Fewer state qualifiers put added pressure on district golf tourney

Playing for a trip to the girls high school golf state championships always ramps up the pressure at the Division II district tournament. The golfers felt it even more Wednesday at PipeStone Golf Course.

Two teams and two individuals not on qualifying teams advance to next week’s state meet. That’s down from three teams and three individuals from last season.

The Northeastern Jets are in contention as a team after qualifying for district for the first time in program history. The team fields five seniors with Katie Baneck, Paden Birmele, Anna Jung, Taylor Krempasky and Brooke Rhoads. There’s no one else in the program.

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“They don’t give up easily,” first-year coach Chris Lizza said. “They are going into it with a ‘we can do this’ attitude. I wouldn’t count us out.”

Four area golfers qualified as individuals with Shawnee junior Isabella DeMayo, Mechanicsburg junior Mazie Reece, Urbana junior Gatlin Ridgwell and Greeneview junior Rachel Strickle.

DeMayo, who finished third in points the Central Buckeye Conference’s Kenton Trail division, shot 87 at sectional. That tied her for fourth overall and six shots out of first. DeMayo competed at district with her teammates last season.

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“Based on the scores coming in (to district) and the scores from last year, an 83 should (qualify),” Shawnee coach Ken Brust said. “She is very capable of doing this if she stays focused.”

Reece, who finished in a three-way tie for medalist at the Ohio Heritage Conference tournament and second in points, shot 94 and won a playoff at sectional to advance. Reece is thought to be the first girls district qualifier since the early 2000s.

“A lot of factors are going to play into districts,” Mechanicsburg coach Kelly Weber said. “I’m sure nerves and the weather looks to be pretty warm, too.”

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Ridgwell qualified for district in her first year of golf. She shot a season-low 93 to finish sixth at sectional. She’s the first Hillclimber to qualify for district since Maggie Paulsen in 2015.

“If she can bring her score down a few more strokes into the 80s she stands a good chance of qualifying,” Urbana coach Rusty Meyers said.

Strickle, who found her game after playing a practice round with former Greeneview 2017 district qualifier Frankie Fife, tied Fife’s school record with a 39 this season. She shot 89 to finish sixth at sectional to become the program’s second district qualifier.

The Division I girls sectional tournament is Wednesday at Yankee Trace Golf Course with the district tournament next week.

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• Springfield (4-1) is ranked the highest among area football teams in this week’s computer ratings at No. 3 in Division I, Region 2. Unbeatens West Liberty-Salem (5-0) and Mechanicsburg (5-0) of the OHC are No. 4 in their respective regions. WL-Salem is fourth in D-V, Region 40 and Mechanicsburg fourth in D-VI, Region 24. WL-Salem will host Mechanicsburg in the Week 10 regular-season finale.

Unbeaten West Jefferson (5-0), also of the OHC North, is No. 2 in D-V, Region 20. Shawnee (4-1), which lost to Greenon in its opener, is tied for seventh in D-V, Region 20. Kenton Ridge (4-1), which lost only to Mechanicsburg in the season opener, is No. 11 in D-IV, Region 16.

The top eight teams in each region following the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs.

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• Ian Wolfe tallied five goals and Gavin Harrison two goals with two assists in leading the West Liberty-Salem boys soccer team to an 11-0 blanking of Franklin Monroe on Tuesday. Logan Saylor and Logan Campbell split time in goal to earn the shutout.

WL-Salem (11-1-1) will host Shawnee (4-4-3) in a non-conference game on Saturday and is at Greenon (13-2-0) on Tuesday in what will decide the Ohio Heritage Conference title. Greenon, 6-0-0 in the OHC, has won 10 straight games.

• Sarah Trisel tallied 28 kills, Sadie Trisel 25 assists and Kimmy Robinette 21 digs as Greeneview took the final set 18-16 to secure a 3-2 defeat of Southeastern in an OHC girls volleyball match on Tuesday.

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