The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls golf team got back on track during the final round of the Division I state tournament Oct. 22 at Ohio State's Gray Course.

The Gahanna Lincoln High School girls golf team got back on track during the final round of the Division I state tournament Oct. 22 at Ohio State's Gray Course.

After advancing to state as a team for the first time, the Lions struggled in the first round Oct. 21 and shot a 344.

The next day, Gahanna shot a 333 and finished eighth with a 677. The Lions were ninth after the first round but passed Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (ninth, 678) on the final day.

Dublin Jerome won the state title with a 627.

"I think they realized the potential was there to improve their overall standing after (the first round)," coach Patty McQuirt said. "They were in such a twitter the first day that they missed the team prayer, so they made sure they took time for that (Oct. 22) even though they knew it would take away from their time at the range. It was such an improvement over (the first round)."

Both senior Sierra Everson and sophomore Leah Deagle turned in two-day totals of 161 to tie for 19th with four other players. Geneva freshman Danielle Nicholson won the individual title with a 143 and Marysville's Tess Fraser was second (146).

Also competing for the Lions were freshman Emily Hughes (171), senior Rachel George (184) and junior Rachel Russ (225).

"I've actually played the course two times before and I absolutely love it," Deagle said. "Pretty much everybody had a tough round (Oct. 21). (During the final round) we just wanted to come out and see what we have. We're always trying to keep each other up.

"I'll definitely remember the two seniors we have in Sierra and Rachel. Even last year as a freshman, they welcomed me. We're all like a family."

Everson has verbally committed to play for the University of Akron and George has made a verbal commitment to Indiana Tech.

Everson shot an 83 on Oct. 21 but bounced back with a 78 the next day that included a 36 on the front nine.

"I felt a lot more relaxed (during the final round)," Everson said. "(In the opening round) I was anxious and trying to force everything. I know what I need to work on still and I think I'm ready for college.

"This year we had four really strong players, and our goal all along was to get (to state). We're happy we could do it."

The Lions went 27-1 to win the OCC-Ohio Division title, ahead of Pickerington North (25-3), Upper Arlington (18-10), Watkins Memorial (18-10), Hilliard Davidson (11-17), Thomas Worthington (9-19), Lancaster (4-24) and Hilliard Darby (0-28).

Everson, who shot a program-record 71 during the final round of the league tournament Sept. 14 at Raymond Memorial, earned OCC-Ohio medalist honors with a four-round total of 298. Deagle averaged 82 during the four rounds of the league tournament, followed by Hughes (85) and George (89.5). Russ and senior Rachel Skaggs each played in two OCC rounds.

The Lions finished second with a 338 in the sectional tournament Oct. 4 at Oakhaven behind Dublin Coffman (332).

Then in the district tournament Oct. 11 at Bent Tree, Gahanna shot 330 to edge Pickerington North (331) and Coffman (336) to earn the second state-qualifying berth behind Jerome (312).

"My freshman (Hughes) really played well (at state)," McQuirt said. "She played two days of steady golf. Sierra made some good shots (in the final round) and putted better. We spent a lot of time working on our putting.

"I can't even describe how exciting it's been. We've got three players coming back next year and some (junior varsity) players coming back with a lot of potential and some eighth-graders coming in. This is so bittersweet because we're losing two great seniors (from the state team)."