct. 18. They came back with a 322 that was the third-best score of the final round.
"Our top three players just didn't putt well (in the opening round)," Raines said. "We all know we can play super well, so we just tried to go out and be ourselves (during the final round) and do the best we could."
Raines, who was the medalist in the OCC-Capital as a junior, averaged 74.5 to tie Taylor for second behind Long (73.8) in the league this season. Benefield averaged 77.3 to join Long, Raines and Taylor as first-team all-league. Smiley averaged 80.8 to make the second team.
Coffman won its fifth consecutive league title, finishing 32-0 to place ahead of runner-up Worthington Kilbourne (27-5).
The Shamrocks were first in six invitationals during the regular season and won what coach Randy Patton believes is a program-record 212 matches. Coffman shot a program-best 284 for 18 holes while winning the Worthington Invitational on Aug. 8 at Glenross.
Coffman won its fourth consecutive sectional title, shooting 302 on Oct. 1 at Mentel Memorial. Then at district, Long was medalist (70) and Raines was third (73) as Coffman won its second consecutive championship.
Raines, who will play for Eastern Michigan, was happy to find out she made second-team all-state.
"That made my day a lot better," she said. "This year was the best year of all my four years playing for Coffman. We broke so many records and won so many tournaments."
Scioto finishes season at sectional
Scioto placed fifth (366) in the 11-team sectional Oct. 1 at Mentel Memorial, as the top three teams advanced to district.
Senior Jessica Cyrus, junior Hannah Sobieski and freshman Hannah Burigana all shot 91 at sectional for the Irish, who tied Olentangy for third (14-10) in the OCC-Cardinal. The other senior in the lineup was Danielle Wright, who shot 93 at sectional and averaged 95 in the league.
Cyrus and Sobieski each averaged 90.5 in league matches to make second-team all-league.