By Susan Jenior
The Northeast Division I District is one of the toughest in the state.
The 16 girls teams and 16 individuals competing for the opportunity to advance demonstrated the solid competition as the top-15 girls were within nine strokes of winning the tournament and Aurora and Kent Roosevelt girls missed qualifying in the fourth team spot by three and nine strokes, respectively.
Both Aurora and Kent Roosevelt had outstanding seasons, but they are still not done.
Aurora’s Gracyn Vidovic fired a 4-over 75, good for runner-up medalist and the first-qualifying spot to advance to the state tournament.
Madolyn Kost of Kent Roosevelt finished her day with a 78, good for a top-10 finish as an individual. Kost grabbed one of the four individual spots after a three-way playoff for two spots. Kost advanced on the third playoff hole.
“I’m really proud of the way the girls played all year,” said Collin McEndree, coach of the Aurora girls. “The girls and I know we are a better team than what showed up today, but what I’m proud of most is that they did not give up. They left it all out there and gave it their best until the last putt dropped.
“With that being said, I really want to highlight what Gracyn did at Brookledge today,” said McEndree.
“She played so well and came in second overall with a 75 in very tough conditions,” the coach continued. “She has been so consistent all year for us and today it really showed. All the hard work is finally paying off, and there is no reason she can’t go out and do it again in Columbus next weekend.”
After firing that 7-over-par 78, Kost was in a three-way tie for sixth place in the tournament and a three-way tie for two individual-qualifying spots for the state tournament.
That meant more holes for the Riders’ senior as she was in a sudden-death playoff for the opportunity to advance to the state tournament.
It took three holes in the playoff, but she earned her tee time at the OHSAA Division I Girls State Championship as an individual.
“Very happy, proud and excited for Maddie,” said Bryan Harvey, coach of the Riders. “She battled all day to earn this trip to Columbus.
“The playoff holes were full of intense pressure for all of the girls,” said Harvey. “Maddie hit an incredible 110-yard punch shot through many trees on the second playoff hole that enabled her to extend the playoff. She then hit a great tee shot and just needed two-putts to get to Columbus.
“Our team motto today was hard work pays off,” said Harvey. “Those close to the program know the special meaning of this message. Nobody works harder than Maddie and it was rewarded today.
“The Lady Rider team never quit today,” the coach continued. “Our back-nine score was one of the best of the afternoon. It was a big stepping stone for our juniors and sophomores.
“Finally, we will miss Izzi Wood and all that she did for this program. She embodies our motto: Tradition of Excellence.”
The beautiful day at Brookledge Golf Club in Cuyahoga Falls gave the 96 golfers a few problems because of gusting winds but the beautiful course was the perfect test for the one step prior to the state tournament.
Aurora girls, in fifth place, only have two seniors on their team: Brooklyn Millard (80) and Nina Newkirk (104). The rest of the team led by Vidovic, a junior (75), includes juniors Manisha Girn (91) and Meena Kraus (102).
The Riders’ team includes seniors Kost and Izzi Wood (96), juniors Ashlyn Leavery (87) and Cassidy Storage (94) and sophomore Adrianna Mineo (95).
For the two teams with returning letterwinners, vying for a spot at states could be in their future for several years.
BROOKLEDGE DIVISION I DISTRICT
(At Brookledge Golf Club, Cuyahoga Falls – Par 71)
(Top-four teams and four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to OHSAA D1 State Tournament in Columbus
CHAMPION: Magnificat 323
MEDALIST: Isabella Goyette, Medina Highland 73
QUALIFYING INDIVIDUALS: Gracyn Vidovic, Aurora 75; Serena Wu, Solon 76; Gabriella Berlingieri, Stow 78; Madolyn Kost, Kent Roosevelt 78.
TEAM STANDINGS: Magnificat 323, Medina Highland 323, Hudson 343, Hoover 345, Aurora 348, Kent Roosevelt 354, Hathaway Brown 351, Walsh Jesuit 364, Massillon Jackson 365, Strongsville 365, Nordonia 368, Medina 369, Canfield 379, St. Joseph Academy 384, Green 399, Lake 404.
AURORA (348): Gracyn Vidovic 75, Brooklyn Millard 80, Manisha Girn 91, Meena Kraus 12, Nina Newkirk 104.
KENT ROOSEVELT (354): Madolyn Kost 78, Ashlyn Leavery 87, Cassidy Singer 94, Adrianna Mineo 95, Izzi Wood.