June 29, 2016


Girls golf preview: Highland still has plenty of firepower

Though the best player in Medina County resides in Wadsworth, the Highland girls golf team’s recent dominance shows little sign of slowing down.

The defending Division I state runner-up Hornets lost four-time Gazette MVP Jessica Porvasnik and four-time All-Gazette selection Jessica McRae to graduation, meaning two-time All-Gazette choice Chloe McKinzie and underrated seniors Rachel Horvath and Karly Alexander will lead the charge.

While coach Mary Becker’s unit relied on the record-setting Porvasnik’s star power last season, this year’s calling card is depth. Junior Hallie Schuld proved more than capable last year, while touted freshman Madison Butler leads the next wave of talent.

The Grizzlies’ Alice Ho is aiming to improve on her second-team All-Ohio honor, and Medina is dreaming of a trip to Columbus with an experienced roster led by senior Amanda Rom, juniors Mackenzie Debnar and Madison Loftis and freshman Mindy Herrick.

Here’s a look at the county’s five schools:


Coach: Michele Kuhar, 7th year.
Last year: 4-10, 2-8 dual record; 5th at Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division Tournament (5th overall); 10th of 15 teams at Turkeyfoot Lake Division I Sectional.
Letterwinners lost: Kelly McLaughlin (HM All-Gazette), Jessie Vorachek, Erica Jacks, Brittany Martin, Meghan Krise.
Returning letterwinners: Maddy Jeske (Sr.), Angie Graf (Jr.).
Newcomers: Juliana Irizarry (Sr.), Kelly Szczepaniak (So.), Carli Petrus (So.), Devon Matson (Fr.).
Home course: Brunswick Hills Golf Course.
Noteworthy: Matson earned valuable experience in the Southwest Junior Golf Tour and played bass clarinet on the Medina County Middle School All-Star Band this summer.
• Brunswick set the 18-hole school record with a 370 at last season’s Northeast Ohio Conference Tournament.


Coach: Adam Michel, 5th year.
Last year: 0-12, 0-7 dual record; 7th at Suburban League Tournament (8th overall); 14th of 15 teams at Turkeyfoot Lake Division I Sectional.
Letterwinners lost: None.
Returning letterwinners: Meredith Illig (Sr.), Sierra Pickett (Sr.), Jessica Fairbairn (Jr.), Ashley Zwingleberg (Jr.), Nicole Horstman (Jr.).
Newcomers: Alison Hoskins (So.), Ellie Siedel (So.), Ava Illig (Fr.).
Home course: Westfield Group Country Club.
Noteworthy: With their top five scorers returning, the Colts figure to be improved. Meredith Illig was a second-team All-SL choice, while Sierra Pickett was honorable mention.
• Ava Illig is the third member of the family to play for Cloverleaf. Meredith is entering her fourth year as starter, while their older sister, Alysse, is second in school history for lowest average (46.3, 2010).


Coach: Mary Becker, 8th year.
Last year: 10-0, 7-0 dual record; 1st at SL Tournament (1st overall); 1st of 15 teams at Turkeyfoot Lake Division I Sectional; 3rd of 16 at Legends of Massillon District; 2nd of 12 at state tournament.
Letterwinners lost: Jessica Porvasnik (four-time Gazette MVP), Jessica McRae (four-time All-Gazette).
Returning letterwinners: Karly Alexander (Sr., HM All-Gazette), Rachel Horvath (Sr., HM All-Gazette), Chloe McKinzie (Jr., All-Gazette), Hallie Schuld (Jr.).
Newcomers: Annie Phillips (Sr.), Devon Dubiel (Sr.), Megan Phillips (Jr.), Madison Butler (Fr.), Christina Williams (Fr.).
Home course: Pine Hills Golf Club.
Noteworthy: Highland has won 26 straight dual matches in SL play and has defeated 43 of its last 44 opponents overall. The lone loss was a fifth-man tiebreaker to Massillon Jackson on Sept. 18, 2010.
• The Hornets are the lone county school to break par in an event, as they shot a 3-under 137 at Turkeyfoot Lake Golf Club’s Water Course in a dual match against Green on Sept. 4.


Coach: Mickey McGrath, 1st year.
Last year: 11-1, 9-1 in NOC Valley Division; 1st at NOC Tournament (1st overall); 6th of 15 teams at Turkeyfoot Lake Division I Sectional.
Letterwinners lost: Allie Snyder (All-Gazette), Alicia Bell.
Returning letterwinners: Amanda Rom (Sr., HM All-Gazette), Madison Loftis (Jr., HM All-Gazette), Mackenzie Debnar (Jr., HM All-Gazette).
Newcomers: Megan Pollock (Jr.), Nikki Sherman (Jr.), Mindy Herrick (Fr.).
Home course: Medina Country Club.
Noteworthy: Herrick recorded her first hole-in-one in June at the Country Club of Hudson.
• The Bees have a 21-5 dual record over the past two seasons.
• Rom and Loftis were key members of the school’s regional-qualifying lacrosse and softball teams, respectively, last spring.


Coach: Brandon Cobb, 1st year.
Last year: 9-4, 6-1 dual record; 5th at SL Tournament (3rd overall); 8th of 15 teams at Turkeyfoot Lake Division I Sectional.
Letterwinners lost: Katy Ho (three-time All-Gazette), Molly Bea.l
Returning letterwinners: Alice Ho (Sr., three-time All-Gazette), Lexy Kraft (Sr.), Abigail Laungraj (So.).
Newcomers: Hannah Thompson (Fr.), Jenna Peters (Fr.).
Home course: Ridge Top Golf Course.
Noteworthy: The 28-year-old Cobb takes over for Kacie Larabee, who led the team for the past six years but stepped down to raise her 10-month-old son, Ryker. Cobb is a third-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary and was the boys JV coach the last two seasons.
• Alice Ho is the only player in school history to break par in a nine-hole event. The four-year starter shot a 3-under 33 at Brunswick Hills Golf Course and a
1-under 34 at Medina Country Club on consecutive days last season. The Grizzlies are 24-10 all-time with Ho in the lineup.

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.