Top three seeds coast to sectional titles
Nearly everything went as expected in the high school girls golf Division I sectional tournaments Oct. 1, as the top three seeds, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Coffman and Pickerington North, had little trouble earning championships.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualify teams from each sectional advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at The Links at Groveport.
While the second-highest seed at each sectional also qualified for district, there was tight competition for the final qualifying spot at two sites.
Eighth-seeded Westerville Central shot 348 to beat sixth-seeded Marysville (353) for the final qualifying berth at Mentel Memorial and 12th-seeded Hilliard Bradley carded a 355 to edge 10th-seeded Olentangy Liberty (356) for third at Westchester.
Bradley reached district for the second consecutive season, but Westerville Central advanced from sectional play for only the second time in program history. The Warhawks made their first district appearance in 2005.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams will advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
“It came down to five strokes between us and Marysville, so it was exciting,” Warhawks coach Steve Stewart said. “Alexandra Hansen, our No. 4 player, came in at 90, which was probably one of the best rounds of her career.”
The top sectional performance was turned in by two-time defending state champion Jerome, which shot 299 to win the sectional at Oakhaven.
Junior Maite Erana led the top-seeded Celtics with a 69 to earn medalist honors. Also scoring were senior Lexie Toth (72), junior Sybil Robinson (75) and freshman Marianna Erana (83).
“We left a lot out there, but you’ve got to be happy to have step one completed,” Jerome coach C.D. Butcher said.
Also moving on from Oakhaven were fifth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne (347) and seventh-seeded Thomas Worthington (361).
Scoring for Kilbourne were junior Diana Flynn (81), freshman Ashley Flynn (88), senior Leah Nourse (89) and sophomore Micah Vincent (89).
Senior Ally Lucas led Thomas with an 87.
Finishing fourth was 11th-seeded Olentangy (373), which had two individual qualifiers in senior Taylor Dencer (86) and freshman Kara Raines (87). Westerville South junior Felicia Davenport secured the first individual spot with a 73 to advance to district for the second consecutive season.
Coffman, the second seed and defending district champion, won the sectional at Mentel Memorial with a 302.
The Shamrocks, who beat Jerome on the fifth-player tiebreaker at district a year ago after both teams shot 314, had all five players shoot in the 70s at sectional.
Juniors Lexie Long and Kamerine Taylor each shot a 74, followed by senior Kylie Raines (76), junior Nicole Smiley (78) and senior Charley Benefield (79).
“We’re very happy,” Coffman coach Randy Patton said. “We had five girls break 80, and that’s been our strength all year.”
Fourth-seeded Watterson finished second at Mentel Memorial with a 343. The Eagles were led by junior Erin Harper, who was medalist with a 68. Also scoring were freshman Abigail Meyers (87) and juniors Ellie Kairis (92) and Avery Wakefield (96).
Senior Emma O’Brien and junior Ana Borish each shot 85 to lead Westerville Central.
Moving on individually from Mentel Memorial were Grove City junior Makenzie Torres (75), Marysville senior Mackenzie Edgar (83) and Hartley sophomore Salmika Wairegi (84).
Wairegi played for the Hartley boys team during the regular season and is believed to be the Hawks' first girl to advance to district.
Third-seeded Pickerington North won its third consecutive sectional title, shooting 338 at Westchester as ninth-seeded Upper Arlington was second (352).
Senior Kristin Oliphant led Pickerington North with an 81, followed by seniors Kellie Feehan (85) and Shayleigh Holbrook (85) and junior Krista Moore (87).
“They were disappointed individually, but they’re obviously really happy to move on,” Panthers coach Kitty McGrievy said.
Senior Leah Mills led UA with a 76. Also scoring were sophomore Kelli Kahle (89), freshman Sophia Hemleben (91) and sophomore Alexandria Ventresca (96).
Junior Caitlin Silva led Bradley with an 81.
Qualifying individually from Westchester were Olentangy Liberty senior Rachel Marks (75), Gahanna junior Emily Hughes (77) and Pickerington Central junior Emma Duncan (80).
Duncan is the first district qualifier for her program since 2003