UPPER ARLINGTON — Lakota East High School boys golf coach Jeff Combs had a simple goal for his team’s third straight trip to the Division I state golf tournament on the Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club.
“We definitely wanted to win it, there’s no doubt,” he said. “We weren’t coming for second place.”
But that’s what the Thunderhawks got for their best finish in this three-year run. They were sixth last year and seventh in 2016.
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East entered Saturday in second place five shots behind Dublin Jerome. But the Celtics did what they often do on state-tournament championship day. They went even lower to shoot 316-309—625 for the two days and win their second straight state title and eighth in school history.
“I liked the spot where we were yesterday,” Combs said. “It’s hard for us to hang with Dublin Jerome two days in a row because they’re just so good.”
East tied for runner-up with St. Xavier at 650. The Hawks followed up their opening 321 with a 329. St. X shot 323-327. Mason was fourth at 655.
“For us to hang with Jerome, we needed a couple of our horses to go really low,” Combs said. “It just wasn’t there today.”
Kyle Schmidt is East’s only senior. He shot 76-81—157 to tie for ninth and earn second-team all-state honors. Freshman Joe Wilson finished at 80-83—163, juniors Peyton Houston (82-83) and Brock Aten (83-82) were at 165, and freshman Ty Sylla finished at 88-84—172.
With most of its lineup back next year, East will have a chance at fourth straight trip to state. And the girls team has a chance to keep pace.
The East girls played in their second straight state tournament and second in school history this weekend with only one senior. Last year the girls placed seventh with a 668 total and lost two seniors off that team. This year they placed fifth with a 660.
“I’m really happy with fifth place,” said first-year coach Ali Green. “The girls played really well. They had an absolute blast.”
Bree Wilson, the team’s lone senior, led the Hawks with rounds of 77 and 81 for a two-day total of 158. She was followed by junior Grace Honigford (81-82—163), junior Camryn Eddy (83-85—168), freshman Ellie Yeazell (81-92—173) and freshman Samantha Bernardo (88-90—178).
Green said there are a couple of good eighth-graders joining the team next year, so the future is bright.
“The girls definitely are hungry,” said Green, who served the previous two years as the assistant coach. “Two years ago they’d never been to state and it seemed far out of reach. After they made it to state last year, they worked their butts off because they didn’t want to miss this year.”
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