High School Golf: Fenwick girls headed to state for first time

The Fenwick High School girls golf team qualified for this week's Division II state tournament at Ohio State University's Gray Course in Columbus. From left: Assistant coach Mike Snyder, Halley McNair, Amelia Snyder, Natalie Allen, Kaitlyn Hemmelgarn, Jocelyn Wright, head coach Scott Dalton. CONTRIBUTED

Falcons' boys team also advanced

MIDDLETOWN – The Bishop Fenwick High School girls golf team amped up the schedule this season to experience bigger, more competitive tournaments. In doing so, the Falcons will enjoy the biggest one of all – the OHSAA state championships – for the first time in program history.

And they won’t be doing it alone.

Fenwick’s boys and girls golf teams both qualified for the Division II state tournament this Friday and Saturday at Ohio State University. The girls play OSU’s Gray Course and the boys, making their first trip as a team since 2013, compete on the Scarlet Course.

“We’re going to be up there together so that’s even better,” Fenwick boys coach Joe Wagner said of both teams qualifying. “Hopefully we’ll cross paths up there on the Scarlet and Gray courses and we can give some encouragement to each other.”

The Fenwick girls won the D-II sectional tournament at the Hamilton Elks Golf Club on Sept. 28. At the district meet on Oct. 7, Fenwick and Fort Loramie were locked in battle for the second and final qualifying spot for state. The Falcons pulled away over the final three holes to finish with 355 – 10 strokes better than Fort Loramie – and secure their place in program history.

Alter won the district meet with 336.

“It feels pretty good. It’s kind of sinking in,” Fenwick girls coach Scott Dalton said on Monday. “The kids are ready to go. We’re excited to go up there and do the best we can do.”

Sophomore Jocelyn Wright led Fenwick with 81 at the district meet for third place overall. She was followed by junior Kaitlyn Hemmelgarn (90), senior Halley McNair (92), junior Natalie Allen (92) and junior Amelia Snyder (97).

“I think the strength of the team is any of the girls can be my No. 1 golfer on any day,” Dalton said. “My No. 5 has been my No. 1 golfer a couple of times this year. We’re that close together. It’s nice to have a team like this.”

Prior to this season, the closest Fenwick’s girls program came to qualifying for state was fifth at district with three teams advancing. Individually, Meghan Utterdyke qualified in both 2017 (tied for 20th overall) and 2018 (tied for 22nd).

What was the difference this season?

“They practice and played a lot during the spring,” Dalton said. "When COVID hit in March nothing was open but the golf courses. They went out and played a lot of golf in March, April and May. In June they played in a lot of summer tournaments. Their scores are much improved from last year. They just had that extra time to play golf in the spring and summer and they did that.

“We’re going to enjoy every minute of it. They want to do dinner with the boys team since they made it to state, too. … We just want to take it all in stride and keep our girls level. Just see what happens.”

The Fenwick boys finished third at the district meet at Glenview Golf Course on Oct. 6, three shots behind runner-up Oakwood and six behind champion Alter. Fenwick finished second at the sectional meet at PipeStone on Sept. 30 behind Alter but ahead of Oakwood.

Sophomore Colin Schadek shot 75 to tie for third overall at district. He was followed by junior Luke Metzger (78), sophomore Landon Schehr (83), senior Tyler Schehr (84) and senior Zac Hayek (88).

The boys program has qualified for state 11 times (1975, 1977-81, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2013).

“The returning state champs (Gahanna Columbus Academy) are coming back so I think they are the favorites,” Wagner said. “It’d be nice to be in the top five. We’re kind of shooting for that. But I don’t know how they’re going to respond up there. There are a lot of distractions. It’s kind of big time with the top teams in the state. Hopefully they can handle the distractions well and play some good golf.”

Like the girls team, the boys team has seen a variety of players sharing the No. 1 spot. Hayek started the season at No. 1. Schadek gradually moved into that spot, while Metzger was the No. 1 last season.

As for state experience, Tyler Schehr is the only one with it as a state qualifier in swimming.

“For the seniors this is their last chance to do something. … Tyler has an idea of how fun this is and how rare the opportunity is and I think he’s going to take advantage of the opportunity,” Wagner said. "Zac, he’s been with me four years now. He’s been looking forward to this for a long time. Having those other kids get the experience will be really good for next year.

“Hopefully we can attack the golf course in a smart way and see what happens. It’d be really fun if we could be top three. I think that’s possible.”

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