Kate Kramer wanted to redeem herself in the Division II district tournament for the Columbus School for Girls golf team.
The junior was out of town before playing in a sectional Sept. 23 at Blacklick Woods, and her round suffered. She shot an 86 as the Unicorns finished second (370) behind Newark Catholic (359) to advance to district.
Kramer rallied to shoot a 77 at district Sept. 30 at Darby Creek to help lead CSG to the championship and its first state berth since 2008.
The top team and the top individual not on that team advanced to state Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Ohio State's Gray Course.
"Every year, the junior class at CSG takes a trip to Stratford (Ontario) in Canada and it was the weekend before we played sectional," Kramer said. "I didn't get to practice that weekend and it showed. I didn't have a lot of confidence in my game.
"I spent every day practicing before playing district. I wanted to make sure I was ready, and it really went well."
Lakewood (359) was district runner-up and Newark Catholic (363) placed third. Lakewood's Ella Wigal (74) was medalist and the individual state qualifier.
"We knew going in, if we could average 90 or less per player that we could advance," said coach Chris Ditello, whose top four golfers averaged 87.5. "That's what we have been stressing since last year.
"We wanted them to go out, have fun, play golf and play your own game. Don't worry what the other golfers are doing in your group. Stick to the game plan and whatever happens, happens."
Sophomore Emily Bruce (89) was next for CSG, followed by junior Caroline Kromalic (90), senior Vara Mehra (94) and freshman Emma Kim (97).
The Unicorns narrowly missed advancing to state last year, shooting a 382 at district at Darby Creek to place third behind champion Bloom-Carroll (379).
"It's honestly one of the best ways to end my high school golf career," Mehra said of qualifying for state. "We came so close last year and it has taken a lot of hard work. All of our practices have paid off, and it's really a fulfilling feeling.
"I think we went into district and sectional knowing our skill level. We knew we had it in us to make it (to state). We just had to stay level-headed and play our games. It was us against the course and not the other teams."
It's the third time CSG has qualified for state. In 1998, the Unicorns finished third of 12 teams with a two-day total of 696 behind Toledo Notre Dame Academy (659) and Cincinnati Ursuline Academy (689). Mollie Fankhauser (147) was state runner-up behind medalist Heather Zielinski of Notre Dame Academy (140).
In 2008, the Unicorns finished 11th (763) of 12 teams behind champion Poland Seminary (679). Jacqueline Carroll (174) led CSG as North Lima South Range's Ariel Witmer (139) was medalist.
Kramer has some familiarity with the Gray Course.
"I played it once my freshman year and I enjoyed it," she said. "I'm looking forward to it.
"It's pretty open and I feel more comfortable on an open course because I don't have to hit it straight to get par. (The fairways) are narrow at Blacklick (Woods), and if I hit a drive that isn't straight, I have trouble getting it to the green in regulation."
Trio advances to district in tennis
Freshman singles player Lanie Klatt and the doubles team of senior Helen Hoag and freshman Becca Hoffman will represent the tennis team in the Division II district tournament Thursday, Oct. 10, at Columbus Academy and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Reynoldsburg.
The top finisher in singles and doubles advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
In a sectional that concluded Oct. 5 at CSG, Klatt went 4-1, losing to Buckeye Valley's Anna Lenhart 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Hoag and Hoffman went 3-1 and finished third, defeating Wellington's Camille Olmstead and Olivia Vegas 7-5, 7-5 in the consolation final.
Also at sectional, seniors Megan Hardy and Haley Tobias went 2-1 in doubles, junior Sophia Vershinin went 2-1 in singles and junior Maya Garg went 0-1 in singles.
Soccer team opens district on road
The soccer team will open the Division II district tournament Tuesday, Oct. 15, at eighth-seeded Caledonia River Valley in a first-round game.
The ninth-seeded Unicorns are 6-8-2 overall after playing Ready to a scoreless tie Oct. 7.
CSG finished 2-6 in the MSL-Ohio Division after losing to Grandview 3-0 on Oct. 2.
"We have had so many successful things happen, regardless of the score, and I'm excited about where we are going," coach Genelle Castro said. "The players want to be here 100 percent of the time and they are genuinely trying to work hard and get better. Truthfully, 100 percent effort is all I can ask of them."