Girls Golf: New Albany captures third consecutive Division I state championship

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Madison Spiess led New Albany in the Division I state tournament Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State's Gray Course, shooting a 141 to earn medalist honors as the Eagles won their third consecutive state championship.

New Albany girls golf coach Rich Ritter said he expected a “fun” final round of the Division I state tournament Oct. 24 at Ohio State’s Gray Course, largely because of temperatures that were roughly 30 degrees colder than the first round the previous day coupled with a persistent wind.

That the Eagles entered the final round with a 13-shot lead in pursuit of their third consecutive championship played no small part, either.

The weekend and season ended just as Ritter hoped, as the team shot a 293 for the second day in a row and finished at 586, 41 shots ahead of runner-up Mason.

Kary Hollenbaugh and Madison Spiess each shot a 71 in the final round to pace the Eagles, and Spiess, a senior and Santa Clara commit, finished with a 1-over par 141 to win the individual championship by three shots ahead of Rocky River Magnificat’s Cara Heisterkamp and Massillon Jackson’s Avery Wright.

“They handled things really well. It was tough early, especially with the wind and this back 9 is a tough finishing stretch anyway even without the cold and changing distances with the wind,” Ritter said. “No. 6 was straight into the wind at 387 yards and I told the girls it was basically a par-5, playing like it was 420 yards or 430. For a time, it felt like every single hole was into the wind.”

Anna Ritter finished with a two-day total of 149, followed by Hollenbaugh (151), Emerson Purcell (152) and Anna Coccia (154).

Ritter, who was individual medalist last year with a 138, placed fifth. Hollenbaugh dropped nine shots from her first-round score and tied for sixth.

“It was (my) putting mostly. I putted well but I think my entire game was pretty solid,” Spiess said. “I gave myself a birdie putt on 12 and that gave me the confidence that I could stay solid the rest of the round.”

>>More: Division I State Golf: First-round recap<<

Led by Annika Manjunath’s two-day total of 153, Dublin Coffman finished seventh (650) of 12 teams. Also scoring were Ellie Lim (160), Ava Guilliams (164) and Alex DeRee (173). Megan Kestner finished with a 175.

“Our expectations were to finish a little higher, but we had a great year,” Shamrocks coach Randy Patton said. “We won some tournaments and even beat New Albany once (during the OCC-Central Division tournament). We accomplished a lot.”

Olentangy Berlin freshman Mia Raines shot a 75 in the final round, two shots better than the previous day, and tied Purcell for 10th place.

“I didn’t hit well either day so this weekend was a grind to get to where I ended up,” Raines said. “I had to get a lot of ups and downs. I hit a few more fairways (Oct. 24) but I just had to keep pushing.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave