Fenwick girls golf team headed back to state tournament

Scott Dalton hoped to get his Bishop Fenwick girls golf team more used to postseason play by scheduling more 18-hole events during the regular season.

He and the Falcons will find out this weekend whether that approach will pay off as they compete in the two-day, 36-hole Division II state tournament at Ohio State University’s Gray Course in Columbus.

“It’s just mentally knowing that you can do more,” Dalton said by phone as Fenwick practiced on Wednesday. “It’s more mental than anything. When you have three holes left, you know you can do that. You know it’s not as demanding or as hard as it could be, endurance-wise. "

Fenwick and 11 other teams are scheduled to play 18 holes on both Friday and Saturday. The Falcons, who won their first Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division championship earlier this season, qualified for their second consecutive state tournament with an 11-stroke win over Fort Loramie in the district tournament on PipeStone Golf Course on Oct. 6.

Junior Jocelyn Wright led Fenwick in the district event with an 81, followed by freshman Sophie Rush at 88, senior Natalie Allen with an 89, senior Amelia Snyder at 92 and senior Kaitlyn Hemmelgarn at 102.

“I think it’s probably the best move he’s done for our team from last year,” said Wright, who finished third in the GCL Co-Ed with a nine-hole average of 42.6 strokes during the regular season. “I know that by the end of the rounds last year, we were completely exhausted. The tournaments we used as practice were really helpful. We won’t be as tired.”

Dalton, who was named the GCL CoEd Coach of the Year for the second straight season, saw plenty of balance along the way.

“They all improved a little bit from last year by one or two or three strokes,” he said. “Sophie was a nice addition to the team. I didn’t know much about her coming out of middle school.

“We were just very consistent playing. One through five, any of the could be our No. 1 player on any day. Our fifth player could be No. 1. Our No. 4 could be our No. 1. The scores were so evenly close to each other. Our depth was an awesome strength.”

Dalton pointed out Snyder as one example.

“Our best player is Jocelyn,” he said. “She’s our most consistent player, Most of the time, she’s in the low 80s, but Snyder caught on fire in the GCL Co-Ed tournament. She shot a 75. She broke school records. Her best score before that was 87. She was hitting it right down the middle and not making mistakes.”

While the Falcons certainly would appreciate a similar effort this year, they were more concerned with building on and improving their seventh-place finish in last year’s state tournament, also played on the OSU Gray Course.

“Last year, it was new to us,” Wright said about the state tournament. “This year, we’ve got our heads down. We’re focused and ready to go. As a team, everything is coming together more than last year. We haven’t improved that much, but we still are improving every day.”

Dalton, in his seventh year as Fenwick’s coach, was keeping an eye on the weather.

“It’s going to rain on Saturday,” he said. “The temperature is supposed to drop from 80 (degrees) on Friday to a high of 66 on Saturday, and there’s rain coming in on Friday. We’ve played in rain before. It doesn’t seem to bother us. The kids will be prepared. We’ve got all the equipment. You’ve always got to prepare for the worst.

“The one thing I’m most concerned is the wind. We haven’t played in a lot of windy conditions. If anything, I’m more worried about the wind than the rain.”

Boys state tournament

A pair of Fenwick players -- senior Luke Metzger and junior Colin Schadek -- qualified for the D-II boys tournament on Friday and Saturday at NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury, north of Columbus.

Middleown Christian junior Joshua Winhusen will play in the D-III boys tournament on Friday and Saturday at the OSU Scarlet Course.

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