By Susan Jenior
When the boys and girls teams started the postseason looking toward the OHSAA State Championship Tournaments, there were 87 boys teams and 64 girls teams — plus a handful of individuals seeking a berth at the championship finals from the Northeast District.
That is more than 440 boys and 330 girls from the Northeast District of Ohio alone.
To advance to the state tournament takes an amazing combination of skill, solid play and confidence as only five boys teams and five individuals, as well as four girls teams and four individuals advance to the state tournament.
Portage County was fortunate to have three individuals qualify through to the state tournament, when only a small percentage of golfers ever have the opportunity to fight for a place on the all-state teams.
Kent Roosevelt’s Liam Curtis and Maddie Kost and Aurora’s Gracyn Vidovic did the impossible, made it to the state dance and, after two days of tournament play in rain, wind and chilling temperatures, they did Portage County and their home schools proud.
In Curtis’ second straight trip to the state tournament, he demonstrated that he is one of the best in the state.
In 2022, Curtis fired back-to-back rounds of 80. He was only a sophomore.
On Friday and Saturday, the junior representing Kent Roosevelt, fired back-to-back rounds of 73, good for a tie for seventh place and a spot on the state’s All-Ohio Second Team.
It was a 14-stroke improvement from his first year at state to his second on the tough fairways of the Scarlet Golf Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club.
Curtis was consistent on his final day of play, carding 13 pars and a birdie in the outstanding performance.
Gracyn Vidovic, a junior representing Aurora, was in 11th place at the end of her first day of competition and finished her first trip to the state tournament in 19th place, a solid performance for Vidovic’s who earned Player of the Year in the Northern Ohio PGA this season.
“Gracyn had a rough start to the day,” said her coach, Collin McEndree. “But like she has done all year, she kept battling and grinded out a 79 today.”
Vidovic ended up shooting rounds of 75 and 79 for the weekend.
“I am very proud of the way she played this weekend,” concluded McEndree.
The senior representing Kent Roosevelt already has an impressive golf resume, advancing to the International Optimist tournament in the summer.
At the state tournament, she continued her solid golf career, carding back-to-back rounds of 79 on the tough Gray Course of the Ohio State University Golf Club.
“Two rounds in the 70s is very good at Ohio State when it is your first time playing the course,” said Bryan Harvey, coach of the Lady Riders. “Maddie drove the ball very well both days but had a hard time adjusting to the wind and getting her approach shots close.”
“She always seemed to be putting from thirty-plus feet, which makes scoring difficult on these large greens,” explained Coach Harvey.
“Maddie should be very proud of herself. Anytime you play the last round of your high school golf career in Columbus, you know you have done something special,” said Harvey. “Maddie was really moved that her teammates, past Lady Rider golfers came to support her today.”
“Overall, it was a great three days at the state tournament,” said Coach Harvey. “It’s an experience Maddie will remember forever.”
OHSAA DIVISION I GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
(At Ohio State University Gray Course, Columbus – Par 70)
TEAM STANDINGS: Dublin Jerome 597, Magnificat 608, New Albany 608, Medina Highland 629, Sycamore 633, Springboro 657, Hudson 663, Ursuline Academy 668, Hoover 669, Toledo St. Ursula Academy 681, Granville 686, Perrysburg 700.
MEDALIST: Mia Hammond, New Albany 136.
AURORA: Gracyn Vidovic 154.
KENT ROOSEVELT: Maddie Kost 158.
OHSAA DIVISION I BOYS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
(At Ohio State University Gray Course, Columbus – Par 71)
TEAM STANDINGS: Anthony Wayne 598, Hoban 601, Olentangy Liberty 610, Upper Arlington 612, Columbus DeSales 617, St. Xavier 628, St. Ignatius 633, Springboro 635, Massillon Jackson 650, Hudson 646, Lakota East 656, Green 663.
MEDALIST: Vaughn Harber, Columbus DeSales 135.
KENT ROOSEVELT: Liam Curtis 146.