Jerome teams repeat as champs
Members of the Dublin Jerome boys and girls teams celebrate their state championships, the second straight for both.
Players who win a state golf championship usually cannot wait to climb the stairs, stand on the stage and receive their medallions and gold trophy in front of hundreds of people.
Members of the Dublin Jerome girls team, though, kept Ohio High School Athletic Association officials waiting yesterday. They sprinted to the 18th green to find out how the Celtics boys team was doing and returned with even wider smiles.
On a windy, damp and cold day that had enough drama for a television series, the Celtics won the girls and boys Division I championships for a second straight year. Both teams also won in 2005. It was a triple play for the Dublin City School District as junior Nick Sparling of Coffman won medalist honors with a two-day total of 145.The Jerome girls shot 629 over 36 holes on the Ohio State Gray Course to edge Medina Highland by one stroke. The Celtics boys shot 630 on the Scarlet Course to squeeze past Centerville, also by one shot. Both Celtics teams benefited from quadruple bogeys by opposing players on the final hole.
“Our girls know they didn’t back into anything because the tournament is 36 holes,” Jerome girls coach C.D. Butcher said. “It was won and lost over two days. What happened at the end is just magnified. With five holes to go, I told them that they had one hour left in their high-school season. We used the word fight, and they did that.”
The Celtics were led by Maite Erana with a 76, Lexie Toth with a 78 and Jenna DiPaola and Sybil Robinson each with an 81. Toth was fourth overall with a two-day total of 149, and Erana was ninth with 152.
The team is young. Toth is a junior, Erana and Robinson are sophomores, and Kennedy Jackson is a freshman. DiPaola is the only senior.
“It was nerve-racking waiting for the scores,” Erana said. “We had a strategy today, and that was to give our best no matter what happened. The competition was so good. We wanted to leave it on the course, and we pushed through.”
Toth said the Celtics displayed mental toughness.
“We had to grind,” she said. “We concentrated on every single shot.”
The Jerome boys won their fifth championship since 2005 when No. 1 player Mert Selamet had a bogey 5 on the final hole and his opponent had an 8. The Celtics trailed by two strokes going into the final hole.
“Last year was special, but this one is extra-special because of our seniors,” coach Craig Zesiger said. “They said our strength is all of us. This is an unbelievable group of guys. We were down most of the back nine, but I kept telling them that every shot would matter. Then we righted the ship. We earned it.”
Jerome was led by Chad Howard (78), Selamet (80), Michael Harris (82) and J.D. Fletcher (83). Selamet was fourth overall with 153, and Howard was ninth with 157.
Selamet, a senior, was visibly shaken 15 minutes after the tournament because of the stress. Brady Bohl vomited a number of times on the back nine because he was sick, and was in a daze.
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Selamet said. “I was so nervous. There was so much pressure. It came down to eliminating everything — the spectators, the opponent — everything. The only thing that mattered was me and the course.”
Howard knew the other four players would have to pick up Bohl, who shot an 86.
“We had Brady’s back because he has had ours so many times,” Howard said. “Four guys shot 4 over the last four holes for us, and that was the difference. We harp on finishing the fight. We did that today.”
Sparling followed his opening-round 74 with a 71 and beat Chase Johnson of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit by two shots.
“All of this resulted because of a lot of practice and hard work,” Sparling said. “I hit the ball well all week, I putted really well, and the experience of having played in the state tournament last year helped a lot. My dad (Brad) was an assistant coach at Ohio State under Jim Brown, so I’m familiar with this course. I’ve played here a lot.”
Coffman’s boys team shot 641 to finish third, 11 strokes behind Jerome.
Nick Karzmer of New Albany shot 160 (78-82) to finish 11th and make second-team all-state.