During her two seasons on the Olentangy Orange High School girls golf team, Kristen Helmsdoerfer advanced to back-to-back state tournaments and both times came up just short of a top-10 finish.

During her two seasons on the Olentangy Orange High School girls golf team, Kristen Helmsdoerfer advanced to back-to-back state tournaments and both times came up just short of a top-10 finish.

Her impact undoubtedly will be felt in a new way next fall.

One of two seniors this season for the Pioneers, along with Lauren Maddern, Helmsdoerfer helped influence a group of young players who will take on a leading role in the future of the program, according to coach Kari Phillips.

"She definitely built the foundation of the program," Phillips said. "She leaves some big shoes to fill. I think she showed some of the other players what you have to do to be serious players. She was a real leader by example."

After the first round of the Division I state tournament last Friday was canceled because of bad weather, Helmsdoerfer turned in a 79 last Saturday on Ohio State's Gray Course to tie Massillon Perry's Steff Camarata and Watterson's Lauren Grogan for 14th. Alliance senior Tiana Jones, making her first state appearance, shot a 73 to earn medalist honors.

Helmsdoerfer double-bogeyed No. 4 but birdied the seventh hole and turned in a 39 on the front nine. On the back, she made a birdie on the 12th hole, but had another double bogey on No. 14 and ended with back-to-back bogeys to shoot 40.

While the rain held off for much of the day, the wind got worse as the day wore on.

"I didn't play my best, but I did have two birdies," Helmsdoerfer said. "Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I started off with two pars, I three-putted to get a bogey on No. 3 and then doubled the fourth hole. I had a birdie on No. 7, so that was good. I had a lip-out on No. 14 that would have put me at 78.

"I'm used to the cold weather. It doesn't bother me. Ideally I wanted to win it, but I didn't play my best. I'm happy with a 79 in these conditions."

Last year. while competing in Division II, Helmsdoerfer tied for 12th (157) with Lima Central Catholic's Ellen Huffman at state, behind champion Ariel Witmer (139) of North Lima South Range.

Helmsdoerfer is planning to play collegiate golf and is considering several Division I schools. She hopes to sign in November.

After making first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division, Helmsdoerfer shot 77 at the Mentel Memorial sectional tournament Oct. 6 to advance to district as an individual. Orange finished sixth (397) in the nine-team sectional behind champion Watterson (320) as UA (320) and Dublin Coffman (342) also moved on.

At the district tournament Oct. 13 at Bent Tree, Helmsdoerfer tied Lancaster's Samantha Swinehart -- the 2008 Division I state champion -- for first with a 74. Swinehart beat Helmsdoerfer in a two-hole playoff to earn medalist honors.

Orange finished fourth at 10-14 in the OCC-Cardinal, behind Dublin Jerome (23-1), New Albany (19-5) and Olentangy Liberty (18-6) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (9-15), Olentangy (4-20) and Pickerington Central (1-23).

Sophomore Avery Clement shot 97 for the Pioneers' second-best sectional score, followed by juniors Taylor Shifflet (110), Darcy Cunningham (113) and Nicole Hoyer (123).

Clement, Cunningham and Shifflet also were among the top five players last season.