October 31, 2014

Medina
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Girls golf: Medina narrowly clinches title for 2nd straight year

Mike Pettica | The Gazette

RAVENNA — The Medina girls golf team has backed up one fine season with another.

Now, the Bees aim to better what they did a year ago.

Medina’s Mindy Herrick watches a tee shot at the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division Tournament. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY AARON JOSEFCZYK)

“We’ve lowered our scores tremendously over last year,” coach Mickey McGrath said after Medina clinched its second straight Valley Division championship Tuesday at the Northeast Ohio Conference Tournament. “All the scores and averages have dropped. That’s what we’ve looked for heading toward the sectional.”

The Bees finished second to Solon by four strokes at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna. Medina, though, earned the overall division title, which is determined by a formula that includes the preseason tournament — which the Bees won — and match play. Medina, Solon and Hudson each went 8-2 in dual matches.

McGrath is in her first season as Medina’s coach. She replaced Lori Hawkins, who stepped down after guiding last year’s Bees to their first Valley Division championship, which included a one-stroke win over Hudson at the conference tourney.

The 2012 Bees’ season ended, though, with a disappointing sectional performance. They will try to make amends and advance to district play next week when they compete at the Division I sectional at Turkeyfoot Lakes Golf Links in Akron.

“We’re just trying to take it one step at a time,” senior Amanda Rom said. “I definitely think we’ll make it through the sectionals. District will be challenging. But if we take care of what we need to, we can make it to state.”

Rom, whose 77 won medalist honors at the NOC preseason tournament at Windmill Lakes and who carded a 74 last month at the Ashland Tournament, shot 95 Tuesday. She had good reason. She’s dealt off and on with lower back pain for several months, a cumulative effect from her efforts in lacrosse and golf.

“I’ve been out for a week,” Rom said. “I didn’t play my practice round and I didn’t play (Monday). I’ve been taking it easy.

“I have a doctor’s appointment (today) and I think with a little more rest, it will get better. I’ll be back for sectionals. I will definitely not do what I did today.”

The Bees picked up the slack for Rom with four solid individual rounds as they totaled a team score of 336. Junior Megan Pollock and freshman Mindy Herrick shot 82s. Juniors Madison Loftis and Mackenzie Debnar finished with 87 and 89, respectively. Senior Erin Winchester didn’t break into the top four but carded a respectable 96.

“My approach shots were really good,” Pollock said. “That’s what helped me today, and my putting was pretty good. …. We’ve come a long way. We’re planning to go to state.”

Herrick’s round was keyed by her 3-wood. The team’s youngest regular appreciates her older teammates.

“They’ve helped me with everything, since I’m just coming into high school,” Herrick said. “It can be difficult being a freshman, but I’m learning and starting to know what to expect.”

McGrath believes the Bees own several qualities that can serve them well as tournament play goes on.

“Leadership, camaraderie and they never give up. They never give up, ever,” she said. “Their strength is in each other. It’s a team that will grow even stronger next year.”

Solon (336) was led by Alexis Gray, who carded a 3-over par 73 to lead all individuals.

Brunswick (455) placed last in the six-team Valley Division scoring, but coach Michele Kuhar found reasons for optimism.

“Our putting was pretty good,” she said. “Several of the players scored better than at the preseason tournament. We have only one senior. It’s a young team. We graduated five seniors last year, so it’s a rebuilding team.”

Contact Mike Pettica at sports@medina-gazette.com.